Bread machine dough finished in the oven

Bread machine dough finished in the oven

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Making bread with a bread machine and then finishing it in the oven can seem like a lot of work, but it’s effortless and worth it! The machine does most of the work for you, especially the kneading part, which can be time-consuming and messy. This saves you lots of effort and is helpful when you want to shape the bread yourself. This gives you more control, better rising, and more shaping options. After the machine does its job, you only need to let the dough rise, shape it by hand, and then bake it in a regular oven. This is why having a bread machine is so convenient and can make your life easier. The machine has extraordinary kneading abilities and produces excellent dough. The taste of the bread will be the same, but the crust and texture will be better.

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How to prepare the dough for baking using the "Dough" setting

To prepare dough for hand-shaped bread, use the Dough setting on your bread machine. This setting mixes and kneads the dough and allows it to rise. Make sure your recipe fits the size of your machine. Once the machine beeps, take the dough out and shape it as desired. Examples include rolls, specialty bread, and croissants. The machine cycle time varies depending on the model, usually taking around 1-2.5 hours. Some machines have a Quick Dough option. The machine will beep to notify when the dough is ready to shape.

Can you use a delay timer with the dough setting?

Use the delay timer on the dough setting to make sure the dough is ready when you’re ready to shape and bake it.

Be careful when using a delay bake timer

  • Ensure the yeast is on top of the flour, away from liquids and salt.
  • Do not delay recipes that contain perishable ingredients like milk, butter, eggs, cheese, bacon, or fresh vegetables for more than 1 hour for food safety reasons.

What to do if the bread machine doesn’t have the dough setting?

If your bread machine doesn’t have a ‘dough’ setting, just watch it until the first rise is done and the dough is punched down.

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What are the basic steps of dough setting and finishing bread in the oven

The dough setting is like the bread function, but it doesn’t bake.

1. Preparing the dough

  • Put ingredients in the bread pan and then put the bread pan into the bread maker.
  • Set the bread maker to the “dough” setting. If you’re using the delay bake timer, ensure the yeast is on top of the flour and away from liquids and salt.
  • Check the dough ball 7-10 minutes after the kneading cycle starts to ensure it’s ready to shape.
  • 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.
  • Press the stop button, unplug the bread maker, and remove the pan. (The pan won’t be hot if you only use the dough setting.)
  • The dough has completed its first rise when the cycle is finished.

2. The first rise

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.

It’s best if you don’t keep the dough in the bread maker after the “dough” cycle is complete, or it might rise too much and damage the machine.

How long can you leave the dough in the bread machine?

It depends on how big your machine is. Sometimes it might not rise well enough in the bread maker because it’s too small. If the machine has plenty of room, you can leave the dough in there and let it rise. But if there’s not enough space, put the dough in a big bowl instead. Cover it with wrap or plastic to keep it clean and at the right temperature.

3. The second rise

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, specially 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:

  • Put it on parchment paper, a silicone mat, a floured board, or a lightly oiled countertop.
  • Take the kneading blade out if it’s still in the dough.
    Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rise for at least 30-90 minutes until it doubles in size.
  • Then, you can bake it in the oven.

How to punch down or fold the dough to release air bubbles?

Press the dough down and knead it a few times to remove air bubbles. Getting all the air out is essential, or your bread will have big holes. Nobody wants that.

Punching down and folding affect the dough’s texture in different ways.

If you want your bread or pastries to be soft and tender, you should avoid punching the dough down and try folding it instead. Punching the dough down may make it less fluffy. Folding it can help keep the air in and create a better texture in your baked goods.

How do you know when the rise is done, and it is ready to be shaped?

To know when your dough has risen enough, you need to check its size and consistency. It should be double in size, and when you lightly press it with your finger, it should leave an indentation.
The time it takes for the dough to rise depends on several factors, such as the type of dough, bread size, kitchen temperature, weather, and humidity. The proofing time can range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.
Quickly poke it with two fingers to know if the dough needs more time to rise.

  • If the indentation bounces back, it needs more time to rise. Cover and let rise a few more minutes, and check again later.
  • If it fills back in slowly, you can shape the dough.

4. Variations in shaping the dough

When you’re ready to shape your dough, think about what you want to bake. Different recipes require different shapes, but there are basic shapes that work for them. You can shape bread in many ways, from sandwich loaves to small round rolls, with fillings, knots, braids or twists. With a few shaping tips and examples of fun designs, you’ll soon be making great bread!

5. Place dough in a loaf pan or on a baking sheet

Put the dough in a greased loaf pan with the seam side down for a sandwich loaf. For a round loaf, rolls or snake, form them as you wish and place them seam-side down on a baking sheet. You can use muffin pans for rolls. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rise for a while. After shaping the dough into its final form, let it rise slightly before baking it.

6. How to finish the crust – glazes, washes, and toppings (Optional)

If you’re putting seeds on your bread, now is the right time to prepare everything. Make sure you prepare your toppings and glazes while the oven is preheating. Adding a special finish to your bread crust makes your homemade bread look and taste amazing. This finish will add flavour and texture to the crust and keep it moist. If you skip adding glazes or washes, your bread will have a matte, dusty-looking crust. Using a wash or glaze will give your crust a beautiful colour and make it shine.

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7. Scoring (slashing) the loaves

Scoring gives a route for the expanding dough to escape. If there isn’t a wash, the drying crust will open to permit the interior to escape, creating the classic artisan look.
To do this, use a sharp knife or blade and make lengthwise or diagonal (at a 10 to 30-degree angle) cuts, about 6-12 mm (¼- ½ inch) deep, leaving about 2.5 cm / 1″ uncut on each end.

Never cut it entirely across the top of the loaf.
Do this right before putting the bread in the oven, and don’t try to reshape it once it’s done.

8. How to bake the best bread

While the bread’s ingredients affect its crust somewhat, baking is arguably a more significant factor in whether your bread is crusty, crunchy, or soft and tender. You can get different bread crusts by changing the oven temperature and baking time. The bread will take about 30 to 45 minutes to bake, so check it after 30 minutes. A bread loaf is ready when its crust is firm and browned, and the bottom is firm, too, making a hollow sound when you tap it.

9. How to properly cool bread?

Proper cooling can impact the quality of the loaf. Put baked loaves on a wire rack to cool instead of leaving them on the pan because that could make the bottom crust wet. Wait for at least 15 to 30 minutes before cutting into your loaf. Don’t cool the bread in the oven because it might dry or burn.

Only wrap the bread when fully cool; if you cover it when it’s still warm, it may become wet, causing a soggy crust and promoting spoilage.

10. How to slice the bread

Use an electric or sharp serrated knife to slice your bread. This will make it easy and neat to have even slices. Sliced bread dries out faster, so only slice it when you’re going to eat it. If you want to store the bread, only cut what you plan to eat.

11. How to store bread

After baking bread, keep it fresh until it’s time to eat. You can store it in a cool, dry place for a few days or freeze it for longer.

Never put it in the refrigerator because it will dry out and become stale six times faster than in a plastic bag on the counter.

12. How to freeze bread? (Optional)

If you want to keep bread fresh, it’s better to freeze it instead of putting it in the fridge. Freeze any bread you don’t think you will eat within 2-3 days. Frozen bread tastes the same as fresh bread and can last a few months in the freezer.

When you want to eat the bread, thaw it out; it will taste just as good as freshly baked bread.

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This article is part of “How to bake awesome bread

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