Sunday, May 27, 2012

Daidokoro Adventures: Bread

Other than the occasional banana bread, I've never made bread. But I saw a mini bread maker (about half the size of a normal bread maker, roughly the size of a toaster oven) in a secondhand store, and the idea kept rattling around in my head.

On the "Get it, Get it Now!" side, it was a great deal and when I looked it up on Amazon, it has overwhelmingly 4 and 5-star reviews. It makes something like 10 different kinds of bread (including pizza dough!), plus mochi and jam.

On the other hand, nothing related to it exists in English. The menu options are in Japanese, the manual is in Japanese, and the recipes included are in Japanese. If you type "Siroca SHB-212" into a search engine*, you will only get Japanese results.
*Mentioning the make and model isn't meant to be so much an advertisement as help to any other English speakers out there that have the same problem I did.

In spite of reading a very limited amount of Japanese, the lure of fresh-baked bread was too strong to resist.
How could I say no to this kind of possibility?
(Picture from here.)

As far as appliances go, it's kind of cute.

Okay, time to see if I can figure out enough of the manual to make it work. 

I did manage to translate the table of contents, that's a start. It took at least an hour and heavy use of my Japanese/English dictionary app and Google Translate, but it got done.

Crooked assisted. He is part of the reason it took so long.
I call this "being helpful like a Crooked."

I'm not spending the rest of my weekend slogging through the rest of it. Let's see how much I can figure out without looking up each kanji I don't know.

Okay, parts of the machine: display menu, lid, window, bread case, where the blade/mixer goes, options on the front...not so bad. I can read some of the menu settings and I can tell which button goes to which area of the display panel.

Things I'll need...I don't have a digital scale, but I have the Internet.

Then there's some sort of flow chart to illustrate how bread baking works. I don't really get it, but...wait a second. Are those bread illustrations smiling?

Yes, yes they are. This manual includes adorable-ness!

Wet ingredients (or at least water), then dry ingredients. Then yeast on top. To remove the pan, twist before pulling out.
Hooray for pictures!

Press the menu button to choose the setting. I'm just going for #1, plain old regular bread. Gotta start off easy, considering I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm doing it in a language I don't speak or read very well.

The top settings are for 1 loaf, a 1.5-loaf-sized loaf, or a double-sized loaf. Again, just going with one, since this is the trial run.

The bottom settings are for crust (light, medium, or crispy), I left it at the default medium.

When ready, press Start! Got it.

And then a block of text happens. I'm not sure what this is about and I hope my lack of motivation to translate it doesn't come back to bite me later. stop? I'll have to come back to this.
(Edit: the headline says to press the Stop button for 2 seconds when the buzzer indicates it's ready.)

To remove bread, take out the case with hand protection and shake it until it comes out. Cool on a cooking rack, carefully take the blade out, too. And some warning about not hurting myself, presumably.

Unplug when done. Easy enough.

Directions read, let's do this thing! All right, manual-I-can-barely read, give me a recipe for a single loaf size, please!
Right, they measure dry ingredients in grams. Dangit.
The recipe translates to:
250g flour (2 cups)
180mL water
15g butter (just over a tablespoon)
18g sugar (One and four-fifths of a tablespoon? That seems like a strange amount.)
6g skim milk (The parenthetical note indicates 2 teaspoons. Why that isn't the main measurement, I have no idea.)
4g salt (Four fifths of a teaspoon)
2.7g dry yeast (1 weak teaspoon? I'm not sure what that means.)

There are more specific directions, presumably about mixing, but I can't read them. So wet ingredients first then dry.

Ready, set, go!

Water, milk, butter. Not so impressive.

Flour, salt, sugar, yeast. Still not that impressive.

Okay, here goes nothing.

Note the distinct lack of blowing up. That's a good sign!

After a couple minutes, it started to look like dough.

Sometimes it mixed with enthusiasm.

Basically, I put flour, water, butter, salt, sugar, and yeast into a box and pressed a button. Making real bread can't actually be that easy, can it?

3 hours, 50 minutes to go:

3 hours, 20 minutes to go:

 Two hours, it's starting to look like real bread:

An hour and a half, I'm a little concerned:

Half an hour left, it still looks like dough, but it has the right shape:

Done! And it looks pretty good!

It looks really good! Now, does it taste as good as it looks? I'm a little afraid it will taste like baking soda or something (not that there is any baking soda in it).

Surprisingly enough, it tastes like it should. Apparently making bread is just as easy as putting a few basic ingredients together and pressing a button.

(Pardon the smeared makeup and pajamas, I didn't think far enough ahead to put on real clothes or fix my makeup.)

New, previously unconsidered problem: it was so good we ate the whole thing. And then we started a new loaf of rosemary bread. #FirstWorldProblems


  1. I love your spirit of adventure. The directions surely looked daunting to me. Glad it turned out so well. Now you'll have to learn to think 4 hours ahead before you want some bread.

    The bread maker can make MOCHI too? I'm envious! Of course, I'm envious that you can eat it too. Great stuff!

  2. You did a great job! What "smeared make-up and pajamas?"
    You look wonderful. Tell husband that a thin serrated knife is the best to use when slicing bread. I love you both.

  3. I just received this same model bread-maker as a present. Overwhelmed by the Japanese manual, I stumbled upon your site while searching the web for English help. Thanks for the inspiration to slog through the instructions with my limited knowledge and dictionary. I can't wait to get started!

  4. Mission, I am here for the exact same reason!

  5. You guys are exactly the people I wrote this for. I'm so glad it helps!

  6. We've now had the bread machine for about a year, and it's still awesome. I haven't managed to make pizza dough, croissants, jam, or anything other than bread, but every loaf is delicious.

    Pumpernickel is a favorite, and I'm fond of the regular recipe with added garlic and rosemary or basil and oregano. Or, for a more desserty flavor, cinnamon and nutmeg.

    I tried rice flour bread once, but it came out like mochi with a crust (not as good as it sounds). I'll have to revisit that one later.

  7. Thank you, Kim, You're a lifesaver! I tried to find english manuals but no luck :(
    I'm brazilian and my husband's aunt lives in Japan. She gave me one of those as a gift. I had no idea how to use it lol

  8. Thank you so much. I bought an slightly used Siroca Brad maker, but the manual was in Japanese. Im looking for an English manual and luckily I came across your site. It is very helpful. Now I can start to make bread. Again thank you so much.