As much as we love freshly homemade bread, the process of making it can be quite demanding at times especially when you have other things to do. But, thanks to bread making machines, everyone can make their preferred bread, quickly and perfectly. However, bread making machines can be tricky to use, especially when working with different recipes, and also given that different models and brands come with different settings.
This article focuses on answering the question; how does bread machine work? And we will look at the basics of how a bread making machine works to help you navigate through the settings no matter the type you come across.
Some features of the bread machines
Bread machines come in different features. Some of its useful parts include;
The machine has a non-stick pan. It has the kneading paddle, rotating shaft and a handle for lifting the pan. Always use plastic on this surface.
It is an insulated outer wall to stop the surfaces from getting too hot when baking.
It mixes ingredients in the bread pan and kneads them into the dough. After the kneading cycle, it collapses and will leave a hole in the bottom of the bread. There are some machines with twin paddles, and this will create a rectangular bread.
It is only useful for those who want to see the bread as it bakes and checks on the progress.
Alerts when the bread is ready
It is not a vital feature, but useful if you will be busy around the house and want to hear an alert when it is complete.
The bread measuring accessories
There are bread machines that come with measuring beaker and spoon. These are helpful to get the recipe right.
Bread machines setting include
The control panel
It has a menu to select the size of the loaf, the type of flour, the choice of shade of the crust colour. It is an essential factor for all bread machines and in making great bread.
The delay setting
Most machines come with a 13-hour delay setting option. It is helpful if you want fresh bread in the morning. You will have to set the machine before going to bed, and it will be ready when you wake up.
Rapid bake setting
This setting is helpful when you are making the bread in a hurry. The bread will bake faster. For best results, it needs to be longer.
It is useful where one needs to add ingredients like nuts or fruits.
The steps involved when making bread using the bread machine are
Setting the machine
To start, remove the bread pan from the machine. It should not be near wet or hot surfaces. Fit the kneading blade to the middle of the bread pan. Ensure it is locked.
Get the ingredients
The necessary ingredients to make bread in a bread machine are yeast, flour, sugar, salts, liquids and fats.
- The yeast; the yeast here is usually the active dry yeast. You do not have to use rapid rise yeast.
- Flour; bread flour is better. It is from hard wheat, and so it has more gluten than the regular all-purpose flour.
- Salt; it is necessary as it regulates the processing of rising. It also adds flavour.
- Sugar or honey; they soften the dough and the bread. They also help to get brown bread and to have a crispy crust.
- The liquid ingredients need to be at room temperature; It is vital if you are using the rapid cycle.
- Fats are vital in preventing the dough from sticking on the non-stick bread pan. It also makes the bread softer. You can use butter, bacon grease, margarine or oil, they will the same results.
Adding the ingredients
Ensure that you measure the exact amount of the ingredients before putting them in the machine to get good results. If you are mixing and baking the dough right away, you can add the ingredients in any order. However, the order is essential if you are using the delay cycle settings. Usually, the liquid ingredients come first into the bread pan. Then add the flour and cover all the liquids completely. Now add the rest of the dry ingredients sugar, salt, seasonings. For the yeast, you make a well at the centre of the flour and sprinkle it there.
Mixing and kneading
After adding the ingredients, then select a program for the bread machine to follow. Most bread machines have some set programs available at the touch of a button. One of them is mixing and kneading. The machine will start mixing the ingredients with the dough book for some time. It will then let the dough rest to develop its gluten, and then the hook will begin turning again, to knead the dough.
The bread machine’s thermostat raises the temperature around the dough to allow the bread to rise for an appropriate amount of time. When it is complete, the machine will now go into the baking mode.
Baking the bread
The microchip that controls the machine’s thermostat will raise the temperature again. It will do this to bake the bread. The bread will cook for the time that you have set the machine will beep when complete. Press stop. Using some heat protector, remove the bread pan from the machine and place it onto a cooling rack to release the bread from the pan. Let the bread cool for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, and it will be ready for eating. Let the machine cool as well before cleaning it.
The rules for using a bread machine are
- Always clean it every time you use it.
- Before any maintenance or cleaning, the machine must be unplugged and completely cool
- When cleaning, ensure you do not pour any liquids directly in the machine.
Cleaning the bread machine
Care for the machine to prolong its life. It does not take much time.
- Remove any crumbs or residue from the bread pan and on the machine’s heating element.
- Clean the heating element with a soft cloth gently.
- Clean the baking pan and the kneading paddles using warm water, soap and a soft cloth. Avoid using chemicals.
- Use plastic utensils to scoop ingredients in and out of the bread machine.
- Ensure the parts are dry before putting them in the machine.
The bread machine is mainly for making bread, and they make the process easier. They are simple to use once you get comfortable with adjusting the settings as per your requirements. And the most important of all is you get great bread.