How to Make Bread with a Bread Machine | Bob's Red Mill
Making Bread with a Bread Machine
Baking 101 on March 5, 2018 by

Making Bread with a Bread Machine

Did you get a bread machine for Christmas this year? Or maybe you are new to baking, or you just have an old bread machine sitting in the cabinet, collecting dust from many years ago? Either way, making fresh bread with a bread machine is a unique process (as is baking bread in general), and you can definitely expect to make a few missteps on your first couple tries. If you have not quite mastered the art of the bread machine yet, then you have come to the right place! This post will help you learn all the ins and outs of baking with your bread machine, and help you learn which methods are the right ones to create that ideal homemade loaves of bread with ease!

What Is a Bread Machine?

Okay, you most likely already know what a bread machine is if you're here: a bread machine is a machine that makes bread. Duh. But what you may not know is technically how it works, and what processes it simulates to help you create better easier breads and doughs. Bread machines on a commercial level were invented as early as 1903--think sliced bread. This bread is created on a mass scale, but individual bread machines only became readily available to consumers in the 1980s and are quite different. This is why your homemade bread in a bread machine will likely still taste better than many of those mass-produced loaves.

A bread maker machine contains a few basic parts. In simple terms, you can think of a bread machine as a tiny oven the size of a loaf of bread. It will have a built-in pan that will be your only available bread or dough size, and some sort of electronic dial to operate it. The other most important part is that your machine will probably have a removable paddle that you can attach to the pan; this paddle serves to actually stir up the ingredients and create your dough for you. So these are the basic parts that make up a bread machine, now let us explore how to actually use it!

How to Make Bread in a Bread Machine

All bread maker varieties will be slightly different, and how you use it will be up to the particular instructions in your machine. There are some common steps that you will probably take no matter which bread machine you have, but always read your instruction manual for specifics. The first step, of course, will be mixing in all the different ingredients. When you are making bread by hand, you mix ingredients very carefully and in a specific order--this does not change when making bread with a bread machine. Each machine will have a different order of ingredients listed, but most will be compiled of the following basic ingredients.

1 cup of warm Water
2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Salt
4 cups of Flour, sifted
2 ½ tsp Active Dry Yeast
2 tsp Oil

You will probably just mix them all together, but putting them in in the correct order is important to activate the yeast at the exact right time. Measuring your wet and dry ingredients is equally important here as it is when making the dough by hand. If you are new to baking, then check out this article with some baking measurement tips and tricks to get you started on the right track!

Once you have added all of the correct ingredients, you should set the bread machine to whatever setting is recommended for your desired bread type. The instruction manual and recipes included in the machine should have some suggestions as to which settings work best for which types of bread. After you set it, the paddle attachment that we talked about earlier will mix and knead your ingredients into the perfect bread dough! You can stop using the bread machine at this point if you like. Some bakers only use the bread machine to speed up the process of kneading and proofing the dough, not for the entire bread making process. It is completely up to you how you like to use your bread machine, so try a few different ways and let us know which is your favorite!

If you are planning to use the bread machine for the entire process, then you will need to complete another step after mixing the dough. At this point, you will need to set your bread machine to the right baking settings. Some machines can do this step from the beginning as well, but most will require you to do something between the mixing and the baking stages. Many modern bread machines have timers on them so that you can mix the dough and then set it not to bake until later on . . . imagine setting it so that you wake up to a freshly baked bread loaf in the morning! Whether or not your machine has a timer, it will bake your singular loaf of bread for the perfect amount of time for your desired setting. Usually, the bread machine bakes a loaf of bread in around three to four hours. There have been quicker models released in recent years that can bake an entire loaf in under an hour. The benefit, either way, is that you do not need to stay up to take the bread out of the oven and turn off the oven. The sub-hour breads typically are not quite as high quality as those that are allowed the full normal baking time, but we understand that sometimes you're in a pinch!

There you have it: three simple steps to creating delicious homemade bread with your bread machine. The process is so much easier than making your bread by hand that you will not regret this investment! Your friends and family will be all too happy to help taste test all of your yummy new creations.

Other Ways to Use a Bread Machine

We briefly mentioned that there are other ways to use a bread machine, some of which aren't even for bread! Many bakers simply use the paddle feature to mix their dough. You can do this, and then bake the bread in your oven the typical way, or you can save the mixed dough in the freezer to have on hand for emergencies. Another way bakers love to use bread machines is to make other types of dough, like pizza dough or pasta dough, for instance. Some models can even be set to make other things, like jam or mochi, as well, in case bread is not quite your jam . . . get it? Jam? Oh well . . . 

Shelf Life

The shelf life of your homemade bread will likely be shorter than store-bought bread, as you are not including any preservatives in the mix. However, using a bread machine probably will not shorten the life any more than if you made it by hand. You can still enjoy your bread for about a week after making it (depending on variety and exact ingredients,) and you can always go for our favorite option, freezing the dough! Frozen homemade bread dough will last for up to 6 months in the freezer!

Types of Bread

Certain types of bread will work better for you in the bread machine. More glutinous breads are more likely to produce the best results, as are those made with special bread machine ingredients. The yeast is the most commonly formulated ingredient made specifically for the bread machine. We recommend buying bread machine yeast or rapid-rising yeast for the best results, as all yeasts are definitely not created equal. No special flours are needed other than what is called for in your recipe--most bread recipes will call for bread flour, which can be used interchangeably in a bread machine recipe. If you are adapting a hand-mixed recipe to a bread machine, you may need to make some adjustments, so pay attention to the size of the recipe. Many manual recipes are made for larger loaves or to make two loaves at a time, and will need to be divided in half for best bread machine results. It's important not to overload your machine past capacity, and it may be tough to tell exactly what that capacity is before the dough has had time to rise. Many breads these days call for alternative flours. Because more glutinous flours typically work best, you may have less successful results if you use an alternative gluten free flour, such as almond flour or corn flour, without any additional changes. But if you pay attention to your recipe, then your bread will be delicious time and time again!

No matter where you are in your baking journey, exploring the use of a bread machine will be a great tool to add to your belt. The possibilities are truly endless with some of the new technology--there are even some models that can add nuts and dried fruit to the dough for you! Try out your favorite bread machine recipes and let us know what you think! Are you a bread machine fan, or a die-hard hand-mixed supporter?

27 Comments

  1. Lorraine Henkelman
    Lorraine Henkelman
    Recipes for bread
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      You can find bread recipes here https://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/for/making/breads/
      Reply
  2. jackie
    I have an expensive bread machine, supposed to be one of the best on the market. I will leave the name off of this comment. I have never been able to make a good loaf of bread of any kind. The crusts are hard, a 1/4 inch thick. Following the instructions provided. Even in calling the company for help. It is the biggest waste of money.
    Reply
  3. Sharon Tavares
    Used the Bob's Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour in my bread machine this week for my cinnamon raisin bread recipe, I always make in the bread machine. I did not get nearly as light a texture bread as I normally do with other bread flours. Any suggestions? How much gluten would you suggest adding, I normally do not use in this recipe. Recipe ratio 1 1/2 cups AP & 3/4 cup bread flour, 1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast, 6 3/4 oz water. My 1.5 lb loaf is normally almost double the size. Nothing else in my process or ingredients has changed. Many Thanks. ~ Sharon
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Sharon - it sounds like your yeast may not have been as active (potentially a yeast or water temperature issue). I would suggest proofing the yeast for at least 15 minutes, ensuring that it is active and that all other ingredients are at room temperature. Sometimes in the winter months bread will take longer to rise and unfortunately automated bread machines don't take into account the ambient temperature to adjust for a longer rise. Likely you do not need to add any Vital Wheat Gluten as our Artisan Bread is already high in protein. If you do want to try, add 2 tsp per cup of flour. If you have further questions or would like a replacement product our Customer Service team is happy to help. They can be reached at 1-800-349-2173 or [email protected] Thanks!
      Reply
  4. Marlene Brubaker
    Marlene Brubaker
    I have the Gluten Free Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix. Can I use it in a breadmaker? The directions are for hand prep only. Are there any adaptations I must make to the recipe? BTW: I lived in Milwaukie from 1989-1991! On Llewellyn Street!
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Marlene, yes you can make our Gluten Free Homemade Wonderful Bread in the bread machine. Use ingredients as written and use a 1-1/2 lb bread machine, use a cycle with a 10 minute mix/knead, a 60 minute rise, and a 90 minute bake or until an internal temperature of 210°F has been reached. Only one rise is needed for gluten-free breads.
      Reply
  5. Lila Kuppan
    I do have Panasonic SD-BT64P bread machine. I am really curious why none of the bread machine makers create a 5 minutes break after the final kneading; so that customers will be able to remove the kneading paddle/blade safely and if needed reshape the loaf and bake it. None of us like the ugly gape the paddle creates at the bottom of the baked loaf. It is about time some manufacturer need to come up with the feature.
    Reply
  6. Ed Secrist
    Very disappointed your gluten free bread machine recipes Did Not say the dough would be as wet as cake batter
    Very disappointed!
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Ed- our Customer Service team is happy to help if you have further questions about our products/recipes. They can be reached at 1-800-349-2173 or [email protected]
      Reply
  7. Sally Lux
    Can I used sourdough starter instead of dry yeast?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Sally - Yes, you can use a sourdough starter instead of yeast in bread recipes. I'd recommend taking a look at the link below from Cultures for Health. When revising a recipe to include sourdough starter, you'll need to take into account the hydration level of the starter and your recipe along with the health/activity of your starter.

      LINK: Cultures for Health: How to Adapt Any Recipe to Become a Sourdough Recipe
      Reply
  8. Melissa Main
    I just got my first bread machine and would like to make bread using your Unbleached Artsean Bread Flour. I prefer wholesome bread like Whole Wheat, Oats, Rye etc. rather than white bread. Where can I find breach machine recipes using your flours?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Melissa - You can find them all linked below on our Recipe Site! :) Happy baking!

      Bob's Red Mill: Bread Machine Recipes
      Reply
  9. MaryAnn Chazen
    I have a new bread machine, Hamilton Beach with a gluten free cycle, I brought your bread making mix flour, now how do I make the bread , it says nothing on the mix about using a bread machine. Or on the bread machines info book.
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Your best bet is to contact Hamilton Beach and ask them since they have a programmed gluten free setting. They will know how to translate the instructions on the bag to what you need in their machine.
      Reply
  10. Marsha K Binkley
    Marsha K Binkley
    I use your Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 for pizza dough and I made a wonderful loaf of GF bread in our Zojirushi BB PDC20 the other day . It had called for water and powdered milk, but instead I used milk heated 110 degrees with 2 T of honey to bloom it . I have lost the reciep could you please help me ?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Marsha - that doesn't sound familiar, we don't have any bread machine recipes that use our Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour on our website. You might be thinking of a recipe that uses our Gluten Free All Purpose flour. You can browse those recipes by clicking the link below and browsing the Recipes tab.

      Bob's Red Mill: Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
      Reply
  11. Maria Thomas
    Hello I have a bag of your gluten-free flour. I don't have xanthan gum but do have ground flax meal to use instead.
    My question is can I follow my bread machine recipe and have it work with the with above info on using flax instead?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Maria - I'd recommend this recipe instead: Gluten Free Sandwich Bread in the Bread Machine
      Reply
  12. Maria
    Hi. I just got a bread machine and it calls for bread machine yeast. I have Bob’s active dry yeast. Your package says to proof yeast. Do I need to do that for my bread machine or just put it in last on top of the flour? If I have to proof it, do I put it in first with my water? I had no idea there were different types of yeast. Uugggh. Thanks
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Maria, it looks like "bread machine yeast" is typically instant yeast, which does not need to be proofed. If using our Active Dry Yeast instead, it will need to be proofed. Take some of the liquid from your recipe measurements and proof the yeast. Once it's bubbly/active you can add it to your machine.
      Reply
  13. Rosanne Fischer
    I have a recipe for gluten free bread in breadmaker with the 1 to 1 flour Don't recall where where i found it. all grease spotted, well-used. comes out right every time. perfect crumb. 1 1/4 C water 1/4 C oil 3 eggs 1 1/4 tp salt 3 Tbsp honey/sugar 3 1/4 C 1 to 1 2 tsp yeast. I bake on Quick bread cycle as i have an older Zojurishi w no gluten cycce
    Reply
  14. Will
    My sister gave me a WestBent Americans Best bread machine I ordered some Bob's Red Mill 10 grain bread. What do I do?
    Thanks, Will
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Will - Here are the instructions for baking our 10 Grain Bread Mix in a Bread Machine:

      For 1 1/2 lb bread machines: Put 1 1/4 cups warm water into machine. Locate and remove the enclosed yeast packet. Add bread mix, 3 Tbsp Canola Oil, and yeast packet. Put machine on basic white bread or medium setting. Turn on machine. Now, enjoy the best whole grain bread you've ever made!
      Reply
  15. BECKY MCCORMACK
    Can I use your artisan bread flour instead of AP flour in my bread machine recipe?? Thank you
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Becky - Yes, you can use Artisan Bread Flour in place of AP Flour. Happy baking!
      Reply

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