Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bread Machine Magic, Revised Edition (recipe book) by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway

I know, I know, this isn't really the sort of book I usually write about (unless you count that one time I wrote about the muffin recipe book), but I really like this book. Or, more accurately, I like the results.

I could've included a picture of the book itself, but I thought it might be nicer to include a picture of something I made with the help of the book. On the left is a picture of french toast, which I made from a slice-and-a-half of Rehberg and Conway's Egg Bread (pg. 19).

I own a Breadman model TR875, which can handle 1.5 and 2 lb. loaves. The book it came with has a few recipes, but most of them haven't really impressed me much (I do really like its Soy Almond Fruit Bread recipe, though). Rehberg and Conway's book has 138 recipes (according to the cover of the book) - some of them can be made entirely with a bread machine, while others will require a Dough setting and an oven. So far, I haven't done any Dough recipes.

Each recipe includes measurements for 1, 1.5, and 2 lb. loaves, although sometimes the measurements for certain sizes are more awkward than for others. As someone who's fairly new to using a bread machine, I appreciate that each recipe says what crust setting and bake cycle to use. The recipes also include lists of optional bake cycles, but I haven't had to try any of those. All recipes begin with a few descriptive sentences that sometimes provide very useful information - for instance, I got the idea to make french toast out of the egg bread from the recipe's description. Each recipe includes per-slice nutritional information - in my opinion, this is a bit useless, since slice size will vary depending on how you slice the bread and what size bread you bake.

The beginning of the book has some tips and information about the various components of bread. I found some of this to be helpful, but most of it was already included in the booklet that came with my machine. The book ends with lists that categorize the various breads in the book according to their suggested uses - sandwich breads, breakfast bread or toast, snacking breads, gift breads, dinner party breads, and stuffing/croutons/bread crumbs. There's also a couple oddball lists - most aromatic breads, and recipes that are okay to use with your machine's delayed timer. The book includes an index - the indexing of ingredients isn't quite as thorough as I would like, but it's still nice. It's also necessary, if you're looking for a particular recipe, because the table of contents is very basic and doesn't list each individual recipe.

I've only tried a fraction of the recipes in this book, but I've enjoyed almost all of them so far. The only recipe I tried that failed was the Irish Soda Bread - it collapsed at some point while it was in the machine. My favorite recipe is the Sally Lunn Bread. If you don't have an electric knife, this one is perfect, because it cuts beautifully. It also doesn't use very many ingredients.

I read one customer review of this book on Amazon.com that complained about the use of butter in most of the recipes. The authors do say at the beginning of the book that oil could be used as a substitute for butter, but I haven't tried this myself yet. Personally, I really enjoy this book. The recipes are simple and easy to follow, and almost all of my breads have turned out nicely. Of course, if you want your bread to turn out perfectly, you should always monitor it during the second kneading cycle to see if you need to add more flour or liquid. I usually have to add more flour.

Overall, I recommend this book (unless you really want to avoid butter - like I said, I'm not sure how these recipes would turn out if oil were substituted instead). If there are any other bread machine fans out there who like to recommend their favorite recipe books, please do so - I'm always looking for more recipes to try. Plus, other books might have better variations of certain recipes.


  1. Yummm. Looks tasty. We were just wondering how you were doing...seems you're well if you're making bread!

  2. Yup, I'm doing fine. The semester has started up again, so I'm tired and there's tons to catalog - not so much energy for typing, but enough energy to plop some ingredients in my bread machine.