How a Bread Machine Works and Why You Might Need One

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Sneak Peek: Learn how a bread machine works and why you may or may not need one. We’ll compare a bread maker and a stand mixer when it comes to making bread.

bread dough beside bread machine--Pin

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Are you wondering if a bread machine or bread maker is worth the money? Will you use it enough to earn its keep in your kitchen? Do you already have a stand mixer, and how does that play into your decision?

If you must choose between a stand mixer or a bread maker, which suits your abilities and needs better?

Note: I receive no compensation from any appliance company for what I say or don’t say here. These are my opinions based on 35+ years of experience with various brands of bread machines and stand mixers.

How Does a Bread Maker Work?

A bread machine simplifies bread-making: add all ingredients at once, set the right program and crust finish, and press START. In about three and a half hours, you’ll have a freshly baked loaf.

The machine comes programmed with preset time periods for pre-warming, mixing, kneading, rising, and baking.

The typical bread machine owner uses the machine to do every step, including baking. However, a large number of machines end up stored in basements, sold at estate sales, or donated to thrift stores. Why? We talk a lot about that on this website.

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. There is more than one way to use a bread machine. Continue reading to find out more.

Who Might Benefit from Purchasing a Bread Machine?

  1. People with difficulty kneading dough due to pain
  2. Those who enjoy fresh bread for toast without much concern for appearance, crust, or texture (using the machine from start to finish)
  3. Individuals who are picky about their bread will find a bread machine’s kneading efficiency and timer highly advantageous(That’s me!)

Can You Save Money by Making Bread?

1. Indeed, basic homemade loaves are cost-effective unless they’re not consumed quickly and spoil due to the lack of preservatives common in store-bought bread. However, homemade bread usually freezes well when wrapped appropriately.

2. These days, many people want to imitate loaves packed with whole grain flour, specialty flour, and seeds. Since these ingredients can be harder to find and more expensive when located, people are often surprised at how much a “healthy” loaf costs, even when made at home.

3. Beginning bakers often don’t realize how fast flour, particularly whole grains and yeast, go bad, impacting bread quality. Infrequent bread-making can make using a bread machine costly due to these perishable ingredients.

sliced whole wheat breadPin
100% Whole Wheat Loaf mixed and kneaded in a bread machine: even with a bread machine, this is not a beginner recipe, but it’s a lot easier than mixing by hand.

Five Reasons You Might Need a Bread Machine

1. Simple assembly, simple clean-up

First, dump all ingredients in at once—no need to dissolve the yeast or heat the liquids. Then, close the lid, keeping the flour mess inside. The result? Only one pan and one or two paddles to clean. You can do this with almost any yeast bread recipe.

unmixed ingredients in bread machine panPin

2. Shorter hands-on time than kneading by hand

 unsliced bread--one mixed by hand and other mixed in bread maker; comparison picPin
Hands-on time:  20 minutes +             vs.                  Hands-on time: 5 minutes

3. Bread rises higher, and the texture is more delicate when using a bread machine than when kneading by hand.

Compare the texture and rise of the two loaves of Condensed Milk Bread below.

comparison of bread kneaded by hand and bread kneaded in a bread machinePin
The bread on the left was kneaded by hand. The bread on the right was kneaded in a bread machine. Both loaves were baked in a conventional oven.

4. Minimal attention to the dough-making process is required.

dough at the end of the kneading phase.Pin
Dough after mixing and kneading but before rising when using the DOUGH cycle.

For this reason alone, I prefer a bread machine, although a stand mixer will do an excellent job once you get the hang of it.

Changing mixing speeds and blades is a non-issue with a bread machine.

You will no longer need to grease a bowl, find a cover, or look for a warm place for the proofing stage.

risen dough in bread machine panPin
Bread dough, after proofing (rising), ready to be shaped.

5. Bread machines have helpful timers.

baked pizza made with dough mixed on the DOUGH cycle.Pin
Pizza dough turns out fantastic in a bread machine using the DOUGH cycle.

With a timer, you can do extraordinary things like having My Favorite Pizza Dough ready to roll out when you walk in the door from a long day at work.

Another example:

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I often throw ingredients for My Favorite Dinner Rolls into the bread machine before church. Set the timer to start the DOUGH cycle. Upon arriving home 2-3 hours later, the risen dough is ready to form into the shape of my choice.

soft dinner rolls baked and ready to eat.Pin
Tangzhong Dinner Rolls are mixed and kneaded in a bread maker. Mixing the dough can be put on a delayed timer with some brands.

6. The DOUGH cycle has a warming feature to help your bread proof correctly during the first (and second) rise phase.

The warming feature works well unless your kitchen is overly hot or cold, especially if you want to start your bread and leave the house for a while. When the lid is down, the built-in heater will keep the dough at the right temperature until the end of the DOUGH cycle.

Features You Might Find in a Bread Maker

Bread makers offer the consumer a wide variety of cycles and options:

  1. The DOUGH cycle handles mixing, kneading, and rising the dough, typically once or twice. You then take over, making it ideal for pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, and, in truth, any bread you want to look and taste fabulous. It’s my preferred cycle and almost the only one I use. More details to follow.
  2. A delayed timer allows you to set the machine to start mixing later. This feature is handy when you want to schedule your bread to finish baking, even when you aren’t available. A few models will allow you to set the timer on the DOUGH cycle, which is worth the machine’s price in my book.
  3. A pre-heat phase brings all the raw ingredients in your bread recipe to the same temperature before starting. This phase is only helpful if you use a machine to bake your bread; it is unnecessary when using the DOUGH cycle.
  4. Most breadmakers offer various settings for assorted bread with appropriate browning levels for the crust (e.g., whole wheat bread, sweet bread recipes, dark and light crusts, etc.)
  5. Many machines offer an “add-in” notification. When the machine beeps, you know it is time to add ingredients you don’t want to be pulverized, like nuts or raisins. The beeps usually sound in the last 5 minutes of the kneading phase.
  6. A SOURDOUGH STARTER cycle enables you to make a specific type of sourdough starter in the machine and allows it to sit for days while it ferments to perfection. Unfortunately, you can’t use your bread maker for anything else during this time. This cycle is not for making sourdough bread. See the FAQ section for more information.
  7. GLUTEN-FREE BREAD cycles are becoming popular. See the FAQ section for more discussion about gluten-free bread and a bread machine.
  8. A CAKE cycle makes quick breads like banana bread and cornbread or desserts like chocolate cake. Remember that the final product will conform to the shape of the bread pan. Making a 3-layer cake would require some extreme creativity.
  9. Some machines also offer a JAM or YOGURT cycle (designed for yogurt incubation).
  10. A few breadmakers offer HOMEMADE or CUSTOM cycles that allow you to create a specific combination of mixing, kneading, rising, and baking. You can also build a custom cycle strictly for baking, enabling you to make things like meatloaf. Unfortunately, I’m unaware of a bread machine that allows you to choose the baking temperature, so you’re stuck with the default bread-baking temperature.

Which Options are the Most Important? (My Opinion, of Course)

  1. Look for a good timer and a DOUGH cycle. I wouldn’t buy it if it didn’t have a DOUGH cycle.
  2. Choose a bread machine with clear, easy-to-understand labels and user manuals. Some of the cheaper models have confusing instructions for American users.
  3. Look for the ability to set custom cycles if you are an advanced bread baker.

Bread Machine vs. Stand Mixer

My readers often wonder if a bread machine is essential when they have a stand mixer, especially if they can only fit one in their kitchen. They ask for advice on which to buy.

1. Bread machines are the best dough kneaders in town.

Bread machines, especially those with two paddles, do a superb job of kneading all kinds of dough. Use it for standard pizza dough, basic bread, whole grain loaves, sticky ciabatta, brioche, or rye dough.

The only bread recipe inappropriate for a bread machine is a no-knead or refrigerator dough. In both cases, the gluten develops with the help of a high percentage of liquid, so there is no reason for a bread machine.

2. Mixers will do many other baking tasks besides making bread dough.

There is no end to what you can make with a stand mixer. If you don’t have a mixer and want to do a lot of baking, I would choose a mixer first.

While bread machines offer cycles for making jam, cake, and other baked goods like meatloaf, the bread machine would not be my first choice for making anything but yeast bread.

It’s nice to have the option if you don’t have access to a conventional oven, don’t want to use it (summer?), or want to take your bread machine on a camping trip.

Unfortunately, the posts at the bottom of the pan and the inability to control the baking temperature can be challenging. (I almost forgot the obvious—everything solid will bake in the shape of the bread pan.)

Clean-up is also more difficult whenever you bake in a bread machine. All the manufacturers I know about recommend against throwing a bread machine pan into the dishwasher. Scrubbing around the posts is a drag, especially if the paddle is stuck.

3. Bread makers limit the recipe size you can use.

Most 2-pound bread machines have a limit of 4½ cups of flour, although a few bread makers can make a three-pound loaf. If you are baking for a crowd, you either need to use more than one bread machine or make several batches of dough one after another. I don’t advise doubling a bread recipe when using a bread machine.

4. A stand mixer has more power.

learning the power of a stand mixer-girl with a big mess.Pin
My granddaughter recently learned about the power of a stand mixer.

That extra power comes in handy for bigger batches of dough. Depending on your stand mixer’s size, most can easily handle a recipe with 6-7 cups of flour.

However, that power can make it easy to over-knead the dough with a stand mixer (unlike a bread machine). Because you are in control, you must recognize when the dough is mixed and kneaded correctly. This decision can be a tough call for beginners.

5. Monitor mixers, but don’t ignore your bread maker, either.

With yeast bread, most stand mixer recipes begin with the mixing attachment and then ask you to change to a kneading attachment to build gluten.

Theoretically, a bread machine requires only adding the ingredients to the pan and pressing “go.” That’s what most people imagine when buying one.

However, bread machine dough also needs love and attention after you start the machine.

(Bread machine manufacturers don’t advertise this, but it’s true if you want a fabulous product every time.)

📌Kitchen tip📌 After you dump the ingredients into a bread machine and push “START,” circle back again and lift the lid to ensure your dough’s moisture level is correct. Doing this will exponentially increase your chances of success with a bread machine.

What Size Bread Machine Should I Purchase?

  1. Consider the number of people you’re feeding. A two-pound machine, the most common, is versatile, making 1.25, 1.5, or 2-pound loaves. For one or two people, opt for a compact machine.
  2. Large families might need a three-pound machine, but note that small recipes don’t knead well in these larger machines.
  3. Avoid doubling recipes in a bread machine. Similarly, small recipes in a three-pound machine aren’t ideal due to inefficient kneading. Bread machines are not suitable for commercial use due to their size constraints.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room…

Can I Make Bread that Tastes Fabulous with a Bread Machine?

Have you ever eaten bread made and baked in a bread machine? Were you impressed? What about the holes in the bottom and the cardboard crust?

While baking in a bread machine may produce bread good enough for toast or fill up hungry teenage boys, the final appearance and taste can be a gamble.

Making bread is not like making brownies. Just because you follow the recipe perfectly doesn’t mean your bread will be perfect.

–a Paula-ism

Why? Because making a fabulous loaf of bread is more complicated and less forgiving than making a pan of standard brownies. There are many more variables:

Despite the misshapen loaves, door stops, and thick crusts you may have experienced, there are ways to use a bread machine that make it quite useful, even when you have high standards for your bread.

Suppose you are willing to consider using a bread machine differently. In that case, you can avoid the complaints that come with strict adherence to the manufacturer’s instructions and recipe manuals.

Instead, I’ll teach you easy ways to correct the dough for the variables listed above and more. (Don’t forget to sign up for the free course below.)

Yes! You can make homemade bread that you’ll be excited to share with your family and friends. I’ll show you how! With a good recipe, a little practice, and some experience, you can expect excellent texture, height, flavor, and appearance in the bread you make with a bread machine.

Nine FAQs About Bread Machines

1. When I tried to make bread in a bread machine, it turned out like a brick. UGH?

Using the automatic cycle on a bread machine from start to finish is fraught with pitfalls. Although you might get lucky, and it works, often, it doesn’t. I don’t care for the odds, so I take more control.

Use the DOUGH cycle for mixing, kneading, and the first rise. Next, remove the dough, shape it, let it rise again, and finally, bake the bread in a conventional oven.

2. Which bread machine should I buy?

Check out this post about choosing a machine: Choosing the Right Bread Machine.

3. I already have a bread machine, but I need some good recipes. What do you recommend?

On this website, you’ll find over 67 recipes for mixing bread in a bread machine. You can also make any of these recipes with a stand mixer. Find the directions in each bread recipe’s notes.

4. What do you recommend if I have no oven and must bake my bread inside the machine?

First, read this post for general tips about using a bread machine. Then, I would start with this recipe for Sweet-Milk White Bread. It’s a winner. If you prefer something more substantial, try this Cracked Wheat Berry Bread.

5. Is a bread machine suitable for making gluten-free bread?

A stand mixer is the better option, in my opinion. Gluten-free flours are heavy. Properly mixing gluten-free dough can be challenging for bread machine paddles without help from a cook with a small spatula. Using paddles designed to build gluten seems pointless when there is no gluten to develop. If you are determined, check out these tips for gluten-free bread in a bread machine.

6. Can I make sourdough bread in a bread machine?

You can make sourdough bread with enough commercial yeast to make it rise in the same amount of time as a regular loaf of bread would rise and bake. Sourdough recipes that depend solely on a “wild-yeast starter” cannot be mixed and baked in a bread machine because the rise times can vary wildly. However, classic sourdough with no yeast can be mixed and kneaded on the DOUGH cycle, then manipulated and shaped by hand before baking in a conventional oven.

7. Do I have to use unique ingredients when using a bread maker?

I recommend using the ingredients specified in the recipe to get the best results.

For example, instant yeast is the best yeast for a bread machine. Bread flour will provide a more robust rise than all-purpose flour. Vital wheat gluten is helpful when baking with whole wheat flour and other whole-grain flour like rye. For best results, don’t substitute, especially if you are a beginner.

8. There are only two of us. Can I make a smaller loaf in a 2-pound machine?

This question is difficult to answer with a blanket statement. It works fine in some machines, but not others. You can usually get away with a 1½-pound loaf in a 2-pound machine. Consider buying a compact device if you rarely want more than a 1-pound loaf.

9. What is your favorite model of bread machine?

My favorite is the Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme (paid link). I have three of them, but one of them only cost me $15 from a thrift store.

Don’t Take My Word for It

“I agree with you 100%, Paula. I use my bread machine for mixing and raising, then I hand-shape the final product. It’s such a non-fuss way to bake bread.”–JUDY

Parting thoughts: If you have a friend considering buying a bread machine, thank you for sharing this article.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at Hope to see you again soon! 

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  1. Janet Lynn Warr says:

    I’m trying to make bread with a box mix. Every effort results in another brick. This bread does not need to be kneaded but I’m not sure which cycle on this machine will skip the kneading. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Janet,

      Bread machines vary from brand to brand and model to model. What kind of bread are you making that doesn’t need to be kneaded?

      I’ve never seen a bread machine that would do anything besides kneading. It’s not like a mixer with various attachments. If you are making gluten-free bread, it’s better to use a mixer or stir by hand because like you said, it doesn’t need to be kneaded and that’s what bread machines are designed to do (despite what manufacturers say to try to sell you a machine).

  2. Debbie Bormanis says:

    I made my own bread till my hands could no longer do it and than i bought a TEK. I used it until it just breathed it’s last and by then tek no longer made them. What i loved the most about it was it had a cooling fan so i didn’t have to be home to open and cool the bread, however that seems to be a feature that is no longer available and the machine i now have the bread collapses if I’m a minute late opening it and fanning it down. I have looked at every machine out there and can not find one that has that feature. Do you know of any that have a cooling feature? thank you Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie,

      So nice to hear from you. I’ve never heard of a TEK. Sounds like it was perfect for you.

      At any rate, I never bake bread in my bread machine since I’m very picky about it and sometimes sell it. So I can’t recommend a machine that has a fan since I don’t pay attention to that. Perhaps one of my readers can recommend one.

      You mentioned that the bread collapses in your current machine. That should not happen, even without a fan. Have you tried using less yeast? Do you check your dough as it kneads to make sure it’s not too wet? Is your kitchen really warm? All of these things (among other reasons) can cause “crater bread.”

      The computer in your TEK machine was probably set up differently (every machine is different) and just happened to work well with your favorite recipes. You might experiment with different settings or do what I do, and stick with the DOUGH cycle. Then you can control all the important factors that go into making excellent bread without having to use your hands to mix and knead the dough. Good luck, Debbie

  3. Great article,
    Any advice on why my multi grain loaf is higher one end than the other after it bakes?

    1. Hi Mike,

      This commonly happens when you bake bread in a bread machine, especially if the dough is a little bit dry. You might try my Surprising Secret for Better Bread in a Bread Machine to make sure the moisture level of the dough is correct so that you will have a better chance of this not happening. When baking bread in a bread machine, the results can be unpredictable. That’s why most of my readers use their bread machine in a different way that you can read about here and here.

  4. The one problem I have when baking outside the bread machine (which I usually do) is when not using a pan or other instrument to form my loaf (and therefore using a cookie sheet) is that the bread invariably spreads wider than taller. Can you help me with that? Some breads, like a braided challah or a French loaf really needs to be baked on a cookie sheet but I don’t get a nice high loaf, just a fat one! They taste good, but the look is not what I really want.
    Your posts invariably give me lots of information and ideas – thanks so much.

  5. Very useful information, I’ve learned so much
    Thank you

  6. Sandra Petersen says:

    Hi Paula. I have just bought my very first bread maker, not being sure if Id like it and it would end up as another dusty object in the back of the pantry, I ended up getting the smallest one I could while still going for a known and well respected brand. I settled on a Kenwood BMM-13, as I am a Kenwood fan. It came with 19 recipes yay I thought and the pics I saw on the box (I did buy online – I live remote) were of all kinds of yummy breads BUT it seems there are no programmes or recipes for the sweeter types of bread and one of the must haves for my husband is banana bread. I do not have a reliable oven – hence one of the reasons I wanted a breadmaker, so baking in an oven is not an option that is available to me. You wouldnt happen to have some recipes that I could possibly use to make banana bread or even cinnamon or ginger bread? I have registered for your course and am enjoying it and have already learn alot from you. I only got it this past Saturday and have already made 3 loaves of bread and am very happy with the bread it makes. I just want to be able to make other types of breads as well. I really hope you can help me with this.
    Have a great day. Sandra

    1. Hi Sandra,

      So nice to hear from you. Congratulations on your new bread machine.

      I specialize in yeast bread recipes. I don’t have any quick bread recipes on my website, but a quick Google search should turn up quite a few. Here is one you can bake in your bread machine.

      As you may have figured out, I don’t bake bread in my machine very often for various reasons. But most of my recipes will work using the mix-knead-proof-bake cycles on a bread machine.

      One thing to watch out for is the size of the recipe. Do you know what the maximum amount of flour is for your machine? Check the few recipes that came with the machine. Whatever most of them call for is probably the limit. I’m guessing that would be 2-2½ cups. Going over the recommended amount could overheat the motor or damage your machine.

      I hope I’ve answered your questions. Feel free to write back anytime.

  7. Leslie Davidson says:

    I have just bought a Panasonic ZB2502. Apart from one initial disaster the bread is superb. I made a Honey and sunflower loaf that was perfect. It seems to me that breadmaking is similar to a religion. I always warm the pan prior to putting the ingredients in and I use the yeast dispenser. Do not open the lid during the baking cycle.
    I will try your method of dough making and baking in the oven with a bowl of boiled water on the bottom shelf.

    1. Hi Leslie,

      I haven’t thought about breadmaking as being similar to a religion. Interesting. Sounds like you’ve got a good system that works for you. Can’t argue with success. Thanks so much for writing.

  8. Annette Williamson says:

    I am on my third Cuisinart bread machine. Regardless of the weather, I get a great high loaf every time. A combo of whole wheat and white bread flour, an oatmeal loaf and raisin bread are our favourites. Buns are great as is the pizza dough and you can’t beat the smell of fresh bread baking. If you haven’t tried a bread maker, you are really missing out on a treat.

    1. Hi Annette,

      Thanks for adding this comment to the conversation. Better than any advertisement. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  9. I tried the Sweet-Milk bread machine recipe and it is awesome. It’s the best bread machine recipe I have ever made and I also remove it from the bread machine after it is mixed and put it in a loaf pan to let rise then bake it

    1. Glad you liked it, Dianne. I agree it’s one of the best white bread recipes I’ve ever made.

  10. This can be number 7 about bread machines. I found out by accident that you should ALWAYS run hot water in your bread machine pan and let sit for 10 minutes then dump out and proceed with your bread recipe. Even in summer the pan gets chilled and your bread may not rise as it should if you are letting it bake in the bread machine.

    1. Hi Diane,
      I never thought about this since I don’t bake bread in my machine. But I can totally see what you’re talking about and you are absolutely right. Good thing to remember when you are letting the bread bake in a bread machine. A lot of machines these days have a pre-heat cycle that helps with this.

  11. I ordered whole wheat pastry flour by mistake can I use it to make bread. Thank you for any help/

    1. Hi Santra,
      Hmmm. Not the best. I would only use it with lots of bread flour. Whole wheat pastry flour would be excellent for whole wheat biscuits or muffins, pie crust, or bread like banana bread or cornbread.

  12. There’s another good reason to get a bread machine and use it for dough making: arthritis! I used to like kneading by hand just for its meditative qualities and satisfaction but having developed osteoarthritis in both wrists and thumbs, I can’t manage it anymore. Enter the bread machine and ta-da…really good bread, just like before but with no pain. Love my machine!

    1. Yes, Vivian. You are so right! Thanks for adding this reason.

  13. I have a Panasonic bread machine and really want to start making bread your way by preparing using basic dough cycle and baking in oven.
    My machine has a yeast dispenser on the lid for the instant yeast and I am wondering if I need to put the yeast in there still or should I put it in with the rest of the items as you show.
    Also, normally when I make pizza dough using this cycle it comes out in a ball and I have to let it rise on the counter. Is this what I should do with the bread- would I put it in the bread pan I am going to bake it in and let it rise there.

    1. Hi Linda,

      Regarding the yeast dispenser, you can do either. My way or use the yeast dispenser. The dough includes a time for rising so you shouldn’t have to remove it until the end of the dough cycle. In a nutshell, use the dough cycle to mix the dough, knead the dough, and for the first rise. At the end of the dough cycle, remove the dough (if it has doubled in size, if not leave it in there until it does), shape it into a loaf or rolls, let it rise to almost double and bake it. You can read more about the technique here. Write back if you have more questions.

  14. One important benefit I didn’t see, predictability! Rise time in the machine is not dependent on, temperature in the kitchen. If recipe is rich, uses eggs and sweet it may take a bit longer to proof but usually mentioned in the recipe. Helps with scheduling outside commitments. King Arthur flour has many great bread recipes and most provide instructions for conventional and Bread machine. This machine, my third, is 3 yrs old and I have never baked only dough cycle.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your input. I agree that the timer on a bread machine can be quite useful with scheduling. I’m surprised you have never used the dough cycle. Obviously, you are only making loaves. Each to his own. One caveat about the kitchen temperature. If your kitchen is really cold in the wintertime (or summertime with A/C), it can indeed make a difference. I’ve seen it many times. The bread machine helps but it can overcome only so much. 🙂 Happy Bread-Eating.

  15. Your sweet milk soft white bread has been my go-to bread for years. It’s delicious and makes wonderful gifts. People always ask for more…. I solved the left-over condensed milk problem: I just make two loaves and freeze one!

  16. What temp do I put it on in oven once it finishes the kneading cycle and for how long should it go in the oven. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lauren,
      Check out this post to help you. Honestly, it’s a bit of a guessing game in the beginning (unless you are using one of my recipes.) A good place to start is 375 F. If you are cooking dinner rolls, start checking around 12 minutes. If it is a loaf, it will probably take more like 25-35 minutes. If you are new at baking bread, a quick-read thermometer is VERY helpful. Bread should come to 190 degrees F in the middle when done. Good luck!

  17. Mary Susan says:

    Hey Paula!
    This recipe sounds awesome. I recently received a Zojirushi as a wedding gift and have been making my husband bread weekly for his lunches. So far, I’ve only used recipes in the Zojirushi book, and haven’t been super happy with them. I want to try this recipe today, have you ever let it finish baking in the machine? I went to pastry school, but I wanted the bread machine to save time and effort because we are always so busy! Any idea if it’ll turn out well if I let it ride in the machine the entire time? I just need to find a good go-to white bread recipe for his sandwiches that I can toss in the machine on Sundays while I’m doing housework, hoping this is the one! Thanks!!!

    1. Yes, Mary Susan. This is a pretty good recipe to let the machine finish if you must. I used to do it quite often until I decided that if I was going to eat bread, it had to be fantastic. In my opinion, it is only fantastic when you shape and bake it yourself in a conventional oven. I assume you’ve read this post about all the reasons I like it better. But if you are pushed for time, it will usually work. (One can never guarantee any bread machine recipe will always bake up perfect in a bread machine because making bread is not so much an exact science as it is an art that often requires a real life brain to decide if it needs more or less flour, a longer rising time due to temperatures, etc.

      Having said all that, this is my absolute favorite white loaf bread recipe on this blog and I think many others would agree.

  18. Carl Bergstrom says:


    Have you tried anything other than bread, pizza or jam in a bread maker? I have tons of cookie and brownie recipes and I think a bread maker can make mixing the dough go a lot faster. What do you think?

  19. Hello! I love your page and the condense milk bread recipe! I have a question – could I double the recipe in the dough cycle and bake in two different pans? I have an Oster bread machine and I don’t think I can specify how big of a dough i am making in the dough cycle…

    1. Yan, I don’t recommend doubling the recipe in a bread machine. It won’t be kneaded properly nor is there room for the dough to rise to double. Make one batch and after it is finished kneading, remove it to another bowl and place in a warm spot to rise. Reset your machine and make another batch. I have two machines so I can easily make a double batch. They can be picked up rather cheaply on EBAY and quality doesn’t matter as much if you don’t use it to bake your bread. Good luck!

  20. I try and use my bread machine, but when I do its like a lead brick. What am I doing wrong. I use to use a honey wheat mix in my old breadmaker (which wore out) and it made the best bread. Now I cant get the bread mix and I’ve tried doing it by scratch. Need less to say I’m failing fast.

    1. Nancy, Have you read this post? Perhaps it will give you an idea.

  21. I have the same bread machine as yours, and I love it! I bake all our bread products so that I can control the ingredients for a healthier product. I have terribly arthritic hands, and had my dominant hand’s thumb reconstructed last year, requiring many months of healing and physical therapy. I could not do what I do without my Zo! I chose it after seeing it is the only one used at King Arthur flour. It can cook so many other things, too, but I never use it to bake my bread in, because my recipe makes two loaves, and I don’t want the paddles baked into them (yes, they could be removed before baking, but they’ll still have holes in the bottom). Our latest hit products = pretzel rolls and panini rolls!

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Couldn’t agree more about the Zo, even though quite expensive. paula

  22. Hi,

    I just bout a B&D 3lb bread maker, I’ve only used it for few times and I start to see black stuff on my dough. I searched on the internet and it seems all the bread machine have this problem. The black stuff is the grease from turning the two paddles. Do you have this problem too? If so, how do you solve this?


    1. Hi June,
      I had never heard of a 3 lb. bread machine so I did some research. Interesting. Hope you like it. About the black stuff you are seeing…I have never had that problem. Sounds like oil, so that would not be a good thing. I also have never heard anyone else complain of this problem with their bread machine. Have you tried the 800 number with the company (if there is one)? Sorry I’m not more helpful. paula

  23. Re the auger hole in the finished loaf-
    Machines vary so this may not work as well with some machines but I have two buckets and have removed the complete auger shaft assembly from one (the hole is no problem), after the punch cycle I dump the dough into the augerless pan and have no hole in the bread. Note- on mine the blade is stuck on the shaft so it don’t fall out with the dough if yours is loose perhaps a little molasses on the shaft or some better idea could fix the issue, just don’t jam it in with a piece of metal that you may end up eating.
    The shaft assembly in the pan you use for mixing should last longer too as the seal will not get baked with every loaf.

    1. Hi Joe,
      Interesting comment. Thanks for sharing your “fix.”

  24. Thank you so much for your blog. I loved making bread in the machine without all the scary additives but have always hated the texture and shape. I actually make the honey wheat bread first and even though I goofed slightly on some steps it came out really good! So wanted to try the white bread. I didn’t have any trouble with the wheat bread and baking time but the white after 17 minutes was quite brown on the top. I quickly added the foil and set the timer for 16 minutes. When I took it out and tested the temperature it was 200 degrees! Ack! I do have two oven thermometers and yet they both read differently so not much help. It just seems odd the wheat bread came out to perfect as far as being done and browned golden. So wondering what could have made the white bread so different? Any thoughts? Hoping the bread will still taste Ok and not be too dry. Thank you.

    1. I couldn’t stand it and had to try it. Actually it is delicious but the top is overcooked so perhaps I need to put the foil on a lot sooner and try not cooking it as long. I know I’m answering myself. But wanted to tell you about a knife I bought at Tuesday Morning. It is a bread knife with holes in it and as I didn’t wait the 2 hours – hmm more like 20 min IF that! This knife did not smush the bread in the slightest! So as amazing as fresh warm bread is I thought I’d pass that along. Thank you!! Fabulous recipes!

      1. Thanks for the tip on the knife. I must check that out!

        The white bread may have more sugar in it. Was your oven preheated? Both of these can make a difference in how fast the loaf browns.paula

        1. Yes it was preheated and I think I’ll just need to watch it more carefully but good grief is that ever fabulous bread! So was the honey wheat so very happy to have found your site! Thank you so much!

  25. Haven’t bought bread in three years. Use half teaspoon yeast for 3 1/2 cups flour.
    All whole wheat flour. Taking the bread out 15 minutes before the end of the bake cycle reduces the hardness of the crust. Use 1 5/8 cup of water with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Too bad no machine can accept full user programing. Bought last machine for $1. Hardest part is carefully cleaning the pan and blade after each use. Thank you for your good information. I was able to show my wife that hard crusts were common with bread machines.

  26. I absolutely love my bread machine. I do bake my bread in the bread machine and I love the way it comes out. I bake so many different kinds and invent some as well. I also use the dough cycle a lot. In fact I use it so much my daughter bought me a brand new one

    1. Hi Marie,
      Anybody who makes much bread and likes to use a bread machine should probably have two of them. I do and so do my daughters-in-law.

  27. I Have a zo machine and really like the machine. I use king author flour only should I also use gluten as your recipe calls for on page 93 of your wonderful cookbook

  28. Dick Matz says:

    I have a question on the Zoiurushi bead machine the the two blades. Is it possible to make a loaf without shaping? I noticed that the dough typically ends up, after the kneeding cycle, in a ball on one side of the container. After kneading and during the 1st rising cycle does it conform to the baking pan or does it need human intervention (shaping) to end up looking like a loaf of bread? Please advise. Thanks.

    1. Yes, Dick. The dough will conform to the pan after rising and will look like a loaf of bread. However, I don’t normally bake my bread in the bread machine. I only use it for mixing, kneading and rising. See this post.

  29. Nancy Gibson says:

    I am with you all the way! I use my bread machine to make my dough too. I never bake the bread etc. in the machine. It makes the dough so much better than I can. No muss no fuss. Makes incredible French bread dough. I really like your site! I’ll be back…..thanks.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Nancy. Always good to hear from a fellow bread machine lover who doesn’t use it to bake their bread.

  30. Many Thanks Paula. All of your bread recipes that I’ve tried I have loved. I have made your Sweet Milk White Bread many times and was wanting to try making a Italian type of Pane filled bread roll. A bread roll filled with sauteed peppers, cheese, ham, etc. then rolled and baked. Have you tried using this bread dough like this before? Do you think it would hold up for a bread roll recipe? I’m on your mailing list and always look forward to your emails! Thanks again!

    1. I’m not so sure the Sweet Milk White Bread is sturdy enough to hold all those ingredients. Think I would try my French Bread.

  31. I have the same reasons in using my bread machine – easy to clean and it has a timer. I’m lazy when it comes to cleaning LOL and I can’t do one thing without getting preoccupied with another so the timer reminds me that something might become inedible if I continue doing other stuff. I’m trying this recipe by the way. Great photos. They help me visualize what I need to do when I try your recipe.

  32. The recipe for sweet bread is it for a 1.5lb loaf?

  33. I have compiled a review of bread machine on my site. Hope this help

  34. Hi Paula, will these ingredient measurements work if I want to use just the bread machine for the entire process including the baking? Can i just dump and set and forget? I do love baking but I love my bread maker because I can programme and not spend time at it

    1. Xena,
      They might. It depends on so many factors, e.g. brand of bread machine, humidity, type and brand of flour, temperature in the room, etc. But you might get lucky and get a decent loaf of bread. Most of my recipes were originally written to be baked in a bread machine but because of the variability of the aforementioned factors, I find it much more reliable to bake the bread in my oven. I want perfection in exchange for all those calories.

  35. I am SO happy I found this!!!! My first two loaves from “the machine” were horrible. Dry and burned!!!! I used your machine to oven method and I had the PERFECT LOAF!!!! God bless you for posting and sharing with the world! Love it!!!!

  36. Hi Paula,

    I don’t represent any company – I’m just a guy who loves to bake. I’ll leave my two cent comments.

    I like your recipes. You have a good website, but your recipes mainly use the bread machine only to knead and proof the dough. You’ve already commented on this – that a bread machine has issues actually baking the bread. However, your reasons to not bake the bread in the machine are a bit dated. I had the same issues with my previous bread makers such as the oddly shaped loaf and the iffy crust consistency. I think they are making better machines nowadays though.

    I make bread at least once a week in my latest machine and it turns out very soft (for those recipes which soft is required), or otherwise. The loaf does not come strangely shaped – but this is based on which machine you buy (essentially, you get what you pay for). The hole in the bottom – that part does happen – but as long as the bread is baked properly, one can overlook that little part. Also, your reason of less-cleanup is actually a better reason why one *should* bake the bread in the machine rather than make another dish to clean. Not baking in the bread maker also takes the entire process a lot longer – to take it out, shape it, etc. Leaving it in there gets one to the end-result far quicker.

    For special breads like pizza dough, foccacia and/or rolls, it makes sense to use the bread machine only for kneading/proofing. For making regular bread though, newer bread machines will make a proper-sized and shaped loaf faster and with a lot less effort and dishes.



  37. Ellen Williams says:

    Do you have any tips for getting a loaf out of the bread machine easily. I seem to be getting worse and it is sticking

    1. Ellen, I don’t bake bread in my machine–only use it to mix the dough and knead it. See this post. So I’m not an expert on this problem. Don’t use it to bake bread in anymore. That is my only suggestion. All non-stick surfaces seem to go AWOL eventually. Sorry I don’t have a better answer.

      1. Hi Ellen,

        I posted a comment and then noticed your question.

        Here is how I care for my bread machine – Paula is right – non-stick surfaces will go AWOL unless you use a very gentle cleaning agent and a soft surface to clean it with. It needs a couple of hours soaking and then very gentle cleaning.

        Once you have it cleaned, then when the bread finishes baking, and you have taken the pan out of the machine, hold the pan with both hands (I have oven mitts which are shaped like gloves). Then gently rock the bread out of that pan (push gently, then push a bit more vigorously and repeat). The bread will work its way out of the pan. Sometimes some bread makers will instruct you to twist the kneading devices at the bottom to free the bottom of the bread loaf to help with this process.

        Treat your bread machine like a baby, and it will last for years, even with a non-stick coating – and you can bake in it as well (my last one lasted for 7 years before we upgraded).



  38. Abert Adams says:

    I have been making my own bread for several years. I am onto my third bread machine. I make my own bread because it is a lot more tastier than store bought bread. I make enormous efforts to make bread that rises and looks fluffy like the one shown ( Sweet Milk White Bread ). Unfortunately , since I have been making bread in the bread machine and then putting the dough into a bread pan and baking it in the oven , I have very very rarely succeeded in getting a loaf that rises like yours. 80% of mine only rise to between half and 65% of the height of yours . On very rare occasions ( and I mean very rare ) do they rise like yours. My wife and son really love the bread I make ( when it rises successfully ). The vast majority of the time it only rises about half of what it should. It doing so it is kinda heavy but still has a good taste but is not fluffy.

    I am going to try your Sweet White Bread and will let you know on the results.

    Albert Adams

  39. I am new to my bread machine. I made a box mix earlier in the week to test it out, while it turned out ok I was really hoping for a bread I could slice and make sandwiches with. I’m hoping this is the recipe I am looking for! I have a 4×8.5 loaf pan will this work? Seems like it will be a small slice of bread though? Perfect my kids really, just making sure I have the right pan, I typically use this for banana bread.

    1. Hi Ashlee, Check out this post. For a bread recipe using 3 cups of flour, I use a pan that measures 9 x 4 inches. It’s absolutely perfect in my experience. It holds 8 cups of water when filled to the top if you want to compare to your loaf pan. Have fun with your new machine.

  40. Great points Paula, Ive used a bread machine for over a decade now and would never turn back! Mainly for pizza dough, but sky is the limit with bread machines which is why they are a great investment!

  41. I have never tried making pizza dough in the bread maker. I usually by the dough from the grocery store to make my own pizzas at home. Do you have any pizza dough recipes that you recommend for a first time maker?

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Check my recipe index and you’ll find my favorite pizza dough recipe.

  42. Paula,
    I wanted to tell you that I have a Utility garage in one end of my Kitchen Cabinet with a slide up door. I had a Coffee pot in it at one time. I moved everything out of it & now it is my bread making cabinet. I placed a canister of King Arthur bread flour and a jar of Bread Machine Yeast in there. I have a liquid measure, a dry measure (old Pampered Chef measuring cups that slide for whatever amount you want and a tablespoon one that does the same). I made a pint flour shaker jar like yours, a 1/2 pint sugar jar and a salt shaker in there. I didn’t like going from one end of the kitchen to the other, due to physical reasons, so this has worked out perfect for me. I still have to retrieve refrigerated items, but this has made it so much easier. I was dreading having to gather up all this stuff, so now I don’t have to dread it. My bread machines are next to this cabinet on a roll around cart. I have a basket to hold the smaller items and all I have to do now is lift my basket up out of the cabinet along with my bread & yeast. I am now “on a roll” (so to speak). Makes it all so handy when I get ready to make all your delicious bread recipes.

  43. Hey Paula,
    I love my new Zojirushi Bread Machine along with my Hitachi that I’ve had for years. I have baked Sweet Milk Bread several times. My husband & I love the bread for sandwiches, as a dinner bread, and for breakfast with butter & jelly, honey or Sorghum Syrup Molasses. I even just got through making some today. I am planning on making the dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. The best rolls I have ever had. I love making pizza with the pizza dough recipe. So so so good! I am so glad I found your blog. I just can’t say enough about how good all the bread recipes that I’ve cooked have been. Thank you!!!!

  44. Hi Paula,

    I have a Breville bread machine and I love it. But I am new to bread making so I was looking for a recipe that I could use all the time. I tried the recipe in the manuel but it came out dry. I was looking at the recipe listed hear (Sweet White Bread). I was looking for something simpler. Do you have one that you can share?

    1. Hi Alison,
      You can look through all my recipes here. The Sweet White Bread is extremely popular and I highly recommend it.

  45. This is just about the only white bread I make anymore–it is sooo good! However, my wife is lactose intolerant so I had to adapt the recipe. I tried to figure out how much sugar there was in a half cup of sweetened condensed milk and at first I way overestimated. I now use 1/4 cup of sugar and 11 ounces of Lactaid milk (whole is best but 2% also works well) as a substitute for the sweetened condensed milk and water and it turns out great. Now my wife can eat this bread without worry and it tastes just about the same as the original. I also discovered that if I put one long cut in the top of the bread before baking, it bakes much more evenly. Hope that is helpful to others who are lactose intolerant.

    1. Thanks for writing, Fiddler. Great information for people who are lactose-intolerant.

  46. Well, this post might be several years old…..but I am SO HAPPY I found it!! I made the sweet milk bread (dough in the bread machine and then baked in the oven). WOW…I couldn’t believe how commercial-like this bread was. My daughter was just diagnosed with a soy and egg allergy and so I am baking all of our own breads and this was the first bread of this type that I tried….there is no reason to find another! I did wait the two hours to cut into the bread and I could believe how well it cut. My husband was thoroughly impressed. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes too.

  47. Amaechi sylvanus says:

    Thanks for posting, i will never forget the joy i have when i woke to see my freshly bake bread programmed to bake before breakfast by my zijorushi bb- pac 20 bread machine! Thanks, let me bookmark for further reading!

  48. Hi, what machine are you using in the picture? I have a Cuisinart currently, but I’m definitely in the market for a new machine. This one just doesn’t perform at the level that I’ve expected from machines that I have used in the past.

  49. somasunthar says:

    wow… it was a genuine comparison
    i was weighing options whether to buy a bread making machine or not !
    after reading this i ordered it
    Happy Bread making 🙂
    and thank you paula 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Soma. Hope you enjoy it. Did you read all my posts about using a bread machine? I hope you find them helpful, too.

  50. I am a bit confused about how to do the bread in both the machine and the oven. When do I take it out of the machine? I thought handling the bread was bad? Do you mind walking me through it step by step? I just used my machine for the first time today and it was also the first time ever making bread at all!

    1. Hi Debbie,
      I think this post might help you. What recipe did you use? I recommend you use one of mine–it will take you through the process step by step. I wish you were my neighbor so I could walk next door and help. 🙁 pr

  51. Thanks, Paula.

    There may be a difference in the time it takes to make the hands-on method, and I have heard the machine method gives a better second rise, but at the end of the day, if one is happy with the way a bake has gone that’s all that matters I guess. I am not knocking the machine method mind you. Friends of mine have the machine and get fantastic results. It’s all to do with having fun at the end of the day and getting a great product. Great article by the way. (Y)

  52. Can I say that making bread the traditional way is easy as walking. I found a no fat recipe which I use which is lovely. Mixing the dough is done in a bowl by adding the flour to the activated yeast in water a cupful at a time until the dough becomes nice and silky. Knead in the bowl the usual way and then clean out the bowl, wipe some oil around it, put the bread dough back and cover it with a warm damp tea-towel to prove/double its bulk for around an hour. When it is ready, knock back the dough, form it and put it into the bread tin for the second rise. I brush milk over the top to get a glaze on the crust and in an electric oven (not fan assisted) which I have placed a tray of boiling water so that it is nice and steamy, I place the bread tin on the centre tray and bake until golden brown at 220 f. When it taps hollow it is done. Turn out the bread onto a cooling tray and don’t pick at the crust…lol. Simple. Who needs a machine!

    1. Hi Keith,
      Thanks for writing. Sounds like you’ve got a good recipe and a system that works for you. Enjoy!

  53. Paula
    Is there a way to change the amount of the Sweet Milk bread
    to make it into a 13 in pullman pan with lid I love this bread and have made about 20 loaves so far with my machine and cook in my oven. Love it love it. But it rise so much and its hard to fit in to my husband sandwich container. He insists on this bread for his sandwich at work. I have tried it in my pan and it just to small then.

    1. Hi Lyn,
      First of all, have you tried it as is? Perhaps not enough dough for a 13-inch pan. The problem is going to come with the capacity of your bread machine. The limit on mine is a recipe with about 4 cups of flour but many are limited to 3 cups. Go beyond the recommended amount and your dough won’t be kneaded very well. You could either use a large stand mixer to make a larger recipe (more trouble than a bread machine) or buy a smaller pullman pan, maybe one that is 9 inches instead of 13 inches. That would be my suggestion.

      So glad you husband is enjoying this recipe. I’ve been playing around with it lately and adding things like fruit and nuts. So-o-o-o good!

      1. I did try the recipe in the pan, it would only fill the pan about 1/2 full after rising 60-70 minutes, now don’t laugh but I turn the pan on end the dough side down, I put the lid on and put my small cast iron skillet in the oven and bake it tilted. It came out great except the one end of the bread. I then took 1-1/2 of you recipe and did it that way. It came out beatitful. I wish I could post a picture of it. My bread machine is for 1 to 2-1/2 loaf so it did mix up beautiful. I haven’t tryed a piece yet but I will in a few minutes. This is my third bread macine, I could never get bread right so I always gave them away. I saw your recipe and bought a new one, and have doing it since November. I’m so glad I did. The pan is new also, so the bread coming out right the first time is wonderful. Thank you

  54. I’m with you–never did get the warm fuzzies most say you feel when you hand knead dough. I LOVE your site! Found it when I Googled Thumbprint Cookies with Icing.

    1. Thanks Lynne, Great to hear from you.

  55. Jana Sill says:

    Hi, this is my first time trying to make a bread, I LOVE homemade bread, but I never learned how to do, so I want to try your recipe, but I have a Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine, and I coulnd’t figure out each one is the dough cicle that you mention, when I choose the dough basic bread and I press the start, the machine went to rest mode and show a time of 2:20hr, so I choose the pizza dough then started to knead, but I didn’t think would work so I just decide to make the whole thing on the machine, but I like to bake in the oven too. I don’t know if I was able to explain well, but let me know if you can help. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jana,

      I looked at your manual on line.
      Go to page 11 and it explains how to do the dough option. I think the pizza dough you started with would work just fine.  Your machine should start to knead and continue until dough is smooth and elastic. Then it should rest so the dough can rise. When cycle is done, machine will usually beep several times. Remove the dough and roll it out how you want. Let it rise again and bake. 

      Bread-making is so easy with a bread machine but it still takes a little practice. Keep after it and write back if you still have questions.

  56. Your sweet milk bread is delicious but I could not wait two hours to dig in lol! this recipe is a keeper. I will be trying your pizza dough recipe next.

  57. Thank you so much for the yougert Receipe it works much easier than the way I was doing it. Do you think it would work the same way in a gallon Pyrex cup if I adjusted for the time element when heating? I know this is the bread machine blog, I have one and use it twice a week, makes a great loaf using just white whole wheat,am intrigued by your condensed milk loaf, will try it soon.

    1. Dawn,
      Yes, yes. It should work just the same even with a gallon Pyrex cup. I have never seen one that big. Maybe I need one. Where did you get it?

  58. I guess will try one of the bread machine recipes here, the dinner rolls perhaps? I will just let the machine complete the dough cycle and then shape?

    1. My Favorite Dinner Rolls are really easy. That’s a good place to start. After you shape the dough, you will let them rise to almost double before baking. Good Luck!

  59. Hi Paula, I put the ingredients and set on the dough cycle which is 1.50 minutes (using one of my very often used bread dough recipes, 3 cups flour, 2 teaspoons instant yeast, 1 cup liquid, salt, oil and sugar). On completion of the cycle, the dough was warm,a bit sticky and looked like it was taken out of a warm oven. I shaped it and baked it anyway, it developed ugly crevices during the final rise. And not surprisingly, the bread was a brick…I thought that once you check the dough consistency during the knead, I don’t have to do anything till the dough cycle is completed. Or is there? Am confused!

    1. Hi Suma,
      I’m so sorry about your bread. Let’s keep working on it. I must say that I’m a bit hesitant to give advice when working with a recipe I myself have never tried. Nevertheless, a few suggestions: When the dough cycle finishes, your dough should should look and handle like it does when you have kneaded it by hand and allowed it to rise. If there is a difference, the dough might be even smoother, silkier, and more elastic in texture. If it is stickier, you might try less liquid in the beginning. Any time you adapt a recipe to a bread machine, you usually have to make adjustments.

      I would recommend using a bread machine recipe like the sweet milk white bread on my blog until you get the hang of it.

      And yes, you are correct that once you get the dough right in the mixing phase, you don’t have to do anything else until the dough cycle ends. The easiest way to do that is to start with a good recipe and add experience. Once you have a few successes, you’ll be ready to adapt your own recipes.

  60. Thanks so much for the quick reply Paula! What should be the temperature of water/milk when you put it in the machine? Also, how much does a cup of flour weigh in your recipes? Your breads look soo.. good!

    1. Suma, the water should be lukewarm to the touch. I accomplish that by heating my liquid for one minute in the microwave and putting in the bread pan. All other ingredients go on top of the liquid which will cool it some.

      All-purpose, unbleached flour the way I measure (stir and scoop), is 120 grams.

  61. Hi there! Am so glad I was directed to your space for bread machine help. I just got my new bread machine, had 3 not-great breads (am used to kneading by hand and baking in the oven). I hope to bake bread ASAP armed with your tips, shall come back for more! If I want to let the machine only knead the dough for me, then I must let the dough cycle (mine is 1.50 min) and then let the dough rise again and bake right? I assume, in this cycle, the dough will be kneaded, will rise, get kneaded again and rise, then sound the beep?

    1. Suma,
      Yes, you are correct on all points although there could be exceptions with certain recipes. I’m not surprised you were unhappy with bread machine-baked loaves if you are used to kneading and baking your own. Since you are already a bread dough expert, you will know when your dough has not risen enough at the end of the dough cycle or likewise, when it has risen double even though the dough cycle is not finished. Either can happen if the ambient temperature is extreme. Just open the lid and remove dough when it’s ready, shape and let rise again before baking. Pizza dough is a notable exception. I roll it out, prepare, and bake without allowing a second rise.

      Let me know how it goes. PR

  62. I’ve never thought about using the bread machine just for mixing…my dad makes bread but it’s weird and holey with tough crust

  63. This bread recipe (Sweet Milk White Bread) is wonderful. I found it on Pinterest and was intrigued by the use of sweetened condensed milk in it. Tried it, and now it’s my go-to white bread. Thanks for posting it.

    1. Peggy,
      Glad you liked the bread. I love the fine crumb of this bread. One of my favorites, too. pr

  64. Cheri @ The Watering Mouth says:

    Hi Paula! I saw your post about the salad in a jar on Pinterest and just came on your site to check that out, but got hooked on a bunch of your other posts! I just started a food blog recently and was itching to get into making my own bread, but didn’t have a bread maker and was a bit intimidated by kneading and all that. But then my mom happened to get rid of hers so I was able to benefit from that. I love your ideas here and will soon try all the methods you wrote about. What a great introduction for me – thanks for sharing!!

  65. Hi Paula,
    I just discovered your site today when I was searching the web for making Greek style yogurt and I have already added your site to my favorites list!
    I have 2 bread machines as well- I picked up a brand new one at a thrift store dirt cheap, so now I can make 2 loafs at a time. I really like your idea of using the thermometer to test the doneness of the bread (I am not always sure if my bread is done in the middle). My oven comes with a thermometer and I would like to try it on my bread. Do you suggest leaving it in the loaf for the whole time or just checking the temperature once in a while? (I am sure it is probably okay to do it either way, but I just thought I would ask your opinion….)
    Thanks so much .

    1. Hi Lleana,
      I would not leave the thermometer in the bread. It would spoil the looks of your loaf or rolls. Insert the thermometer from the side of the loaf where the hole would be inconspicuous into the middle. Test only when you are pretty sure it is done so you will make as few holes as possible. Happy bread-making. pr

  66. Hi Paula, thanks for the quick response! After looking at the recipe carefully I realized that I didn’t use instant yeast, just dry active yeast instead. I went back to the store and bought the rapid yeast. Baked the bread and it came out fantastic…except I don’t think I allowed the bread to fully bake…cause it had a good size cave in the middle. It was so soft and moist we still ate sandwhiches on it. Can’t wait to try it again and hopefully minus the hollow middle..LOL. Also, do you use just a regular loaf pan?

    1. Hi Aleah,
      Have you considered using a thermometer to test your bread for doneness. When it hits 190 F, it’s done. Even though I have been baking my own bread for years, I still test with a thermometer. It guarantees perfection! pr

  67. My bread did not seem to rise as much as it should have…what did I do wrong?

    1. Aleah,
      As long as your yeast is fresh and has not been killed by too high temperatures of the liquids in your bread as you mixed it, you just didn’t let it rise long enough. During the winter time, it will often take longer than your bread machine timer allows because of the colder ambient environment. Move your machine to a warmer place and/or let the bread continue to rise even after the dough cycle is complete until the dough is double, no matter how long it takes. This can really mess up your meal planning but yeast that’s feeling chilly doesn’t grow very fast. 🙂 pr

  68. I don’t have instant yeast, just the normal active dry. Can it be used instead?

    1. Jackie,
      Yes, you may use it but dissolve it first in some of the liquid (warmed) called for in the recipe before adding the other ingredients. The dissolving step is not necessary with instant or bread machine yeast which is why I prefer it. pr

  69. I just made this bread tonight. I made bread on the weekends, and use it to make pb&j’s ahead of time for my kids’ lunch the next week. This recipe was awesome compared to the recipe that came with my bread machine. It has a great texture. I love your site, and can’t wait to try more recipes. My son (who is a very picky eater, due to Asperger’s, loves the rolls; as a matter of fact, he compared them to his favorite rolls at a restaurant.

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      I’m not a picky eater but, like your son, I am picky about my bread. I agree with him about the rolls! Glad you like the white bread recipe. pr

  70. FINALLY!!!!! the perfect most delicious bread recipe EVER. (found this on pinterest.) Thanks!!!!

  71. I have been using bread machines for over 10 years. Currently, I’m using a Zojirushi, which I really like. Here is a cracked wheat recipe I make for my husband. He likes it hot in the morning, so I mix it together the night before and use the delayed time setting.
    12 oz water
    3 T brown sugar
    2 T oil
    1 c cracked wheat
    1 1/2 c bread flour (white)
    2 c whole wheat flour
    1 1/4 t salt (for other bread machines use 1 1/2 t)
    2 t yeast

    1. This sounds really healthy. I want to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  72. i love my bread machine! i also rarely bake using it. AND bread machine magic is my go to cookbook for the bread machine. i didn’t think anyone else knew about it. i got it at the thrift store. i love your site and getting ready to make some greek yogurt right now.

    1. Erica, sorry I have taken so long to write back. I’m curious. What are YOUR favorite recipes in the Bread Machine Magic Cookbook?

  73. pepper white says:

    I just discovered I left my dough in the bread machine for about 15 hours. (Happy that I found your blog while googling to see if the dough was ok) It looked a bit collapsed and crusty when I remembered it was in there. I just sprayed it with a little oil and kneaded it all together, wrapped it in plastic and put it in the fridge. Is it still useable? Thx.

  74. Good Morning, Still making you Sweet Milk bread everyday. I have not bought a loaf of bread in 2 months. Thank you so much. It is the most delightful and beautiful bread. I am having trouble with wheat bread. I use the same recipe except I use 2 cups wheat flour freshly ground and one cup white flour. I add one Tablespoon gluten. Bread doesn’t rise much and is not very great. Any suggestions? Thanks again. P.S. My family went crazy over your bread machine rolls.

  75. wow, I am so hooked on you website!!! I agree with every single word you said WHY you use bread machines. I just started using it because I really dont have talent kneading any bread whatsoever. I just love how easy it is to just do it with a machine!!!! I am going to try the sweet condensed milk recipe. Do you think I could just do it all inside the machine? or it is mandatory that I bake it in the oven?


  76. stephanie metzgar says:

    I use a grain mill that I have had since last year

  77. stephanie metzgar says:

    I grind my own wheat and use my bread machine every 3-4 days and absolutly love it

    1. Stephanie, How do you grind your wheat? Do you have a grain mill or an attachment for your mixer?

  78. I heard about your website from a Weight Watchers member. I love your recipes, especially the chicken recipes because I’m always looking for new ways to cook chicken.

    I have a bread maker and used it often until I started WW. Now, I’m trying to add more whole grains to my diet and the recipe book that came with the bread maker (Panasonic) has very few. Do you have any recipes using whole grain white/wheat/oat flour or a blend of these with white? I’d especially love a recipe for healthy pizza dough. Thanks so much!

  79. I try to use my bread machine almost every time when I need bread. I still have some problems with the recipes and not get the best bread every time. But the bread machine it’s a time saver and also a money saver. It’s cheaper to make bread than buying it.

  80. Wyatt Kirby says:

    I really appreciate the recipe here! Just wanted to let you know I’ve had success on converting this for use without the condensed milk. Since condensed milk is essentially just milk with the water removed, we can add that water back in and decrease the amount of water we add to the recipe. Here it is with actual measurements:

    2 tbsp Water
    1 1/4 Cup Milk (I use whole, haven’t tried it with skim.)
    2 tbsp and 2tsp sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tbsp butter (the extra butter adds some of the missing flavor from the condensed milk)
    3+ cups flour
    2 tsp yeast

    Hope that helps anyone else who’s canned-milk averse!

    1. Thanks so much Wyatt. Your new recipe looks awesome. Can’t wait to try it out for myself. I’m always wondering what to do with the leftover condensed milk and this way I wouldn’t have to worry about it. So glad you shared.

    2. I’ve used this recipe with Wyatt’s changes a few times and it’s by far our new favorite bread recipe! So yummy, thanks for sharing!

      1. Great to hear Michelle. I still need to try it.

  81. I completely agree! I’ve been searching for a perfect bread machine white bread recipe for AGES! I was so excited when I came across yours but then I noticed that it has condensed milk:( Condensed milk can be hard to come by around here (not to mention expensive). Can you use an alternative? :/

    1. Zahra, If you will google substitutes for sweetened condensed milk, you will find many recipes. I haven’t personally tried any of them so can’t recommend. Good luck with your bread.

  82. I’ve been a bread maker (by hand) for years. Even used to grind my own grain, but stopped because I could never get the rise with the whole grain like the store bought bread. Have you any experience with whole grains in a bread machine?
    P.S. love your web site because of the salad-in-a-jar way of keeping my figure

    1. Sue, I use whole wheat occasionally but never without some white flour in the mix. I have used Vital Wheat Gluten to get a better rise in the past. Have you tried that? My sister is a pro when it comes to grinding your own grain to make bread. I will try to find out her secret. I definitely would only use the dough cycle as bread with a high percentage of whole grain usually takes longer to rise.

  83. Thanks for these great down to earth views and information. I ‘discovered’ my breadmaker would produce warm and filling breakfast my children wouldn’t turn down. Recipes can be adjusted to add protein, fiber and all the good bits lacking from most cereals, and I’ve never looked back. Not sure why more parents don’t take advantage, but reading your posts reminds me why they should.

  84. I loved mine when I had it – but then I went on that dreaded low carb diet 11 years ago and Goodwill got a great bread machine. 🙂 Your comparisons are quite interesting – and telling! As well as delicious….

    1. Low carb diet?? Really? I guess that was before TWD. 🙂

  85. Thanks so much for writing this post, Paula. I bought a bread machine (my second one) at a garage sale this summer, vowing I would use it more than I did the first machine that sat in my pantry until I finally gave it away! I love using it for pizza dough and rolls but, like you, just wasn’t satisfied with the way a loaf of bread looked or came out of the machine. I’m going to try your white bread recipe and bake it myself. Do you happen to have a good recipe for whole wheat bread?

    1. I’m planning to post a recipe for whole wheat bread with the post on factors to consider when buying a bread machine. Stay tuned.

  86. Paula, your breads look amazing! I’ve never used a bread machine; I always make yeast doughs in my food processor, and they come out great. But your results with the bread machine make me consider getting one. On a different note – how is your dad? I hope he’s making a speedy recovery!

    1. Karen, Yeast doughs in the food processor can be amazing. Glad you brought it up. But you need a strong processor that can handle the dough. I also find it is easy to overdo the kneading but the whole process is quite speedy.

  87. Awesome post. I can’t wait for the machine review 🙂

  88. Quay Po Cooks says:

    My breads don’t come out nice when I use the bread machine. Maybe it is the machine. Your bread looks so good.

  89. Also love kneading bread in machine and then oven baking. Make your dinner rolls often. Just so easy to use machine for all the ‘hard’ work. thanks for all the info.

    1. So glad you enjoy the rolls Margaret. Have you tried the cheese version? Wonderful for ham sandwiches.

  90. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    I have a bread machine and like you, only use it to make dough. I love the way it can make dough. 🙂 I’ve never used sweetened condensed milk in bread though- it sounds really good and I plan to try it. Thanks!

  91. I LOVE my bread machine!! Set it and forget it. I can set it to have the bread done when I get up in the morning or home from work. Or just make dough like you mentioned. They are fantastic! I have an older one from my grandma right now, but once I get my new place I’d let to get a newer one. 🙂

    I can’t wait to try some of these recipes and ideas!

  92. Rhyelysgranny says:

    Hi I have read this with interest. I make my bread with Kenwood stand mixer. Some questions come to mind. When you take your dough out of the machine to shape you still need to leave it rise in its tin, yes?
    You can only have one loaf of bread on the rise at the one time?
    How long does it take for the dough cycle?
    Finally what make is your machine?
    Sorry for all the questions. Your bread looks really good.

    1. Good questions. First, you are correct. Dough must rise in the pan after you shape it or on cookie sheet or in muffin pans if making rolls. You can only have one loaf of bread “on the rise” at one time, UNLESS, you choose to take the dough out at the end of kneading and place it in a separate pan to rise. Just remove the dough when the machine gets quiet, and start the machine over again with second batch. I use to do this when cooking for a party before I got another machine so I could do two batches at once.

      Dough cycles vary with machines. I have one that goes 1 hr, 40 minutes, another that goes 1 hr. 30 minutes and yet another that goes 1 hr. 28 minutes. My sister says hers last 1 hr. and 50 minutes.

      I have more than one machine but my favorite is my Zojirushi. Of course, it’s by far the most expensive one. 🙁

  93. I’ve gotten away from using my bread machine because, while I loved my old one (a magical machine we got at a garage sale for $5), our newer one–a Cuisinart–never quite seems to get the texture of the bread just right. I could use all-purpose flour in my last machine & the loaves turned out great every time. In the Cuisinart, I really have to invest in bread flour, which I find to be ridiculously expensive around here. I’d buy just the additional gluten if anyone in town carried it, but they don’t, and I have an aversion to buying things online right now (really trying not to add to my credit card debts). And when I make the bread by hand, it’s as good as anything I buy in the store.

    1. Jena, Sounds like you might need to ask Santa for a new machine. 🙂 I’ve had some machines I liked better than others. Plan to put up a post about it soon.

      1. Our Cuisinart is still pretty new–I’m not planning on investing in a new bread machine anytime soon. I don’t mind making bread by hand; it forces me to clear off the work spaces in the kitchen, which tend to get loaded up with stuff.

  94. Gorgeous loaves! What bread pan do you use for your sandwich bread? I’ve been looking for pans that will turn out commercial-sized slices….

    1. I used an 8 x 4 inch pan by Hoffritz. Think I got it as part of a baking set at Costco some years ago.

  95. I agree with you 100%, Paula. I use my bread machine for mixing and raising, then I hand-shape the final product. It’s such a non-fuss way to bake bread.

  96. Tims machine assembly says:

    I’d have it just because I love warm, soft bread! That would make the perfect breakfast with some eggs and beans!

  97. the urban baker says:

    this makes so much sense. i may have to cave and find room on my kitchen counter for one of these! i have been fantasizing lately about only having homemade bread in the house! yours looks very close to perfect!

  98. ok, so your pictures I couldn’t see on my work computer. your favorite grandson i know would love to try a piece of that homemade bread with some pb & j on top! yummy!

  99. great info! I actually have a friend who asked me for why I use my bread machine early this week. I’ll send her a link to your website. She would find this helpful!

  100. I agree and use my breadmaker for dough only. I can’t wait to try you recipe.
    Great post!

  101. wow I had no idea that these differences existed.

    it was so nice to meet you today! i’m sorry i had to say hi and then run – i had to get home to put my baby to bed for the night. i had no idea that you were in DFW! what a small world!

    1. Good to meet you too. Did you have a chance for Dorie to sign your book?

  102. I don`t have a bread machine cause yet but it`s useful 🙂

    have a nice time!

  103. I agree with EVERY word you say! I love my bread machine!!!

    1. Thanks for the affirmation Renata.