Using a Bread Machine
Why You'll Love a Bread Machine
If you love homemade bread you need, I mean you NEED, a bread machine. You just put the ingredients in the mixing pan and either forget it until it's baking (oh, the scent of baking bread) or until the last rising cycle if you want to make dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, buns or small loaves.
Written before I got a machine of my own: Would I like a bread machine? To help me decide, I borrowed my daughter-in-law's bread machine to make bread. I've never used a bread machine before, so this will let me know how easy, or hard, it is to make bread in this manner.The first thing I did was to read the manual. I know, I was surprised I did that too. Usually I wait until I can't get something to work before I resort to reading the instructions.The bread machine I'm using is the Sunbeam Breadmaker, model #5891. The manual is easy to understand.
Right off I learned something about bread machines that I didn't know ----you can actually use the machine to just mix the dough, if you want. Then you can make bread, rolls, pizza or whatever, in the oven. I like that! That impresses me because I think the hardest part of making homemade bread is mixing it.
Update:I now have a bread machine and I absolutely love it. One of the most used small appliances that I own.
I have a loaf of bread in the machine, as I write. According to the user manual, I am to use fresh flour (I guess that means that if my flour has been in the pantry for a year or so, I’d better buy a new bag.) Lucky me, I ran out of flour last week and had to get new. Okay, so I opened a new bag for this. Attach the kneading blade in the bread pan.
The manual stresses careful measuring----that could have been a problem, I sort of like the “by guess and by golly” method, but for this experiment I did “carefully” measure.
The manual has a set order to put the ingredients into the bread pan; first the water, then butter or oleo, sugar, milk powder, salt and the yeast. I did that.
You can also use this recipe to make Cinnamon Bread, Baby loaves,Bear breads, and Soup Bowls
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon margarine
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- Put the ingredients into the breadmaker bread pan in this order: First the water, margarine, flour, sugar, dry milk and salt. Make a little indentation on one side of the flour and add the yeast there. Close the machine, plug it into an outlet, choose the Basic setting, press (light, medium or dark for the color you want your loaf), the size of the loaf (1 1/2 #), and then Start. Note: The loaf I made I used the Dark color setting and I think that makes the crust to hard and crusty. I guess this is a trial and error project---the next time I will set the color on Light and see how that turns out.
Other Breads to make using the White Bread dough
After mixing the white bread through the dough cycle in the Breadmaker:To make Cinnamon Bread: Roll the dough out onto a floured surface with a rolling pin, to a 10" x 16" rectangle. Sprinkle with white sugar and cinnamon mixture. Roll up tightly. Pinch seams and ends. Put into a Crisco greased bread pan. Spray with water. Let rise. (About 1 hour) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out of the pan immediately, place on a rack and cool.
To make Baby Loaves: Divide the dough into fourths. Roll out and put into greased baby pans. Spray with water. Let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove immediately to rack to cool.To make Soup Bowls: Divide the dough into fourths. Form into four bowls. Put on cookie sheet. Spray with water. Let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
To make Bear Bread: (or bunny bread) Divide dough into thirds. One third roll into a ball for the body, the other third for the head. Put onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten with your hand. The last third cut into seven little balls. These seven will make the 2 ears, 4 paws, and 1 nose. Poke 2 eye hole indentations and a belly button. Insert raisins for the eyes and belly button. Spray with water and let rise about 1/2 hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
For the bunny, just shape the ears more like a bunny. (Tie a ribbon around the neck when cool.)
Mix until thin enough to drizzle:1/2 cup powdered sugar1 teas. grated lemon or orange peel2 teas. lemon or orange juice
Watch the Dough
This machine, the Sunbeam Breadmaker, has a nice sized viewing window on top so you can watch the bread making progress. That’s good because you’re not supposed to open the lid until the machine has gone through the complete cycle. This picture is a picture of the dough through the viewing window.
The digital display on the front of the machine is easy to understand and read. There are twelve functions, so there are a lot of baking choices; three shades for crust color selection, light, medium and dark. The machine can be pre-program to delay the bake time to your convenience.
The manual has a function button for choosing: Basic bread, that’s what I have in the machine now, French bread, Whole wheat bread, Quick bread or Sweet bread. There are added choices for: Express bake 1 # loaf, Express bake 2# loaf, Dough, Jam, Cake, Sandwich and Bake.
Put in the Ingredients
and choose a setting
After all the ingredients are in the pan, the pan is in the bread machine, the lid is closed and you’ve plugged in the machine, then you press the Menu button to choose the Basic bread setting. Next you choose how dark you want the crust and the size loaf you are baking (the recipe tells you that.) Last, but not least, you press the START button.
The display on the front of the machine tells you how much time is remaining as it goes through the different kneading and the baking cycles. Other buttons on the front of the machine are the timer buttons (if you have decided to delay the process.) For instance, you can time your bread to be ready for dinner; or to bake while you are sleeping.
Bread Machine Cycles
start to finish
A couple of times in the manual they state: Do not press "Stop" when making bread, because this will cancel the entire cycle and you'll have to start from scratch. I can't imagine doing that on purpose, but I'll remember the warning.In the manual, there's a chart that tells how long each of the settings take.
For instance the Basic bread that I have in the machine right now takes 3 hours from start to finish. The French and Whole Wheat breads take longer and all the rest are less than 3 hours.
The machine cycles of the Basic bread are:At 3:00 the dough is kneaded for the first time. (10 minutes)At 2:50 the dough rises. (20 minutes)At 2:30 the dough is kneaded for the second time. (15 minutes)At 2:15 the dough rises. (20 minutes)At 1:55 the dough is punched down. (30 seconds)At 1:00 the bread begins to bake. (50 minutes)At 0:00 the bread is finished.
Bread Machine Dinner Rolls Dough
You can also use this recipe to make breadsticks, cinnamon rolls, and hot cross buns.
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 egg
- 3 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- Put the ingredients into the breadmaker bread pan in this order: First the water, margarine, egg, flour, sugar and salt. Make a little indentation on one side of the flour and add the yeast there.Close the machine, plug it into an outlet, choose the Dough setting, and then Start.When the dough cycle is complete, remove the dough from the Breadmaker bread pan to a lightly floured surface . Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking pan with Crisco. Cut the dough into 16 pieces. Roll into balls and put on cookie sheet, somewhat close together. Spray with water and let rise.Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until nicely browned,Optional: When you remove the rolls from the oven, rub the tops of the rolls with a stick of butter or margarine.
Variations Using the Dinner Rolls Dough
Other things to make with the dinner rolls dough:
To make Hot Cross Buns: Add 2/3 cup raisins and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (check your breadmaker manual to know when to add these. Roll into 16 balls. Let rise. Cut a cross on the top of each ball, with scissors, before baking. Bake 16-17 minutes at 350 degrees. Using white powdered sugar frosting to pipe a white cross of frosting onto each cooled bun.
To make Bread Sticks: Roll into 16 hot dog sized pieces. Melt one stick of margarine and add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, one teaspoon garlic powder and one teaspoon parsley flakes. Roll each piece of dough into the mixture. Put onto parchment covered cookie sheets. Let rise about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-17 minutes.
To make Cinnamon Roll-Ups: Divide dough into two balls. Roll each ball into a circle. Spread margarine over the entire circle. Sprinkle with brfown sugar and cinnamon. (You can also add raisins and nuts) Cut each circle into 12 pieces (like the spokes on a wheel) (cut each circle into 4 pieces, then each of those into three pieces) with a pizza cutter. Roll each piece beginning with the wide end. Spray with water. Let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-17 minutes. When cool, drizzle with a thin powdered sugar frosting.
To make Crescents: Divide dough into two balls. Roll into 2 circles. Spread with margarine (or the bread stick mixture). Cut into 12 pieces each. Roll up each piece starting on the wide end. Spray with water. Let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-17 minutes.
The Bread is Done
Not too bad for the first time using a bread machine. I used the setting for “dark” crust and the next loaf I make , I’ll use the “light” setting, because the crust is a bit too crusty for my husband’s taste. He liked the taste of the bread, he just didn’t like the hard crust---I even sprayed it with Pam to soften the crust, but it didn’t help much. The texture of the bread was a little coarser than my homemade bread, and the color of the bread was a little darker, but maybe that was because of my choosing the “dark” setting. I plan on using other recipes, than those in the manual, and I’ll take pictures then also.
Ready to Serve
Update:It's been awhile since I wrote this article, so I think it's time for an update. I now have a bread machine of my own.....and I love it. Since my husband and I are the only ones at home now, I make 16 buns instead of a loaf of bread when I bake. After the last rising cycle, I remove the bread dough and form the dough into buns. Let the buns raise and bake. Fabulous!!
© 2011 Loraine Brummer