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Convert a Handmade Bread Recipe

Recreate Family Bread Recipes in Your Bread Machine

No more will you have to spend hours mixing, kneading, letting dough rise and baking; the bread machine does it for you. So haul that machine down from the top shelf and put it to work creating the delicious breads you remember as a child. Soon the aroma of fresh baked bread will fill your home. There are just a few key points to keep in mind when you convert bread recipes to bread machine.

Your Bread Machine

Determine whether your machine bakes a 1½ lb. loaf, a 2 lb. loaf or both. A 1½ lb. loaf generally takes three cups of flour and a 2 lb. loaf takes four. You may have to reduce the flour to fit the machine. Remember, if you do reduce the flour, decrease all other ingredients proportionally. Check if your owner’s manual includes tips in converting traditional bread making recipes to machine.


Be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This takes a little planning ahead. Depending on how warm your home is, it generally takes an hour or more for the refrigerated ingredients to come to room temperature. If you measure out the flour, it will warm faster than a whole 5 lb. package.
When measuring, spoon the flour into the measuring cup. Dipping the measuring cup into the flour can add up to a tablespoon. It is best to use flour specifically made for bread baking or just for use in the bread machine.

Warm water should be no hotter than 110° F. Yeast comes in packets and in small jars. A packet of yeast contains 2¼ teaspoons. Try to avoid the “rapid rising” variety. Dough that rises too rapidly doesn’t produce the most flavorful loaves. If making a substitution such as using maple syrup instead of sugar, count it as a liquid ingredient and reduce the amount of flour accordingly.

Loading the Bread Machine

Put the liquid ingredients in first. This includes the warm water, eggs, liquid sweeteners and oils. Next, add the dry ingredients. Spread the dry ingredients out to cover the liquid. If yeast comes in contact with liquid too soon, it will not rise properly. Make an indent in the dry ingredients and sprinkle in the yeast. Choose the basic setting unless using a whole wheat or rye flour.

Adding Special Ingredients

When adding ingredients such as dried fruit or nuts, do not add them at the beginning of the cycle. Wait until nearly the end of the second kneading cycle. This gives the ingredients time to be mixed in without shredding or being torn into small pieces.

Ingredients that Inhibit Yeast

Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg inhibit the activity of yeast. Rather than eliminating them from your recipe altogether, add them at the end of the second rise. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine the timing. Other herbs that inhibit yeast are dry mustard, onion, garlic, oregano and thyme. Salt substitutes don’t work in a bread machine

Additional Tips

If the dough ball looks too wet or sticky, you may have to add a little more flour to your machine. If it appears dry or flaky, you may have to add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time.

Since you are basically creating a new version of an old recipe, keep notes on any changes or adjustments you may make. Bread baking is an art and your new-old recipe is a work in progress. It may take one or two tries to get it right.

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December 12, 2022/

Below are the basic ingredients in bread making: Yeast – A microscopic living organism that is used in bread to cause…

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