Get the best out of your bread maker
With an increased demand for fresh and nutritious food, many of us have invested in a bread maker. These versatile machines can provide fresh loaves, from wholemeal to multigrain or plain white, every morning, with very little work required. To ensure you get the best results though, follow a few guidelines.
Use your loaf
A bread maker is a fairly simple machine, and if you follow the instructions carefully, you should get satisfactory results. Taking a little care in the preparation can ensure your loaves emerge in perfect condition.
- Like any machine, the results will reflect what you put in. Use top quality bread flour, unbleached if you can find it, or wholemeal flour. Use dried yeast, as fast-acting natural yeasts are not always suitable for bread makers.
- Even if you follow recommended measurements, some flours will absorb moisture more readily, Until you get used to your machine, it can be advisable to check your dough at the kneading stage to ensure that it is neither too soggy nor too dry.
- If your machine has a cycle for whole wheat flours, use this for other heavy flour recipes, such as rye bread.
- Remove the bread quickly once the baking cycle is complete. Leaving the bread will make its crust soggy and may cause it to collapse. If you are setting a timer to bake the bread, ensure that you will be there to remove it when the cycle is complete.
Initially, there will be a lot of trial and error involved in using your bread maker. Take a note of what went wrong and adjust yeast and liquid contents accordingly.
Once you have mastered the basics of your bread maker, you might like to start getting a little more adventurous. Most machines can cope with artisan loaves, sweet breads, French bread, even brioche. Learn a little about the effects of sugar, fruit or spices on yeast so you can balance your ingredients for perfect results.