Panera bread menu recipe

The perfect bread machine loaf

Panera bread menu recipe makes baking a delicious, healthy low GI loaf so easy; use your own little oven.

About Bernard Preston

This page last updated by Bernard Preston on 20th November, 2018.

By Bernard Preston

The bread machine is apparently the most under utilized kitchen appliance, and I can't help wondering why; it does all the kneading and waiting for you. I bake a loaf at least four times a week, and it takes only five minutes. So why is it not used more often?

Frankly, I'm not sure, because the smell of baking loaves will certainly get your family's mouths watering and yours too.

Plus you have total control over the ingredients. Most commercial loaves today are loaded with chemicals, sugar and too much salt. They use refined flour and so have a high glycemic index; definitely fattening, not healthy and totally unsuitable for diabetics.

There was a time when dieticians said, "it's not the bread, but what you smear on the slice that makes it fattening." Patently it's not true; all refined starches, and frankly even this 100% wholemeal loaf, are likely to cause your blood glucose to soar, with a corresponding outpouring of insulin.


These are my blood glucose figures after two slices of real bread weighing 190g and butter, followed by a sedentary few hours at the computer:

0 mins (4.9), 30 mins (6.9), 60 mins (8.0), 120 mins (8.2 = 148), 180 mins (4.0). That 8.2 is too high I'm clearly borderline prediabetic.


Once you've done it a few times, it takes only four to six minutes to mix the ingredients; if that. Thus, it really does fit with our theme of healthy, slow food, made fast. But, of course, it then requires five hours to rise and bake; the longer the better.

Always select a machine with at least a five hour cycle.

Most of these machines have a timer, so you can have a fresh loaf for breakfast.

For the scholars amongst us, the word pan is the Latin for bread.

And panera means bakery. If you check out our glycemic index calculator you'll discover that 100 percent whole wheat bread does not cause an insulin rush; it's GI is low.

Our basic bread menu recipe consists of

  1. Healthy flour
  2. Yeast
  3. Sugar or honey, and salt
  4. Butter or coconut oil
  5. Water
  6. Ground seeds
  7. Optional, but recommended added protein will lower the glycemic index

Bread flour comes, of course, from wheat, a cereal grain. Along with maize and rice, it's in the top three grains produced world wide.

Note that all three have a high glycemic index when refined, and are thus very fattening. Lowering the GI of your panera bread menu recipe is vital; more about that lower down.

If you are obese, then stop eating supermarket bread right now! New programmes like the Paleo and Banting diets attempt to exclude all carbs; I'm partially in agreement but in Banting diet rebuttal I question the sense of excluding the healthy carbohydrate in an apple and legumes, and 100 percent whole grains, for example.

A grain of wheat has three important parts:

  • Endosperm - starch
  • Germ - protein, vitamins, minerals
  • Bran - insoluble fibre. The outer husk contains the vital lignans.

White flour: The germ and bran are removed leaving only the starch for white bread.  Made fast or slow, white bread cannot be described as good food! It also has an extremely high glycemic index, meaning that it is very fattening; but our panera bread is only a medium GI, and lower down we'll have a few words to say about low GI bread.

Brown flour: starch, germ and bran. Loaded with the vital B vitamins, iron and fibre the colon demands. Generalised muscle weakness ... the Thiamine story; vitamin B1. But some of the bran and germ have almost certainly been removed unless it's labelled as 100% wholemeal.

Healthy flour


Just type in "healthy flour" or "lignans" or whatever you are searching for.


Ideally you would want to have freshly ground healthy flour as the fatty acids begin to go rancid once the grain is cracked. But that's another complication, and I recommend you start with flour as fresh as you can get it. Later you can start to think about a wheat grinder and even more healthy flour; a rich source of vitamin E.

Home bake bread flour will give you more ideas. Why are the lignans in the bran so important?

I use a mixture of

  • stone ground 100% wholemeal flour
  • 1 TBSP of brown bread flour
  • 3 tsp of finely ground rye flour
  • Home ground healthy flour
Panera bread menu recipe makes baking a delicious, healthy low GI loaf so easy using your own machine.

The seeds

You will want to add your favourites. We use sunflower, freshly ground flaxseeds, poppy and pumpkin seeds.

Quite often I'll add sesame seeds too. There's no point adding whole sesame and flax seeds, as they would go through the gut undigested and may get stuck in diverticuli. Mash them first in a little inexpensive coffee grinder with a spinning blade.

  • Flax seed nutrition information ...
  • How to make tahini - ground sesame seeds.

Add the ground seeds to the receptacle above the oven dish.

The seed contains dumps after an hour

Measuring cylinder

In the foreground, you can see the measuring cylinder with two marks: one for the flour, and the other for the water. Just for convenience.

On our Panasonic that's

  • 700 ml 100% whole grain flour
  • 350 ml water.

Yours may be different.

Panera bread menu recipe

Panera bread menu recipe makes baking a delicious, healthy medium GI loaf so easy using your own bread machine, and a few minutes labour.

In the United Kingdom they are calling this real bread; that which you buy in most supermarkets is a pale counterfeit; I like the term.

Easy flour and water levels

The king is in his counting house, anticipating bread and honey. The queen, well, she likes toast and marmalade.

Ingredients in the baking tin
Keep it simple; the dials are a mystery

Yeast

The yeast for baking bread is a fungus which turns some of the sugars into gas, thus leavening your loaf. The dried granular form is used in your bread making machine; one day I'm going to try fresh yeast which is what serious home bakers use. The old Lebanese lady who taught me to bake bread and rolls would turn her nose up at dried yeast.

Imagine our surprise that, forgetting to add the yeast last week, our sourdough variation of panera bread menu recipe didn't give us any sign of heartburn when enjoyed with soup for supper. Bread experiments are fun and, if you are observant, may lead to a healthier loaf than ever.

If you want to forego using yeast, or less of it, then perhaps you should investigate the subject of just what is artisan bread.

Method

  1. Sprinkle one-and-a-half tsp of dried, powdered yeast on the bottom of the oven bowl; you can add it at the top too.
  2. Add the measured amount of flour. (700 ml)
  3. Add half a teaspoon of salt and and a whole teaspoon of sugar or better still honey.
  4. Add a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil.
  5. Add the measured amount of water. (350 ml)
  6. Place the bowl in the oven.
  7. Close the lid and choose your settings.

If you're getting to be an ole fart like me, you may be intimidated by all the settings on modern gadgets. On our faithful Panasonic it's two beeps each on:

  • Select
  • Options
  • Size

and then hit the red start button. We use the standard crust setting.

I'm a beekeeper and I use raw honey but that's only because we have plenty; for your needs you might as well use supermarket honey which has already been heated and refined.

There are cheaper breadmakers on the market, whether better or worse, I know not. But old faithful Panasonic is twenty years plus, without a hiccup.

What's the cost of your panera bread? Frankly, there's not much of a saving, unless you have access to wheat directly from the farmer. The two major expenses are the flour and yeast. Together they come to a little under a dollar in South Africa.

Then you should really cost in the electricity; for us that's free because of our solar generator. Mr Golden Sun comes bearing a precious gift; light for our photovoltaic panels.

You too could have a solar electric breadmaker.

But for your five minutes of labour, you will have a freshly baked loaf of the very highest quality. What's more you know exactly what's in it, more than you can say for what comes from the grocer.

Just the smell of baking bread will bring friends and neighbours knocking on your door; it's worth every cent.

Excluding the electricity, about R10 in South Africa, a little under a dollar.

Bread experiments keep the whole exercise fun and enable you to improve the quality of your loaf; just recently for example, I decided to use just honey and no sugar for the yeast; voila, it rose far better.

Join us for lunch?

The perfect lunch

On the Panera bread menu recipe today are:

You reckon the Queen of England has a healthier lunch? I doubt it and I absolutely guarantee that neither Presidents Trump nor Ramaphosa of South Africa will; but you could.

Dribble with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Only the extra virgin has oleocanthal, the substance that acts like a Cox 2 inhibitor anti inflammatory agent. This is divine food, fit for the gods, but spurned by most men.

Why not honey, that is the question? You may be surprised that I recommended sugar for the yeast to act on.

It's a bit of a hobby horse; that from the supermarket has been heated and finely filtered and in my opinion is probably of little more value than brown sugar. Don't use raw honey for your panera bread menu recipe; the heat renders the vital enzymes inactive. It's a waste of the good stuff.

But supermarket honey is better than sugar, provided you're sure it's not adulterated; that's always a potential unknown factor.

If you want to be a King, like me, or Queen, counting out your money and having bread and real honey, you have to find a local small beekeeper who doesn't heat it. Yes, like bread, most of the supermarket honey is also counterfeit. 

Small beekeepers are about; start hunting at the local market where you'll find them, swollen fingers and all.

You don't have a sweet tooth? Good, this panera bread menu recipe with dips made with cream cheese is a winner too; the extra fat and protein in the olive oil and feta cheese lowers the GI even further.

Gluten Free Bread Recipe

Does bread give you a belly ache? You may be one of the 1% of people who are gluten (bread protein) intolerant; sourdough breaks down the offending proline, but this gluten free bread recipe is an alternative.

Read more about how you could most likely have your bread and eat it, at our meaning of gluten page.

Low GI bread

If you suffer from diabetes or hypoglycemia then it's important to enjoy only bread that turns slowly to sugar in the body. Try our Low GI bread recipe; it's just a variation of this Panera bread menu recipe; if cost is a factor when looking for an added protein then consider that dried chickpeas are a quarter of the price of those in a can. 

Always of importance is the carbohydrate count chart.

Working out the price of canned versus dried chickpeas turned out to be a revelation; all you have to do is soak, pressure cook and freeze them. Make up a kilogram at a time, which gives you about 5-6 packets.

In short, added protein to the dough of your panera bread menu recipe turns it into low GI.

Added fat further lowers the GI; butter is back, olive oil or coconut oil.

Too much salt in supermarket bread

The research is weak that we should dramatically limit our salt intake if we are healthy, unless we have kidney disease. Despite that, the wisdom of the ages, perhaps mistaken, is that you should limit the salt in your diet if you have high blood pressure.

Read more at salt high blood pressure to find out what the worst offending foods are.

It's just one more reason to bake your own panera bread menu recipe. It contains half the salt of the commercial loaf. An average commercial slice contains 170mg of sodium.

Our Panera bread menu recipe contains half a teaspoon of salt, or about 1200 mg of sodium; divided by 15 slices gives around 80mg per slice, or less than half of that in commercial bread.

New research about heart stroke diabetes confirm that salt remains a very important topic; too much from processed foods and eating out will be deadly; too little is also a problem.

Sourdough

One fairly simple upgrade on your panera bread menu recipe is to add a sourdough starter. Its particular virtue is the ability to break down one of the indigestible amino acids that makes the gluten in the common loaf difficult for many folk.

Suffer from indigestion, or cramps and diarrhea with eating bread? Try making our starter at sourdough bread recipe.

It's in fact the way I bake most often these days; it tastes better and keeps longer too. Thereafter go to easy sourdough bread recipe for the whole procedure.

We have become interested in kefir, a probiotic containing many more strains of bacteria and yeasts, and have been experimenting with using it to ferment the dough. Early signs are though that kefir benefits are something very profound. Read more at our kefir sourdough bread page.

Enjoy it with this smoked salmon dip recipe; you can whip it up in only five minutes if you keep fresh parsley and feta cheese in your kitchen.

Backyard permaculture

Backyard permaculture is about working with nature, rather than fighting against it, and it reaches right into the kitchen.

Whether it's making good use of your kitchen waste, or baking this panera bread menu recipe, it's about getting back to nature.

It's a shocking waste that a third of the food produced in the world is lost; the race to end waste is an attempt to change that. Each of us must do our own part; one way is to feed any left over panera bread to your dogs, or hens.

Notice that we advocate using local wheat where possible, reduce carbon emissions from transport. Using your own soft rainwater for the sourdough fermentation medium, providing your own solar electricity if you can, and even grinding your own flour so you know it's 100% wholemeal.

And in any case your own panera bread menu recipe tastes just divine. Add some homemade hummus to the dough and it'll be low GI. In case you have some concerns about your midriff, I haven't put on a pound since getting into our own baking, enjoying corn and potatoes fresh from the garden; but our green salad is a large part of that. How many colours can you count in my lunch below?

Permaculture is about making sure your grandchildren inherit an inhabitable world; right now it's looking less and less certain.

Backyard permaculture is what you personally can and should do about the problem; otherwise future generations will curse the very ground where we are buried.

Mulberry jam

Panera bread menu recipe and mulberry jam, if both are made in your own kitchen, just like granny did, with no chemicals and preservatives to addle your brain; then you can be assured it's healthy; no high fructose corn syrup either. 

If you have wild gooseberries, this gooseberry jam recipe is even more tasty but picking the fruit and removing the capes takes longer than mulberries.

Easy Zucchini Bread recipe

If you love cooking, you'll very soon get bored with simply following recipes. If you have access to zucchini summer squash in abundance, give a thought to this easy zucchini bread recipe; less than ten minutes' work, followed by the usual five hour wait for nature to do its thing.

It's just a small variation of the basic Panera bread menu recipe; cut back on the water or it'll sink like the loaf below.

I'm going to try this again using only honey and no sugar; it rises better.

Vegan seed bread

Vegan seed bread is an excellent variation on your basic panera bread menu recipe; it means finding other shortening than butter and a broader mix of seeds and nuts.

Variety is the spice of life, and you won't go wrong with this vegan seed bread even if you're a prolific carnivore!

Any healthy bread made with 100% wholemeal flour and a homemade soup will make a meal all on their own.  Try our borscht or green bean and lentil soup.


About resistant starch

Whole grains, seeds and legumes contain larger amounts of carbohydrate that reach the colon for digestion, producing less glucose and more healthy fatty acids that don't spike the insulin and stressing the pancreas. The good housewife needs to know about resistant starch.

Olive garden menu tapenada

This so easy condiment is really my favourite on our panera bread menu recipe; it's just a mixture of olives and capers, with lemon or lime juice, olive oil and garlic; if you use pitted olives it literally takes no more than five minutes to make olive garden menu tapenada.

Another of our favourite loaves is this olive bread recipe. It's a little heavier but in you're concerned about cholesterol you can avoid the butter or coconut fat.


Useful links


Going green

I alluded above that our Panera bread menu recipe is baked free of charge by the sun. Well, the photons of light arriving on our solar panels are free, but there's a cost in collecting them with a solar generator.

Your bread machine uses 0.4kWh of electricity; call it half a unit, which isn't a lot. Going green, and making a conscious effort to preserve our planet for our children's children has been a lot of work, but so satisfying.

The green journey in many ways is a voyage within; an exploration of your own self. Like all passage crossings there are stormy seas and strong winds.


» Panera bread menu recipe


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Bread

Panera bread pan.
Bread ingredients.

Add protein, butter and freshly ground seeds.

Sourdough bread recipe.
Whole grain wheat flour.
Bread, cheese and honey.

The queen was in her parlour ... add cheese and butter to lower the GI; then you can indulge in a teaspoon of raw honey.

Salad with roasted butternut hummus to go with your bread.

Bread and butter, and a healthy salad makes the perfect lunch.

Letters from readers