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Request for Help: New Bread Machine, Metric settings


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I just bought a new bread machine.  I can provide the make and model if it is required, but I am here to learn, not to advertise a product.

The  problem I am facing is that I am used to imperial measurements, and most of the recipes I find, even for basic breads use them too.  The machine doesn't care what the recipe is or the units of measurement (it's just a machine), and there are measuring cups that are metric if I want to use a metric recipe. The settings on the machine are also in metric, however  This is a source of confusion.  For example, a recipe may be for a 1 pound or a 2 pound loaf.  I have even found some that do not mention the size of the loaf at all, which is another issue I need to ask about.  The machine I have can make loaves that are 500 grams, 750 grams, and 1000 grams.  I thought this would be a simple matter of conversion.  If you convert a pound to grams and round to the nearest gram, you have 454 grams and 2 pounds is the same as 907 grams.

 

Obviously, 454 is closer to 500 and 907 is closer to 1000, but I have also read that measurements are important in baking.  Is a pound "close enough" for the 500 gram setting?  Is a recipe for a 2 pound loaf "close enough" for a 1000 gram setting, or will I have a baking disaster on my hands?  I would rather ask someone who knows better than find out through trial and error.  The machine I purchased is a nice machine in other respects: it has a ceramic lined bread pan instead of Teflon, a device that dispenses fruits and nuts into the dough at the right time (or so it claims) and so on.  If I can learn to use this rather than returning it, I believe I will be able to bring fresh bread to family and church gatherings.  If it is too complicated and I am better off returning it and getting another machine, I would like to know before they say "the time limit for returns is past, you're stuck with it."  From what I have read, though, the units they are using are what professional bakers use , so maybe they made the machine this way for a reason other than to make Americans like myself wish we had switched to the metric system like most of the world has done.

Thank you for any advice you can provide.

Edited by Dakender (log)
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Hi @Dakender, it is important to be exact with the ratio of ingredients in bread, so I do suggest you follow the advice of getting an electronic kitchen scale. I find them not only more accurate, but much more convenient. No more measuring cups to wash.

That said, the machine settings are there to set the baking time and maybe some other similar things. Those doesn't have to be exact, so you can use the rounded values.

Happy baking.

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~ Shai N.

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If you are using recipes that use imperial measurements and are set up to give you a 1lb loaf, just treat those (for the purposes of your machine's timings) as though they were a 0.5kg loaf. Although when baking with things like chemical leaveners precision is very important (e.g. cakes, etc.) for bread, you have a ton of flexibility, and it's not like your loaf is going to go off the rails if you are off a few percent in the hydration, etc. So while I concur with @shain and @liuzhou that your best bet is to eventually migrate to weights (and metric, if only for simplicity!), for converting old recipes don't worry too much. 454g is close enough to 500g that your bread will turn out fine.

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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I second what Chris says, including about how forgiving bread recipes can be.

 

I live in Denmark, which is sort of relevant, because recipes here use metric measurements (except for the not infrequent 'tea/table spoon' measurement, which means 'try to remember which actual tea/tablespoon you used last time, haha, good luck').

I tend to be extremely precise when I bake (I love my electronic scale, which was definitely a worthwhile investment), but I sometimes visit friends up north who have A) an infinite capacity and desire for bread; B) an equally infinate for actually baking bread; C) a scale that was made at least a century ago, and no, I'm not kidding:

 

IMG_7162.jpeg

 

Their point is that it works, and there's no reason to get a new one (they're not luddites, they're just not very invested in their kitchen). It's solid....some sort of very heavy metal, and super instagrammable! Also, super inaccurate, given the way it reponds to the increased load (i.e. spasmodically: a century-old spring is going to be a bit arthritic). To be honest, I use it more as a gesture to the gods of baking than from any expectation of accuracy, regardless of how precise I'm being.

 

When I first used this antique scale, I was almost in tears, because I wanted to to meet the request for lots of bread with something really good, and I was certain the loaves would be miserable failures.

The loaves were fine! I was shocked. And this has happened repeatedly over the 20 years I've known them (and I continue to be surprised).

 

By and large, bread won't let you down if your measurements are off by a bit (though the bread may be a bit different than expected, e.g. larger/smaller loaf, more/less dense, fine/coarser crumb), but in the long run, switching to metric weight measurements wiil make baking more pleasant.

 

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Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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2 hours ago, Mjx said:

Their point is that it works, and there's no reason to get a new one (they're not luddites, they're just not very invested in their kitchen). It's solid....some sort of very heavy metal, and super instagrammable!

 

Finally, the reality of it all!  (we're doomed)

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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2 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

Finally, the reality of it all!  (we're doomed)

 

I tried to find some sort of positive takeaway from less-than-ideal baking circumstances, and focusing on the fact that it's entirely possible to make decent bread with what I regarded as sub-optimal equipment helped to minimize my pointless boohooing (the instagrammable aspect was an extra). With a bread machine one might have to watch out for inaccurate measuring yielding an amount of dough that exceeded the unit's capacity, though.

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Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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