Bread Machines can be the stuff nightmares are made off and incredibly intimidating, especially if you’ve never used one before. It is also one of the most misunderstood equipment in your kitchen. The good news is that there is absolutely no reason for things to remain this way. Knowing what to do with the machine can transform the way you interact with it and turn it from something intimidating to a kitchen hardware that you lose and cannot do without. Here are a few tips to help you fall in love with your bread machine.
- The basket portion of the gadget is where your ingredients go. Remember to pull out the basket before pouring your ingredients in. It is better to have a spill on your kitchen counter than inside the bread machine where it can affect the electrical and moving parts. After you’ve put all the ingredients in, you can then return the basket to the machine.
- There is a part on the bottom of the machine that mixes all your ingredients; it is called a wand. Double check that the want is attached before you start pouring the ingredients in. You don’t want to check on the machine a long while after you’ve put in the ingredients and realize that they’re just there waiting for you because the wand wasn’t in there in the first place.
- This is a machine not the electronic avatar of Chef Ramsey. The order in which you put the ingredients matters a lot. Follow your recipe and if there is no recipe then adopt the general rule; liquids and yeast first then whatever dry ingredients you’re using and end with salt then butter on top. Do not ever make the mistake of putting the yeast and salt in together, trust me.
- There’s an urban myth about bread machines. It has to do with bread machine yeast and how you need to use it with your machine. The problem is that this yeast is on the somewhat expensive side. In most recipes, it doesn’t matter if you use regular yeast in the bread machine yeast.
- If your recipe calls for the addition of ‘extra’ ingredients like nuts, cheese, produce, spices or oats, wait until the ball is just forming then sprinkle the extra ingredients on. Putting all your extra ingredients in at the beginning can lead to the baked good not mixing properly.
- Yes, the bread machine is a machine, it is neither a robot nor an artificial intelligence. While it can be very tempting to just toss some stuff into the machine and be on your way, you need to check habitually and regularly on what you’re baking. Always check to ensure that your ingredients mixed right before making and that they stay that way while baking.
- You might need help from time to time to start the mixing process. If you’re using one of those recipes that need a lot of liquid, you will likely need some assistance to start the process. Not to worry though, once the dough starts to form, the machine can and will take over the mixing.
- Now for a simple less, when the bread is done, it will be hot and so will the basket. What I’m saying here is don’t just grab the basket when the bread ready, you will burn your fingers. Instead, unplug the machine and open the lid so as to safeguard your limbs.
- Do not leave your loaf in the machine for a long time. Don’t try to cool your load on the machine or forget it there either. If you do this the bottom part of the loaf will start becoming moist and unusable. The ideal time to get your bread out of the machine is as soon as it cools.
- Cleaning this machine is fairly easy and straightforward, just take extra precautions so that you don’t scratch the basket. Soak your basket then easily wipe it off. You can air dry before returning the basket to the machine. Some models of bread machine have detachable wands; please ensure that you do not lose your want regardless of what happens. If you lose your wand, the machine is as good as useless to you.
- Recipes matter a lot. Bread machines do not give you a lot of chances to go with your gut on some things. You have to follow the recipe to get the bread out. The recipes for bread machines are somewhat different from woodstove baked bread recipes for example so learn to modify recipes and follow them when using the bread machine. Google is very helpful in finding recipes that work.
- Know what you want and what you need before you buy a bread machine. Not all bread machines were created equal so now what you want and required from a bread machine before you buy one. You can borrow or get one from a thrift store before actually buying just to get a feel for it.
- Bread machines that have detachable wands are easier to clean, easier to maintain and simpler to use than the other types. It is tough to reach under a non-detachable wand to clean so keep your eye out when making a purchase.
- The best thing about a bread machine is that it is not strictly for bread. There is a setting on the machine called the ‘mix dough.’ Under this setting, you can mix pretty much any dough you want. Whatever it is you want to make from rolls, to cookies to bagels, to breadsticks to calzones to pizza dough to cinnamon rolls to, hot dog rolls to hamburger buns to croissants to tortillas to play-doh to pitas and so on. The list is a very long one.
Bread can also be paired with different types of homemade pasta using your own pasta maker. There you have it. There is no reason for your bread machine to be the enemy or a source of a headache, instead, make it one of the cooler things in your kitchen. And enjoy all the baked deliciousness it has to offer.
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