Well, now that you have a bread machine I am sure you are just itching to get right in and start baking. Don’t! First, it doesn’t matter if you have a new bread machine, a used one, or one given to you by a friend you need to test it out and make sure that it works. Just plugging it isn’t enough, but it is a good start.
You’re First From Scratch Loaf
I want you to use the recipe below. I have tested this recipe in over 30 different machines and have never had it to fail. Even, if you ultimately want to make whole grain breads use the recipe below. We are still testing the bread machine and you are learning about bread and bread dough in the bread machine. In other words, you are getting experience.
Bread Machine Digest White Bread
1-1/8 cups water
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons dry milk
2-1/2 teaspoons yeast (1 of the packets I had you get at the store)
Place all of the ingredients in your machines fully assembled pan. Select the
Basic or White cycle and press start.
Checking the Dough Consistency
Now about 10 minutes after your machine has started kneading the dough you need to open the lid and check the consistency of the dough. The dough should be starting to form a smooth round ball. When you touch the dough with your finger, it should be slightly tacky to the touch however; no dough should remain on your finger when you pull it away. The dough consistency is very important and with few exceptions, all bread machine dough’s should look and feel this way.
If your dough it too dry add 1 tbsp. of water at a time (allowing the machine to knead for a minute or so between additions) until the dough is the proper consistency. If the dough is too wet add 1 tbsp. of flour at a time (allowing the machine to knead for a minute or so between additions) until the dough is the proper consistency. These types of adjustments aren’t unusual and don’t mean there is something wrong with the recipe. What is happening is that depending on the weather the flour has more or less moisture in it. Each time you make this and every other recipe you will need to check the dough consistency, that is unless you are using the timer at which point you need to use a recipe that you have tried before and have found to work well for you.
NOTE: If you have to add more than 3 tbsp. of water or flour to get the dough consistency right then the chances are the recipe is off. Make a note on the recipe of how much you had to add of extra water or flour and include that extra water or flour the next time you make the recipe. Don’t do this however for amounts smaller than 3 tbsp.
When the Loaf is Done
After the machine has beeped to indicate the bread’s done, open the machines lid leave the bread for 10 minutes. Then remove the pan with the bread from the machine and gently remove the bread from the pan (invert and shake until it slides out). Place the bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
To store the bread, store it unsliced in a heavy plastic bag. I highly recommend one of the clear hard plastic storage boxes for keeping your bread fresh. These run about $12 to $13 and really work well. Remember that you should use the bread with in a day or so as fresh homemade bread does not contain any chemical preservatives and will stale fast.
Congratulations, you have just baked your first loaf of bread. Now you know what the dough should look and feel like and you know how to work you machine. You ready to move on to other recipes. If your loaf did not turn out right Look at the troubleshooting chart and see if you can figure out what happened. If the chart does not help, please feel free to contact us or join our Bread Machine Club mailing list and ask for help there. Remember when asking for help to provide as much information as you can.