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The Versatile Bread Machine

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When I was a college student, our dormitory wasn’t allowed to have hot plates in our rooms, but what was allowed was the versatile bread machine. I say versatile, because we made a whole lot more than bread in our machine. In fact, I daresay that was the use we put it to the least.

We made yeast bread, quick bread, cake, jam, pasta, bread pudding, soup, meatloaf, and at one point we even made soap in it. I’ve since made really good pizza dough, too, but there was no way to cook pizza in our dorm room. Nothing made waking up nicer than the smell of fresh coffee and fresh bread. At first it was a little hard to sleep to the whirring of the machine as it beat the dough, but after awhile we were used to it and it didn’t really stop us from sleeping. Not much does stop college kids from sleeping! To find find out which bread machine is for you, check out the top bread machine reviews for detail specification and also its pros and cons. A good bread machine goes a long way.

Making Yeast Bread

There are steps the machine goes through when making bread, almost exactly like if you were making it by hand, but all the work is taken out of it and you just get to go about your business while the bread machine does it all for you.

The first step is heating the machine up. This warms the ingredients, mainly so the yeast will rise to its greatest potential. It also allows the flours and other dry ingredients to absorb some of the liquid and expand the gluten. The machine doesn’t make any movement yet.

Mixing the dough is pretty much like you would do it by hand. The machine’s paddle turns, mixing the ingredients slowly and gradually so that they are all fully incorporated.

Once the mixing is finished, the machine will knead the dough. The paddle will rotate in both directions, faster than in the mixing phase.

Once the bread is kneaded, the machine will stop and allow the bread dough to rise in the controlled, heated pan. The amount of time the bread rises depends upon the cycle you have chosen.

After the first rise, the machine comes back on to knock the dough down. you’ll hear the paddle whirring again. Then the dough is left to proof until it has doubled in size.

Finally, the bread will bake. And oh, the aroma of baking bread!

Some Tips for Making the Perfect Loaf of Bread

The single most important tip is to use fresh flour and fresh yeast. Read the package to determine if it is still within the “use by” date. Next in importance is to have all your ingredients at room temperature, between 65° and 77° F. The liquid you add should be, however, at 80°. Be sure to measure and weigh all the ingredients accurately, because little bits make a big difference in a loaf of bread.

Of course, you might want to try making something other than bread in your versatile bread machine, too. Basically anything that needs to be stirred and baked is game for cooking in the bread maker. It makes exceptionally good meatloaf!

Pics credit: Edvvc

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