A bread maker has different cycles and settings to help you bake the desired bread. It’s an appliance that makes baking bread easy, but sometimes choosing the proper cycle and setting can be confusing. Knowing the correct cycles and settings for the type of bread you want is essential when using your baking machine.
Fast2eat Bread Recipes show you which setting to use, but if you’re not using one of the Fast2eat recipes or your recipe doesn’t tell you which cycle to use, this post can help. It explains the most common bread machine cycles and settings for your convenience.
Use the dough setting in your bread machine to make hand-shaped bread. It mixes and kneads the dough and takes it through the first rise. You can adapt your favourite recipes for this “setting,” concerning using quantities that will fit in your machine.
When the machine beeps, remove the dough and shape it as desired. You can make different types of bread, like rolls, flatbread, and bagels.
The dough setting usually takes between 1 and 2.5 hours, depending on your machine. Some bread machines also have different options for making dough quickly or slowly. It works well with the timer, so prepare the dough when you have time to shape and bake it.
The bread machine takes care of the critical parts of making bread. Kneading is usually a challenging and messy task, but the machine does it for you. This saves time and effort and allows you to shape the bread however you like. You have to let the dough rise and then bake it in a regular oven.
The bread machine gives you more control over the process, resulting in better rising and more shaping options for your bread.
Basic steps of dough setting and finishing bread in the oven
The dough setting is similar to the bread function but without the baking part.
The Dough cycle typically follows these steps:
The bread maker preheats for a few minutes to ensure the ingredients reach the perfect temperature, allowing the yeast to perform optimally. It also allows heavy grains and flours to absorb liquid before softening and expanding for better gluten development. It usually lasts from 15 to 30 minutes. During this phase, no movement occurs in the bread pan, so the machine will be quiet.
The “knead 1” cycle distributes and moistens the yeast during the mixing. It also moisturizes the gluten in the flour by the liquids, and all the ingredients become evenly distributed. During this phase, the paddle will rotate slowly, blending the dough properly and turning for a few minutes. If the blade were turning more vigorously at this point, flour would fly up against the lid and over the sides onto the heating element. Lumps and unincorporated bits of flour may be in the corners of the bread pan. This is normal. They will be incorporated during the “knead 2“cycle. The viewing window may fog up. This is normal and will dissipate later in the cycle.
Scrape down the sides
I often look at the dough during the “Knead 1” cycle and scrape down the sides if there is a lot of flour in the corners of the pan.
The ‘knead 2’ cycle thoroughly mixes the ingredients, distributes the yeast, and strengthens the moistened gluten strands to a springy elasticity. A dough ball will form. It is a continuation of the mixing process. During the “Knead 2” cycle, the blade rotates quickly and alternates clockwise and counterclockwise directions. It has an action that simulates hand kneading. The action of the mechanical kneading produces more friction than kneading by hand, very slightly warming the dough. As the dough is worked, the flour particles absorb the liquid, and the dough becomes more compact. If you look inside the machine, the dough ball will clear the pan’s sides and look small compared to the pan’s volume. The top surface will be smooth.
Checking the ball dough
Humidity, the way the flour is measured and the moisture content of the flour affects dough consistency. For this reason, you may wish to check the dough approximately 5 minutes into the “Knead 2” cycle.
I cannot stress this enough to avoid surprises!!! Follow the method described in check the dough ball.
On many machines, a signal, such as a beep, is late in the kneading process. So you can add ingredients such as raisins, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, chopped candied fruit, and seeds just in time to have them mixed lightly into the dough. This way, the extras are not overmixed or pulverized during the vigorous blade action of the kneading cycle of the “setting.”
Some machines with the “Automatic Fruit and Nut Dispenser” don’t have a beep and will automatically release their contents 8-10 minutes before the “knead 2 “cycle ends, regardless of whether it has been loaded.
Rising, also known as proofing, is a period of rest that allows the gluten to become smooth and elastic through fermentation. It is essential to the flavour of the bread. During this cycle, no movement occurs in the bread pan, and a remarkable transformation occurs; a firm, heavy dough ball changes into a puffy mass that increases in size. The temperature inside the machine is about 27-34°C/80-93°F during the rising cycles.
The bread machine allows the dough to have the first rise (fermentation). It becomes easier to work with, tastes better and becomes lighter. Using a bread machine doesn’t guarantee perfect bread, and mistakes can happen. One common mistake is leaving the dough in the machine for too long.
When the bread maker finishes the “dough” setting and beeps, immediately remove the dough from the bread pan. If you wait, it might over-rise and damage the machine.
After the bread machine finishes the “dough” cycle, your dough might not have risen enough yet. It would be best to wait for the dough to rise before shaping it, especially if you’re making sweet, whole grain, or 100% whole wheat bread. Sugar attracts water, making it harder for yeast to grow. If you’re not using instant yeast for sweet dough, it might take longer (30+ minutes for each rise). Let it rise again until it nearly doubled.
Choose the right setting to get the bread texture, colour, and flavour you want. Some commonly found setting options in a bread machine include:
- Basic (or Standard or White)
- Sweet (or Fruit & Nut)
- Whole wheat (or Whole Grain or Basic Wheat)
- French (or European or Crisp)
- Quick bake (or Quick or Quick yeast or Rapid or Turbo)
- ExpressBake™ (or One hour or Fast Bake)
- Cake (or Quick bread or Batter bread)
- Dough (or Bread Dough or Rise or Manual setting)
- Pizza dough
- Pasta dough
Note: Refer to your owner’s manual for your specific machine cycles.
Bread machine settings and cycles are easy to use once you are acquainted with your bread machine.
The most common bread machine cycles and settings explained above should help you get started, even if you don’t have your manual on hand.
This article is part of “How to bake awesome bread”
I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to step into the kitchen and prepare delicious meals to eat with a handful of close friends.
Have you made a Fast2eat Recipe? I love seeing your take on my recipe!