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Making Dough in a Bread Machine and Baking it in the Oven: A Tutorial

Preview: If you’ve been curious about making dough in a bread machine and baking it in the oven, this post will tell you how to do it and why it’s a good idea. Don’t miss the Oatmeal-Sunflower Bread recipe at the end.

The “automatic-ness” of a bread machine can mess up a loaf when you try to bake it in a bread machine. Maybe we’ve all expected too much. After all, a bread machine operates on a timer, not a brain.

Make bread with the DOUGH cycle only, then take control over the shaping, second rise, and baking. Master this skill and you will produce a good loaf of bread almost every time. (Nothing connected with living yeast organisms is 100% predictable.)

Be sure to read to the end to get the recipe for Oatmeal-Sunflower Bread as pictured below. It’s one of my best bread recipes.

No worries if you don’t have a bread machine. You can still make the bread either by hand or with a stand mixer. See the recipe notes.

Loaf of bread mixed in a bread machine, then baked in the oven
Oatmeal Sunflower Bread–See recipe below

Why you will fall in love with the DOUGH cycle on your bread machine:

How to avoid a too-dark and tough crust on your bread:

If you would prefer your bread with the crust and appearance of the bread on the right in the picture below instead of the crust on the left, only use the DOUGH cycle of your machine. Then you will shape the dough by hand, give it a second rise, and bake it in your conventional oven.

Keep reading for the specifics.

a dark, hard and crunchy crust when baking in a bread machine dough in the oven vs. bread mixed and baked in a bread machine
Left: bread baked in a bread machine.

Right: bread mixed in a bread machine but baked in a loaf pan in a conventional oven

Making the dough in a bread machine:

What follows are general instructions for making the dough for any bread machine recipe on the DOUGH cycle.

Dump all ingredients into the bread machine pan adding the liquids first, then dry ingredients and flour, and yeast last. Select the “Dough” cycle.
Cinnamon Rolls That Stay Fresh For Longer Than a Day
Dough should stick to the side of the pan, then pull away while going through the kneading process. If it doesn’t see this post about the most important thing you should do when making bread in a bread machine for further instructions.
Bread will automatically rise.
After dough cycle finishes, and the dough has doubled in size, remove it to a floured surface for shaping. (If the dough has not doubled, leave it in the bread machine until it does.)
bread machine crash course sign-up
bread machine crash course sign-up

How to shape bread machine dough into a loaf you can bake in the oven:

At this point, you can shape the dough however you wish. The following picture shows how to make a standard loaf.

shaping the dough to fit in a pan
Roll into a rectangle with the longest edge about one inch longer than your loaf pan. Begin rolling into a cylinder from the longest side taking care there is no excess flour. Tuck the ends under.

What size pan should I use?

Deciding the size of loaf pan you want to use is crucial to the end result.

Too small and your bread will rise out of the pan. Too large and your bread will appear squatty or like it wasn’t allowed to rise long enough.

For a recipe with 3 cups of flour (360 grams), my favorite size is 9 x 5 inches when measured on the bottom. (It will hold 8 cups of water if you want to compare with a pan you already have.)

Your bread dough should roughly fill the loaf pan half full.

If it’s a dense recipe with lots of seeds, whole grains, or whole-grain flour, it won’t rise as high so you could use a slightly smaller pan. If it’s a high-rising light and fluffy loaf, you might want to use a larger pan.

If the only pans you have are too small, cut the dough into portions and make rolls, a free-form loaf or a second mini-loaf with the extra dough.

Coat the pan with a vegetable oil/flour kind of spray such as Baker’s Joy for easy release. Or coat the pan with olive oil.

dough in pan before rising

Proofing the dough after it’s shaped:


Don’t leave it out. It determines the final size and texture along with developing the best flavor from the yeast.

Just to clarify: The first rise happened inside the bread machine on the DOUGH cycle after the kneading process.

When you pull the dough out of the machine after the DOUGH cycle ends, you are taking control of the rest of the process. This includes shaping and a second rise before baking.

How do I set up my bread for the second rising time?

First, shape the dough into whatever shape you want.

Place the loaf pan or rolls in a warm place to rise. My favorite way to create a warm environment is to boil a cup of water in a microwave for 5 minutes. Leave it in there and place the covered dough next to it inside the closed and steamy microwave.


How long does my bread dough take to rise after I shape it?

For most, recipes, you want the dough to almost double in size. Thirty minutes may be all you need for dinner rolls. If the room is on the chilly side, it could take 45-60 minutes.

Loaves usually take longer to rise than rolls. 45 minutes to an hour is a good place to start for a loaf, whether in a pan or freeform.

Ambient temperature and the ingredients in the dough will play a part in how fast bread dough rises. These factors are variable. When you control it yourself, you can get it right every single time.

Caution: Don’t go by the clock! Go by careful observation as described below.

second proofing--pan covered with a cheap shower cap

The dough should rise to about one inch above the top of the pan. If it proofs too much, the power of the yeast is exhausted. Your loaf may fall or have a big hole in the middle.

Unfortunately, you may not realize your error until you slice into the baked loaf.

How can I tell if the dough has risen enough in the pan?

If the dough doesn’t rise enough, your bread will be compact and smaller than it should be. Use a gentle finger to press on the side of the bread. It should leave a dent that doesn’t bounce back.

What if my dough already rose too high on the second rise?

If you know that your loaf has risen too much (maybe you forgot about it), dump the dough out of the pan onto a floured surface. Push it down, knead a couple of times and reshape it. Let it rise again, but this time watch closely.

No guarantees this will work, but it’s better than baking a loaf that produces an overly yeasty flavor, a poor texture, or collapses in the middle.

second rising with dough in a pan
If you are using the right size pan, your loaf is ready to bake when dough peeks above the top of the pan about one inch.

Baking bread machine dough in the oven:

Preheating your oven is crucial to get the best rise and the nicest crust. It’s best to start the oven 25-30 minutes before you think your bread will be ready to bake.

How do I determine the oven temperature and cooking time I should use?

Beginners may find it helpful to compare their recipe with similar recipes that weren’t designed for a bread maker. Look at how long they bake and at what temperature to point you in the right direction.

Enriched doughs (contain eggs, butter, and milk) are usually baked at 350-375˚ F.

A light-textured loaf like a ciabatta, French bread, or a simple sourdough will do better in a hotter oven somewhere in the range of 400-425˚F. The higher temperature works best when the recipe is basically water, flour, salt, and maybe a small amount of sugar.

What if my bread is getting too dark on top but the bread is not baked in the middle?

Some loaves may take more time or need to be covered half-way through the baking time.  A piece of aluminum foil will protect a crust that is browning too quickly.

Next time, move the bread to a lower rack in the oven. Every oven has its own personality. Worth trying.

All these details will require your attention the first time you try it, but once you make a recipe two or three times, you’ll figure it out.

A kitchen secret for new bread bakers:

If you are a bread-making beginner, I can’t stress how helpful it is to buy a quick-read thermometer with a probe. When you put the probe into the middle of the bread, it should read 190˚-200˚F for enriched doughs (or pretty close) when it’s baked all the way through. For a basic flour-salt-and-yeast loaf, the internal temperature should be 200-210˚F.

loaf of bread mixed in a bead machine and baked in the oven sitting on a cooling rack.
Sunflower Seed and Oatmeal Loaf–dough made in a bread machine, then baked in a conventional oven.

This particular loaf is a perfect sandwich bread because the flavors are rather unassertive and won’t compete with sandwich ingredients. Nevertheless, it’s more interesting and nutritious than a plain white loaf.

To freeze, slice it first, then double wrap it.

Yield: 1 pound loaf

Oatmeal-Sunflower Bread Recipe

Oatmeal-Sunflower Bread Recipe

Oatmeal-Sunflower Bread has a mild, non-assertive but nutty flavor that's perfect for sandwiches and toast. Make the dough in a bread machine and bake it in your oven.

Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes


  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) milk
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) water
  • 1/4 cup (85 grams) honey
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon (7 grams) salt
  • 3 cups (360 grams) bread flour
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) quick or old-fashioned oats (not instant) (45 gr)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast (7 gr)
  • 1/2 cup (64 grams) hulled sunflower seeds, toasted


  1. Warm milk and water in the microwave for one minute on HIGH.
  2. Add to bread machine pan along with remaining ingredients except seeds in order given.
  3. Select "Dough" cycle and start. After about 5-10 minutes, lift the lid and add extra liquid or extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to correct consistency. Dough should stick to side of pan, then pull away.
  4. Add the seeds at the Raisin/Nut signal or 5-10 minutes before the kneading cycle ends. If you miss it, you can always work them in by hand when you get ready to form the loaf.
  5. When dough cycle has completed, remove dough to a floured surface and flatten into a rectangle. Roll into a cylinder. Place into a 9x5-inch greased loaf pan with the seam down and tucking the ends under.
  6. Loosely cover (I use a shower cap or tea towel) and set in a warm place until dough rises approximately 1/2 to 1 inch above the rim of the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F. I suggest you test it with a thermometer if you are a novice bread baker.
  2. Note: Check loaf half way through baking and cover with foil if getting too brown.


Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:

  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using the dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until the dough becomes smooth and elastic about 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in the recipe
  • If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 210Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 563mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


Saturday 7th of August 2021

Thanks for this. Just about to try it out. Are your oven temperatures for fan assisted ovens?


Saturday 7th of August 2021

Good question. The temperatures given are not for a fan-assisted oven. As I'm sure you know, adjust backward 25˚F if using a convection oven.

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Tuesday 9th of March 2021

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Friday 12th of February 2021

Okay, I just cut into this loaf of bread. I haven't made it before but I can guarantee I'll be making it again, and again, and again!! It is by far the BEST bread I've ever tasted!! Husband agrees...we don't have to buy bread any more!! Thank You, Paula!!


Friday 12th of February 2021

HIGH FIVE, Cherie! Great job.


Wednesday 10th of February 2021

Paula This bread is amazing! I have made it several times in the past couple of weeks. Each time is better than before. I like the idea of letting the machine do the heavy lifting and still being able to make it my own. This latest loaf I used an egg wash to help the extra seeds stick to top of the loaf. It is a beauty to behold. Thank you again. Cheers, Mariette


Thursday 11th of February 2021

Good deal, Mariette. Sounds like you are becoming fearless and creative. Love it!


Monday 25th of January 2021

This bread is amazing. I made it exactly by the recipe and I’ve made it twice now. I may never buy bread again!


Tuesday 26th of January 2021

Fantastic, Debbie. Thanks for coming back to say so.

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