Homemade Bread Checklist: For Those Self-Isolating During the Coronavirus Outbreak
So, you’re stuck in the house self-isolating because of Covid-19.
While you may have stocked your pantry and shelves with non-perishables, chances are you’re going to start craving some fresh food real soon.
But if you can’t leave the house to stock up, what are your options?
Fresh bread is something you can make at home with minimal ingredients and supplies that you don’t even need to leave your house to obtain. That’s right — no need to enter a grocery store with throngs of other people (and their germs!) only to find out that they’ve run out of bread.
And you don’t need to be a baking whizz either — a bread machine can whip you up a loaf no problem. All you need to do is to load it with the ingredients. No need for kneading, proofing, rising or anything remotely technical.
We’ve had lots of emails in the past week from people self-isolating who want a list of everything they need to make their own fresh bread at home. We thought we’d share our list just in case there’s anyone else out there in the same boat.
Note: Be sure to check out our bread recipes for ideas on what to bake. We don’t know yet how long (or how bad) this outbreak is going to be – so it’s good to have some new ideas! Stay safe everybody.
What You Need to Make Bread at Home
The number one thing that will make life exponentially easier if you’re making bread at home is a bread machine.
A good bread maker does all the hard work for you — and, let’s face it, probably does a much better job unless you’re already a master baker.
There are a huge number of bread maker machines on the market, ranging from budget student models to expensive, bells and whistles, designer numbers.
Even your most basic bread maker will bake a variety of different loaves, including white and wholemeal. More expensive models will allow you to be a little more adventurous, with fruit and nut dispensers, gluten free capability and even ‘dough only’ mode — this means you can whip up some pizza dough, for instance, and then finish up by cooking it in the oven.
We’ve picked out three models suitable for different budgets — cheap, mid-market and more expensive. The machines we’ve picked are the best in class for their particular budget level (although generally speaking, you get what you pay for when it comes to bread makers).
Best Budget Bread Maker: Oster Bread Maker
Front panel settings view on the Oster Expressbake 2lb Loaf Breadmaker
Despite its low price, the Oster Bread Maker performs at a really high level worthy of a much more expensive machine.
It’s got a 2lb loaf capacity, which means that it’s perfect for families and larger households. It’s also got a whopping 12 bread settings, so you don’t have to stick to just a basic white loaf. It can even make jam!
Our favorite thing about the Oster is the Ultra Fast setting which creates loaves in under an hour.
It also has a 13 hour timer, which means you can load in the ingredients the night before and wake up to fresh bread in the morning.
Other than that, it’s really easy to use thanks to the large display and clear info on the outside of the front panel.
Best Mid-Range Bread Maker: SKG 2lb Automatic Programmable Bread Machine
This SKG Bread Maker is one of the world’s most popular bread making machines.
Not only does it make incredible bread, but it does it at under $100.
There are 19 different programs so it’s hugely versatile and it can make loaves in 3 sizes: 1 lb, 1.5 lb, and 2 lbs. That means that you won’t be wasting loads of bread if you live in a smaller household but that you have the option to size up when you need to.
Just like the Oster above, it also offers a quick setting with a loaf baked in less than an hour, and a 15 hour delay timer means you can make that mouthwatering bread smell a reality in the mornings. It also sports a 1-hour Keep Warm setting which keeps it oven fresh even if you can’t attend to it immediately.
The main thing people love about the SKG though is the high quality of the bread it creates. Even baking and light fluffy loaves — it makes self-isolation a little easier!
Best Luxury Bread Maker: Zojirushi Home Baker Virtuoso Plus
If you’re looking for a bread maker that’s truly the top of the market and that you’ll be proud to store on your worktop, look no further than the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus.
While the other two machines on this list are very capable bread makers indeed, the Zojirushi is on another level.
It offers a huge array of different bread programs — not only all the usual ones, but plenty of healthy settings as well: multigrain, gluten free, salt free, sugar free and even vegan.
The quality of bread it makes is on a par with what your top bakeries create: thanks to the double kneading blades and dual heaters, you can expect even baking, fluffy loaves and perfect form every single bake.
It’s super easy to use thanks to the large LCD display and looks super sleek to boot.
One thing worth bearing in mind is that, while it does have a rapid setting, it takes 2 hours and 25 minutes to complete. That’s quite a lot longer than the other 2 machines deliver above — but the quality of the loaf is definitely superior.
While the initial purchase of a bread machine may be an investment, making bread at home is cheap and easy. Ingredients are minimal and always on the cheap side.
Here’s a quick list of ingredients you’ll need (all of which you’ll either have or can order online).
Olive Oil (Best: Ellora Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil|Budget: AmazonFresh Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Bread Flour (White|Wholemeal|Gluten Free)
Milk Powder (optional)
Dried Active Yeast (Allinson|Fleischmann’s)
Optional Additions: seeds, nuts, dried fruit, sun dried tomatoes, olives, garlic etc.
How to Keep Bread Fresh
One of the best things about making bread at home (aside from not having to go to the grocery store when you’re self isolating) is that you’re in charge of the ingredients.
There are no preservatives or artificial additives that you find with normal store-bought bread.
The flip-side of this, however, is that homemade bread typically doesn’t stay fresh as long as store bought. Generally speaking, it’s good for about 2 days.
The best way to keep you bread tasty and fresh for as long as possible is smart storage.
We recommend buying some bread bags with ties (like you see in the store) and a bread bin. You don’t have to invest in something super fancy, just a bin that will keep your bread cool and away from sunlight and too much oxygen exposure — warmth, light and oxygen all contribute to bread staleness.
Here’s a couple of our favorite bread bins:
Home-It Stainless Steel Bread Box
Cool, dark interior
Sleek stainless steel style
Should fit all loaf sizes thanks to large capacity
Swing-down rolltop closes smoothly
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box
Can store 2 large loaves of bread
Magnetic seal means bread is kept fresher for longer
10 year guarantee
Flat top design for extra storage
Can be attached to walls/units if necessary
That’s our guide to how to make bread at home while you’re self-isolating — we hope you find it helpful.
In the meantime, stay safe, ring your parents and wash your hands! ☺️