Top Tips for Getting Started Using Your Bread Machine
People have been baking bread since they stopped being nomads and decided to settle in one place and farm. Bread baking has come a long way from those early days, but the basic ideas are still the same. One major perk, though, is the invention of the machine called a bread maker! The first bread maker was invented in 1902 and it has only been improved since. There are so many different breads to make and ways to use your machine. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned bread maker, there is always room for learning new things!
Tips for Your First Few Loaves
If you’re brand new to the bread machine game, keep things simple. It may be some time before you’re comfortable enough with your bread machine to make complicated recipes. That’s ok! It’s better to start simple and perfect each step as you go than be frustrated by bread not coming out the way you imagined (although that will probably happen along the way, too!).
Try using bread machine mixes for a while It will help you get used to using the machine itself and see what the bread looks like in different stages of mixing, kneading, and baking. Two fairly foolproof options are pizza dough and focaccia.
Don’t try to be too fancy in the beginning. Follow the directions carefully and don’t make substitutions.
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Bread making is a pretty specific art, as far as ingredients go. Just because both bags say “flour” doesn’t mean all flour is intended to be used exactly the same. The same goes for yeast.
When things go wrong!
Check on your bread throughout the process. This step might save you from a weird batch! During the mixing stage, you will be able to make sure everything is going according to plan. Little things go haywire, but can be fixed.
Stay away from Overnight Recipes or using the delay if things are going wrong.
If nothing is happening during the mixing phase, check and make sure the blade is engaged (and present!).
You can also check and make sure the dough is the correct consistency. For example: if the dough looks like a thick soup, you can add flour (a tablespoon at a time) until a sticky dough forms.
If the dough is too dry, you can add water (also a tablespoon at a time) until a tacky dough ball comes about.
Moving on to New Recipes
Once you’re comfortable with your bread maker, you might want to start getting fancier. For a nicer looking loaf, stop the machine during the final rise cycle and remove it from the pan and take out the blades.
You can then reshape the dough to make a pretty pattern then place it back into the pan to finish up. Be sure to check your manual for how to pause the cycle and start back where you left off.
As you start trying to perfect different recipes, you might consider letting the bread maker do the mixing, kneading, and proofing, but remove the loaf from the bread maker and actually bake it in the oven. This will give you a better crust and more shaping options for making beautiful bread.
Don’t forget, practice makes perfect!
The more you use your bread maker, the more you will learn and the better you will get at making bread.