How to Use a Bread Machine
Whether you want to avoid the high cost of bread or just like the feeling of eating homemade bread, having homemade bread is easier than you might think. A bread machine will do all the work for you so you can have amazing bread without the hassle.
Choosing Ingredients for Bread Making
- Ingredients play a major roll in making bread. Adding something else or forgetting to add an ingredient can make the bread making process go awry.
- When making bread, fresh dry rapid rise yeast or active dry yeast should be used. Yeast is very important when making bread as it makes the bread rise.
- Bread flour is the best flour for bread making. This is because it has a high gluten content. Gluten is what gives the bread structure. If you want to add a specialty flour, mix it with the bread flour. Specialty flours such as whole wheat, rye, and barley don't have enough protein to give the bread good structure.
- When adding salt to your bread, it is important to be exact. Salt helps control the yeast and helps keep the dough from over-rising. If you add too much salt, the dough will not rise correctly and thus, will not bake correctly.
- Sugar in breads can be substituted for molasses or honey. Sugar helps the fermentation process, gives the bread taste and color, and helps keep it soft.
- When adding fats (butter, margarine, or shortening) to your bread, make sure it is at room temperature for best baking results. When making bread, it is best if you use butter for a fat.
- Tap water is used to mix with flour to create gluten. For best results, it is suggested you use water at a temperature of 40 degrees F to 70 degrees F.
Make a Loaf of Bread with a Bread Machine
Making a loaf of bread in a bread machine is super easy. It is really just a matter of adding your ingredients and then pushing a button! In a couple hours, you will have a loaf of freshly baked bread. (Note: All bread machines are different. These directions may not work for you.)
- Before you use your bread machine, make sure the mixing blade is attached inside the bread pan. After you have attached the mixing blade to the bread pan, place the bread pan inside the bread machine. Then, plug in your bread machine to an outlet.
- After your bread machine is plugged in, open the bread machine and place your ingredients into the bread pan. When adding the ingredients to the bread pan, add the water first, the dry ingredients EXCEPT yeast second, and finally the yeast last. By doing this, it helps the dough mix easier and evenly.
- After the ingredients are added, close the lid. All you have to do now is push 'Start'. A timer should pop up and all you have to do now is wait.
- During this time, do not open the lid. It can ruin the bread making process. What is happening during this time is the mixer is kneading the bread dough. By kneading the dough, it mixes all the ingredients together and creates gluten and protein strands for the yeast. After the dough is kneaded, it sits so the yeast will rise. The yeast rises because it creates carbon dioxide as it feeds off the gluten strands. The bread should go through two stages of rising. After the bread has risen, it is baked in the bread pan. When the bread is done baking, it will be in a cooling stage. When the cooling is done, the timer should go off and you should remove the bread pan and the bread to ensure the bread doesn't get soggy.
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Make Dough for Specialty Breads with a Bread Machine
Some bread machines allow you to just make dough for specialty breads such as croissants, rolls, pizza dough, pretzels, and french breads.
- To make dough in a bread machine, insert the mixing blade into the bread pan. After the mixing blade is in the bread pan, place the bread pan into the bread machine. Plug your bread machine into an outlet and make sure it is on.
- After your bread machine is on, open the bread machine and put your ingredients into the bread pan. Remember to start with the water and wet ingredients first, then your dry ingredients except for yeast, and finally your yeast to allow optimal mixing.
- After you add the ingredients, close the lid and select the 'Dough' option on the Menu. After the 'Dough' option is selected, push 'Start'.
- The timer will be set and all you have to do is wait for your dough to finish mixing. During this time, your dough will go through a pre-knead to mix all the ingredients together. Then, it will rest for a little bit. If you don't let the dough rest, the dough will get too relaxed and then the dough will not mix correctly. After the dough rests, it will be kneaded. This will allow gluten strands to form for the yeast to feed on. Once the dough has been kneaded, it will go through the rising process. During this time, the yeast feeds on the gluten and forms carbon dioxide, which allows the dough to rise.
- Once it is done rising, the timer will go off and your dough will be done. You can now take your dough out and put it on a floured counter top. When you are taking the dough out of the pan, be sure not to rip the dough. When you are taking the dough out of the pan, pinch the dough off to remove it from the blade. If you rip the dough, the gasses that the yeast worked so hard to make will escape and won't allow the dough to bake right.