Utilizing my bread machine

My bread machine is the most frequently used appliance in my kitchen. We love homemade breads, cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, dinner rolls, bagels -- and the bread machine saves me so much time! I use the dough cycle and then bake the bread in our oven, since my bread machine is a cheap model that bakes dry, dense loaves (despite much experimentation on the part of my mom and me!).

The bread machine provides a warm, moist environment for proofing bread dough. Mine has a timer feature, which allows me to put ingredients in and then decide when I want my dough to be ready. If I put the ingredients in before bed, I can wake up to rising bread dough! Definitely motivation to roll out of bed... and who wouldn't love a fresh slice of bread at 7am?! :)

I've learned to make the most of my bread machine by using it to knead larger amounts of bread (with, say, 8-10 cups of flour) and then stopping the machine and letting the dough rise in a bowl (to avoid overflowing the machine... although I have overflowed it many times! haha). When doing larger amounts of dough, I sometimes use a spatula to scrape the corners of the pan as it mixes, so no flour pockets remain.

I also use it to knead pizza crust, and if I'm short on time, I'll let the dough knead just until it looks okay (maybe 10-15 minutes) and then stop the machine and take out the dough and use it right away. My pizza crust is very forgiving, it seems. I don't think I've ever completely ruined one! :)

I also add flour or water if needed while the bread machine is kneading, just like I would if I were kneading by hand.

In the last couple of weeks, I have been making my bread machine do a longer knead on our whole wheat bread by stopping it after 10 minutes and re-starting the dough cycle. This has helped my bread here (I'll share more on my whole wheat bread progress tomorrow!). :)

In short -- get to know the dough cycle on your bread machine, and make it do what you need it to! :)

Edited in 2010 to add: We now have a Zojirushi bread machine and it's wonderful! I wrote an extensive review of it here.

Comments

I do this too....accomplsih all sorts of things with my breadmachine! I love it!
Tereza

This makes me want a bread machine! I was always afraid after purchasing one, I wouldn't use it but, my family loves homemade breads-I hate all the hand work involved-so this may make it easier! Cool tips!

I've discovered recently that I much prefer to make bread in my kitchen aid mixer. It just seems to turn out better than in the bread machine. In all honesty, I actually like it best if kneaded all by hand, but I really don't have the time or energy for that right now with 2 littles and being 14 weeks pregnant!

Have you ever looked into a Bosch? I used to use my bread maker to knead my bread as well, since it saves me time and my wrists (from carpal tunnel) can't take all that kneading. But I saved up and dreamed of getting a bosch mixer for a long time and was finally able to get one early in December. I throw all the ingredients in the bowl, let it knead 7-10 min, then place it directly in my bread pans, let it rise once, and cook. It's so fast, but it's the best bread I've ever had. I make 5 loaves with one batch, but my friend who has smaller bread pans makes 7. So it depends on the size of your pans. It saves me so much time, I can use it for all my cookie mixes as well. I also love that I don't have to make bread 2-3 times a week like I did before. Anyways... just sharing my new purchase that I love so much. ;-)

I plan on making more bread as I have never really been a bread maker. I am always looking for great tips so thank you

I too have used my bread machine for mainly the dough setting. It died though so I haven't been able to do it this way for awhile.

I've looked into other options like a Kitchen Aid mixer or Bosch mixer, but can't afford those options. I got my bread machine new for under $30 and have used it several times a week for a few years now. :)

I'm not really a fan of Kitchen Aid mixers because I don't think their performance justifies the price. (I.e. if money were no object, I'd probably have one. But I get by fine without. :D)

I think a Bosch would be wonderful!! But I don't really see one in my immediate future, especially since we splurged on a grain mill just last summer. :)

They are a big expense that's for sure. We've been married for 3.5 yrs and I've always wanted one, but always made do with the (free) breadmaker we had. I saved up, and worked hard, to finally be able to get one. I enjoy it all that much more for it! ;-)

I agree with the kitchen aid. The bosch is a better quality and you can still do whatever gets done in a kitchen aid. If you're only going to (eventually) buy one big expensive kitchen tool, then I'd recommend the bosch for sure.

They are a big expense that's for sure. We've been married for 3.5 yrs and I've always wanted one, but always made do with the (free) breadmaker we had. I saved up, and worked hard, to finally be able to get one. I enjoy it all that much more for it! ;-)

I agree with the kitchen aid. The bosch is a better quality and you can still do whatever gets done in a kitchen aid. If you're only going to (eventually) buy one big expensive kitchen tool, then I'd recommend the bosch for sure.

Just wondering -- why does the Challah call for so much yeast? Isn't that about 3 x the normal yeast packet size (2 1/4 t., right?)? Is it just an extra-large recipe?

I just got a Kitchen Aid mixer -- it was a big splurge, which I justified after having used a garage-sale hand mixer for almost 20 years. I tried to find one on e-bay first, but could only find new mixers at almost the same price. (One way that I think e-bay has failed -- they have so much new stuff now that it's hard to find the used in there.) Anyway, maybe Craig's List would have one?

On the challah -- let's see... last week I made a half-batch (1 tablespoon yeast) and I think it took 5-6 cups of flour. I think that might be pretty normal flour to yeast ratio? I'm not sure... I've never really tinkered with that recipe as it has always turned out fabulous for me! :) Of course, it does use all white flour... ;)

I just got a used bread machine last week, and Sunday morning before leaving for church I started your Amish Bread recipe in the machine. When I came home I had a DELICIOUS loaf of bread, still slightly warm. I'm so glad I got the maker (on ebay!)

I gave you an award. Check it out at
http://frugalcooker.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-got-award.html
Congratulations!! Jennifer @ Cooking Like A Frugalite

I absolutely love my bread machine, although I have been slacking lately on making my own bread. I, too, do the same as you, Tammy, I use it for the dough cycle and do the final rise and bake it in the oven. This method came after several attempts at making bread in the bread machine that turned out more like bricks or concrete blocks rather than something edible. I will admit I have had some 'bloopers' where the loaves have come out less than perfect, but they've been eaten just the same.

For those of you wanting to try a bread machine but not sure if you'll use it or like it, try posting on freecycle.com (you'll need a 'membership' but it's all free); that's how I got my bread machine. I've had it for almost 2 years and the best part of it is the bread machine was FREE !!

I found a Bosch Universal with dough hook on Craigslist for $35! I love Craigslist.

Even those of us with a Bosch sometimes have the same problems with whole wheat bread baking that you're having. I look forward to reading further posts on your bread making progress.

Love your Blog!

Anyone have any recomendations for a bread machine? I would love to get one but I dont know what to look for in a good one.

Traci

I got my bread machine at a thrift shop several years ago for $4. It's starting to have problems with the buttons not working so I've got an eye out for another one. (It "walked" off the counter while kneading bread one day, it still works, but the electronic panel came off and was just hanging by wires. I put it back together, but sometimes the buttons don't want to work, so there's probably a short or a loose wire in there somewhere.)

I've never used more than four cups of flour in my bread machine at one time. When you mix more than three to four cups do you split up the amount of the ingredients and knead them in batches and then mix them together in a bowl or does your bread machine handle the large amount of flour fairly well?

My bread machine is definitely my best friend, in the kitchen anyway.

I think my bread machine is made to mix/bake loaves with about 3-4 cups of flour, but I've done up to 8 cups of whole wheat flour in it. The dough does rise up so high that it pushes the lid up near the end of the dough cycle! :) I've never heard the machine sound as though it was struggling to knead the dough, unless it needed a little more water added. I also use a spatula to scrape the sides/corners of the pan as it kneads sometimes, to avoid ending up with flour pockets. :)

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