One of the great things of baking bread at home is less wastage. Only baking a loaf when needed, and always eating fresh bread. This is an introduction to how to make bread in a bread maker.
Depending on the machine, there can be a large number of settings that allow for seeded loaves, speciality breads, and even jams and compotes.
This recipe looks at a standard loaf, introducing the essential features of a bread maker, and demonstrating how to use one.
Watch How To Make Bread Maker Bread
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For a typical brown or white seeded loaf, making bread in a bread maker takes approximately 5 minutes preparation time plus four hours cooking. The bread maker takes care of kneading and making the dough, allowing the dough to rise, and baking the bread to the ideal consistency.
The bread maker can make different sizes of loaf, which is actually different heights of loaf, rather than length, as the same bread pan is used to bake all loaves.
This video is an introduction to baking bread on setting one of my Panasonic machine – the setting for a 500 gram loaf – a little over half the size of a full size loaf in a supermarket. This is my favourite setting and the one I use most often.
Bread makers have more functions than this, from express bake loaves to speciality bread such as brioche, pizza bases, or fruit loaf. There is also a raisin, seed, and nut dispenser on the machine, just above the main baking oven. The machine can automatically add any extra ingredients at the right time in the recipe.
The bread maker has a removable bread pan and paddle. The paddle must be inserted before any ingredients are added to the bread pan. I think it is better to add the ingredients to the bread pan when it is outside of the bread maker itself, to avoid spillages inside the oven.
Weighing the ingredients is important for a good loaf. Rather than use the nut dispenser, I usually buy flour that comes with seeds already mixed into it.
The first ingredient added to the pan is a teaspoon of yeast – our bread maker came with a helpful measure. Next add the flour. After the flour, add one and half teaspoons of salt. Water comes next, about 330 ml, and finally a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. For white bread use slightly more water and one and a half teaspoons of sugar.
The bread pan is then inserted into the bread maker, a few buttons are pressed to select the correct function, for example standard bake or express bake. On my machine, standard bake is four hours of cooking. The express bake function cooks in half the time, but I prefer the results of the longer bake.
Ideally the bread is removed as soon as the alarm sounds on the bread maker that cooking is complete. The benefit of doing this is a nice crispy crust.
Removing the bread from the bread pan takes a little shaking. This is because it needs to be freed from the mixing paddle. When the loaf comes out there is a little hole in the bottom of the loaf where the mixing paddle sat.
Allowing the bread to cool for a about an hour makes cutting the loaf easier. If the bread is warm when cutting, the body of the bread can be a little sticky.
The joy of eating homemade fresh bread, and the ability to experiment with different flours and ingredients, make a bread maker an enjoyable machine to have in the kitchen.