Eight Tips for Using a Bread Machine
Too busy to bake? Use a bread machine.
Using a bread machine is a great time saver and much easier than baking bread manually. Following these tips will help to ensure you get the best results from your bread machine.
There's something so wonderfully satisfying about the feel of bread dough in your bare hands. The kneading, punching and patting down seems to satisfy some primal urge we have to produce food.
Unfortunately, with today's busy life, many of us just don't have time to spend the better part of a day baking bread by hand. Baking bread with a bread machine offers a partial solution. It doesn't give us quite the same "I did it all myself" feeling but it does allow us to produce a fragrant, home made loaf that tastes divine and requires minimal effort.
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Eight Tips for Using a Bread Machine
- As a rule of thumb, you add the liquids first to the bread machine, then the dry ingredients and lastly, the yeast. However, it is always a good idea to check the manual that came with your machine. Certain brands may have different requirements.
- When measuring liquid ingredients, place the measuring cup on a level surface such as your counter-top. View the amount at eye level to be sure its accurate.
- It is important to measure all ingredients concisely.
- When measuring your dry ingredients, especially your flour, be sure to use dry measuring cups, not liquid measuring cups. When its time to measure the flour, first stir it and then place it in a dry measuring cup, using a spoon to transfer. Add flour until the flour reaches the top of the cup and is a little above the rim. Then, using a knife, level the top of the flour. Please avoid shaking or tapping the cup. This will cause the flour to settle and you will have more than needed -- giving you a heavy dough.
- Guard against accidentally omitting an ingredient by lining them all up along your tabletop before you start adding to the bread machine.
- Know the difference between dry measures and liquid measures. Liquid measures usually have various measuring lines, and the top line does not come to the top of the cup. Dry measures are usually stackable. They allow you to fill them right to the top with your flour, so you can then level the flour away using a flat object such as a knife.
- Your dough should be a little softer than it is if you are making it by hand. You may have to add additional liquid or flour if it is not. To test, allow the bread maker cycle to run for a short. It should form a soft dough around the blade. If it does not, you will need to add more flour or more liquid, depending on whether it is too sticky or too dry. Add these ingredients carefully, one teaspoon at a time.
- Measuring spoons are usually made for dry measures. Handle them the same way you handle the dry measuring cups -- that is, fill carefully and level off with a knife.
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