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Customize Your Bread Machine

| 2/7/2019 12:43:00 PM

Bread machine settings vary from brand to brand, but most allow you to interrupt kneading cycles (without disrupting the entire cycle), customize cycle times (with the possible exception of baking times) or otherwise manage the machine to your baking project/time frames.


As I visit with bread bakers across the nation, it’s amazing to learn that many of them are hesitant—as I certainly was—to even peek at their bread dough once the bread machine cycle begins.

While every bread machine has its own features/settings, all the brands I’ve used or seen allow for opening the bread machine lid for a variety of reasons. Don’t misunderstand. Too much peeking or disruption of the bread machine cycle could derail your bread making. But when it’s necessary to check or peek, it’s okay! Many bread machine brands also allow users to customize cycles as necessary.

Why would you want to peek at your dough while it’s mixing/kneading?

  1. To produce soft, moist bread you want to avoid using too much flour. However, using too little flour will cause your dough to be so sticky and formless that it won’t develop the eye-catching dome-shape so typical in traditional loaves. To avoid overly-sticky dough, check early in the first mix/knead cycle to ensure that the dough is pulling away from the side of the bread machine canister. Indicating that it will form the desired shape during baking. If the dough is sticking to the canister, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour at a time until the dough stops adhering to the side of the canister. Some machines pause while the lid is open; others continue mixing. Either feature is fine.
  2. You may also want to check on your dough during the rest period to see if it’s rising properly. This first rise may be minimal, but you want to see some indication that the yeast is working.

Why would anyone want to change the kneading and resting cycle times on their bread machine? For a variety of reasons:

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