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Basic Techniques - Using a Bread Machine

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks

Using a Bread Machine

The manufacturer’s instruction manual is an invaluable resource for getting the best results from your machine. A bread machine will mix, knead, rise, and bake the loaf, yet machine models vary in the shape and size of loaf they make as well as the way they operate. Some machines have programmable cycles for making different kinds of bread dough; others offer fewer alternatives. A recipe booklet comes with most models. Master a few of these recipes to familiarize yourself with the way your machine works, its possibilities and its limitations. Use the experience to adapt the recipes in this guide following the general guidelines given in the sequence here.

Add the ingredients to the baking cylinder in the order suggested by the instruction manual. This will vary, depending on the machine model you have. The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you what type of yeast to use. Best results are achieved with a yeast made for bread machines, although instant yeast also works. Place the baking cylinder inside the machine, select the setting on the control panel, according to the manual, and press start.

Check the dough about 10 minutes into the kneading cycle. It should be smooth and soft at this stage . If it is too soft, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is stiff, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. Ingredients like nuts and dried fruit should be added in the last few minutes of the kneading cycle.

When the bread is baked, remove it immediately from the machine and the baking cylinder to prevent a soggy crust. Let it cool on a wire rack.

Handy tips

Pay attention to the order in which the ingredients are added to the machine – it does make a difference.

Keep the lid open to watch the mixing and kneading cycles, but make sure the lid is shut during rising and baking.

Use the handle of a wooden spoon to remove the kneading paddle from the bottom of the hot finished loaf.

Using recipes from this guide

Depending on the capacity of your bread machine, many of the basic bread recipes, excluding those using a starter, may be mixed and kneaded by your bread machine. Most bread machines use instant yeast, which means eliminating the sponge method from the recipe instructions. Add the ingredients in the order suggested by the manufacturer’s manual, and select the correct machine settings. Remove the dough from the machine after the rising period and before the proofing (final rise) and baking cycles begin. Instead, shape, proof, and bake according to the recipe.

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