A bread machine, or like other can call it, a bread maker is a kitchen appliance for baking bread. Instead of running to the store, you can make your own perfect bread. Some people use the traditional oven for baking bread. However, the more convenient and time-saving alternative already exits – bread machine.
The usual bread machine comprises a bread pan with built-in kneading paddles. This small appliance is controlled by a computerized system, which is easily manageable via the control panel.
Bread machines come is different sizes, which are designed for people with different lifestyles and preferences. Most of the bread makers bake between 1lb. and 2.5lbs of bread.
What Are The Uses Of A Bread Machine?
Most of the bread makers have different settings for different kinds of dough. You are able to prepare white bread, wholegrain bread, any kind of dough (for pizza or cookies), European style bread, and much more.
Many bread makers also have a timer, which is allowing the appliance to start baking with the desired delay.
Some of the bread machines will offer the custom style cycles.
Following on this, some models of bread makers have features that allow the appliance to survive short power interruptions.
These models remember what they were doing and continue the program when the power is back.
This small oven takes a few hours to make a loaf of bread. The process involves the kneading of the dough with special paddles, rising process, checking the load temperature control and, eventually, baking the bread.
The first bread machine was invented in 1903 by Sarah Stearns in Redlands, San Bernadino. She patented her invention the next year.
How To Use It?
One of the amazing things about the bread machine is that the involvement of the cook is minimal – the machine is doing almost everything for you. As I have mentioned before, the bread maker has the bread pan or tin.
This pan is special - it has an axle that is connected to the electric motor underneath. The kneading paddle is attached to the axle inside the pan. The axle itself is held by a waterproof seal.
How Will All Of This Create Your Perfect Loaf Of Bread?
The first step of the bread making process is placing your kneading paddle in the pan. When your bread making pan is out of the appliance (oven itself), you can measure all of the ingredients and put them inside the tin.
Afterward, you need to place the pan back into the appliance and select the necessary program via electronic control panel. Then, you just need to wait for your flawless bread loaf to be ready. The timing is depending on the model of the bread maker, the type of bread you are making, and the baking program you choose.
At first, you bread maker will knead the dough for some time. Then, the rising phase will come and the bread machine will go quiet for some time.
Next, more kneading will take place and another period of silence will come, as the machine will check the temperature of the dough. Eventually, the oven will start baking you bread and you will be able to smell the notes of amazingly fresh bread loaf.
Bread Ingredients: What Will You Need?
Which ingredients do you need to have in order to create your own loaf of bread? As there are thousands of bread recipes on the Internet, the ingredients will certainly vary on the type of bread you are planning to cook. However, we can define the basic components of any bread loaf.
Yeast is a basic ingredient that is used to make bread. We can see the yeast as a living organism since it eats and breathes just as any living creature. When the yeast ‘breathes’ – the process of fermentation is taking place. This reaction is creating the carbon dioxide gas, which is causing the dough to rise.
In order to activate the yeast, cooks use liquids. For this very reason, you will need to separate the yeast from the liquid with a ‘wall’ of flour in case you want to use delayed cycle. In order for yeast to stay inactive, you want it to stay dry till your bread maker actually starts baking process.
However, if you want your bread to be ready right away, go ahead and mix all the ingredients together.
Some of the bread makers’ manuals are suggesting warming up the ingredients before putting them into the pan. Moreover, some models of bread machines offer a pre-heating cycle for this purpose. However, some of the industry experts believe that this is not a necessity, as the kneading process is generating enough heat for the dough to successfully rise.
Which Kind Of Yeast Is The Best For Bread Baking?
It all depends on what you are intending to bake in your little kitchen helper. Nevertheless, good quality active dry or instant yeast is highly recommendable.
You can use regular instant yeast, special instant yeas for sourdough or sweet bread, or instant gold yeast for all purpose bread. Bear in mind that instant yeast is the fast acting strong yeast that is performing good in bread machines.
The rapid-rise yeast is not recommended for making bread in bread machines. Industry experts believe that the longer the rising process is, the tastier your bread will be.
Liquids include any liquid that is added to the baking pan or anything that liquefies when heated. Therefore, here we talk not only about water or milk but also about margarine, butter, shortening or any other substance that will melt in the baking pan.
The liquids are activating the yeast, just as we discussed in the previous point. They also combine with gluten to create the elastic components that make the dough rise. Adding the right amount of liquid is crucial for the quality of your bread.
In case you add too little of the liquid, the bread loaf will come out hard and poorly risen since there are no conditions for gluten to expand. If you add too much, you will get the load that rises and then falls, as the gluten is over expanded.
In order to make bread, we certainly need flour. But do we use the same kind of flour for bread machines as we use for usual baking in the traditional oven? This question is a concern for a number of bread machines’ owners due to the lack of information about flour in the manuals.
One rule for choosing flour for your bread, when you are planning to bake in in the bread machine is to use good quality flour.
Be sure to use an unprocessed flour – some of the flours in the market are treated with bleach or potassium bromate, which is a potential carcinogen.
You would want to use the flour made from hard wheat, which is ensuring that it is high in protein.
Moreover, the flour high in gluten is guaranteeing you a properly risen loaf.
In case you are trying to cut down on fat or sodium intake, I would recommend using a whole wheat flour. However, if you don’t like the taste of the whole wheat flour, go for all purpose flour.
Other additives comprise, but not limited to: sweeteners, salt, dried fruits, nuts, raisins and much more. All of these do not directly affect the structure of the bread loaf. One important note: in order to keep the raisins, nuts, and ingredients like that from crushing, add them at the very end of the second kneading cycle.
I want to also note that the lack of preserving additives that are present in the bread from the shop, will cause your bread loaf to go back quicker. However, this also means that your bread is more organic and healthy.
Are There Any Other Uses For The Bread Machine?
Yes, there are. In addition to its main function – bread baking, bread machine can bake all kinds of amazing treats. Among the great uses of bread machine are the cakes, quick breads, jams, dumplings, pizzas, pasta, cookies, and much more. All of these and many other things can be baked in your bread machine just as if they were in the traditional oven.
Making jam with your bread machine is just one of the amazing ways to utilize the appliance. Jams can be made from any fruits and berries like apricots, apples, blueberries, strawberries and many other.
For most jam cycles in bread makers, you can use 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruits and 3 and ¼ cups of sugar.
Moreover, for blueberry, apple, pear, or any stone fruit jams, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for better flavor.
You can make dough for any of the dough-based recipes. Bread machines usually have the manual with the necessary ingredients for all kinds of dough.
Moreover, the manual will help you choose the baking cycle for the particular kind of dough. After the dough is kneaded and risen, you can take it out of the machine and proceed with your recipe.
Cleaning And Maintenance Of A Bread Machine
In order to keep your bread making machine in the perfect condition all the time, you don’t need to spend much time and effort. There are just some simple steps that will make your bread machine’s life longer. First things first, the key things to remember, when using the bread machine:
- Clean your bread maker every time after using it
- Never pour water of any other liquid directly into the bottom of the bread maker, while cleaning. Only bread pan is designed to have liquids inside
- Make sure the machine is unplugged and has cooled completely before any maintenance or cleaning
Now, let’s look into the best way to safely and efficiently clean your bread maker.
Step 1. Remove All The Crumbs And Residue From The Pan
This is where you start your bread machine cleaning process. After making sure your device is unplugged and is cool, turn it on its side over the garbage, sink or any other surface and gently sweep the crumbs or remaining flour with some sponge or brush.
In case there is dough stuck to the walls of the bread machine pan, do not try to remove it when it still moist. Give it some time to dry out and then remove it as described above. The same goes for the cases when the dough is accidentally placed on the heating element of the bread maker.
Step 2. Cleaning The Pan Itself And The Kneading Paddles
Cleaning the pan is not difficult, you just need to use the warm water, soap and soft cloth or sponge. Avoid using chemicals inside of the pan, just go for more natural cleaning solution and use soap.
As for the paddles, make sure that there is no excessive dough stuck to them. Wash them with soap in the warm water with moist sponge/cloth.
Bear in mind that not all of the removable parts of your bread maker is dishwasher safe. There are many bread machines that have parts that can be washed in the dishwashing machine. However, it is always better to double check and read the manual in order to find out the compatibility part.
Step 3. Make Sure Everything Is Dry Before Using The Bread Maker Again
After washing the parts of your bread machine, you want to make sure all of them are 100% dry before putting them back together.
This is pretty much it for the simple cleaning process of a bread maker. However, I would like to add some tips about the cleaning and maintenance.
In case any liquid touched the inner surface of your bread maker (heating element), use a microfiber cloth to quickly soak up the moist. Repeat the process until you will be sure there is no liquid inside of your bread machine.
Keep the heating element of your bread maker clean all the time. Do not let any crumbs and dirt come onto it, as this poses a risk of fire. In order to clean the heating element, use a soft cloth and remove the dirt very gently.
Now, when you know literally everything about bread makers, it is high time to take a look at some delicious bread recipes. As I have stated before, a bread machine is able to deliver any kind of bread to your table.
Here, we will go through a number of bread recipes. We will learn how to make the sweet bread, rye bread, whole wheat bread, and gluten-free bread in the bread machine.
For 1 pound loaf of perfect sweet bread, you will need to use the following ingredients:
- 1/3 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine, cut up
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2-1/4 cups of bread flour
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of yeast
Combine all the ingredients in the bread machine pan in order that is suggested by your bread machine’s producer. Select the preferred settings and push start button.
In order to make this one pound sweet bread recipe, you need to make sure your bread machine holds 10 cups of water.
In order to make this healthy rye bread recipe, you will need the following:
- 1 cup of rye flour
- 2 3⁄4 cups of bread flour
- 1⁄3 cup of brown sugar (I use the granulated type)
- 2 teaspoons of caraway seed
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of salt (I use kosher salt)
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 1⁄2 cups of warm water
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of dry yeast
Combine all the ingredients in the bread machine baking pan in order suggested in your bread machine’s manual. Select the desired settings and push start.
Gluten Free Bread
In order to make gluten free bread in your bread machine, you will need the following:
- 2 cups of rice flour
- 1⁄2 cup of potato starch
- 1⁄2 cup of tapioca flour
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons of xanthan gum (or guar gum)
- 2⁄3 cup of powdered milk (or 1/2 nondiary substitute)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of egg substitute (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 2⁄3 cups of lukewarm water
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of dry yeast, granules (or Bread Maker yeast)
- 4 tablespoons of butter, melted (or margarine)
- 1 teaspoon of vinegar (or dough enhancer)
- 3 eggs, room temperature
You can mix most of the ingredients in the baking pan of the bread maker as suggested by your manual. Use the white bread setting at medium crust (if you have these settings). Bake for 3 - 4 hours.
Whole Grain Bread
For perfectly tasty whole grain bread from your bread maker, use the following components:
- 1 1⁄2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of canola oil
- 2 1⁄2 cups of sifted bread flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1⁄2 cup of flax seed
- 1⁄2 cup of seven-grain cereal
- 1⁄2 cup of cracked wheat
- 1⁄4 cup of brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of yeast
Place the ingredients into bread machine baking pan in order listed in your manual. Select desired time and crust.
Bread Machine Manufacturers
There are a lot of bread machine’s producers, as these kitchen appliances are becoming more and more popular. However, there are some companies that produce the best quality bread makers according to the market standards. We will go through some popular bread maker manufacturing firms in order to have an idea of market’s conditions.
The Zojirushi Corporation is a Japanese multinational manufacturer of various home appliances. One of its specializations – bread machines. The Zojirushi’s bread machines are now available in two sizes that are specially designed for customers’ lifestyles.
The 2 –lb. bread machines are perfect for baking traditionally shaped 2-lb. loaf. The 1-lb. bread machine will be a good fit for one person or people who eat less bread.
Zojirushi bread makers are able to make bread, cakes, and many other dishes. Moreover, some models offer custom cycles development. The following cycles are offered by Zojirushi bread makers: whole wheat, cake, jam, homemade (the homemade cycle allows you to program the knead, rise and bake times for your preferences), and dough.
Cuisinart is an American brand of home appliances that owned by Conair Corporation. Most of the Cuisinart bread makers offer pre-programmable options (12 or 16 options).
You can also choose the desired size of the loaf and the color of the crust. (light crust, medium crust, and dark crust.)
Sunbeam Products is an American brand of electric home appliances. In 1960, the Sunbeam Corporation has acquired the John Oster Manufacturing Company. The John Oster Manufacturing Company was a maker of small appliances. The Oster brand now exists as the trademark of Newell Brands.
All of the bread makers made by Oster have a delay timer that allows you to enjoy freshly baked bread in the morning. You can load up your bread machine, select the desired length of delay, hit the start button and go to sleep.
Moreover, Oster bread machines offer some other interesting functions, such as express bake mode, cycle for homemade jam, crust control, 100% whole wheat cycle, and keep-warm feature.
You must be already familiar with Panasonic, as this is one of the most famous brands of electronics in the world. Panasonic Corporation, previously known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., is a Japanese multinational electronics producer.
Bread machines from Panasonic appear the top of the price basket for bread makers. However, the price is fully explainable by a number of features Panasonic bread makers contain.
Panasonic offers five bread makers, where one of them has an amazing feature of automatic yeast dispensing system.
Black & Decker
Black & Decker Corporation is an American manufacturer of various electronic appliances. The firm is present in the market for more than 100 years and is offering high-quality products. Black & Decker bread makers are also meeting the high-quality standards of the market.
One of the remarkable things about Black & Decker bread makers is that the company makes a machine that is able to make the large 3-pound loaf. However, regular sizes of bread machines by Black & Decker are also available.
These days, bread maker might not be a necessity in the kitchen.
However, if you are willing to enjoy the fresh goodness of the self-made bread loaf, or you are trying to cut down on the certain ingredients in your bread, or you just love baking – bread machine is what you certainly need.
Now, when you have familiarized yourself with the specifics, benefits, and producers of the bread machines, it is just the right time to look at the Best bread machine Buying Guide.