Bread machines are not all equal. Every bread machine is unique and have differences. Because of the machine differences, it’s important to learn the features of your own make and model by reading the instructions and owner’s manual that comes with your machine.
Since different makes and models vary when it comes to cycles, baking times, and temperatures, it’s really important to know your machine if you want to make that perfect dough or bread.
Below you will find listings of common cycles and settings to compare with the listing in your owner’s manual and some or all may be slightly different.
Basic white bread has an all-purpose setting used for most breads.
Whole grain bread cycle provides a longer rising time necessary for heavier breads that contain rye or whole wheat flour and other kinds of whole grains K cup filling equipment.
The dough cycle mixes and kneads the bread dough. Most of the time it will allow it to rise one time before the cycle is finished. After the dough cycle is finished, remove the dough for shaping, rising, and baking in your oven.
Raisin bread has an optional cycle that signals about 5 minutes prior to the end of the second kneading cycle. This signal indicates that raisins, dried fruits, nuts, candies, or similar ingredients can be added. If for some reason your machine doesn’t have this option then just add the raisins or other things about 15 minutes into the kneading cycle.
Sweet bread recipes affects are depending on how much sugar is in the recipe. The sugar affects its rising time and baking temperature. Some machines have a cycle for sweet bread and some don’t. If yours does have this cycle just follow the instructions that came with your machine. After following the instructions and you have gummy areas then bake your sweet bread on basic white cycle.
Rapid cycles does just what the name says and that is it’s quicker. Some machines offer this cycle and some don’t. The rapid cycle cuts down on time to mix, rise and bake a loaf of bread. Follow the directions of your machine to use this cycle.
Time Baked allows ingredients to be added to the machine all at one time and processing of the bread to begin at a later time. Don’t use this cycle for recipes that include perishable foods such as milk, eggs, cheese and any other items that can spoil.
Crust color setting will let you alter the baking time to control the brownness of the crust. For most breads the ideal setting is medium, but if you find your machine is too brown then go to lighter and vice versa if your bread is not brown enough then go to a darker setting. Always keep in mind a lighter setting may result in slighty gummy bread.
I have found that most recipes make a nicer loaf with a little less yeast than the recipe calls for. I generally use 1 teaspoon for 1 pound loafs and 1-1/2 teaspoons for 2 pound loafs. The shape is prettier and it seems to rise better.
Always use bread flour in recipes for bread because of the gluten, it will rise higher and have better form. If you don’t have bread flour on hand then by all means you can use regular flour.
Dry milk can be used to replace fresh milk and sour milk is a good substitute for buttermilk or dry buttermilk powder will work as well.
Egg whites can be used in place of whole eggs or refrigerated or thawed frozen egg products.
Butter is best, but if necessary margarine will work. Always cut your butter or margarine into small pieces so it will blend right with the other ingredients.
Make sure to read the receipe you are about to bake through thoroughly to help insure no mistakes.
It’s critical to measure correctly. Wrong proportions of ingredients can cause recipe to fail.
Here are some suggestions to avoid unnecessary problems:
Flour – Stir the flour to make it lighter before measuring and use metal or plastic cups that are designed for dry ingredients. Always spoon the flour into the cup and level off the top with a knife or metal spatula. Never ever dip your measuring cup into the flour or shake after filling, because the results will most likely be excess of flour that usually causes your dough to be dry.
Liquid Ingredients – Always use a glass or clear plastic measuring cup for liquid ingredients. Put your cup on a leval surface and bend down if necessary to bring it to eye level to make sure it’s exactly on the mark that it should be according to your recipe. Don’t lift it up to your eyes because it won’t be accurate. When using a measuring spoon, pour liquid to the top and don’t let it spill over. Never pour liquid into the measuring spoon over your pan incase some were to spill into the other ingredients. This could cause too much liquid and throw your recipe off.
Butter or margarine when necessary – Use a sharpe knife and slice on the premeasured marks when using sticks of butter or margarine. For butter that is not in sticks, soften it and measured as directed for shortening.
Shortening – Use a rubber spatula, pressing the shortening firmly into a measuring cup used for dry ingredients or into a measuring spoon. Level it off with a knife or metal spatula.
Sugar – For brown sugar press down firmly until it takes on the shape of the cup when dumped out. Granulated or white sugar should be spooned into measuring cup or spoon and level off with knife or metal spatula.
Sometimes, no matter how careful you measure, a dough may be off by being either to dry or to wet. This is usually due to the fac that some types and or brands of flour absorb a little more or less liquid than others. To overcome too wet or dry check the dough’s consistency during the first 5 minutes of kneading to make sure your ratio of dry and liquid ingredients is correct.
If your dough looks to crumbly or dry or forms more than one ball add extra liquid, 1 teaspoon at a time, until one ball forms and is smooth. If the dough has too much moisture, add 1 teaspoon at a time of bread flour, until a ball forms and is smooth.
When adding ingredients to your machine, liquids, dry and yeast in that order. The reason is to keep yeast away from the liquids until the kneading cycle begins. This is most likely what your machine will call for, but be sure and check your machines instructions.