Introduction: Converting a Traditional Favorite Bread Recipe for a Bread Maker

About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.

This is a family recipe from our Aunt Jo and is cherished for many reasons. Our aunt Jo is 82 years old and still continues to make these dinner rolls. Aunt Jo was the youngest of 12 children. Her Papa owned a small farm in the Pecos valley. Sadly aunt Jo's mama passed away when she was only eight years old. Aunt Jo missed the company of her mother but learned how to occupy herself while her papa farmed. Jo was quite a few years younger than her siblings who had grown up and left home. Her brothers were in the service for WW11 and her sisters were married and had started their own families.

Aunt Jo graduated from college, taught first grade, married and had a baby. Missing her mother she tried to remember the dinner roll recipe that her mother taught her how to make. She practiced making it until she got it perfect. Obviously baking mama's dinner rolls brought her comfort over the years.

I have a friend and a brother who both have bread makers and love aunt Jo's dinner rolls. I decided to try and convert her recipe so it could be made using a bread maker. I called my friend and asked her if she had ever made the rolls in her bread maker and she told me; "No, the recipe is too large for my bread maker". I knew if I could create a bread maker version of aunt Jo's dinner rolls; they would probably make them more often. So, I called my brother and asked if I could borrow his bread maker for a few days.

I have read everything I could find about converting bread recipes and tips on baking bread over the past few weeks. This instructable will share what I have learned and how I made the rolls and bread using a bread maker. Let's get started...

Step 1: Adventure

This journey to modify our family's bread recipe was like travailing back in time. A news article lead me to food blogs and comments from bakers about baking tips and their experience using Shepherd's Grain flour. I have tried many different flours over the years and was interested in trying a different brand to enhance the flavor of aunt Jo's dinner rolls. Shepherd's Grain farmer's are mostly located on the west coast. They use sustainable farming methods such as; no-till and direct seed agriculture; which reduces erosion, increases fertility and does not destroy earth worms, which produce worm castings adding nutrients to the soil and plants.

I watched a documentary on Netflix; "The Chef's Table" about Dan Barber and his Blue Hill Restaurant in New York City. He grows all organic food that is served at his restaurant; using sustainable methods avoiding commercial fertilizers. He was not the only farmer that I discovered doing this. I found a small California orchard who grows all organic fruit using 100% solar power. They had a special way to conserve water and last year they planted more trees and used less water than the previous year.

Consumers are becoming more concerned about the ingredients that are found in processed foods and are leaning towards cooking from scratch; creating a higher demand for organic crops, which has been proven to improve the flavor of the food we cook and eat. This just skims the surface of what I have learned the past few weeks and more information was needed for this instructable; which I will cover later.

Step 2: Converting Traditional Recipes for a Bread Machine

After searching the internet I only found three "How to change a traditional bread recipe for baking in a bread maker". The most useful and detailed information I found about converting a traditional bread recipe for a bread maker was King Author here . It helps to have a booklet to understand all the features of your machine. The bread-maker I used did not have an instruction booklet. For those of you who own a bread-maker that does not have an instruction booklet, you can Google search the make and model and probably find one online like I did "for free".

I read that if the bread-machine (pail) held 10 cups of water you could estimate it made a one pound loaf. If it held 13 or more cups of water it would make a two pound loaf. I decided to go for a one pound because I was not sure how the recipe would turn out and figured there would be less waste if it failed. I was glad I decided to make the smaller amount because if I had used the full recipe it would have been too large for the bread-maker.

The next time I make it; I will measure the ingredients for a full recipe and mix the ingredients using the dough feature and after it is mixed thoroughly, I will divide the dough in half and place one half back into the bread-maker and begin the rest of the process to rise and bake. I will use the remaining half to make smaller loaves or dinner rolls; which can be baked in the oven or made with the bread-maker after the first batch is complete. In the past I have placed dinner rolls into bags to be frozen for later use.

Recipes using high protein unbleached all-purpose flour seem to work well with converting traditional recipes for bread-makers. Whole- grain flours work best when mixed with unbleached flour.

When I convert recipes I take a lot of notes, closely measuring each ingredient. If any changes need to be made to the recipe, the next time you make it; change one thing at a time so you will know for sure how that one modification affected the recipe.

Armed with this information I knew aunt Jo's recipe was a perfect match to try and convert it for a bread-maker.I decided to make two batches of bread using her recipe. For the first batch I reduced the ingredients by half and swapped the all purpose White Gold Medal flour and regular wheat flour to a High Gluten Enriched unbleached wheat flour and a low gluten Enriched all purpose flour.

I followed aunt Jo's instructions except instead of using a stand mixer, I used the dough setting on the bread-maker and removed the dough from the bread- maker after the dough was thoroughly kneaded and placed the dough in a bowl to rise and baked it in a conventional oven.

Making two loaves was to show what the difference might be between the two different methods. I did this because several bloggers mentioned that a bread-maker offers the best results for kneading bread dough. Using the dough setting will allow you to remove the dough and form them into rolls or smaller loaves and in my opinion is the best way to check the dough's consistency if you are converting a recipe. More water or flour can be added as needed using this feature.

For the next batch I followed her recipe ingredients substituting flours as I mentioned before but used the bread-maker prompts to choose the type of bread, color, and mixed the ingredients according to the Sunbeam instructions; with the exception of holding back 1/4 cup of water which would be added after mixing the other ingredients (if needed 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency was achieved). I did need to add a few tablespoons of flour to this mixture because the dough was too sticky but other than that it worked perfectly.If the dough is too dry add one tablespoon of water and allow the dough to mix and add more if it is still too dry. Humidity, summer and winter will alter the outcome of bread recipes and adjustments will need to be made accordingly.

Altitude is something to consider when baking. Above 3000 feet makes the dough rise faster and makes the flour drier. I live in a high altitude area so I did not change the recipe because aunt Jo created her recipe here. If you follow the link I mentioned above you can read how to alter your favorite recipes for your altitude.

The newer bread makers have a lot of great features. You can make soup, sauces, and bake cakes in them. Having these features will allow you to use a bread maker during hot weather to bake cakes and bread instead of using the oven and gives you another baking option for holiday gatherings. I like that idea.

The only disadvantage I noticed by using this bread-maker was the shape of the bread however, if you wish to bake artisan bread, you have the option to only use the dough method and then you can re-move the bread to shape and slice for a more artistic appearance. Maybe the newer models have a better shaped pail, I don't know. I also noticed that the top of the bread was not uniform. I am not sure why because this was the first time I made bread using a bread-maker.

Step 3: Ingredients and Utensils


1/2 Plus 1/8 cups of warm water

1/4 Cup softened butter (extra butter for top and sides of bread loaf if desired)

1 1/2 large eggs

1/4 Cup Sugar

1/2 Plus 1/4 teaspoon pink salt, sea salt or non- iodized salt

1 Package Active dry yeast (original)

1/2 Cup of Shepherd's Grain high gluten enriched unbleached wheat flour Find it in your area or use equivalent flour.

2 1/2 Cups Shepherd's Grain low gluten enriched all purpose flour (link above to locate in your area or use equivalent flour).


Bread maker,oven if not using a bread maker, Bowls, measuring cups and spoons, baking pan optional, cutting board, knife,probe thermometer optional,brown paper bag or plastic bag to store bread.

Step 4: Set Up Work Station and Measure Ingredients

Set up work station and measure the ingredients:

I measured each ingredient and placed them into separate bowls the first time to make sure I measured them correctly and then added the liquids to the bread machine; followed by the dry ingredients. It is best to spoon the flour into a measuring cup than to dip the measuring cup into the flour.After you test the recipe and make the necessary adjustments I recommend making a double batch all at once as I mentioned earlier.


1/2 Plus 1/8 cups of warm water

1/4 Cup softened butter (extra butter for top and sides of bread loaf if desired)

1 1/2 large eggs room temperature (I used a whisk and lightly mixed 3 eggs and poured the mixture into a measuring cup and divided it half because I was making a double batch.One large egg measured a scant 1/4 cup).

1/4 Cup Sugar

1/2 Plus 1/4 teaspoon pink salt, sea salt or non- iodized salt

1 Package (original) Active dry yeast room temperature

1/2 Cup of Sheppard's Grain high gluten enriched unbleached wheat flour or equivalent flour

2 1/2 Cups Shepherd's Grain low gluten enriched all purpose flour or equivalent flour


Bread maker,oven if not using a bread maker or both, Bowls, measuring cups and spoons,whisk,mixer if not using a bread-maker, I used a 7 1/2 inch loaf pan or for a crusty bottom use a glass Pyrex baking dish (optional), Cutting board, knife, probe thermometer optional,brown paper bag or plastic bag to store bread.

Step 5: Bread-Maker Version

Oil pail and Layer Ingredients:

  1. Oil the bread pail and the dough paddle (I used butter but any oil will work)
  2. Add the warm water to the pail.
  3. Add eggs
  4. Add softened butter
  5. Mix both flours together using a whisk and add 1/3 to the mix.
  6. Add salt
  7. Add remaining flour.
  8. Make a small well for the yeast in the center using a spoon and add dry yeast.
  9. Follow the bread-makers instructions and set the options for baking the bread according to your preference.
  10. If your bread-maker has the dough option and you would like to form the loaf by hand follow the dough options of your bread maker and go to the next step following the instructions beginning at 10-12.

  11. Follow instructions for removing the bread from your bread-machine.

  12. I coated my crust with butter for flavor and texture.

I used the basic option and medium color for my bread and clicked start. The next time I make it I will go for the light color. Now that I know this recipe works, I will measure the wet ingredients with water first and add each one of the liquid ingredients to the bread-maker as I measure them.

I will pre-measure the different flours and mix them into a bowl before adding the flour mixture to the bread machine to avoid mistakes. The reason I layered the flour the way I did and made a well was to prevent the salt from touching the yeast before the ingredients were mixed together. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that salt will dilute the action of the yeast. It might have been in the bread-makers Manuel.

Bloggers mentioned that they remove the dough paddle before the second rise so the paddle won't leave a hole in the bottom of the bread. I hope I remembered that correctly.

If you have not used a bread-maker before it is beneficial to read the owners Manuel all the way through to become familiar with the functions of the machine.My brother's paddle was very difficult to remove because he did not remove it when he washed the unit and it stuck to the pan. I thought it was not removable until I read the instruction Manuel.

Step 6: Mixing Traditional Method

You can hand mix the ingredients or use a mixer or if you have a bread-maker and would like to make a hand shaped loaf you can use the dough option of your bread-maker like I did and remove the dough following the instructions in step 5 and come back to step 6 and follow the instructions beginning at 10-12.

Mixing the ingredients :

  1. In a large electric mixer bowl with dough attachment place:
  2. Water and yeast into the bowl and lightly mix.
  3. Allow to proof for 10 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, butter, sugar,and one cup of flour to this mixture.
  5. Mix on low or medium until incorporated.
  6. Add salt.
  7. Slowly keep adding and mixing the remaining flour to this mixture and mix until well incorporated.
  8. If you don't have a dough hook attachment you may need to remove the dough from the bowl and work in by hand, the remaining flour until it forms a smooth round ball.
  9. If the dough is too sticky add a small amount of flour and work it in thoroughly. Keep adding very small additions of flour 1-2 tablespoons at a time as needed to form a nice smooth ball. It the dough is too soft and sticky, the bread will be flat on top and not rise and form a nice round top.
  10. If the dough is too dry add one tablespoon of water at a time and mix it in thoroughly until the mixture forms a nice smooth ball.
  11. Oil a large mixing bowl and place the dough into the bowl covering it with a clean dish towel.
  12. I have a gas stove so I turned the heat on at the lowest setting for 2 minutes and turned off the heat.
  13. I placed the covered bowl into the oven for approximately one hour to rise until double in size.

Step 7: Shaping and Baking Instructions for Traditional Loaf


Pre-heat oven to 350- 375 degrees F depending on preference.

Please note that I was a little disappointed in the color of my bread for this method. I will be reducing the baking temperature to 350 and allow a longer bake time in the future. This should make the crust of the bread a little more tender or at least I hope it will and lighten the color of the bread.

When the dough is double in size, remove the bowl from the oven and place the dough on a floured cutting board.


Oil the baking dish.

Shape the dough into a loaf pan or form dough into plum size dinner rolls and place them into a baking dish.

Using a sharp knife or pair of scissors make your designs into the bread dough.

Place the bread dough into the warm oven for approximately 45 minutes for the second rise(uncovered).

I did not allow my batch to rise enough so the next time I will be allowing more time for a better rise.

After the dough has risen the second time turn oven to 350-375 degrees F and bake for about 30 -45 minutes. I used a probe thermometer and removed the bread when the inside temperature reached 200 degrees F.

Step 8: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

My husband and I both agreed this recipe reminded us of that good old fashioned homemade bread our grandmother's made; you could smell from a block away. The flavor was unique and delicious.This method was easier to make and took less time to prepare. I can't wait to share this recipe with my brother who will receive a loaf when I return his bread-maker along with a copy of the instructions on how to operate his machine. He told me he has only used the machine one time and the bread was not very good. I was thrilled his machine worked because I knew he bought it at a thrift store and I really didn't want it to fail me. I will be emailing this link to my friend so she can bake aunt Jo's bread using her bread maker.

I want to hug and thank all the farmer's that are passionate about how they grow our food so our families and our land will be protected for future generations.Thanks for stopping by and do stop in again sometime~


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