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Experimenting with my Bread Machine


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I've had my bread machine for about 2 years and love it - I love how quickly I can add the ingredients and a few hours later, I have a nice smelling house and often tasty loaf of bread.   I don't remember buying a loaf of bread in these 2 years! Having followed numerous recipes, I feel I'm ready to get creative and try to devise my own combinations.  But I'm scared - scared of wasting vast quantities of ingredients on recipes that fail to rise or are too stodgy.  

 

So, having seen the expertise available here, I was wondering if anybody can give me some tips on what ratios to absolutely stick to and how to adjust it for different ingredients - e.g. adding cheese = less oil.  I know it's not this simple (and adding cheese probably doesn't = less oil) so I'm here to hear your wisdom and guidance!

 

Apologies if this has been asked before - I couldn't find anything other than an extensive conversation about yeast :)

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The biggest and best piece of advice I can give you is to invest in a kitchen scale, and to weigh the ingredients in the recipes you already use. Most serious bread-makers think of their breads in terms of a "formula," or each ingredient's percentage by weight. Typically this is expressed as a percentage of the flour, ie the flour is 100% and everything else works from that.

 

It's typically your hydration -- the amount of liquid as a percentage of your flour -- that determines the dough's stiffness, though other ingredients always play a role. I find bread machines don't play very well with wet or "slack" doughs, so I haven't really pushed the envelope in that direction. I would suggest your hydration for a successful bread machine loaf probably falls in the 60s, give or take, and that's probably where your existing recipes will fall once you weigh them and do the math. 

 

Personally I use mine just for mixing (which every machine does pretty well) and bake conventionally in my oven. If I'm experimenting with something other than a fairly conventional loaf, I usually mix by hand or make a small batch in my KitchenAid (small because it's useless for anything larger). 

 

Edited to add -- the whole point of this pre-caffeine ramble -- that once you know the ratios of your existing recipes, which are proven to work in your machine, you can improvise all you want by observing the same ratios and then tweaking the ingredients from that starting point. 

Edited by chromedome (log)
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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I've had bread machines since the first Panasonic appeared back in 1989 just in time for Christmas sales.  

Since then I have had and still have "several" and have experimented with all kinds of yeast breads, quick breads, cakes  &etc.

 

I still use them for yeast breads, mostly, like chromedome, for mixing, kneading and rising and then shaping and baking the dough in a regular oven.

 

When I do bake in the machine, I PULL THE DOUGH OUT AT THE END OF THE LAST KNEAD/PUNCH DOWN CYCLE and REMOVE THE BEATERS.  Then stuff the dough back into the pan and let it continue through the last rise and bake.  This way you don't have big holes in the bottom, just 2 small holes where the shafts are.

 

I do have one machine in which the paddles were supposed to fold down flat before the baking cycle but that did not always happen, a good idea that didn't quite come off.

 

There are a great many books and web sites dedicated to Breadmaker  recipes, formulas, tricks and "secret lore"  to get the best from your machine.  

 

Bread Machine Digest is very good.   Another is Bread Machine Pros.  

 

Back before the internet, I collected a stack of books on bread machines.  I haven't opened one for years because they all seem to be online.

 

And you should join  Bread-bakers Digest

Reggie and Jeffrey Dwork have maintained this since 1990 and I have been a member almost that long.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I've had my bread machine since 1991 and used it extensively for a few years.  I found that there wasn't enough versatility with proofing time to make just any kind of bread.  This lead me to baking in regular loaf pans and finally just doing the initial mixing with a mixer and finishing the kneading by hand.  Plus, my bread machine was of the vertical variety which made an odd-shaped loaf with the crown on one end rather than the top.  The longer you bake bread the more you will find the limitations of a bread machine and, if you have the time, you'll enjoy the greater versatility of baking bread without one.  I'd go with the advice given above and experiment with small amounts of additives until you see what effect they have on the rise.  Have fun and enjoy the bread.  Nothing like the aroma, taste, and texture of homemade, whether made in a bread machine or without.

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10 hours ago, Cyberider said:

I've had my bread machine since 1991 and used it extensively for a few years.  I found that there wasn't enough versatility with proofing time to make just any kind of bread.  This lead me to baking in regular loaf pans and finally just doing the initial mixing with a mixer and finishing the kneading by hand.  Plus, my bread machine was of the vertical variety which made an odd-shaped loaf with the crown on one end rather than the top.  The longer you bake bread the more you will find the limitations of a bread machine and, if you have the time, you'll enjoy the greater versatility of baking bread without one.  I'd go with the advice given above and experiment with small amounts of additives until you see what effect they have on the rise.  Have fun and enjoy the bread.  Nothing like the aroma, taste, and texture of homemade, whether made in a bread machine or without.

 

I'd say you need a newer bread machine.  I don't bake in mine, just mix the dough.

 

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I'd say you need a newer bread machine.  I don't bake in mine, just mix the dough.

 

 

What make is your bread machine?  I had one of the very early ones, a Panasonic that I bought around1987 or so.  I used it for a number of years and was happy with it until I started wanting to make other types of bread and started making them by hand.  What exactly do the newer ones do that makes them so great?

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38 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

 

What make is your bread machine?  I had one of the very early ones, a Panasonic that I bought around1987 or so.  I used it for a number of years and was happy with it until I started wanting to make other types of bread and started making them by hand.  What exactly do the newer ones do that makes them so great?

 

I have a Zojirushi that I bought about 6 years ago or so.  It's this one.  It makes up to a two pound loaf,

is easily customizable and, best of all, it two paddles so it kneads and mixes much better than those with only one paddle.  I love mine and I've had many different models over the years since bread machines were first introduced.  Like Jo mentioned, above, I also mix only in mine and oven bake.  

 

(Edited to remove sale info that has expired)

 

Zojirushi Home...

Edited by lindag (log)
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Because it costs a lot to run even a small electric oven in Japan, I use my bread machine almost daily. I currently have a Panasonic SD-BMT2000. It is the first Panasonic bread maker I have owned and I love it.

Experimenting - go ahead and FAIL!!!!! There is no other way. I use Japanese whole wheat flours a lot, and the protein content, ash content, and granulation size is so different for each manufacturer that I could never give a fail-safe all-purpose formula. The nearest I could get is to recommend looking at the dough during the initial knead, and deciding how wet you like your dough at that stage - then adjusting liquid for new recipes to suit.

One thing I like about the Panasonic is the timer setting: it mixes wet and dry immediately and leaves the mix to rest before adding yeast and continuing with the main breadmaking steps. For whole wheat doughs, being able to add this step in is a big plus.

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2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

What make is your bread machine?  I had one of the very early ones, a Panasonic that I bought around1987 or so.  I used it for a number of years and was happy with it until I started wanting to make other types of bread and started making them by hand.  What exactly do the newer ones do that makes them so great?

 

Mine is a Zojirushi from the last millennium.  I was using "new" loosely.  Mine came from KAF back in the tree based catalog days.

 

But the Zojirushi has all sorts of control settings.  I can only imagine current models more so.

 

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13 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I'd say you need a newer bread machine.  I don't bake in mine, just mix the dough.

 

Like some of the others, mine is a Panasonic and it still worked the last time I tried it.  However, I now enjoy the whole process too much to use a bread machine, even a more versatile newer one.  I've got mixers for mixing and hands for the final kneading.  I like to be able to watch and feel the dough so I know when it's time to go in the oven.  And I like to determine the size and shape of my loaves as well as do several at a time.  A bread machine is definitely a good introduction to bread baking as well as a labor-saver, but I don't see one in my future.  Nevertheless, I think bread machines are a great invention and probably responsible for a lot more home-baked bread than if they weren't available.

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Currently I am using the no longer available Black & Decker 3-pound  machine, which I use for double batches, usually removing about a third of the dough at the end of the last knead cycle, when I removed the paddles. I put the extra dough in a plastic bag in the fridge to be used in a day or three.

 

However, I have several other bread machines, a Sunbeam that has a better quick mix and bake cycle than other machines I have used.

A Zojirushi that is about 30 years old, still works fine.  Also from KAF back in the catalog days.  It has a "pin" which sticks into the pan and "catches" the dough to increase the kneading effect.  This was a popular machine but was discontinued because people kept losing the "pin" and Zo was replacing them for free.

A Panasonic with "yeast dispenser" that I HATE because it has a delayed start in most of the cycles, which I can't stand.  When I push "START" I want to hear it start.

I also have a double pan machine that I just got out of storage for some holiday baking.  It's still in my van.  I use it just for mixing dough.  I'll take a photo. 

It never actually "baked" the loaves all that nicely but it does a hell of a job on mixing and kneading doughs that require extended kneading. American  Harvest.

 

There have been times, when holiday baking, that I have had several bread machines going at the same time with different yeast doughs.  One for Stollen, that requires a "sponge" to start.  One for a yeasted "Danish" dough with lots of butter.  and etc.

 

Photos of the double pan machine. Please excuse the dust.  

59fcca3f9b071_ScreenShot2017-11-03at12_52_08PM.thumb.png.5e5ad0de77ec3ba639d185ae923b563e.png

 

59fcca194cfde_ScreenShot2017-11-03at12_52_20PM.thumb.png.32e798c2d701f076872059f44cc1f82f.png

 

59fcc9f7e5f78_ScreenShot2017-11-03at12_52_33PM.png.9aaf42b6d9b06dfaa4f74480ef393f7b.png

 

 

 

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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How do the different machines handle soakers? One of my favourite breads is made with a soaker and I would like to know if a machine can handle that.  I notice Breville has a bread machine.  It will make loaves in several sizes but only has one paddle.  Is it important to have two?

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2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

How do the different machines handle soakers? One of my favourite breads is made with a soaker and I would like to know if a machine can handle that.  I notice Breville has a bread machine.  It will make loaves in several sizes but only has one paddle.  Is it important to have two?

 

Is a soaker anything like a poolish?

 

I always use a poolish.

 

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9 hours ago, ElsieD said:

How do the different machines handle soakers? One of my favourite breads is made with a soaker and I would like to know if a machine can handle that.  I notice Breville has a bread machine.  It will make loaves in several sizes but only has one paddle.  Is it important to have two?

 

IMO, the two paddles make a world of difference in the mixing and kneading.  I have much better results with my Zo than I ever did with my other machines.

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Is a soaker anything like a poolish?

 

I always use a poolish.

 

 

The soaker in my case is s mix of grains and seeds that are soaked in water for 12 to 16 hours before proceeding with the bread recipe.  I went through the on-line manual of both the Breville and the Zo and they made no mention of soakers.

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4 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

The soaker in my case is s mix of grains and seeds that are soaked in water for 12 to 16 hours before proceeding with the bread recipe.  I went through the on-line manual of both the Breville and the Zo and they made no mention of soakers.

 

I just use my bread maker as an efficient mixing and kneading device.  If I were you I would try the recipe as normal, just mixing in the machine.  I could be wrong, but you may be over thinking the problem.  In the case of my poolish I mix it in a bowl the night before and the next day add it to the other bread ingredients in the bread machine.

 

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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I just use my bread maker as an efficient mixing and kneading device.  If I were you I would try the recipe as normal, just mixing in the machine.  I could be wrong, but you may be over thinking the problem.  In the case of my poolish I mix it in a bowl the night before and the next day add it to the other bread ingredients in the bread machine.

 

 

I bought the Zojirushi today and will take it for a spin tomorrow.  I called the Bakers Hot Line at KAF about the soaker and they said much the same.  Soak it as per usual, then add it to the liquid on the bottom of the pan.  I'm excited to try it out.

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I made, or rather, the Zo made It's first attempt at a 6 grain bread.  This is the result.  Obviously, I made a mistake or perhaps several.  One end of the loaf is perfectly baked.  The other end looks as though it was not mixed properly and indeed, when you cut into it, it is very floury/crumbly.  I used the quick setting, medium crust.  The crust turned out not medium - I would call it very light.  When I put the ingredients into the pan, I followed the order stated.  That is, water on the bottom, then dry ingredients and then I made a little depression to put the yeast into so it would not be in contact with the salt or water.  I admit that must of tge ingredients were piled up at one end.  I thought ygd kneading would spread yhings put.I used 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast.  I am going to try another loaf today to see what happens.  We need to go out for a while shortly and i will pick up some regular active dry yeast and use that with the regular cycle.  Hubs just came in and said he didnt think i had the paddles in correctly as one is still stuck in the loaf.  So that is a possibility.  I must say that the part of the loaf that actually looks like bread looks very good.  I'm about to try some.

20171105_113943.jpg

20171105_113919.jpg

Edited by ElsieD
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@ElsieD 

 

paddles stick in loafs al the time , so don't worry too much about that

 

it seems to me that one paddle didn't do its job. you can guess the end Im t hinting of.

 

I have an entry level Oster , and the name doesn't mean anything  

 

several are so similar they are probably made at the same Chinese COnglometare.

 

the one issue Ive had is bread not coming out of the pan

\

do not pit anyting sharp to try to loosen the loaf and you will damage the finish and then eventually need to buy a new pan.

 

for the entry lever "  a new pan + blade + 60 % of the cost.

 

I used to put a drop of grape-seed oil in the inner part of the blade before I inserted it on the rotor

 

that seemed to help for a while.

 

if the blade  end up in the loaf it doesn't matter :  let the bread cool and use a plastic something or other to dissect out the blade

 

while its still a little warm  plastic won't scratch the rotor.

 

I just saw a show that made JoseAndres  Spanish Bread Soup

 

your loaf is a candidate for the bits you can't toast.

 

just saying !

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Run a cycle with the pan empty.  When you start, make sure the paddles are pointing in different directions.

Watch to see that the paddles are working,  Sometimes you have to push down hard to get them to lock into position.

If they appear to be working okay,  mix some flour and hot water together to make a thick batter,  1 1/2 cups should work in your size machine, maybe 2 cups.  put it into the machine and start the cycle  The dough should be stiff enough to give some resistance to the paddles.  

If they appear to be working okay, dump out the stuff, clean the pan and start your bread.  DON'T USE THE QUICK CYCLE it only works with some breads.

 

For a good reliable test of your machine, go to the store and buy one of the boxed prepared bread mixes.  That's what I recommend for anyone starting new with a bread machine.   I use them myself for simple loaves or a base for adding other stuff. 

They are 100% foolproof and if they don't turn out right, it is the MACHINE that is  at fault.   

I buy this Hodgson Mill stuff  from Amazon - 6 boxes in a case.  I get Krusteaz at Costco.

 

I always watch in the early parts of a cycle to see what is happening.  Sometimes the dough looks "ragged" and that shows it needs a bit more water, I add a tablespoon at a time.   

 

When the last knead cycle is finished - check the timer, write down the time left.  On my machine it is 1:55 on the basic setting.  PULL OUT THE DOUGH AND REMOVE THE PADDLES.  Most instruction books are including that tip now.

 

59ff5cd62be79_ScreenShot2017-11-05at10_46_06AM.png.1d1e2402f58f5cf0d670f709d4597e36.png

 

 

 

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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@andiesenji  thank you for your reply.  Pardon my stupidity, but are your two paragraphs connected on some way?  The first paragraph has me running the machine on empty - but to what end?  I will make sure the paddles are pointing in different directions.

 

The second paragraph as a stand alone paragraph makes sense.  I gather that I remove the paddles so they don't leave holes in the bread and then I replace the dough and carry on with the bake cycle.

 

We salvaged enough of the bread to try some with peanut butter.  The bit that we had was very good.

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13 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

@andiesenji  thank you for your reply.  Pardon my stupidity, but are your two paragraphs connected on some way?  The first paragraph has me running the machine on empty - but to what end?  I will make sure the paddles are pointing in different directions.

 

13 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

 

The second paragraph as a stand alone paragraph makes sense.  I gather that I remove the paddles so they don't leave holes in the bread and then I replace the dough and carry on with the bake cycle.

 

We salvaged enough of the bread to try some with peanut butter.  The bit that we had was very good.

You want to make sure both paddles are turning before you put anything in there.  If one is not turning or not locking down - I had one with that defect, the shaft was a bit out of round and it wouldn't go all the way down. I had bought it locally, took it back and they gave me another. 

 

And then you want to make sure the paddles are turning against resistance and not slipping if there is a drag on them.

 

Yes, put the dough back in and let it continue. You don't need to stop the cycle.  At that point I often take the dough out and either pan it to bake in the oven or do something else with it, like make rolls or cinnamon rolls, etc.

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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