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 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.
Basic steps of bread maker functions
It is easy to create special recipes without a lot of time and effort. Just refer to the relative recipe and follow this basic process.
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.
1. Place the bread maker on a counter where the plug will reach an outlet. DO NOT yet plug the machine into the wall outlet. Wait until you have inserted bread pan into the bread maker with the ingredients. (step 7).
2. Make sure you can open the bread maker top without hitting the top of kitchen cabinets.
3. Open the lid and remove the baking pan. To do this, grasp the handle of the pan and pull straight up. Use a gentle, non-abrasive soap and wash, rinse, and dry the pan thoroughly. Some models, you may also need to turn anti-clockwise or clockwise.
4. Attach the kneading blade (a) to the baking pan (b), as shown, matching the hub shape with the shaft shape. You may need to twist the bar slightly for the kneading blade to drop in place. Make sure the kneading blade is pushed down on the shafts all the way.
Do not yet place the pan into the bread maker. Wait until you have added all ingredients (step 6).
5. Place ingredients into the bread pan in the following order (or following the order and method specified in the manual of your Bread Maker):
- FIRST: liquid ingredients (Remember, use water that is room temperature. DO NOT use very hot or very cold water. It’s a good idea to view the measuring cup at eye level to make sure you have measured the exact quantity of cups) and fat.
- SECOND: dry ingredients – Make sure not to “overpack” the flour into the cup. To avoid overpacking, a good trick is to fill the measuring cup to overflowing, then tap the side of the cup with a knife or spatula to remove air pockets. Level off the measuring cup and the tablespoons with the knife or spatula for an exact measurement. It is especially important to measure the salt precisely because too much salt, even a little, can affect the rising of the dough.
- LAST: yeast – For best results, level the dry ingredients before adding the yeast. With a finger or a knife, make a small indentation in the middle of the flour. Add yeast to indentation, making sure it does not come into contact with the liquid ingredients. Note: Yeast must NEVER come into contact with a liquid when you are adding ingredients.
7. Plug the power cord into a wall outlet.
8. Press the Menu button until the desired bread setting (BASIC, FRENCH, WHOLE WHEAT, SWEET, QUICK, EXPRESS BAKE (1.5lbs.), EXPRESS BAKE (2.0lbs.), GLUTEN FREE, DOUGH, PASTA DOUGH, JAM, BAKE, CAKE) is selected. Note: Display will indicate the Menu number corresponding to the bread type selected.
9. If available, press the Colour button for the desired crust colour. If you prefer a soft and light crust, choose a light cycle. For the darker, crisper crust, choose a darker cycle. If your bread recipe has lots of grains or sweeteners that can cause it to brown quickly, choose a light crust cycle.
10. If available, press the Loaf button to select the desired size loaf (1.0lb, 1.5lb or 2.0lb).
11. If desired, use the “TIME” button to set the elapsed time for when the program is to be completed. Note: The delay time is calculated as the working time plus the delayed time (example for basic bread 2.0 lbs: delay timer set to 15:00 hours = a delay time of 11 hrs. & 35 min. plus the working time of 3 hrs. 25 min.).
Caution: Do not use Delay Timer for recipes with ingredients that can spoil like eggs or milk. More information at: “Using the Delay Timer.”
12. Press the Start button to begin the program.
Note: If you need to stop the bread maker, press the “Start/Stop” button for about 2 – 3 seconds, the bread maker will stop; however, you will need to redo the process. The machine will turn off, and you will need to start over again from scratch.
After the bread maker has been turned on, the programmed setting cannot be changed without cancelling the program. To change the setting, hold the “Start/Stop” button down. Then program the control as desired and turn back on.
13. It’s always a good idea to open the bread machine’s lid during the second kneading cycle, usually after about 10 minutes (or 35 minutes for Whole Wheat Bread as it rests for about 25 minutes), and check the consistency of the dough ball.
The dough is “just right” when it is a smooth round ball in appearance, soft to the touch, leaves a slight residue on your finger, and the bottom of the bread pan is clean of dough residue.
- If it’s too dry, add lukewarm (that is, between 27-32°C/80-90°F) liquid a teaspoon at a time until it looks right.
- If it looks too wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it looks right.
- If there is flour in the pan’s sides, use a Silicone Spatula to wipe the flour from the pan.
Important: This can be done during the knead cycle only. Do NOT remove the pan, KEEP it locked in the machine. Do NOT turn off the bread maker to adjust dough.
Important: It is important that you should not raise the lid while the bread maker is baking bread for most of the recipes. Some recipes, you will need to raise the lid to glaze, add nuts, fruits, or other ingredients.
Caution: The bread maker is very hot. DO NOT handle the machine while it’s operating.
14. Optional: To glaze the loaf, brush the top with Egg Yolk, or any other glaze option, either at the beginning of cooking time or halfway through.
15. When the baking cycle is complete, an alert will sound.
16. Turn the bread maker off by pressing the stop button for 2 – 3 seconds. Unplug the bread maker from the electrical outlet.
Note: If the bread maker is not turned off after the cycle is complete, the bread maker will automatically go into a “Keep Warm” setting that will keep your bread warm for up to one hour; we recommend, however, to remove the bread from the bread maker right away to preserve its freshness. If the machine is not turned off after the end of the “Keep Warm” period, the machine will turn itself off.
Remember: Bread is best when removed from the bread pan no more than 1 hour after the “Keep-Warm” feature ends.
Important: You may remove the Baking Pan at any time during the “Keep-Warm” cycle. To turn off the “Keep-Warm” feature, press the “STOP” button and hold it for 2 – 3 seconds.
The “Keep-Warm” feature is not provided for the dough setting or the Jam Setting.
17. Open the lid and while using oven mitts or hot pads, firmly grasp the bread pan handle and gently pull the pan straight up and out of the machine.
Caution: The bread maker and pan may be very hot! Always handle with care.
Remember: Steam will escape when the cover is opened. Be sure to use potholders or oven mitts to avoid steam burns. Do not put your face near the lid when you open the bread maker; hot steam may escape that could burn you.
19. Turn bread pan upside down onto a wire cooling rack or clean cooking surface and gently shake until bread falls out onto the rack.
Note: The kneading blades will normally stay in the bread pan when the bread is removed, but may, on occasion, slide-out in the bread. If the kneading blades are inside the loaf, remove it before slicing.
Caution: The kneading blades are very hot, remove with care.
20. Turn bread right side up and cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.
Important: After a baking cycle, the bread maker will not operate until it has cooled down. If making another bread right away, be sure the machine is turned off and allowed to cool 10 to 20 minutes with the cover open and the pan removed.
The dough function program is similar to the bread function, except that there is no baking mode operation. When the program is finished, it will beep 5 times as a warning. When the machine beeps, indicating the program is finished, remove the dough from the bread pan.
This function can be used to bake and/or brown bread or cakes, to bake the bread again if you think it has not been baked enough or in case of power outage or other dough that you may have prepared without using the previous settings, it is essentially where you mix the ingredients by hand before putting them in the bread pan.
You can then manually set the program for your desired length of time. Please refer to the relative recipe.
Note: For more even baking, it is recommended to slice food into smaller sizes and distribute them evenly in the bread pan.
- Everything You Need to Know to Start Baking Awesome Bread Using a Bread Maker
- Fast2eat Bread Recipes
Read bread-making further information in my book:
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