If you love to make/eat quality bread, are curious about bread machines, or have a bread machine you don’t use, then read my 5 Reasons Why I Use a Bread Machine. If you like what you read here, I’ve got a lot more bread machine secrets and recipe links at the end of this post to keep you busy for days.
In a nutshell, this is how I use a bread machine to get dependable results…every time: Use the dough cycle for mixing, kneading, and the first rise. Remove dough, shape it, let it rise again, and finally, bake the bread in a conventional oven.
You may have noticed most of the yeast bread recipes on this blog are written for a bread machine. Not only do I love how easily it makes bread, apparently, I don’t need to knead. The alleged therapeutic advantages of using my own two hands to work the dough are wasted on me. My impatience rarely allows it and my penchant for quality bread demands the consistency of a bread machine. That being said, if you love making bread by hand or even with a stand mixer, I’m not going to try to talk you out of whatever works for you.
Why I use a bread machine to mix and knead:
To me, kneading bread dough by hand is like riding a horse to work in the 21st century. Riding a horse is fun and a delight for the senses but it’s more trouble and takes longer. A certain level of physical fitness and skill is required and it’s a little scary for some of us.
On the other hand, using a bread machine is like driving a car. If you need to arrive quickly and on schedule (and look good doing it), most people would choose the speed and reliability of a car. Likewise, when you want homemade bread you can count on to be ready at meal time with good texture, height, and flavor, use a bread machine to mix and knead the dough.
Three reasons I don’t normally care for bread baked in a bread machine:
- I’m not fond of strangely shaped bread and/or an unsightly hole in the bottom where the blade inserted.
- The crust is too often thick and tough.
- More often than not, I want dinner rolls or some kind of specialty shape so actually baking in a bread machine is not a choice.
5 Reasons Why I Use a Bread Machine:
1. Simple assembly. Simple clean-up.
2. Less hands-on time.
3. Bread rises higher and texture is finer.
(See post by King Arthur Flour for similar experiment and results)
4. Minimal attention is required.
No need to change blades or mixing speeds. No need to grease a bowl, find a cover or look for a warm place for the proofing stage because the bread machine takes care of it automatically. A peek or two under the lid about 5-10 minutes into the dough cycle is all that’s necessary. For this reason alone, I prefer a bread machine over a stand mixer although a Kitchen Aid will do a nice job once you get the hang of it.
5. Bread machines have useful timers.
You can do cool things like having My Favorite Pizza Dough ready to roll out when you walk in the door from a long day at work. I often throw ingredients for My Favorite Dinner Rolls into the bread machine pan before church and come home 2-3 hours later to risen dough ready to form in the shape of my choice.
Three common questions I get when I tell somebody the 5 Reasons Why I Use a Bread Machine:
1. The times I tried to make bread in a bread machine, it turned out like a brick. Who needs it?
In a nutshell, using the automatic cycle on a bread machine from start to finish is fraught with pitfalls. You may get lucky and it works, but often it doesn’t. I don’t care for the odds so I choose to take more control. See this post for more details: 5 Surprising Reasons I Don’t Bake in My Bread Machine.
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?
Get it out and try the recipe for the bread shown in this post. Sweet Milk White Bread is our absolute favorite for a sandwich or munching loaf. Or go to my recipe index where I have over 50 recipes designed for a bread machine.
Sweet Milk White BreadPrint
A finely textured loaf of white bread–mixed, kneaded, and proofed in a bread machine, but shaped by hand and baked in a conventional oven for the best of both worlds.
- 7 ounces water
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cups(+) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- Add ingredients to bread pan in order listed.
- Select Dough Cycle and start. Raise lid and check dough after about 5-10 minutes. Add flour one tablespoon at a time, if necessary, until dough reaches correct consistency. It should come together in a ball that sticks to side of pan, then pulls away. If dough thumps against the side of pan, add warm water 1 tablespoon at a time. If dough is thin enough to level out, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time till dough starts to form a slightly sticky ball.
- Remove dough from pan at the end of the dough cycle and place on lightly floured board. Roll into rectangle. Roll up and tuck ends to fit into greased 4 x 8 inch loaf pan. Let rise till dough is 1 inch above top edge of pan in the middle.
- Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes. Interior should reach 190 degrees. Place a foil tent over bread half-way through baking to protect from over-browning. Allow to cool 15 minutes before turning out to cool completely. Best if you wait at least two hours before slicing so loaf will hold its shape without squishing with the pressure of a knife.
Keywords: bread, bread machine, bread recipes, bread machine recipes, flour, yeast
Just so you know, I don’t work for any bread machine companies or receive any perks for talking about them with the exception of the Amazon links to my favorite bread machine which does provide a very small commission to anyone who follows the link and buys it from Amazon.