Bread Machine Tips
While bread machines offer freshly baked bread at the push of a button, some people have baked more “hockey pucks” or “mushroom loaves” than they’d care to admit. Below are some tips you might find helpful when baking with the bread machine.
- Carefully read your manufacturer’s directions and follow instructions for adding and layering ingredients.
- Use 80°F water or liquids
- Always use fresh ingredients, and dry ingredients are at room temperature.
- Use bread flour – it is stronger that the other wheat flours and will tolerate the actions of the bread machine better, giving better volume and texture to your bread.
- Active Dry yeast – use 3/4 tsp for each cup of flour in your recipe for regular cycle bread machines; Active dry yeast is not recommended for one-hour or express bread machine cycles.
- Instant Yeast – use 1/2 tsp for each cup of flour in your recipe for regular cycle bread machines; if using a one-hour or express bread machine cycles – yeast amounts must be doubled or tripled; suggested liquid temperatures vary with machines – follow your manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you are unsure of the freshness of your yeast, you can test it to check its activity before using. See our Yeast Freshness Test section for directions.
- Never place the yeast in direct contact with salt or sugar, as this will decrease the activity of the yeast. Use the back of a spoon to create a shallow pocket in the top of the flour and place the yeast there.
- Humidity, the way flour is measured and the moisture content of the flour affects dough consistency. Open the bread machine’s lid after 5-10 minutes into the KNEAD cycle. By this time, the dough should be in a soft, tacky ball. If it is dry and stiff, add liquid (80°F), 1/2 to 1 tablespoon at a time; if too wet and sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Flour is sifted many times before being packaged. During shipping, it settles and becomes compact. First, aerate the flour in the bag or container by using a whisk. It is important not to dip the measuring cup into the flour; instead, scoop the flour lightly into a dry measuring cup. Do not tap or shake the cup to put more flour into it. Using a flat edge, scrape off the excess to make the flour even with the rim of the measuring cup. This method will assure an accurate measurement.
- When using margarine or butter, cut it into small pieces to ensure that it is properly blended with the other ingredients.
- Use a plastic spatula to help a loaf out of the pan.
- Use the handle of a wooden spoon to remove the kneading paddle from the hot loaf of bread.