I decided recently to bring my old bread maker out of the basement and begin using it again. I remember how much our family enjoyed the smell of fresh bread baking! Since it has been a little while since I used mine I thought it would be good to review a few tips that I thought were helpful for using the bread machine successfully!
- Review your manufacturer’s instruction on the order to add ingredients. They are in an order for a reason. For example if you place the yeast in direct contact with the salt or sugar it will decrease the activity of the yeast and it won’t rise well.
- When using butter or margarine cut it into small pieces so that it will easily blend in with the other ingredients.
- Make sure that your liquid ingredients are no warmer than 80° F.
- If you are using the bread machine’s delay cycle and you are waiting several hours before you start your bread don’t use a recipe with eggs, milk or other ingredients that need to be refrigerated. Items that are normally refrigerated should be out at room temperature only for a short time since bacteria can grow rapidly when they are about 40° F (refrigerator temperature).
- Be sure to open the lid and check on your dough about 5-10 minutes into the kneading process. If the dough is too dry add additional water (1/2 to 1 Tablespoon at a time) until the dough is elastic and smooth. If a dough is too wet add flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. Only do this during the first knead cycle and never during the rise cycle. Correct measuring is important but there are many variables including humidity that affects dough consistency.
- Using bread flour will give your bread better volume and texture. If you use a whole grain flour you will have a more dense loaf. A combination of the two flours usually works well and gives you a good quality loaf.
- If you add raisins or nuts to your bread try tossing them with a little flour to help them work into your bread more easily. If the machine stops kneading and they are not well mixed remove the dough from the machine and knead them by hand until they are mixed then return the dough to the machine.
I hope if you have a bread machine that you haven’t used in a while that you will get it out and try it again! Your family will enjoy the results and you will be a master baker, loved and admired by your family! If you would like additional information The University of Kentucky Extension has a helpful publication.