This article is part of “Everything You Need to Know to Start Baking Awesome Bread Using a Bread Maker“.
Everybody knows that I love to bake homemade bread from scratch. Using a bread machine it couldn’t be easier and it makes some fantastic bread! A bread machine combines convenience with flexibility. If you enjoy a fresh loaf of bread, but don’t have the time or space to bake from scratch, a bread machine is for you.
If you have never baked homemade bread before, and find the instructions a wee bit intimidating, I encourage you to try it. It may seem intimidating at first and the various steps do take a bit of time to learn, but overall, it is truly easy.
The simplest way to learn how to bake bread is to follow a basic recipe. Try Fast2eat Bread Recipes (much more to be published – keep checking), they are kind of foolproof 😉 really easy and the bread delicious.
Bread machines are ultra-convenient, but those towering loaves that are the hallmark of the bread machine can sometimes be unwelcome. Some people don’t like it because of the shape when baked in a bread machine, or the holes in the bottom where the blades were, or they want dinner rolls or some kind of specialty shape so actually baking in a bread machine is not a choice.
Therefore if you prefer the way your bread looks when you form the dough yourself you don’t have to go through the whole baking cycle with your bread machine. Simply let your bread machine do most of the work for you, and after the kneading and/or first rise transfer your dough to regular loaf pans, do some very creative and wonderful things and bake them in the oven. You can make dinner rolls, long French bread loafs, hamburger and hot dog buns, pretzels, pizza, even Holiday favorites like braided Challah bread. The easiest way to benefit from the ease of a bread machine but still have manageable bread is oven baking your bread machine dough.
Any loaf style bread can be made this way. Oven baked bread is much different than bread machine bread. In case you are now wondering why you even need a bread machine, I highly recommend them for convenience and unmatched kneading ability. The bread machine turns out superior doughs. The taste will be the same, but the texture and crust will be very different.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it seriously only takes a few minutes and it’s sooooo worth it! And if you are giving bread away as a gift, it looks so much prettier this way too! It’s not hard to do at all, or you know I wouldn’t be doing it 😉
Kneading the dough
If you’ve ever made bread by hand you know that the kneading process is both physically demanding and time-consuming. It’s also a bit of mess as you continue to dust with flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
Your bread machine makes this process easy. What you need to know is when the kneading process and rising process is complete. Sometimes there are audible beeps and most times there will be a cycle or setting on your bread machine for dough only. Once your dough is kneaded you can either let it rise in the machine or take it out to manage the rise yourself.
The best way to allow any dough to rise once it’s out of the machine is to cover it with some plastic wrap on a baking tray and let it rest for 30 to 40 minutes. But before you let your dough rise for the first or second time you need to work it into the shape you want.
Follow these instructions on oven baking bread machine dough.
Preparing Dough for Baking
Put ingredients in bread pan and put the bread pan into the bread maker.
Press the Select button to reach the “dough” setting.
Press “Start/Stop”. The display will begin counting down the time on the Dough setting. My bread machine takes 1 hour and 30 minutes (1:30). When the dough is ready, the unit will signal and the display will read, “0:00.”
Press “Start/Stop,” holding it down until you a hear a beep and the display clears.
To remove the bread pan, grasp the handle firmly and lift the pan out.
Note: The pan does not get hot when using the dough setting.
Shaping the Dough
Once you have your dough-ball in hand you need to consider what you are going to bake in your oven. The recipes sometimes vary so you may already have an idea, but many basic rolls and buns use the same fundamental recipe.
First, follow the bread-machine recipe for making a bread. Set the bread machine to the “dough” setting. The machine will combine the ingredients, knead the dough and give it its first rise, then beep to indicate that the dough is ready to shape. If your machine doesn’t have a “dough” setting, you’ll have to watch it carefully to see when the first rise is over and the dough gets punched down.
Lightly sprinkle all-purpose flour onto a pastry mat or board. I use well-floured parchment paper as my work surface to keep the dough from sticking and it makes clean up so much easier 🙂 After your machine beeps that the dough is ready, Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, remove the dough from the machine and drop it out onto your floured parchment paper or to a lightly flour-dusted surface. If the dough is easy to handle without flour, shape on a lightly oiled, clean countertop.
Punch the dough down, dusting with flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Knead by hand 2 or 3 times to release the air. It’s important to get all the air out of the dough or you could end up with large ugly air pockets in your loaf… and nobody wants that 🙂
Shape dough into your favorite rolls, coffee cake, etc. (suggestions follow). Place on greased baking pan. Cover dough with a clean cloth and let rise until almost doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Bake as directed in the recipe. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack or serve warm.
Variations in Shaping Dough
You could even take your dough ball and stretch it into a traditional bread pan and bake that in the oven if you want the traditional loaf shape you get at a grocery store.
Using a knife or a bench scraper, divide the dough in half (or smaller if you prefer). You can use a kitchen scale to ensure that the two pieces of dough are exactly even.
Pat Dough into a Rectangle
Once the dough is deflated, shape it into a flat rectangle, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, in which the narrow sides of the rectangle are parallel the edge of your counter.
You can also easily roll the dough up jelly roll style or fold it.
The First Fold
Starting with the “top” of the rectangle, the edge that’s furthest from you, fold one-third of the dough over.
The Second Fold
Now, fold the bottom third of the dough up over the other folded piece, as if you were folding a letter.
Repeat the Folds
Turn the piece of dough 90 degrees, then repeat the folds, folding the top third of the dough down over the middle.
Repeat the Second Fold
Fold the bottom third of the dough over the center. You should now have a thick, square-ish piece of dough.
Transfer to the Pan
Turn the dough over so that the seam is on the bottom, and tuck the layered sides underneath so the entire exposed surface of the dough is smooth. Place the dough in a pan that’s been sprayed with cooking spray or coated with oil, and use your hands to flatten the dough a little towards the edges of the pan. The dough does not need to fill the entire bottom of the pan because it will expand to fill the pan as it rises.
Repeat the shaping process with the other piece of dough.
The Second Rise
Lightly spray the top of the loaf as well as the inside of the cling wrap with olive oil to prevent sticking when it rises. Then, cover both pans of dough with a dishtowel (you can use a damp – but not wet one) or a piece of plastic wrap that’s been sprayed with cooking spray, and allow to rise in a warm space.
The dough should rise for 45 minutes to an hour and a half, or until it is doubled in size. Depending on the weather and the humidity sometimes it only takes an hour to rise, sometimes it takes 1 1/2 hours. A good indication that it has risen enough is if the dough has risen a little past the top of the pan. Preheat your oven about 10 minutes before the bread will finish its rise.
Once the bread has risen, carefully remove the plastic wrap or dish towel.
Slash the Loaves
With a very sharp paring knife or a razor (or a lame, a special bread baking tool), quickly slash the dough lengthwise down the middle of the loaf, about ¼-1/2 inch deep, leaving about 1″ uncut on each end. This will help the bread expand as it bakes, and will also give your bread a professional look.
Place loaves in the preheated oven. The temperature depends on the types of bread; if not following a Fast2eat Bread recipe, consult a bread cookbook to find the most similar type of bread to your recipe. Typically, doughs that are made with whole grains or large amounts of rich ingredients like butter or eggs will bake at 350 or 375 degrees Fahrenheit (175-190C), while leaner doughs will bake at a higher temperature, 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (200-220C).
Finishing the Crust – glazes, washes, and toppings
You can finish the crust using those options here.
The Finished Loaf
The bread will probably take 30 to 45 minutes to bake; check it for doneness after 30 minutes. Bread will be done when its crust is firm and browned, and the underside of the loaf is also firm and makes a hollow sound when tapped.
Remove your oh so yummy smelling bread from the pan immediately and cool on a rack. You don’t want soggy bread.
Allow sitting for 10-30 minutes before you cut into your loaf. Try to control yourself and not pull off a huge chunk and slather with butter… 😛
If you’re making hamburger buns you’ll want to cut off a piece of dough and shape it into a bun shape.
You do this by folding the dough under itself until you have a piece of dough that resembles a bun.
You can top the buns with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or other toppings. This is something that’s a bit difficult to do in a bread machine.
Remember, it will rise to 2 or 3 times its size.
You can use the same approach with less dough to make dinner rolls.
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, shape into balls and place in greased muffin cups.
Cover, let rise and bake as directed.
If you are making a hot dog bun for a hot dog or sausage you’ll want to pull the dough into a long shape and again fold it under itself until it resembles a long, bun shape.
This too will rise to 2 to 3 times its original size.
French bread is traditionally long and thin.
Roll the dough ball with two hands into a tube shape and pull it into shape with the dough distributed as evenly as possible across the loaf and let rise.
You can top any of the rolls, buns or loaves with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or other toppings such as cheese or grilled onions. This is something that’s a bit difficult to do in a bread machine.
Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Divide dough into 10 equal pieces.
On a lightly floured surface, using your hand, roll each piece into a pencillike strand about 10 inches long.
Beginning at one end of the strand, continue wrapping each piece around the center to form a swirl.
Place rolls 2 to 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
Cover, let rise and bake as directed.
Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle.
Brush dough with melted butter.
Cut into 12 wedges.
To shape rolls, begin at the wide end of wedge and roll towards the point.
Place rolls point side down, 2 to 3 inches apart, on a prepared baking sheet. Cover, let rise and bake as directed.
How to Make Pizza Dough Using a Bread Machine
I use my bread machine all the time. One of my favorites recipes, other than bread, to whip up is pizza dough.
If you think buying pizza dough or the “homemade” pizza dough from the grocery store is a healthier choice over takeout pizza… Just read the labels and you will be surprised with tons of ingredients with names you cannot pronounce along with high fructose syrup and other hydrogenated things. Basically, a bunch of unnecessary ingredients that our bodies do not need and could be easily avoided by making it from scratch at home.
Don’t be scared by the whole “from scratch” because I am going to show you how easy it is.
The thing that scared me away from making my own pizza dough was that I didn’t have the time to “work” or knead the flour into a dough by hand. The good news is the dough setting on a bread machine does all the work. The only thing you need to do is put the ingredients in, select dough cycle, and press start. While it is working hard mixing, kneading, and rising you can carry on with other things.
Almost any pizza dough recipe can be adapted for the bread machine. The one I usually make is this very basic Pizza Crust Fast2eat Recipe. Notice this recipe only has 5 well-known ingredients!!!
That is it with making your own pizza dough in a bread machine. See nothing to be scared of at all. Only five well-known ingredients, press a couple buttons, then freeze or cook it. Once you start making your own dough I promise you will never go back to store-bought.
Just roll out the dough with a dusted rolling pin and pull into shape.
Put it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or sprayed with an olive or vegetable oil spray and you’re ready to top it.
You can make a double batch of pizza dough to have on hand. It keeps in the refrigerator up to a week if it’s wrapped in plastic wrap.
If you roll out the dough when it’s still cold it will be elastic and will continue to contract to a smaller size no matter how much you roll and stretch it. If you want to whip up a pizza just cut off a chunk of dough, but let it rest for about 30 to 40 minutes until it gets up to room temperature and rises a bit.
If you already make your own pizza dough and bread using a bread machine what tips do you have? Also, feel free to share your pizza dough and bread recipes.
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