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Old 08-15-2016, 05:04 AM   #1
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Bread machine woes

I recently bought a bread machine as I don't have time to hand make bread.
Three loaves in and I'm stuck.

First loaf one side didn't mix - my fault as I didn't attach the mixer properly.
Flopped in the middle and was dense.

Second loaf was hard and dense.

Third the same.
Common problem is the paddles get so stuck in the bread I have to cut them out.

Does anybody have a fool proof recipe for a white and wholewheat loaf I can use to get going?
My baking knowledge in next to nothing, but I want to provide my family with homemade bread.

Thank you for your input.

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Old 08-15-2016, 05:36 AM   #2
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When we had a machine, the paddle would sort of stick in the bottom and there'd be a hole in the bottom of the bread. I'd think that would sort of be a problem across the board, though I haven't looked at, much less used, a bread machine in years.

First thing I would do is check your yeast. Check the expiration date to begin with. I've found long expired yeast still on the shelves at reputable grocery stores. Next step is to put about 1/2 cup warm (not hot, but what feels warm to you) water in a small bowl, along with just a pinch of sugar and a couple of teaspoons of yeast, stir gently just to mix in the yeast, and then let stand for 5-10 minutes. The yeast should start to make bubbles and foam up. If it doesn't, it's dead and you need to get fresh yeast. I buy the jarred yeast and keep it in the fridge after opening, and don't bother with the little packets anymore.

Next is are you adding your ingredients correctly per the directions that came with your bread machine, especially if you are time baking? If I remember correctly, mine had me add the liquid first, then the salt, then the flour, then whatever else went in besides the yeast. You don't want the yeast to touch the salt. Salt can kill the yeast. You don't want the yeast to touch the water until it is mixing, because water will activate the yeast and if it's not being mixed and going through the rising/baking cycle immediately then it may totally die or not be active enough to rise the bread correctly.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:39 AM   #3
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Oh, most bread machines come with a recipe book. Have you tried any of those?

If you got a used machine and didn't get a book, what size is it? My old machine would make either a 1 pound loaf or a 1-1/2 pound loaf.
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Old 08-15-2016, 07:22 AM   #4
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Thank you for the replies.
I will try the yeast trick. In brewing we call it a yeast starter.
My machine is second hand. It makes loaves from 2lb - 3lb.
From the above I have found and downloaded the recipe book. Hopefully this will help going forward.
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Old 08-15-2016, 07:38 AM   #5
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After the second rise, and before the machine starts baking the loaf, take the dough out of the machine and remove the beaters. You don't need them any more.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:38 AM   #6
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I've had a bread machine since 1999 and have only made bread, the machine "way," twice. There are several factors at work.

One, I really didn't care for the "bellybutton" the mixing paddle created in the finished product.

Secondly, the bread itself just wasn't that good. I used the recipe in the book that came with the machine.

Lastly, it only made one loaf which, for us, wasn't very acceptable. We LIKE our fresh homemade bread and go through a lot. Not to mention that I haven't bought commercially-made bread products (yes products, plural) for about 30 years. I make ALL our bread.

Here's how I handled all the above challenges.

First, the indentation in the finished loaf became a non-problem because instead of using the machine to do its thing, I only use it for the kneading and first rise...using my own bread recipe. No bread gets baked in the appliance, so no paddle stays in the dough or makes a cavern in the baked loaf.

Second issue. Solved by using my own recipe.

Last problem...by using my own recipe and utilizing the machine for only the kneading and first rise, the end result is two normally-shaped loaves of bread.

In short, I fill the mixing container with the ingredients for my selected recipe then turn the machine to the DOUGH cycle and let it do its thing.

Once the dough cycle is finished, I turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface, shape the dough into two equal and even loaves, place the dough into greased bread pans, let rise for the second/last rise. After they've completed the last rise, into the oven they go.

The time for the machine to do its job is 90 minutes. It only takes me a few minutes to shape the loaves and put them in the pans. The last rise is about 1 hour.

For the last rise, I put a cereal bowl filled with water in the microwave and heat on HIGH for 4 minutes while I shape the loaves. Leave the bowl in the oven to create a warm, moist environment for the loaves to "enjoy" as the finish their last rise.

In essence, I use the microwave as a proofing box. I put the loaves into the microwave for the hour's rise. Again, don't remove the bowl of water.

At the 30-minute point, I preheat my oven and by the end of the hour's time, the oven is perfect and the bread is, too.

My standard loaf recipe bakes at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes, using glass pans. I prefer glass over metal, but that's me. You might choose something else.

Even though the resulting bread is made using the combination machine and hand processes, very little hands-on time is required. This allows for time to do other tasks.

I now HAVE to make my breads this way because arthritis has settled so significantly in my hands that I simply cannot knead any more.

The bonus to doing what I do is that the microwave gets a nice steam clean.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowbeast View Post
I recently bought a bread machine as I don't have time to hand make bread.
Three loaves in and I'm stuck.

First loaf one side didn't mix - my fault as I didn't attach the mixer properly.
Flopped in the middle and was dense.

Second loaf was hard and dense.

Third the same.
Common problem is the paddles get so stuck in the bread I have to cut them out.

Does anybody have a fool proof recipe for a white and wholewheat loaf I can use to get going?
My baking knowledge in next to nothing, but I want to provide my family with homemade bread.

Thank you for your input.
I think I've already posted elsewhere that I think bread machines are the work of the devil! Having made bread by hand for more years than I care to remember, I decided I needed a BM. Ha!! Worst decision of my life and after struggling with it for over a year it finally made its way to the charity shop for some other poor sap to suffer with. Several of my friends have taken the same road.

As I said, I've made bread in the traditional way since Noah was a lad. Admittedly, it takes its time but it isn't your time. I mix mine in either the big stand mixer, or the processor if I am making a smaller amount of bread. The mixer or processor cut down the kneading time although I like to give it 5 minutes or so hand kneading afterwards. Then I put it in a large Lock & Lock box for the first rise, choosing the place to put it (and therefore the temperature of the place I leave it - you can even put it in the fridge if you are going to be out all day and the kitchen is warm). A quick "knock back" when you get home, pop it in the baking tin or onto the sheet pan, turn on the oven and by the time the oven has come to heat the second proving should be ready and you can put it in the oven.

I find I get a better result if I put a bowl or roasting tin of hot water at the bottom of the oven when I light it to bake the bread. I used to think it was an old wives' tale but have found that it really does improve the crust.

Don't give up. Home-made bread is wonderful once you get the knack of it. However, don't expect it to have either the taste or texture of the average supermarket sliced wrapped loaf. The manufacturers have worked hard to get that wonderful cottonwoolly texture and flavour

Can you buy "strong bread flour" where you are? You might have better results with that than your standard "all-purpose flour". Over here I can buy (for a premium!) an extra strong Canadian bread flour which make exellent bread.

Best of luck.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:59 AM   #8
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I've never had a bread machine, so I can't help you there. If you can't make the machine work but are still determined to make your own bread, you might want to consider no-knead or dutch oven bread. The only equipment necessary is a mixing bowl and a cast iron dutch oven. I mix a batch of dough (only takes about 10 - 15 minutes), let it rise overnight, and then stick it in the fridge for a few days until I'm ready to bake it in the DO. There's a ton of videos and recipes on youtube.
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:00 AM   #9
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Thank you for the responses.
My dilemma was I sold my stove/oven and got a gas oven as I am moving from the city to a smallholding in the drakensberg in South Africa. My gas oven is not great. It wasn't sure about how reliable the electricity supply is.
I'm going to try the dough function tomorrow and try the gas oven.
Nothing beats the taste of homemade bread.
I'll have a nice big veggie garden next year. Trying to grow/hunt my own food.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenspeed View Post
I've never had a bread machine, so I can't help you there. If you can't make the machine work but are still determined to make your own bread, you might want to consider no-knead or dutch oven bread. The only equipment necessary is a mixing bowl and a cast iron dutch oven. I mix a batch of dough (only takes about 10 - 15 minutes), let it rise overnight, and then stick it in the fridge for a few days until I'm ready to bake it in the DO. There's a ton of videos and recipes on youtube.
Oh, but hand kneading is wonderful when you've had a really bad, frustrating day.

Better knead dough than be forced to strangle that pest of a nuisance in your year 9 history class.

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