Bread machine recipes and hacks
March 5, 2022 11:08 AM   Subscribe

I know that bread is traditionally for celebrating the first year of a pandemic, but I have highly-fluctuating executive function and can't manage fully homemade bread and have only now caved and purchased a bread machine.

I also picked up a really solid-looking recipe book (The No-Fuss Bread Machine Cookbook) that has some things I want to explore, but I am also interested in other people's tried-and-true recipe, techniques, hacks etc.

I am planning to branch out to non-machine-baked recipes that just use the machine for mixing, kneading, and rising, so I am also interested in your focaccias, flatbreads, pizza doughs, and other interesting products I can use the machine to prep and then finish myself. Any recommendations for equipment/supplies related to that process are also welcome. The only loaf pans I currently own are glass.

Along with the most typical dozen or so modes that come on modern bread machines, mine also apparently makes jam, if anyone has thoughts on that. (It does not have the highly-programmable "homemade" mode or a ferment mode, because I got a cheap one.)

I do like the occasional weekend project-experiment too, and I have almost every other appliance one might want involved in the process - air fryer, instant pot, sous vide, vitamix, food processors of every size, hand mixers, a big oven, a small oven, gas grill, an electric kettle, thermometers with and without alarms, Kitchenaid mixer, a firepit, an electric hot pot, camp stoves, Korean BBQ grill plate, sandwich maker. I do not yet have a pizza oven, a tandoor, a gyro/doner spit, or a smoker but with an interesting enough recipe I could make it happen.
posted by Lyn Never to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm a bread robot fan. My top three bread machine tips:

- for bread you want a good rise on, let your yeast sit separately in a cup with the warm water and whatever sugar while you're measuring in your dry ingredients, and then pour it on top when it's started to activate. The make a little divot and pour in your dry yeast standard step is fine, but I always get a better rise off it when I baby the yeast just a little.

- if you're going to be out all day use the timer and set it to make pizza dough so that it finishes when you walk through the door. Fresh homemade pizza is a pretty fast dinner that way.

- I'll use the machine to make enriched dough and then bun it out into [literally any oven container] to finish in the oven. I use a pie plate because I think circles are pretty.
posted by phunniemee at 1:25 PM on March 5, 2022

My best hack was to break the speaker off the circuit board, so I could set the timer for 6 AM without it waking me up.
posted by Dashy at 2:00 PM on March 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We love our bread machine so much- it is an every other day applicance. We also love Beth Hensperger's The Breadlover's Bread Machine Cookbook and when feeling daring we go to King Arthur's website.

We do get tired of the same consistency in the loaf - it always beats a certain way so you always get the same type and amount of bubbles. To vary that up we use different grains or we do the final rise (and usually let it be longer) outside the pan and bake in the oven. Right now we are obsessed with buckwheat millet bread.

Have a blast!
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 2:02 PM on March 5, 2022

Best answer: Here is the foolproof/simple bread machine whole wheat sourdough recipe I came up with, after much experimentation.

It will also work just as well, or better, for a 100% white flour sourdough bread, or 50/50 white/whole wheat, or any other percentage.

If you happen to be interested in using whole grains, and also interested in sourdough, this is a recipe to keep in your files somewhere, because the usual consensus is that 100% whole wheat sourdough can't be done. But it can - and in a bread machine no less.

And not only can it be done - it's super easy.
posted by flug at 2:13 PM on March 5, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There are general rules for things that make for a lighter or denser bread. Lighter (and therefore bigger) loaves: more yeast, more sugar (though this will taste), less salt (ditto), less fat (will probably go stale faster). I tend to up the salt and the yeast a bit to get a bread that suits me better at about the same density. I'm not very scientific about the measurements but it seems to work out.

Dried yeast lasts years in the freezer when it only seems to last months in the cupboard. I got a pound bag from Costco, and it's not working as well any more so I've just bought a replacement, but it was bought eight years ago and has had a good run.

Finally, failed bread can go all the way from a bit small to a baked lump of concrete if you are unlucky (or if you're an idiot like me and forgot to put the yeast in). This can still be used as breadcrumbs (if it has some air) or rusk (if it has none) by running it through the food processor or blender. I use it to make sausagemeat; meatloaf would also be an obvious one; but there are tons of recipes that use breadcrumbs. Keep a recipe or two to hand that have breadcrumbs as an ingredient and you can claim your failures were completely intentional.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 2:43 PM on March 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If, like me, you end up making the same type over and over again, measure the dry ingredients for a second loaf into a plastic container at the same time as for the first. It only takes a few extra seconds when you're already doing it anyway, and having another batch's ingredients ready to dump in makes it a lot easier.
posted by metasarah at 2:48 PM on March 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: King Arthur Baking has 10 tips and more for bread machines.

However, I believe no baker, even if you only use the bread machine, should go without King Arthur Baker's Companion book.
posted by kschang at 5:31 PM on March 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: First: bread flour and bread machine yeast make a much better loaf than AP flour and regular yeast. Bread machine yeast and rapid rise yeast are the same.

I use the dough cycle for any recipe that will fit in the machine which in my case means 3.5 cups of flour or less.

I've had great success with hamburger buns and hot cross buns. I eventually worked out a method for English muffins.

For inclusions like nuts and raisins and the like, I have either used the dough cycle and kneaded them in afterwards, or put them in for the last 5 minutes of the kneading cycle. Either way will work, but one time I put in candied cherries and, by the time the machine was through kneading, the dough was thoroughly pink. Tasted fine, though.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:47 PM on March 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe not relevant, I use my breadmaker mostly for mixing and proofing - I bake the risen dough in a real oven using regular bread/ whatever pans.
posted by porpoise at 10:52 PM on March 5, 2022

Response by poster: Thank you all for your excellent insight and advice! I have made several really great loaves of bread (and some recommendation here led me to the delicious KA English Muffin Loaf recipe) and one exploding gummy monster olive/feta loaf that pushed the lid up and crusted all over it AND YET when sliced and air-fried was still delicious and made a delicious sort of eggplant fatteh.

For anyone coming behind me here wondering if a cheap bread machine works well, I can definitely speak to the usability of the Dash bread machine. It only goes up to a 1.5lb loaf and so is probably only for 2-3 people but it works plenty well for that.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:00 PM on March 7, 2022

In the "hack" category: If you don't like the hole in the loaf from the paddle, you can calculate when the final rise begins, remove the paddle and replace the bread to finish rising and baking. It will produce a loaf that is more practical for sandwiches.
posted by SandiBeech at 8:22 AM on March 19, 2022

I once found a T-Fal bread machine on for like $90. Can't say for absolute sure that it's the best $90 I ever spent, but it's damn high up the list.

None of these are particularly....adventurous...breads, but they're tasty:

A longtime favorite recipe my partner and I got from a friend and call in her honor "Barbara's Rosemary Bread":
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk (you could just do a cup of water, but the milk makes the crust a little softer)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2½ cups bread flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp bread machine or quick-rising yeast
Dump all in bread machine pan, set for your sandwich bread cycle (our T-Fal calls this #10, "sweet bread"), 1.5-lb loaf.


We call this ‘pepperoni-pepper bread’, or often just ‘pizza bread’. A friend of my partner’s sent us this recipe; I have no idea where it came from originally, but one look and we knew it was going to be good. And it is.

The “hard” part here is chopping the pepperoni—which doesn’t seem difficult, until you try to cut something round, squishy and oily—but that’s about it. Given an adult to do the knife-work, a middle-schooler could probably handle making this…

(Given your 1.5-lb machine, this might fit, or you might need to scale it down a bit. I usually set ours for a 2-lb loaf when I make it, but I have no idea what size it was originally intended for.)

Cut enough pepper and pepperoni to make
  • 1/3 cup chopped pepper — around half a bell pepper, or an entire jalapeño
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pepperoni
Add to bread-machine pan, in order liquids–small solids–flour–yeast, or according to manufacturer directions:
  • 1 cup hot-but-not-scalding water
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • chopped pepper & pepperoni
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp bread machine or quick-rising yeast
Set machine to basic sandwich-bread cycle, medium or light crust color, and 2-pound loaf, and run.


It seems rare to find bread-machine (rather than traditional by-hand) bread recipes on a flour package, but that's where I got this Oatmeal-Pecan Loaf recipe: a Robin Hood flour bag, to be specific.
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp bread machine or quick-rising yeast
Again, run on basic/sandwich-bread setting.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 8:21 AM on April 17, 2022

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