You may be able to cut bread-making time in half by mixing and rising two loaves of bread at once.
Depending on the size of the loaves you’re making, your bread machine may be able to handle two batches of bread dough at one time.
This is a fairly easy way to keep up with baking demands. However, the first step in making a double batch of dough work is verifying your bread machine’s flour capacity.
The reasons you want to make sure your machine can handle two batches of dough:
- You don’t want to sacrifice bread quality for speed. That would be self-defeating.
- You don’t want to burn out your bread machine motor.
To calculate your bread machine’s flour capacity, check the recipes that came with it. If none of them exceed 3, 4 or 5 cups of flour, you know that your adapted recipes should not exceed that many cups either.
I say “should not” because I have gotten away with boosting my total flour capacity by 1 extra cup in a few recipes. I almost never bake in my machine so overflowing the canister with too much dough isn’t an issue for me. However, I don’t want to work my machine’s motor too hard either.
You may consider mixing and kneading the largest part of your flour in the machine, allowing it to go through at least half of the final mix/knead cycle and then finish blending in one cup of flour by hand. Of course, this will mean baking your loaf/loaves in the oven, but a double batch of dough isn’t likely to fit in your bread machine canister anyway.
Making a double batch of dough could also work if you’re making buns rather than loaves. Again, you might allow the machine to work through the first mix/knead cycle and most of the second one before removing the dough to finish adding your flour.
Making a double batch of dough rather than two separate batches will, of course, cut your time in half, which is sometimes key to getting the bread made!
If you plan to add the last of the flour by hand, make sure your work area and utensils are warm enough that they don’t rob heat from the dough. Cold bread dough won’t raise as well as dough that’s been kept as warm as possible throughout the mix/knead and rise cycles.
One way to set up a warm work environment for adding the last of the flour to the dough is to warm a large bowl (crockery really holds heat, but glass or stainless steel could also work). Use either hot water or warm the bowl in your oven before using it.
To finish your loaves/buns, be sure to complete the final rise in a warmed oven or warm area to get the best yeast action.
Long-time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find her book on her blog site at www.bakeyourbestever.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth Living, GRIT Magazine, Our Dakota Horse Tales, and on Pinterest, and Facebook.