I have never used milk powder. The absolute essentials are yeast, salt, sugar, strong flour and butter/oil.
I have the panasonic (same one as you mothersmilk) and the recipe book is very good IMO. I have tried most of them and they have all turned out beautifully. I make a white milk loaf for everyday consumption, or just a basic white or 50% wholemeal.
I've got the panasonic 257.....not quite ready to unwrap it yet (it just arrived from amazon about an hour ago)....want to have everything lined up before I start! Although DD1 is home ill and DD2 (aka Limpet Baby) will both be up within 30 mins, and then DS has to be collected from school....so I can see that I may have to stick at the planning stage for a few hours to come....
just breadflour, water, yeast, salt, maybe oil. you can use dried active yeast even though it says on the tin that it is not suitable (much better taste imo), but you need to dissolve it in the liquid first.
I dissolve the yeast (amount you need see pack) in about 200ml warmish water and then put all ingredients into the breadmaker.
Alternatively you can use the sponge method in a breadmaker: 1cup water 1cup flour half a teaspoon dried active yeast. mix togehter and leave in the breadmaker for at least 6 hours (I do that before leaving for work in the morning)
after that add another cup of water, 500g flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon oil and switch on the mashine.
Thanks - made my first ('quick') loaf last night....reasonable but not as good as my handmade ones, although I suspect I didn't add quite enough water.
I'm desperate to make a chocolate yeast cake today but don't think I'm going to have the time whilst dd2 is screanming and dd1 has a 40 degree temperature. Hey ho..probably should master the normal stuff before I attempt something silly, right?
I make almost all our bread overnight so we wake to the smell of freshly baked bread and the bread is baked on the 4 or 5 hour setting rather than the quick bake so is much nicer.
If you want a lighter wholemeal loaf you could get some Vitamin C powder (I prefer a denser loaf, but some people like fluffier bread). You don't need milk powder and you don't need sugar if you use the yeast recommended for breadmakers like Dove's Farm.
I always use the french loaf setting no matter what recipe i use. The longer proof makes for a nicer loaf. Also i find i need to up the salt a wee bit (and just normal tabel salt, rather than poncey maldon salt flakes) but i am a salt fiend. Actally i use the french loaf recipe as my basic recipe and just vary the weight of flour to allow for other ingredients. A MN recommended that and have to agree its the best setting/recipe.
Even when making a wholewheat type loaf i still use about a third strong white flour. Makes it rise easier. Also get some linseed and other ground seeds (tesco do loads) and add an ounce or so to replace the flour.