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The standards for breads made using the bread machine should be the same as handmade breads. Of course, you will have to allow for the “mixer” hole that is left in the bottom of the loaf.
The following information provided by the Wheat Foods Council will give you some additional information. (Grains of Truth about Bread Machines, by Cindy Falk, Kansas Wheat Commission and Wheat Foods Council). If issues occur, go to Problems and Solutions for Bread Machines.
Before using the bread machine, read the instruction manual and/or view the video that comes with your machine. Each machine is unique. Accurate liquid and dry measurements are essential.
Spoon flour into a standard dry ingredient measuring cup and level off. Measure liquids in a transparent liquid measuring cup and read measurements at eye level.
Open the lid and touch the dough after the first five minutes of the mixing cycle. If necessary, add more liquid or flour. A perfect dough is soft to the touch, slightly sticky, and nearly cleans the bottom of the bread pan.
Place ingredients in the pan in the order suggested by the instruction manual. It is imperative that the yeast not touch the liquids or the salt when using the delayed baking feature.
The ideal temperature for ingredients is room temperature. Some bread machines have a preheat cycle that brings ingredients to the proper temperature.
If the machine doesn’t have a cool-down or keep-warm cycle, remove the loaf promptly and cool on a wire rack to prevent a soggy crust.
Room temperature, drafts or humidity may affect the results.
Flour: Bread flour is recommended for use in bread machines. Because bread flour has greater protein content and gluten strength than all-purpose flour, the resulting loaf usually has greater volume and is finer-textured. Add wheat gluten to improve loaf volume and texture in recipes using whole wheat, rye, or other whole grains. Use 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons wheat gluten to each cup of whole grain flour. An equal amount of additional water may be needed.
Gluten-free breads can be made using oat, rice, potato, corn or soy flour.
Yeasts: Instant, active dry and bread machine yeasts are available for use in bread machines. Consult the manual for recommendations. Check the yeast’s expiration date for freshness. It is economical to buy yeast in larger quantities, so place yeast in a sealed bag and refrigerate or freeze. Bring the amount needed to room temperature before using.
Sweeteners: White and brown sugar, honey, and molasses may be interchanged successfully. Do not use artificial sweeteners because they do not provide food for the yeast.
Salt: Never eliminate salt because it adds flavor, acts as a growth inhibitor for yeast and strengthens the dough structure. Salt substitutes are
not recommended because they give the bread an off-flavor.
Liquids and Eggs: The temperature range of liquid is 75 to 85 degrees F for automatic bread machines. Check with a thermometer. It may be necessary to decrease liquid slightly in humid weather. Milk, buttermilk and water may be interchanged equally. Water gives a crisp, lighter crust; milk gives a softer, browner crust. Fresh milk can be replaced with nonfat-dry milk. Use an equal amount of water as the milk, and about three to four tablespoons of milk powder per cup of water.
When using the delayed baking feature, always use milk powder. Add it with dry ingredients and keep away from liquids. Reduce the amount of water in equal proportion to the amount of fresh milk added.
For food safety, never use perishable ingredients – such as fresh milk, meat, eggs, cheese, yogurt, orange juice and vegetable purees – with the delayed baking feature. Egg substitutes may be used instead of eggs.
Fats: Most bread contain a small amounts of fat. Fat keeps bread tender and fresh, and aids in browning. Vegetable oil, solid shortening, butter or margarine may be substituted in equal proportions.
Lemon juice or vinegar may help improve the structure of the loaf. Use one teaspoon per loaf.
For high altitudes, some experimentation is required because the dough may rise faster. You may need to reduce the amount of yeast, sugar or flour, or add liquid or gluten. Consult your manual.
When adding oats, multi-grain cereals, or cornmeal, soak in the liquid for about five to eight minutes. Bulgur, cracked wheat or whole wheat berries need to be
softened by cooking or soaking to keep them from scratching the pan.
To adapt your favorite bread recipe for the bread machine, first start with the amount of flour the machine needs, then calculate the other ingredients.
Do not exceed the capacity of the pan.
Refrigeration stales bread. Store bread in a sealed container at room temperature or freeze.
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