Are you ready to prepare your first loaf of bread? One of the joys of owning a bread maker is getting to bake fresh loaves of bread whenever you choose.
If you want your loaves to come out perfect every time, then read this quick guide how to bake bread in a bread machine.
Find the Recipe That You Would Like to Follow
Before you can start baking bread, you will need to find a recipe. There are many different types of bread that you can make. The majority of the bread recipes that you find online can work with any bread maker.
Generally, you will need some form of flour, yeast, sugar, and other ingredients – depending on the recipe that you choose.
Remember to pay attention to the loaf size of the recipe. You can make loaves between 1 and 3 pounds, but may be limited based on the size of your bread machine. You can convert recipes in order to make larger or smaller loaves.
The Basic Steps of Baking Bread in a Bread Machine
Once you have a recipe that you would like to try, you can follow these steps to easily prepare a loaf of bread. Read through each of these steps before you get started:
- Place your ingredients in the bread machine
- Begin the kneading cycle
- Remove excess flour from the bucket
- Let the dough rise
- Remove the kneading paddles
- Shape your loaf of bread
- Bake your bread
#1 – Place Your Ingredients in the Bread Machine
Add all of your ingredients to the bucket of the bread machine. Though, certain recipes may require you to add several of the ingredients after forming your dough. For example, if your dough is going to include nuts, you may add them once you have mixed the other ingredients.
When adding ingredients, you should add the liquids first. This can help prevent floury spots or hard spots in your dough.
#2 – Begin the Kneading Cycle
After placing the ingredients inside, you can begin the kneading cycle. Ten minutes after the cycle starts, you should open the lid and check on the dough. By this point, the dough should be spongy, but not too dry or too wet.
Touch the dough with your finger. If the dough is too soft, then add a little more flour. If the dough is too dry, then add a little water.
#3 – Remove Excess Flour from the Bucket
Once the kneading process is complete, you should remove any excess flour from the bucket. This will help keep floury spots from appearing along the crust of the dough. Simply wipe the excess flour away with a piece of paper towel.
#4 – Let the Dough Rise
You will now allow the dough to rise. This can take up to an hour, depending on the size of your loaf and the type of bread that you are baking. The first rise will typically occur within 35 minutes or so. The final rise takes about 20 minutes.
#5 – Remove the Kneading Paddles
Just before the final rise, you should remove the kneading paddles. This prevents holes and rips in your loaf. Move the dough to the side of the bucket and remove the kneading paddles.
You may need to set a kitchen timer to ensure you perform this step at the right time. It may take some practice to get the timing just right. Once you determine how long your bread will take to rise, you can use the same time whenever you bake a loaf of bread.
#6 – Shape Your Loaf of Bread
Next, you can shape the dough before its final rise. It is not uncommon for a loaf to take on an awkward shape while rising. Sometimes, the loaf will be perfectly shaped. Other times, you will need to shape the loaf with your hands.
If the dough needs shaping, remove it from the bucket. Use your hands to shape it into a symmetrical log. Place the dough back in the bucket and allow it to finish rising.
At this point, you could form the dough into other shapes. For example, instead of baking a single loaf, you could divide your dough into two separate loaves. Another idea is to roll two halves of the dough into logs and then twist them together.
#7 – Bake Your Bread
You will now bake your bread. The duration will depend on the type of bread that you are baking and the size of the loaf. Again, refer to the instructions of the recipe that you found. Bake for the indicated time.
As soon as your bread is done baking, remove it from the bucket of the bread machine. Set your bread on the counter. Remove the bucket and set aside. Place the bread back in the bread machine without the bucket.
Open the lid slightly to allow the bread to cool properly. Make sure that your machine is turned off. The bread will gradually cool. This is definitely preferable to cooling on a rack. Cooling your loaf of bread in the bread machine instead of your counter will help prevent wrinkling.
You should now have a fresh loaf of bread that is ready to eat. If you prefer warm bread, cut a few slices immediately. If you store your bread out of your fridge, you should consume it within the next few days. Storing your bread in the fridge will help extend the freshness to about a week.
Start Baking Your First Loaf of Bread
Keep in mind that the steps needed to bake bread may vary from machine to machine. The instructions provided will work for most machines. But, you should also take a look at the instruction manual that came with your bread machine.
After baking your first loaf of bread, you should try out other recipes. Experiment with multiple recipes and continue testing out everything that your bread machine is capable of.
Hopefully, you will have fun baking bread and testing out your new machine. Do not be discouraged if your first loaf does not come out perfectly. You may need to tweak your recipes and become more familiar with the process.