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Bread Machine Tips

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Category: Breads

 Ingredients List

  • Directions Only


Bread Machine Tips

1.Use good quality hard wheat unbleached, unbromated flour that has at
least 12 grams of
protein per cup. (I like King Arthur) 2.Use fresh, quick dissolving
active yeast, not rapid rise.
3.Open the machine and check the dough during the first 5 - 10 minutes of
the first
kneading cycle!!! Even if your manual says not to do it: flour acts as a
sponge absorbing
moisture on wet days and becoming dehydrated during dry weather. You'll
have to
adjust for fluctuating humidity and barometric pressure by adding small
amounts of flour
or liquid to the dough.
4.If you've never made bread before and don't know what dough is supposed
to look
like, buy a package of frozen bread dough (available at your local
supermarket), and let
it defrost according to the package directions. Place it on a lightly
floured surface and
play with it until you are familiar with the consistency. This is what
you're aiming for in
the bread machine.
5.Now, to adjust the dough in your bread machine during the first knead
cycle: wait until
the ingredients have been kneaded for 3-4 minutes. If the dough looks
sticky and wet
and is coating the bottom and sides of the pan, then sprinkle in flour,
a tablespoon at a
time (you may need up to an extra 1/2 cup) while the machine is
kneading, until you
have a smooth, supple ball of dough. If the mixture is dry and
corrugated looking or the
dough doesn't hold together then sprinkle in additional liquid, a little
at a time, until the
dough is smooth and pliable and forms a cohesive ball. If you've
wandered away from
your machine only to return to find a wet messy glob or a dry desert
thumping around in
the machine, press stop (you can do this at any time - except if the
machine has gone
into the bake cycle), add a small amount of flour or liquid and press
start. Stick around
and make additional adjustments, if necessary, until the dough looks
6.I have found that when you are either making dough, or placing the
ingredients in the
machine to make bread at that time, you can add either the liquids first
or the dry
ingredients first. The major exception to this is the old dak (no longer
made) where the
yeast must be placed in the bread pan first in a position farthest away
from the kneading
blade. When programming ahead make sure to place any dried fruits away
from contact
with wet ingredients as they will absorb those liquids and throw off the

Extra kneads and extra rise times all contribute to the depth of flavor,
character of the crumb and general personality of a loaf of bread. One of
the reasons I dislike rapid rise yeast and rapid cycles on the bread
machines is that the dough really requires the entire life span of the
yeast to become the amazing miracle that is bread. If you are partial to
whole grain breads and are winding up with lower loaves than you wish, then
try a double knead cycle: place the ingredients in the machine and program
for dough or manual. At the end of the final knead reprogram the machine
for bread (of Whole Wheat) and press start. You've given the dough an extra
work-out to develop the gluten - that will result in a higher loaf. For an
even higher loaf you can (if your machine permits) program for a longer
rise time, or simply remove the dough from the pan after the final rise
cycle (but before baking) transfer it to a bread pan and allow it to raise
in a warm place until doubled in bulk. Then bake it in the oven.

Sweet doughs with lots of butter and eggs also respond well to a second
long rise in a cool place. I remove my brioche from the machine after the
dough cycle is complete. I place it in a large freezer strength zip lock
bag and refrigerate it overnight. Then I place it back in the machine (my
Zojirushi has flexible programming), program for 2nd rise and bake. If you
can't program your machine this way you can place the dough in a bread pan
after you remove it from the machine, give it a long, refrigerated rise,
and then bake it in the oven. Even non-wheat and non-sweet doughs can
benefit from this extra rise.

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