How to Use a Bread Machine:
So, you are a newbie when it comes to making the crusty (or not), finger-licking bread from the comfort of your kitchen? Then it isn’t surprising why you don’t know much about using a Bread Machine. In fact, I’m pretty sure that you are terrified by all those settings on your new bread machine, but trust me there is absolutely none reason for that. Actually, you’ll be amazed by how easy making homemade bread is. In this article, you’ll find out how to use a bread machine, so that you can discover that perfect taste of homemade bread. Moreover, once you make bread in your bread machine, you’ll fall in love with bread and will love the way it complements your meals, whether it be your breakfast, lunch or dinner. So, without further ado, let’s see how this remarkable thing works.
How well do you know your bread machine?
Obviously, if you don’t know what your machine has to offer you, you can’t use it properly. So, it’s time to get to know your machine, and here’s how to do that. How big bread can it make? Most bread machines have a capacity to make loaves of bread from one pound to even three pounds. Also, pay attention to how much cycles (the processes through which the machine will go in order to make bread) does your bread machine have. Apart from the so-called “basic” cycle (where the final product is white bread), some machines have “dough” cycle, “whole wheat” cycle and many others. Another thing you want to check is whether there are the extra features?
For example, some machines come with the crust control, offering three different types of crust – light, medium and dark. Once you learn what features your bread machines has, you’ll know what bread recipes you can try out.
What about the ingredients?
Well, now that you are familiar with your bread machine, it’s time to learn the most important things about measuring and adding the ingredients. First, all of the ingredients – flour, yeast, eggs, water, etc. should reach the room temperature. This means that you’ll have to remember to take all the ingredients out of the fridge and give them time to warm a bit. Second, when you weigh the ingredients, stick to the recipe and don’t try to improvise, otherwise, you may completely ruin the taste and texture of the bread (and I assume that’s not something you would want, right?).
Lastly, you have to add the ingredients in the correct order. As for this part, most bread machines feature instructions so that you would know what the right order is. But, in general, first, you need to add liquids, and then dry ingredients. The yeast should be the last one to add so that the fermentation won’t start too early.
Choose what you want
The next step is choosing the desired cycle, crust setting, and other functions in order to get the bead that you want. First, you need to choose the cycle (basic, dough, jam, cake, gluten-free, etc.). If your machine doesn’t come with pre-programmed cycles, then you’ll have to set the time by yourself. In case you don’t want to risk with this part, simply read the manual, or check up on the Internet, and you’ll easily find for how long your bread should bake. After that, if there is the crust setting, well, set the desired crustiness. Finally, you can set the delay timer, so that you get warm bread for lunch or dinner.
And that’s it – your machine is good to go
After selecting all the settings, simply press the start button. Some bread machines will wait for the ingredients to be warm enough, and then they will start. The machine should start baking in less than an hour.
Oh, and if your machine comes with a removable kneading blade, make sure to remove it before the machine starts baking the bread.
It’s good to oversee the baking process, especially for the first couple of times, so that your bread doesn’t burn or stick to the sides of the machine. If your machine comes with a window that allows for overseeing the baking process, you won’t need to open the machine very often. However, if you want to make sure that everything is fine with your bread, you can open the lid and check on the bread. Just to mention, in case you want to add nuts, or raisins to your bread, do that before the last kneading cycle.
Don’t forget to remove the bread
When your bread is finally baked, you definitely want to take it out right away. This will prevent the crust becoming too hard and will let your bread cool down, without actually getting soggy. When the bread is completely cooled down, you can start slicing it.
Storing the bread
Most people store the bread in the fridge, but this is sooo wrong because the bread will become very dry. So, for the best results, use plastic bags to keep the bread’s moisture at an optimal level. You should store the bread in a cool and dry place. Always make sure to bake just the right amount of bread for your needs, since it will stay fresh only for two days.
Clean the machine
The last step is to clean the machine, after it’s cooled down. You should hand wash the bread pan (with a soap and soft sponge), because it may lose its quality when cleaned in the dishwasher. Also, wipe the exterior of the machine, in order to keep it nice and clean.
And there you have it – steps to using your bread machine with ease. Just keep in mind to measure the ingredients properly and add them in the correct order, and you won’t have any difficulty with making the perfect bread for you. Of course, practice makes it perfect, so I encourage you to have some fun and try out different kinds of bread recipes! Good luck with baking!