Bread machines have become an indispensable part of our lives. Simply gathering our ingredients, placing them in the machine, and pressing a few buttons initiates the process. We will have a perfectly baked loaf in a few hours! One of the primary reasons why these machines are worth the investment is their convenience.
Bread machines perform all the laborious tasks for us. However, a device can remove the personal touch and extra love that goes into baking a loaf at home. Therefore, if I’m feeling adventurous, I use the bread machine only to knead the dough, then prove and bake the bread by hand.
While making bread by hand is more rewarding, it requires much effort and can result in tears if something goes wrong. If you want to eliminate the step of kneading the dough but still want to add a personal touch by baking the bread in the oven, it is possible to begin kneading the dough with a bread machine.
Making Dough in Bread Machine and Baking in Oven
Stage 1: Kneading Dough
The hand-kneading dough is excruciating! I feel it the following morning. And it feels like you’re doing it forever! Utilize the dough-kneading function of your bread machine if you have one.
Follow the recipe for a 2-pound loaf or the largest loaf size your bread machine produces. Place the wet ingredients first, followed by the dry, and set the bread machine to “dough only.” Your bread machine will knead and rise the dough, but it will not bake it. Your bread machine will beep when the first rise is complete, and the dough is ready to be reshaped. If your bread machine does not have a “dough only” setting, you must carefully monitor the dough to determine when the first rise is complete.
Stage 2: Shaping Dough
Once the dough has been removed from the bread machine, it must be reshaped. You do not need to knead the dough again before its second rise, as doing so will destroy all the air bubbles, resulting in dense bread that will not bake properly. At this point, you can leave it as one large loaf, divide it into smaller loaves, or pleat it. There are countless possibilities for shaping your dough! Additionally, this is the ideal time to add additional ingredients, such as dried fruit and nuts.
When reshaping and preparing dough for its second rise, it is tempting to flour the work surface to prevent sticking. Since the dough has already undergone the initial rise, adding additional flour will result in a tougher dough and a denser loaf. Add extra flour if you feel that your dough is still wet, and sticks to a clean hand. After removing the risen dough from the bread machine is best to lightly oil your kitchen counter. This will prevent your dough from sticking to the surface and produce light and airy bread.
After incorporating additional ingredients and reshaping the dough, place it in a loaf tin or tray and cover it with a cloth or cling film. The dough is now prepared for its second rise. Allow the dough to rise in a warm, dry area of your home for approximately one hour or until it has doubled in size. To expedite the second rise, preheat the oven to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius and place the dough in the oven for 20 minutes. A temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius will kill the yeast. Depending on the bread you are baking, preheat the oven to 350-400F or 180-200C if the dough is in a warm location.
Stage 3: The Finished Product
By now, the entire house will be permeated with the aroma of freshly baked bread, which is truly unparalleled. Check the bread at the 30-minute mark; if the top crust is not sufficiently browned, continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to overbake your bread, or it will lose its fluffy, soft texture and develop a burnt crust.
Before slicing the bread, let it cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack. You want the food to be still warm when you dig in. No one will be able to tell that you used a bread machine to knead the dough because the finished product is aromatic, homemade bread of star baker quality.
Kneading the dough is the most laborious aspect of making homemade bread. In addition, this is the stage where things could go wrong. Too much kneading will produce a dense, tough loaf of bread. Too little kneading will prevent the yeast from activating, resulting in a texture less flatbread. If your ingredients are correct, the bread machine will knead and rise the dough to perfection, so you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong.
If you have a bread machine but want to add a personal touch to your homemade bread, let the bread machine do the hard work. By using a bread machine to knead the dough, you have control over adding additional ingredients and shaping it as you see fit.
Because under-kneaded dough doesn’t spring up as much in the oven, it often results in a flatter loaf with a dense texture. While it may not be the perfect loaf you hoped for, it’s still entirely edible. Before discarding your bread, try to cut a few slices first, if it holds up, then it’s fine to enjoy.
You want to be around when your bread starts its final rise. Most bread machine manuals show a timeline of steps: e.g., preheat 31 minutes, knead 19 minutes, first rise 35 minutes, second rise 20 minutes, etc
Loaves made with over-kneaded dough often end up with a rock-hard crust and a dense, dry interior. Slices will be very crumbly, especially toward the middle. If nothing else, over-knead loaves make great breadcrumbs! Bread-baking is a learning process
Bread Machines bake bread in 2 to 4 hours. Two-hour loaves are done on a rapid cycle. Regular bread bakes in about 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
This rest allows the starches and the gluten to expand and fully absorb the water, which makes the dough easier to handle and can shorten the time needed to fully knead the dough.
Kneading is the process that brings the dough together, develops the strands of gluten and creates a silky and strong dough ready to be baked. Why do we knead dough? Kneading stretches and develops the gluten strands in the dough.
Your dough can become sticky when you add too much water or the flour isn’t suitable for the type of dough you are making. Over proofing or fermenting the dough can also result in the gluten structure weakening causing sticky dough.
Bread machines, especially those with two paddles, do a superb job of kneading all kinds of dough. Use it for standard pizza dough, basic bread, whole grain loaves, or even sticky ciabatta, brioche, or rye dough. The only bread recipes not appropriate for a bread machine is a no-knead or refrigerator dough.
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