If you have just bought a bread machine then the following tips may prove helpful. Baking produces great results when recipes and good practice are followed to the letter. By all means experiment – but don’t be surprised if the outcome isn’t as you expected.
Key Tips for Successfully Using a Bread Machine
1. Carefully follow the order in which ingredients should be added. The liquids that are being added to the mix should always be the first ingredients to be placed in bread machine pan. Follow this with the dry ingredients with the yeast being the last ingredient that you should add.
When adding the yeast make a small dip on the top of the mix and add the yeast in the insert. This is important if you intend to use a delay-bake function as you do not want to activate the yeast too early in the baking cycle.
2. Measure all the ingredients carefully. Use measuring tools, cups and spoons and be accurate with your measures. Remember that measuring cups are for dry ingredients only and should be leveled off at the top – no heaped guessing !
When measuring liquids use a measuring cup which shows the numbers of ml clearly on the side.
3. Remember to use room temperature ingredients that are fresh: Use flour and yeast that is in sell-buy date. For example when it comes to yeast, use it when the expiration date is at least 6 months away.
If you are using the delay bake function be careful when including perishable ingredients such as eggs, cheese and butter, fruit and margarine.
4. Aim for perfect dough throughout the baking cycle: If the weather is humid, the bread mix can sometimes require a little more flour. Inspect your bread close to the end of the first rise and if it appears sticky in texture then add in 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour prior to the second kneading cycle ensuring that the dough forms a smooth pliable ball.
If the bread mix appears overly dry add a little water (room temperature) into the mixing bowl. Add only little amounts of water until your mix forms into a smooth dough ball.
5. Inspect but never open: The glass window on a bread machine is there to review the bread making process. Never open the machine lid during the baking cycle. You can perhaps open the door just as the mix is in its initial non-baking mixing stage to clear dough from the sides. Never open though once heat starts to be applied.
6. Try to be Patient: Once the bread is made and cooling wait for about 15 to 20 minutes before you slice your newly made loaf of bread. If you wish to make another loaf of bread you must let the appliance cool down fully before starting again.
7. Fresh Bread keeps well: Newly made bread can be stored in the freezer for use at a later date. Ensure the bread has completely cooled down on a wire cooling rack before undertaking this process.
To prepare fro freezing, wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil.
A useful tip is to cut the bread into slices before freezing – this allows you to break off slices later without having to completely defrost the entire loaf. When serving again a little reheat in the oven will bring that freshly baked flavor back to the taste buds.