Can You Double a Bread Machine Recipe?

Sneak Preview: Can you double a bread machine recipe? Please keep reading to find out why it’s not a good idea, along with some alternative solutions.

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Bread makers often ask about doubling bread machine recipes during the holidays. The answer? In general, it’s not a good idea.

If you’re like me, I tend to make bread the most when I have lots of people to help me eat it. So, let’s think about other options. I’ll share with you what I do instead of doubling the ingredients in one batch. I hope one of them will suit you.

If you like to bake your bread in a bread machine (instead of using the DOUGH cycle and baking in your oven), be sure to read the last sentence in this post before you try doubling a bread machine recipe.

Why you should not double a bread machine recipe, even if you are only using the DOUGH cycle:

  1. The machine won’t knead the dough as efficiently when using more flour than recommended in the manual.
  2. Too much dough can strain the motor. Unusual noises are your first clue. You may hear the motor straining. Some machines will automatically stop when the load on the motor is too heavy. The machine won’t operate until the motor cools down.

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How can I know how much dough my bread maker will handle?

Check your bread machine manual. Go online if you can’t find it or if you purchased a used machine with no manual in sight.

Now, examine the recipes in the manual. What is the largest amount of flour you see in those recipes? The picture below comes from my bread machine manual.

The maximum amount of flour listed is 4¼ cups. These recipes would suggest I should not go over 4¼ cups of flour in my 2-lb machine.

But wait! Look at the recipes on the right. They use 5 cups. You can use slightly more whole wheat flour because it won’t rise as high. Noting the recommended maximum amount of flour is especially important if you plan to bake your bread in the machine with the one-and-done button.

In general:

  • A 2-lb machine can handle 4-4.5 cups of flour.
  • A 1½-lb machine will make a recipe containing 3-3½ cups of flour.
  • A 1-lb machine will accept 2-2½ cups of flour.

Without a manual, you can measure the bread machine pan using water to determine the size of your machine. According to Beneficial Bento, a 2-pound bread maker will hold around 12 cups of water. A 1.5-pound machine will hold 10 cups, and a 1-pound machine will hold 8 cups of water.

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Exception: If the original recipe is relatively tiny, as in 2 cups of flour, you may double the recipe IF your machine is a 2 or 3-pound machine.

Alternative solutions when you need lots of bread:

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The machine in the front is over 20 years old. It makes cardboard crusts, but it can mix and knead bread dough like a champ.
  1. Use the DOUGH cycle to mix and knead one batch after another. Remove the first batch of dough from the bread machine to another bowl when the kneading phase ends. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place. Start another recipe immediately. The chances are good that the second batch will be ready to shape not long after you finish shaping the first batch.
  2. Use two machines. Borrow one or pick up a used bread machine at a thrift store to use as back-up. You can often get them for a song and frequently, they are like new. Stick to a brand you’ve heard of before.
  3. Make one recipe the night before. You have two options when the DOUGH cycle completes and the dough doubles in size:
    • Shape the dough immediately and chill overnight. The next day, let the dough warm up and become puffy before baking as usual.
    • Place the dough in a large container and chill. The next day, shape the dough while it is cold. Allow extra time for the rolls or loaf to warm and proof before baking.

Last resort: Use a heavy-duty stand mixer. Most of my bread machine recipes include directions in the recipe notes for making bread dough either by hand or with a stand mixer. Depending on the size of your stand mixer, you might be able to double the recipe.

Finally, if you like to mix, knead, and bake your bread in a bread machine, never double a recipe (unless the original recipe contains less than 2 cups of flour and you have a 2-lb or bigger machine). The bread could overflow and drip into the bottom of the pan by the heating element. Not a good holiday memory!

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

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2 Comments

  1. Hi, how many cups of flour can I put in my Hamilton beach 2 pound machine to make dough only?
    I will bake in my oven so I just want to make dough. What’s the most flour you’ve used to make dough in your 2 pound machine?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jana,

      I looked online for a user’s guide for a 2-pound Hamilton Beach Bread Machine. When you go to the recipe section, the most flour used is 4½ cups of flour. So that is what I recommend.

      On the other hand, if you want to push that limit, you could always experiment by using a little more flour. Listen to the sound of your machine. If it sounds like it is straining, you know you have gone over the limit. Of course, if it starts to smoke or smell like rubber burning, stop immediately. The other thing to watch is how well your machine kneads the dough. That’s important but may be hard to assess. Look at the finished texture of your bread if you’re not sure.