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5 Surprising Reasons Why I Don’t “Bake” Bread in My Bread Machine

Are you unhappy with bread that comes out of a bread machine?  Me, too! Here are 5 Surprising Reasons I Don’t “Bake” Bread in My Bread Machine, but I use my bread machine all the time. Hoping I can change your mind.

bread machine | product comparison to handmade| oatmeal sunflower seed recipe, how to use
The bread on the left was baked in a bread machine. The loaf on the right was mixed and kneaded in a bread machine but baked in a conventional oven.

In case you are a new or disillusioned bread machine owner who is just now finding this blog, this post is for you!

I rarely “bake” bread in my bread machine. Make no mistake! I love my bread machines, (yes, I have several), but I use them for mixing and kneading only.

Wanna know why?

After all, isn’t that why people buy bread machines?

Check out the pictures, and I think you’ll see my point.

comparing loaves baked in a bread machine and a conventional oven

Five Reasons Not To Bake Bread in a Bread Machine:

#1

The shape is weird when baked in a bread machine.

I much prefer the way my loaf looks when I form the dough myself (after the dough cycle completes) and place it into a traditional bread pan.

See how the corners and bottom edges are rounded on the left? A bread machine pan is designed that way so no flour will be left behind during the kneading process. The result is a rounded lump of a loaf. Not pretty.

comparing crust texture

#2

Observe the hole-y texture of the crust on the side of the loaf baked in a bread machine.

Bread machines often produce a tough crust — not a tender one like the bread on the right as seen in the picture above.

holes in bottom of bread machine loaf

#3

Then there are the holes in the bottom where the blades were.

Some people have told me they take the bread dough out of the machine, and remove the blades. Then they put the dough back into the bread machine pan before allowing the dough to rise again and bake inside the machine.

Unfortunately, you still end up with holes, albeit smaller ones. If I’m going to that much trouble, I just throw the dough into a traditional loaf pan and let it bake right.

comparing the internal texture of slices of bread baked in conventional oven and a bread machine

#4

The crust is too thick and hard when you bake bread in a bread machine.

See the third picture above. If your kids don’t like the crust on bread from the grocery store, they surely won’t like the crust on bread from your bread machine. It’s also a dead giveaway that you baked your bread in a bread machine.

Also, compare the texture of the two slices above. I think the texture of the bread on the right is slightly more homogeneous and pleasing than the bread on the left.

#5

You lose control over the timing when you allow the bread machine to bake your bread.

I don’t have a picture of this, but it can be the most important reason of all not to bake in your bread machine.

Because yeast is a living organism, it can be a little unpredictable depending on the ingredients in your recipe and the ambient temperature. The timer built into the machine doesn’t make allowances for this. Sometimes, the machine will automatically kick into the bake cycle whether your dough rises the proper amount or not.


Here are two situations I hear about a lot that illustrate this point:

1. Why is my bread machine loaf small and heavy?

  • The bread machine started baking the loaf before it proofed or doubled in size. Maybe it’s the dead of winter and your kitchen is cold. Or maybe the machine is sitting in a drafty place. you may end up with a small, heavy loaf.
  • Using whole grains can be especially problematic when the rising time takes longer than usual.  Some machines have a special whole wheat cycle, but again, it is automatic and may not work with your particular recipe.

Click here to sign up for a FREE 6-day Quick-Start email course: “Make Fabulous Bread with Your Bread Machine.”

2. Why does my bread machine loaf have a big dip in the middle?

  • If it’s the middle of the summer in Texas or your recipe calls for a lot of sugar, the dough may rise too quickly resulting in a finished loaf with a big dip in the middle. What a disappointment!
  • Some recipes, such as Sweet-Milk Soft White Bread are designed to rise higher. Unfortunately, your bread machine may not get the message.

p.s. Are you wondering why you even need a bread machine? I highly recommend them for convenience and unmatched kneading ability. See the related posts below.


What would you like to read next about bread machines?



If you have a question or problem you need help with, please write it in the comment section below so I can respond back. You can also email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.

Thank you for visiting!
Paula

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Liat

Saturday 5th of September 2020

This is a very helpful post. I recently got a bread machine, and plan on only using it for c. I've read that when you use a bread machine for baking, it's important to use a recipe specifically for a bread machine. If I am using it only for kneading, can I use any recipe?

Paula

Sunday 6th of September 2020

Hi Liat,

The answer to your last question is "almost." The size of your machine is the most limiting factor. Don't use recipes that have more flour than the recipes in your bread machine manual. I wrote a post about adapting your favorite recipes for use in a bread machine. You can read it here.

Coleen

Wednesday 12th of August 2020

l love the bread from my machine...but i perfected the formula....1 1/2 cups of water 1/2 tsp.salt 1 tbsp of maple syrup 3 cups flour and 3/4 tsp of yeast...i use setting 3 on my machine and our family goes crazy over this bread...try it

Ho Sew Fun

Tuesday 7th of July 2020

Hi Paula, I'm very glad that I came across your blog, very informative with many good recipes. I share with you all the disbenefits of bread baked in a bread machine, the crust is not nice to eat, not pretty etc. But the biggest issue I have with my bread machine which I used decades ago was that the non-stick coating of the pan and especially the blade peeled in no time. Not only the pan was expensive to replace, I'm concerned about how safe is the non-stick coating for human consumption. Inevitably, the non-stick coating will go into the bread that we eat. Do you face this peeling problem? What is your thought on this issue?

Ho Sew Fun

Tuesday 21st of July 2020

Thank you so much Paula. If there is a bread machine without non-stick coating for the interior of the pan, that will be wonderful. No worry about food safety and save so much manual work. Please let me know if you come across one such machine. Thank you. Happy baking!

Paula

Tuesday 7th of July 2020

You bring up a good point. Because I have only baked bread in my machine a time or two, I have had no problems with the non-stick coating peeling. It is something to consider for those who like to bake their bread in a bread machine.

Joe Manfredini

Saturday 6th of June 2020

Hi Paula; We are new to this. Have a Williams & Sonoma bread machine. Bought 25lbs of Palouse Brand "Hard Red winter Wheat" Whole berries, I have an old but very good hand grinder. (I go through 3 grinds to get it fine flour.) We have only made it totally in the machine (will try your way soon) but find the bread is loose and crumbly—falls apart—even when we use half recipe with bread flour. Any suggestions for using hand ground flour? Ways to make it a better sandwich material? (Tastes great, though.) Thank you. Joe

Paula

Sunday 7th of June 2020

Hi Joe,

Sounds like you should have some really fresh-tasting bread. But I have more questions. What recipe are you using? Was it designed for a bread machine? How much total flour are you using? Is it possible that it's more than the recommended maximum for your machine? I suspect the machine is not kneading the flour well enough to work up some good gluten. Does it have a whole wheat cycle? Have you tried soaking the berries before you grind them? I have a Cracked Wheat Berry Bread Recipe that requires a soaking. Does the crumbly bread rise very high? Have you tried adding any Vital Wheat Gluten? That might help. I have reached out to my sister who grinds her own flour. If she has some different advice, I'll let you know.

Katie A

Sunday 19th of April 2020

Thanks for this article. Very informative with out all the blogger fluff is appreciated.