Bread making machine: how does it work?

Bread maker
Updated on 29 May 2023
Table of Contents

Baking bread yourself at home is something people do a lot more these days instead of buying a loaf from the supermarket. Because say it yourself, a freshly baked loaf of bread that you have made yourself is delicious, isn’t it?

Freshly baked bread, the old-fashioned way

White or brown bread, with or without gluten? It’s all possible! The breadmaker is an easy-to-use kitchen machine. It makes it easy to bake all kinds of recipes for bread yourself. You no longer buy it in the shop, but make it yourself. Yet many of these home bakers often run into problems.

Making your own bread is often more difficult than it looks

When you start baking bread for the first time, it often turns out to be more difficult than previously thought. Sometimes that baked bread looks just like a deformed brick when it comes out of the breadmaker.

For all those avid home bakers who set out to prepare fresh and delicious bread, we have some handy tips here.

Please note, the tips we give only apply when you add loose ingredients in the bread, not complete bread mix.

What to look out for when baking bread?

Often, the difference between people whose bread baking goes wrong and those whose loaves always succeed can be found in experience. Experience equals knowledge, and a breadmaker is a more complicated machine than you might expect. So when your loaves still sometimes fail, this improves with time.

We list the most valuable tips when making homemade bread:

  • When baking bread, do not use measuring cups but WEIGH the ingredients
  • Make sure you follow the recipe
  • Always use fresh yeast
  • Add instant yeast to the flour
  • Make sure the dough is at the right temperature
  • Do not use stale flour
  • Always choose the best flour or type of flour, brands of flour or flour make differences in quality
  • Prepare all ingredients in advance
  • Always choose a longer programme
  • Be careful with the dough hook. If you have started baking, remove the dough hook from the bread immediately afterwards
  • Place baking tins with two dough hooks opposite each other
  • Let the bread cool down well

Weigh everything, do not use measuring spoons

A breadmaker usually comes with standard measuring spoons. This can be a cause of failed loaves. This is because these work quite inaccurately. 

It is much better to weigh each ingredient on a digital scale.

Millilitres can also be weighed

With a scale, liquid can also be weighed in millilitres. If it is lukewarm water, milk or other liquids, then 1 millilitre equals 1 gram. 

So if a recipe says to add 300 millilitres of water, you weigh 300 grams of water.

Always follow recipes closely

It is important that you always follow the recipes when baking bread. After all, these clearly state exactly what you need to do. 

Most people who are beginning bakers at home usually take a look at the recipe for bread dough, but often the instructions for baking are not followed exactly. When bread is then baked, the result is often that the baking ends up failing. 

You can often see that when the recipe is followed, the bread often succeeds.

Ideal temperature for the dough

At the first rise, the dough should be around 27 degrees Celsius. If you deviate greatly from this then your loaves may remain compact while letting the dough rise.

It can sometimes be advantageous to buy a stick thermometer. This can help achieve the right temperature during bread making. 

Do you use milk or eggs?

If you are using milk then you need to get it to the right temperature first. 

If you are using an egg, you need to make sure it reaches room temperature first. If you want this process to be faster, you can also place the egg in a bowl of warm water.

Use dry yeast

Always use instant yeast. This is made from dried yeast. It is important when using instant yeast that you do not make a porridge of this beforehand.

The advantage of dry yeast is that it keeps longer than fresh yeast. The yeast should be added immediately as an ingredient.

What often works is the following: put a pinch of salt and the number of ml of water in the baking tin as indicated in the recipe. 

Then cover the bottom with flour or pure flour, then add the yeast and other ingredients on top should you wish to add them.

Do not use old flour

You should not use flour that is old. Sometimes you can store flour for several months and it will already be old. This often does not produce good results from the bread machine. The loaves will often remain low and compact, besides, you will often taste a bitter flavour to your loaves. 

So make sure you don’t store flour and flours for too long. Also, the cooler you store your flour the better.

Brands do matter with flour

Flour and flour often do not seem to differ when you compare one brand with another. But nothing could be further from the truth. One brand of wheat flour is not the other. By the way, this does not only apply to wheat flour, but also to patent or ordinary flour. Breads will be of different quality when using one brand as opposed to another.

If you are starting to bake bread and are unsure about flour or flour, it is best to buy flour or flour whose packaging specifically states that it is suitable for the bread machine. 

That way, when baking bread yourself, you won’t get tangled up with flour or flours. Zeeland wheat flour, for instance, is a type of flour that is mainly suitable for making cakes, so you won’t make very nice bread with it.

Dough not high enough?

If the dough doesn’t get high enough, you can try other flour or flour for the dough. Some do the kneading of the dough in a bread machine and finish baking the bread in the oven. A common question is whether this makes any difference. 

The answer to this is a resounding no, kneading in a bread machine and baking in the oven does not affect the height of the bread.

Baking bread on the timer? Let the yeast stay dry!

Do you bake with the bread machine’s timer? Then you need to make sure that the yeast stays well dry. This means that the yeast should not come into contact with the water. We have a method for this. 

First put the water and salt in the baking tin, then add the flour or flours and make sure this completely covers the water. 

Then add instant yeast on top of this. As flour and flour are dry. On this method, you can easily bake loaves in the bread maker without any problems.

Properly prepare all ingredients first

When baking bread, prepare all the ingredients properly first. Baking bread at home sometimes comes with its complications. Sometimes, out of all the ingredients, you suddenly forget one or two things.

Sometimes you think, oh well that one spoonful of sugar or that 10 g butter short, it won’t matter, will it? Surely I can make my bread without salt? This does matter. When you forget something when baking bread, even if it’s just a little, you will notice a difference. Often in a negative sense. therefore prepare everything well in advance so that you can get a good start on baking bread with the bread machine.

Don’t choose a short programme

It’s better not to choose a short programme. Bake as long as possible, the better the result. Bread that is beautiful, tasty and well done with a lovely smell and a crispy crust is usually not baked on a short programme. 

Baking with the breadmaker in an hour and a half? Of course you can, but then they won’t be nearly as tasty as a loaf that rises longer. So it is better not to choose a fast programme, as haste is seldom good.

A baking bowl with two hooks?

In a baking bowl with two dough hooks, position the dough hooks so that they always point towards each other. This way, the dough is kneaded a lot better and you have a better chance of your recipe succeeding.

Always let the bread cool down properly

It is also important to always let the bread cool well before slicing it. Just as this is the case with all the baked goods you make, such as cakes and pies. If you cut it too early, it will fall apart. With home-baked bread, the knife destroys the crumb.

White bread or brown bread?

White or brown bread? Obviously, you can bake both in the bread machine. White bread is still very popular among many people. So what are the differences? White bread simply contains the same vitamins, fibre and minerals as any other bread, such as brown bread or wholemeal bread. 

So if you bake white bread from the breadmaker, you will not be short of these. Only, white bread contains less of these nutrients than brown or wholemeal bread. This is why white bread is often less filling than brown bread. So white bread is definitely healthy, only brown bread and wholemeal bread are healthier.

Seeds or nuts in your bread, yes or no?

Seeds or nuts in your bread, should you? You see seeds and nuts in bread quite often, don’t you? Take sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or poppy seeds, for example. Always realise that the baking tin in a breadmaker has a non-stick coating.

The non-stick coating in the breadmaker will wear off as time goes by. While this happens slowly, if you add harder ingredients in the dough then the baking tin of your bread maker will wear down a lot faster. The non-stick coating on the baking tin is then often gone much faster than you would expect, and then the bread will stick to the baking tin.

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