Breads,  Technique

Brilliant Baking with the Bread Bucket

Now I know how I’ll make my millions. I’ll dust the cobwebs off my MBA and manufacture a shiny new version of the bread bucket, a once-popular tool for cranking out bakery-quality loaves. I betcha even King Arthur Flour will feature this brilliant energy saver in their baking porn catalog.

Of course, I’ll have to cut Bruce Belden in on the deal. Bruce, the illustrious president of my high school class, has become an ardent home bread baker and he tipped me off about the bread bucket phenomenon.

Here’s Bruce’s story. Once you’ve read it, you’ll want in on the bread bucket business, too.

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Cranking Out Loaves with the Bread Bucket

by Bruce Belden, Guest Blogger

Since reconnecting with Diane, my high school classmate of many years ago, and discovering her “Recipephany” blog, I’ve been trying to think of a way to contribute. Since I do not possess a wealth of original recipes, I thought another approach might be to tackle bread making from a process standpoint. I decided to see how Claire’s Honey Whole Wheat recipe (Recipephany, May 2017) would come out using my mom’s bread-making secret: the Bread Bucket.

Mom’s Bread Bucket

When I was a young child, it was always a joyous occasion when Mom baked bread. She used the basic white bread recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, and it was always wonderful. She was able to make five loaves at a time using her bread bucket (see photo above). Her Universal Bread Maker by Landers, Frary & Clark must be close to 100 years old. (See the Universal Bread Maker Brochure.)

A few years ago, I decided store-bought bread just wasn’t very good. I could have bought artisan bread, but I figured I could do just as well for a fraction of the cost with Mom’s bread bucket. I tried James Beard’s whole wheat bread recipe from his classic Beard on Bread Cookbook. It was rather fun and worked so well that I’ve been making two loaves in the bread bucket every three weeks or so since then.

Hooked on the dough hook

The bread bucket has a professional-style dough hook that develops gluten to its elastic best without the hand kneading. While many people enjoy kneading, it takes time and often doesn’t do the job as well as a dough hook.

The bread bucket has the advantage of mixing the bread and letting it rise without any other bowls or dishes. And the instructions are stamped right on the lid. You put in the liquid followed by the dry ingredients and then mix the dough using a hand crank. It may sound tedious, but in reality the ingredients get fully mixed in just 3 to 5 minutes. You let the dough rise in the bucket until it doubles in size. Then you take it out and shape it into loaves for a second rising in the loaf pans. Then it’s ready to bake.

Where to get a bread bucket

I have seen the exact same bread bucket as my mom’s many times in antique stores. Typically, a vintage bucket costs about $50. They’re a bit pricier on eBay. It may be more than you want to pay, but it really is worth it. I recently saw a rerun of the Julia Child French Chef TV show from the ’60s that highlights Julia using a more modern version. That model is probably extinct, too, but what could be better than Julia’s seal of approval?

Claire’s Honey Whole Wheat Bread experiment

Needing more bread this morning, I decided to see whether Claire’s Honey Whole Wheat Bread would translate to being made in a bread bucket. I doubled the ingredients to make two loaves. The experiment was a success—the loaves came out high and delicious.

So there you have it—an easy alternative way of making bread.

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Thanks so much, Bruce. You’ve sure convinced me. I’m checking eBay now. Then I’m on to my Bread Bucket Business Plan.

(Photos courtesy of Bruce Belden)

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6 Comments

  • Claire

    What a cool gadget never heard of it before! Kind of reminds me of a popcorn maker, maybe you could get a two-in-one? (Also, so glad you still like that bread recipe thank you for the mention.)

  • Joanne

    I am wondering which Betty Crocker cookbook recipe was used for the dough. I have a 1978 cookbook with a white bread recipe, and very interested in the bread bucket concept. Thanks for this very helpful information.

  • Diane Brody

    Dear Joanne,

    I don’t know which Betty Crocker recipe it is, but will ask Bruce if he can help out. I have a few of those cookbooks, and some recipes change with each edition.

    Thanks so much for writing, and I’ll see what I can find out.

    Best,
    Diane

  • Bruce Belden

    The cookbook from Betty Crocker that I used was the 7th printing dated 1971 from the original 1969 copyright. The recipe is simply entitled “White Bread.” If you decide to use the bucket, I recommend that you put the water and yeast in first to let it proof right in the bucket. In doing so, it is much easier to mix the flour rather than the other way around. It was years before I finally figured that out as I guess I am a slow learner. I hope it works and if you still need the recipe, I can certainly post it here.

    Bruce

  • Diane Brody

    Thanks, Bruce! Great advice from the bread-bucket baker himself.

    Joanne, I hope that answers your question. Please let us know if you want Bruce to post the recipe.

    Best,
    Diane