Bread Maker vs. Oven: How to Get the Best Crust

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Sneak Preview: Bread Maker vs. Oven–Many people are unhappy with bread made in a bread machine because they don’t like the crust. Here’s my solution.

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

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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. That means I only use the DOUGH cycle.

Don’t worry. You didn’t make a mistake by buying a bread maker.

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I’ll show you why I use a bread maker to mix and knead bread and an oven to bake bread. Check out the pictures below. I think you’ll understand.

comparing loaves baked in a bread machine and a conventional oven

Bread Machine vs Oven: 5 reasons why the oven is better for actually baking bread.

#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 holey 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

The holes in the bottom where the blades were are ugly and not nice to eat.

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 in my oven. If you don’t happen to have an oven, here are some ideas for shaping your bread and putting it back in the pan that you may find helpful.

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.

Why is the crust on my bread machine bread so hard? Consider the way to get a crispy crust when you bake bread in the oven is to make sure the oven is good and hot before you bake.

A bread machine has no way to preheat itself. The bread will start to bake as soon as the machine starts to heat up. In general, this leads to bread with a crust akin to cardboard.

#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 unpredictable depending on the ingredients in your recipe and the ambient temperature. The timer built into the machine doesn’t make allowances for this. The machine will automatically kick into the bake cycle whether your dough rises the proper amount or not.

bread machine crash course sign up

How baking your bread machine in the oven will help you avoid these two problems:

1. My bread machine loaf is small, dense, and heavy.

  • The bread machine probably 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 causing you to end up with a small and 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.

2. My bread machine loaf has a big dip in the middle.

  • If it’s the middle of the summer in Texas, your recipe calls for a lot of sugar, or the dough is too wet and sticky, the dough may rise too quickly, then fall. The result is often 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. When you bake in your oven, you decide when is the best time to start baking your loaf.

If you’re convinced using the DOUGH cycle is a good idea, you may be wondering exactly how to do it. Go to this tutorial for more details on mixing bread in a machine, then baking it in a conventional oven.

Is a bread machine worth it? Yes! Keep reading.

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

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122 Comments

  1. I have to totally agree with you. Baked in a pan is definitely best. BUT, it is nice sometimes to just stick all the things in the bread machine and return 3 hours later (I usually do that while we’re gone to church) and have fresh bread ready when we get home. That said, it IS quite annoying to have the holes in the bottom. Sometimes the blade is even stuck in the loaf of bread until we slice it out. 😉

  2. Marlon @MeInTheBalance says:

    I’m new to bread baking and have been using my bread machine for the last few months. I’ve thought of using the machine to mix the dough and transferring it to a traditional loaf pan… Your post just encouraged me to go for it! Thanks 🙂

  3. wonderful pictures this is my point actually i have two bread machines only use the dough cycle get much better loaf of bread with out the hole i have been making breads for years until the bread machine came along,, use much more flour using old fashion way, for liquids i use milk,or use cooled potato water 1 c and 1 c of beer that sure makes nice soft loaf
    thank you for sharing never thought about doing comparison glad you did
    diane ontario canada

    1. Hi Diane,
      Looks like I will have to experiment with the potato water and beer. Interesting. I love using potatoes in my bread for the long-lasting quality they impart but have not tried using the water.

  4. EXCELLENT post!! I’ve been using a bread machine for several years and just recently began doing things the way you posted. Have been MUCH happier with my results!! I recognized all of your reasons, except the last one as differences I had noticed, but I never thought that the “automatic-ness” of the bread machine could be the reason for the many inconsistent results I get – especially when baking with whole grains. Thanks especially for that extra piece of information!!!

    1. Thanks Rhonda,
      Sounds like you have come to the same conclusion I have. I don’t bake with whole grains much but it can really be dicey with a bread machine and the timing when you start playing around like so many of us like to do. Good to hear from you.

  5. Thank you for a great blog. I’d wondered about getting a bread machine but I’ve always had great results using my KitchenAide mixer for kneading the dough, so I put that thought aside. I don’t know anyone who has a bread machine so didn’t know about the rounded edges or holes. Thanks for the great class on breadmaking.

    1. Vickie,
      I’m glad you brought up using a Kitchen Aide. It also will do a beautiful job, especially if you are an experienced bread maker and know what the dough is supposed to look like. Also good if you are making a recipe with more than 3 cups of flour and refrigerator doughs that don’t really need to be kneaded. However, a GOOD bread machine is easier and more convenient in my book for most breads. A lot of it is what you get used to–like anything. :-). Again, thanks for writing.

    2. Hi Vickie,
      If you are happy with your Kitchen Aide, probably no reason to get a bread machine. I like bread machines for the convenience (my dough cycle has a timer) and the ability to proof right there in the pan. That way, I can throw all the ingredients into the machine and come back an hour and a half later and it’s ready to form into loaves or rolls. Don’t have to move or cover it to proof, and don’t have to decide if it has kneaded long enough. Kitchen Aide is a tiny bit more trouble in my opinion, but not that much. It is also good for recipes with more than 3 cups of flour–a definite limitation with a bread machine.

    3. I went complat bread machine

  6. You have inspired me again! I had given my machine to my sister to try, but after 3 years she had never used it, so I asked for it back. I haven’t gotten around to using it again, but I hope to this week and do it the way you suggest. You are such a good teacher and I so appreciate your efforts on your blog. Thank you Paula!

    1. Thanks Vicki. Comments like yours make all the trouble worth it. Happy bread eating!

  7. Thank you so much for this. It’s like a light went on over my head. All of the things you highlight are reasons why I don’t LOVE my bread machine. But now I can again. I’ll just think of it as a bread mixer/kneader. THanks!

  8. Kathy - Panini Happy says:

    Now I don’t feel quite so bad that my bread machine conked out after just 2 uses (7 years ago). 🙂

    1. Hi Kathy,
      After just 2 uses you bread machine went out? Hope you got your money back. I personally couldn’t live without one though. Very convenient kneading machines–that’s what I call them. 🙂 Thanks for writing.

  9. The Café Sucre Farine says:

    I totally agree with you Paula, though I don’t use a bread machine any more for my dough, I hated the way the bread baked in the machine looked and tasted. It’s quite amazing seeing the difference in your photos!

  10. jessica w says:

    I have a bread maker, and I use it to make dough for Broetchen, kolaches, breads, and anything else I can think of,but I also never bake anything in it.

    1. Broetchen? I think I’ve missed that somehow. Gotta look it up. 🙂

      1. If memory serves me right Broetchen is the name for Kaiser rolls that are round instead of shaped from a strip of dough. I have made Kaiser rolls from my regular white bread dough that I make in my machine and the turned out great.
        I have moderate arthritis and had almost quit baking bread until a friend gave me her machine that she no longer used. At first I faithfully followed the directions and baked it all of the way through even setting it to have hot bread in the morning, until I woke up to find that the dough had over flowed and I had a real mess. Then I got smart and started to do it like you do. Now, I bake at least twice a week and I will never be without a machine again. I love having it do all the work and only having one mixing pan to clean up;.
        Now, if only I could find a recipe for Schnitzbrot that I can make in my marvelous machine I would be a happy camper.

          1. Thank you, I’m glad that you reminded me of this. This is the way that they get the great crust on Mexican bolillos and I had forgotten all about it. What I am looking for is Schnitzbrot. It is a dark, anis flavored German
            fruit bread. My little German grandmother made it every Christmas and I was the only one in the family that ate it. It was wonderful. Since she was a dump cook, with all of her recipes in her head, she was never able to pass them on. She also made great big Bavarian pretzels every Saturday and I have never had any as good as hers. I strongly urge everyone to write down their recipes and give them to your children or someone you love so they are never lost as hers are.

        1. Hi there!
          The bread you are talking about is really lovely. We had an elderly lady who lived near us in London. She would always say how wonderful my grandmother had been to her when she arrived from Germany, befriending her and giving her things. My grandmother an Irish immigrant had very little then but but felt rich in comparison, as Ruth had even less then my grandmother and had lost so much. I believe the first thing my grandmother gave her was Soda bread – half of what she had. She did that, from then on with every thing she had which was little. Ruth, said my parents had continued what my grandmother started and continued to be very good and helpful to her.

          Ruth was a Jewish refugee and we were Catholics she spent every holiday with us – including Christmas and Easter! And LOVED ST Patrick’s Day!! She was a real character … I called her Aunt. We were blessed with her wonderful breads at these holidays and at Christmas there was always Schnitzbrot. She would let me – only me – help her and gave me her recipes. which she told me. was the most precious gift she could give me as they had been passed down through all the years and different women in her family.

          Now its me who still makes her special breads on those holidays – I don’t have a bread maker – and we always cut the first slice and put it on her plate at the place set for the missing that we can’t see, then we pray for her and for the other women in her family and ours, many of who perished in dreadful circumstances; we remember them.

          She told us she always brought us bread because bread is life and sacred. I think of her every day.

          My Grandmothers name was Grainne meaning Grace … which is very fitting I think for the person she was.

          I’m sorry for this long message I had no intention of telling you all this when I started, however, I somehow had to to pass on this story of two amazing women who had both suffered terrible things and were brought together by bread.

          Now, the main reason for writing this was to say, if you put Schnitzbrot in to a search engine you will find many recipes for it and I dare say there will be one for use in a bread machine. Failing that you could use a bread maker just for the kneading and then oven bake. Which I think dear Ruth with prefer!

          God bless all women who make bread and continue to sustain their friends and families.
          Saoirsé

          1. Hi Saoirse,
            What a great story! Thanks for sharing. You have some great traditions going on here–as well as many good memories. I haven’t tried Schnitzbrot yet but I hope to soon. Thanks for writing.

  11. I was so excited to get my first bread machine many years ago, and was then so disappointed when I pulled the first loaf out of it. I now use it only to make dough, and it does a lovely job of it. I’m looking forward to the bread recipe! 🙂

  12. thank you for your reply
    in my bread machine i use 1/2 c beer and 1/2 c potatoe water heated together tem reaches 105 to 110 i made 2 loaves this weekend and i used 1 c beer heated only and wow did i get nice soft bread i think i should have perhaps used tbsp of instant milk powder , also add dried onion flakes and powdered garlic about tbsp each go according to taste baked in bbq about 30 minutes on indirect heat in summer time i use my natural gas bbq alot of bread, rolls, etc.. diane

  13. I had a bread machine when we lived in California, and its performance was adequate, but I was always uncomfortable at the expenditure of energy for a single loaf of bread. We moved to Colorado, and I found that whole-wheat bread baked at an elevation of 7800 feet resulted in something we could have used to pave walkways, even though I added extra white flour or pure gluten. I much prefer to mix and bake several loaves at a time, and after I developed tendinitis in my hands I gave up kneading by hand and invested in a Cuisinart stand mixer, which does a great job. So no more bread machine for me. We live in the forest and don’t need to have anything paved.

  14. hi – i just inherited a breadmaker from my grandmother, circa 1998! made a loaf of white/french bread today and it came out great, but i would like to use the machine to make the dough and then bake it in the oven for the reasons that you posted. Does it rise in the machine then i move to the loaf pan? Or do I need to transfer, let it rise in the loaf pan & then bake? I’m totally new to this whole bread making thing, but have a 4 month old & I’m eating alot of toast lately since it requires only 1 hand to eat! 🙂

    1. Jen,
      Check out this post for the answer to your questions. Happy bread eating!

      1. New machine user…how long and at what temp do you bake the bread after it’s removed from the machine.
        thanks

  15. Shana Trahan says:

    You bake in the oven even in the summer? I was actually thinking about just using my bread machine to cook the bread during the summer, that way my oven doesn’t heat up the house while I fight to keep it cool.

  16. This recipe smells great, it will be ready to come out of the oven in about 5 minutes. I’m using convection and doing 2 small loaves, as all i have are a couple of 3 1/2 x 8 meat loaf pans, but it seems to be working fine. Will post in an hour with results 🙂 thanks for the recipe! My wife is super excited to taste it.
    -Kris

    1. Kris,
      Hope it was wonderful!

      1. Sure was! Im here to use the recipe again… My kids went silly on the stuff! I added pumpkin seeds and used whole wheat flour last time…. Awesome.
        Thanks for the recipe

  17. I just got my first bread machine, its a Panasonic and has the yeast dispenser on the top. I have stopped baking my bread in the machine and doing what you suggest, baking in the oven.
    Now I want to do something different 🙂 I want to make a cinnamon raisin bread but when do you add the raisins? (I use only the dough cycle)

    1. Hi Marcelle,
      Most machines have a beep feature close to the end of the kneading cycle which tells you when to add dried fruits and/or nuts. But since I often miss the beep, I usually add them in by hand before I roll out the dough. Works fine.

  18. Hi, I think I have the same Zojurishi bread maker you have, and I made our sandwich bread with a combo of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, but I stopped using it, because my kids didn’t like the crust. Great idea to bake it in the oven. Here are a few questions: I am new to the science of bread making. If I use the dough cycle and let it rise in the bread maker, how do I know when it has risen enough? It does beep with the dough cycle is done, but not risen enough. and once I take it out and form it in the loaf pan, does it need to rise again before baking? What do you recommend for greasing the loaf pan? Thank you!

    1. Your dough should double in size during the first rise or by the end of the dough cycle. If it is not double when the dough cycle completes, let it continue to rise. It would probably help to find a warmer place for your machine, especially in the winter. I often make bread in our laundry room as it is the warmest room in the house.

      After, the first rise, gently deflate the dough, form it as you desire, and let dough rise again until nearly double, then bake in your conventional oven. I like to grease my bread pans with Bakers Joy. See this post for more complete instructions.

  19. to solve the hard thick crust, I take it out 10 mins before it finishes baking…

  20. At what stage of the bread machine process do I take the loaf out to put into my oven bread pan?

  21. Pamela Vierling says:

    I have a Gold Star bread machine that was given to me, I only want to use it to knead the dough. I want to use the recipes in the book, but the book doesn’t tell me at what temperature I need to set my stove or how long to bake it for.
    I have never made bread by hand so I wouldn’t be able to assume at what temperature from a previous experience.
    So could you possibly post temperatures for baking bread & maybe some rolls.

    Thank You

    1. Pamela, There are several variables so I can’t give you one temperature. Check out this post for more guidance.

  22. Liz Tominey says:

    I have used my bread machine for the first time yesterday and pretty well happy with the results but take your point about the shape. I want to bake a 2lb brown loaf in a conventional oven but have no idea at what tempeture or how long to bake. I would appreciate any advice. I read some stuff here before I used my breadmaker which helped and have added this site to my favourites. Thank you for the advice and tips.

    1. Hi Liz,
      Check out this post to get your started.

    2. Hi Liz,
      Check out this post for ideas about where to start on temperature and time. It is a trial-and-error situation until you get some experience. Just dive in and try it. 🙂

  23. I just found your recipe for bread machine Oatmeal Sunflower bread that you baked in the oven. Can’t wait to try it because I hate baking bread in the bread machine for the reasons you listed. I have 2 questions. Do I have to use bread flour? Is it possible to make any bread machine bread and just set it to Dough setting then take it out, let it rise and bake in the oven??? Thanks again for posting this great recipe.

  24. I need help. I received the Oster breadmaker as a wedding present and have tried to make bread twice. Both the times were disastrous. I followed the instructions very very carefully, but no success. the second time the dough did not take the shape of the bread pan and came out in the shape of a mountain.

    What am I doing wrong ! Very very frustrating….

    1. Deepa,
      Right off the top, you probably needed to add more liquid to the dough. Please take some time to read my posts about making bread in a bread machine. I think it would help you. paula

  25. Do you have other receipes using the bread maker just for the kneading process, then the oven for the baking? Looking for cinnamon bread, herb bread, and even other savory breads utilizing cheese, etc. Thanks!

  26. I just made a loaf of bread today in my machine and I totally get the darn sunken hole thing inside. and i never knew why!!!! How do you transfer the dough to the pan to bake it? how long and temp and so on?

    1. Kimberly, Check out this post for answers to your questions.

  27. I would never, never, buy a loaf of bread. I use the machine as you say-kneading & proofing then baking in the oven. My question: how do I get the top to be as light as the bottom? I want a loaf without a crust.
    Thanks a bunch.

    1. Thanks Paula: I have tried using foil lose & it works some. I will try the lower shelf. I’m hesitant to lower the temp from 350 to 325, etc because 55 minutes exactly cooks perfectly. I’m not sure how to determine how long to cook @ a lower temp.

  28. Using bread machine and making bread for first time not a baker at all but have high hopes I really hope that using all purpose instead of bread flour does not ruin it tried once without

  29. Just found this site. Thank you for such an informative article!

    I have been baking breads (among other things) for over forty years. I never desired a bread machine. My husband wanted to try one. Some loaves come out great and some are so-so. I hate the holes and everything else you mentioned.
    I wanted to try using the bread machine for just the kneading and your article gave me the confidence to do so. (One day I hope to own a huge Kitchen Aid mixer. I have my grandmother’s Kitchen Aid from 1950 and it is still going strong but I use it sparingly) I quickly skimmed your site and I think it is fantastic. Thank you for sharing your expertise and knowledge.

  30. Natalie G says:

    If I am going to double a bread recipe do I need to double the time on the dough cycle? I am only kneeding it and them making cinnamon rolls.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Natalie,
      This is an EXCELLENT question. Make two separate batches. Your machine is most likely not designed to handle more than 3-4 cups of flour in one batch so it would not do a good job kneading a double batch. So make one recipe and when it is done kneading remove the dough and put it in a bowl to proof. Then make another batch and let it knead. This is why I have two machines. One is cheap and old but it still does a good job mixing and kneading. So glad you asked.

  31. Hi Paula:
    Thanks for your blog!! I got the same bread machine you have for Christmas!! Was hoping however that after having had a bread machine over 20 years ago (my only one that broke after a year); that the problems of the past would have been fixed?? Uneven or limited browning on top, too much air in crust, poor texture & tough crust. I have cooked two loaves so far and it didn’t brown, was tough and texture ok. Will the manufacturers ever get it right so you don’t have to use your oven?? What’s the point? I love to cook but all inclusive was something I was looking for? Any tips for those of us wanting to conquer the machine itself and cook in it too??

  32. Donnette Cowgill says:

    I bought a bread machine because my husband has congestive heart failure and has to eat low sodium. So far I’ve had good luck eliminating the salt altogether and using just a little Light Salt (which is potassium, so still have to be careful). I will have to try baking in the oven. Since it’s just the two of us and I don’t really eat bread, I only make 1 lb loaves so they don’t ruin before he eats a loaf. I have only made oatmeal bread so far and look forward to trying other grain breads.

    1. Donnette, I can related to baking bread for two. Usually means I eat way too much myself. Making small loaves is a great idea.

  33. Your site is wonderful. I wish I had found you before I got this bread machine 🙁
    My test loaves are so disappointing. All are too dark, even on the lightest setting. The crust is thick & tough and the hole in the bottom is annoying. I don’t think I’m
    bread machine kind of girl. Arm with your tips & and expertise, I too will ” knead in the machine & bake in my oven”. Thanks again for sharing.

  34. Do I double kneading time when I double a bread recipe? I am new to bread making and am using my Kitchen aide dough hook. Thanks

  35. Incorrect email in previous message—sorry

    Do I double kneading time when I double a bread recipe. I am new to bread making and am using my Kitchen Aide with dough hook. Thanks

  36. I totally agree with you, about not cooking the bread in the bread mechanic. I received my bread maker about 15 years ago now, and I can tell you I only ever cooked one loaf in my bread maker!! I didn’t like the way it looked and had a very hard time getting the mixer part out of the bread! I put it away for a long time, but than starting thinking it would be good just to mix and proof the bread in the bread maker, which saved me time doing this myself. My only problem I have with the bread maker is that I can not find a recipe for crusty breads or roll, as that is what my husband and I prefer. Do you have any recipes for crustier bread or rolls??

    1. Hi Jo-Anne,
      I also love crusty bread. Try these rolls. This loaf is also crusty. And then there is this French bread. Happy bread-making!

  37. or….You can also mix the dough on with the dough cycle, remove the blade, and allow it to raise,
    Then bake for 30 min on the cake cycle and turn off.
    It will continue to warm for 30 min depending on your machine.
    Comes out great without the blade hole and a softer crust because of the shortened bake time.

  38. After receiving a confirmation email from my response-
    I realized I had typed cake instead of BAKE cycle , which in a toastmaster bread machine allows a “up to 60 min” baking cycle.
    Also I have made many bread items and soups with this cycle , including filling dough once mixed with the dough cycle-
    You can roll it out thinly
    – and fill with any filling,( lightly) and roll it.
    – then spiral the dough in the raised pan, let it raise
    – and bake it.

    Also soup chowders (with the bake cycle)
    So, …Just thought to follow up.

  39. Specifically roil out dough to a 12 to 14 inch by 5 inch rectangle, then fill lightly careful to each end,fold/ roll over.
    then in a tall bread pan (the 1 lb pans are tall)
    -spiral the filled dough( without blade), and let raise,
    -then bake cycle 30 min .
    Comes out good , but not as well as a jelly roll filled dough in a conventional oven.

  40. Now, I think that a bread machine should be like a slow-cooker. Only use it when you want to put everything in and come back hours later to something ready. A bread machine, much like a slow-cooker, isn’t some miracle machine that lets you dump everything in and have a beautiful meal finished just like the traditional way. You only use it when you either have something that’s better when it’s made in the machine, or when convenience is a concern.

    For certain dishes, a slow-cooker is better, but in general it’s only good for a fraction of recipes. For the rest, use pots, pans, and an oven. It’s the same for bread.

    1. Hi Simon,
      I think I understand the point you are making. However, I think a bread machine does a better job kneading bread than the average person does by hand so I recommend it over the old-fashioned way to most people. See this post.

      1. Oh, absolutely. I do think a bread machine is much better at kneading than I will ever be. I just believe that a bread machine is only good at kneading most of the time, so that’s what I use it for.

  41. I’ve been making bread machine bread since they came out. I am like you. I tried a few times in the machine and my kids didn’t like the crust. I started using the dough cycle and it has been great. I usually make the 2 lb. loaf size, shape into 3 free formed french style loaves Bake at 375 for around 15 min. My kids think it’s the best. Ps. I’m a mom of 9.

    1. Hi Cindy,
      Good to hear from you. Sounds like you’ve got your system down. Your kids will be spoiled for good bread the rest of their lives. 🙂 paula

  42. keep up the good work and thank you for the facts that you have shared with your article in here.

  43. Penelope Smith says:

    Making your own bread does seem like a tricky thing to do without your proper equipment. It is good to know that it would be smart to know that mixing bread with a timer can be very helpful. That does seem like a great thing for me to know because I want to try to bake more bread.

  44. All that stuff you are complaining about a bread machine loaf don’t bother me. It is the taste after it comes out of the bread machine. These things just don’t mix the dough well enough to suit me turning out a yeasty tasting loaf of bread. So in a bowl, I decided to go with the hand method mixing the dry ingredients good first than adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixing them really good and then kneading my bread dough for about 20 minutes. The finished bread tastes unbelievable good and that is all I care about.

    Because it gets to be work to knead bread, I found a nice stand mixer that was reasonably priced and with a double dough hook that simulates the hand kneading. Therefore my bread machine is going to Goodwill.

    1. I’m all about the taste and texture, too. You are right that some machines don’t do the best job of mixing. Sometimes they will leave pockets of flour in the corners. The early machines and some of the cheaper models can be guilty of this sin. I’m curious what brand of bread machine you were using.

      At any rate, I’m glad you have worked out a method you like. Since none of our kitchens, equipment, or priorities are the same, it’s something we each have to figure out for our particular situation.

      1. I was using an Oster Bread Machine. Sat around here for a while than I donated it to Goodwill. So no more bread machines for me. I even abandoned my stand mixer with the dough hooks because I actually got to the place where I like kneading dough by hand.

        Really been happy with my loaves now, especially the taste. And of course the best thing I have is my meat thermometer to check the bread to make sure it is done. I strongly recommend everyone to use a thermometer and if it reaches 190 degrees in the center of your loaf than you know it’s done.

        Also, I strongly recommend that the dry ingredients be well mixed using a whisk, especially if you decide to use the Bread Machine Yeast like I do. I don’t have to mess around fermenting the yeast in a water and sugar mixture. The Bread Machine Yeast or instant yeast goes in with the dry ingredients and I really turn out some awesome loaves of bread.

        1. Hi Alice,
          Thanks for sharing your thoughts on bread making. I haven’t quite learned to appreciate making all my bread by hand. Maybe someday…. :=)

  45. David Johnson says:

    I thought it was interesting how you explained that you buy bread and only use the machine for kneading and mixing. Personally, this makes sense for another reason because you may like a bread that’s from a different culture and tastes better when it comes from somewhere else. I’ll have to look more into wholesale rolls and challah bread.

  46. I quite agree a bread making machine is useful only for mixing and then rising the bread. That’s what I use mine for too. (The pan sticks now anyway, the machine is so old). It slams the dough around for the best part of 40 minutes. In total it takes an hour and a half to mix and do the first rising. Then I just have to punch it down again and get it ready for the bread pan, then set it to rise again, and finally cook it. Nothing kneads dough as good as a bread machine does. The things I hate about bread baked in a breadmaker are: the hole it leaves in the bottom, which means a lot of waste; the fact that the top of the bread is not well browned; the top not being well browned makes the loaf very hard to slice. Virtually impossible, to be honest.

    1. Yes, Laraine. Sounds like we are of one mind about the use of bread machines. Great kneading machine–better than my hands, but not a good oven.

  47. Stacey Keniston says:

    Paula, I could not agree more!!! I’ve been making all of our bread for nine years. I began after I found a loaf of bread my daughter left behind, when she moved out. It was 5 months old, Pepperidge Farm, oatmeal, wrapped up tight, in a cabinet in the basement apartment. There was NO MOLD on the bread! I leave it right there, now in my sewing room, and check it now and then. It still looks like it did nine years ago! My college professor(with the 25 year old Twinkie) said, “Things that rot support life, if it doesn’t rot, don’t eat it!” Words to live by. I must toot my horn a little more, I only use white flour a few times a year. 95% whole grain for us, heart problems in hubby’s history.

  48. Kerryanne R says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I too love my bread machine but take issue with all the things you listed. I guess I knew I could use the Dough setting but assumed that was only for things like rolls and bagels. You have opened up a whole new world for me!

    1. Fantastic! Thanks for writing. You made my day.

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

  50. Joe Manfredini says:

    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

    1. 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.

  51. Ho Sew Fun says:

    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?

    1. 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.

    2. Ho Sew Fun says:

      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!

  52. 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

  53. 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?

    1. 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.

  54. I’ve had my bread machine for two weeks. I’ve cooked bread in it three times and have been so disappointed. No matter the variations in ingredients, the crust is hard and the inside doesn’t have much flavor. I was so glad when I saw other people had the same problem. Now I can ask about using the machine to knead and then baking in the oven and maybe other uses for my bread maker?

  55. Hi thanks in advance for any help.
    Can I take my dough out of machine right before it’s going to bake it-then just put it in the oven? Why would I have to let it rise if the machine was going to bake it?

    1. Hi Jeannie,

      Glad you asked. Taking the dough out of the machine right before the machine is set to bake is going to cause the dough to lose some volume. The act of shaping it is going to cause it to lose even more volume. The texture is likely going to be uneven. I see no advantage to doing it that way unless I’m not understanding what you’re asking. Better to remove the dough at the end of the DOUGH cycle, shape it, let it rise again before popping it into a preheated oven. Hope this is helpful.

  56. Anne Huijs says:

    I received a Cuisinart Bread machine 200 for Christmas. After baking a few loafs, some turned out great, some not so.

    I am looking for Keto recipes to make and mix in the bread machine and bake in the oven.

    1. Hi Anne,

      Does your new machine have a Gluten-Free cycle? As you probably know, Keto bread doesn’t use regular flour with gluten. So, you’re stuck with almond flour because most gluten-free flours are high- carb. I’m sorry, but I can’t recommend any recipes that are worth the trouble. Not all would agree with me.

      I followed the Keto diet for a couple of years and tried many faux “breads.” Not for me. I do like “Chaffles” but that’s about it. I am a real bread lover and eventually gave up the Keto idea in favor of Intermittent Fasting. I’m not suggesting you do that. Just wanted you to know that I’m not brushing you off. I made a deliberate decision to stick with the real thing or not eat bread at all. I’m sure there are many Keto experts out there who could be more helpful.

    2. Anne Huijs says:

      @Paula, I have tried the Almond Flour with the breadmaker and the loaves turn out small, no rising.
      The Chaffle’s look interesting! However, my husband is from Belgium, so if it passes his taste test, even better!
      Thank you,
      Anne

      1. Hi Anne,

        I’m not too sure your husband will approve of Chaffles. Comparing chaffles to authentic Belgian waffles is like comparing Cheez-its to a fine dinner roll.

        Almond flour has no gluten. It will always be dense without adding other ingredients to help it rise. Even at that, it will be denser than traditional bread.

      2. Anne Huijs says:

        @Paula,

        What can I add to help Almond Four rise….just Yeast?

        p.s. I love the Cheez-its reference! LOL!

        1. Hi Anne,

          I googled Bread with almond flour and yeast. This came up at the top. https://www.gnom-gnom.com/gluten-free-paleo-keto-bread/ As you can see by the recipe, there are extra ingredients in there you will have to invest in to make it work. I haven’t tried this recipe so I have no idea what it tastes like. Good luck!

  57. Hi. I have a MooSoo machine. It seems when I bake a bread that requires fruit, I used blueberries the bread is raw in the middle after baking. Also the top does not brown, the top splits apart and the bread is an odd shape. Help!

    1. Hi Denise,

      Were you using fresh blueberries? They will exude lots of liquid as they bake in the bread making it raw in the middle. Are you trying to bake your bread in your machine? If so, it can be quite a challenge to get a nice loaf that is baked evenly. Most of the time, the crust tastes like cardboard and is way too thick. You might want to try using the DOUGH cycle on your machine and then baking in your conventional oven. I have a really delicious blueberry yeast bread recipe that will walk you through each step using my method. p.s. It just occurred to me that maybe you were trying to make a blueberry quick bread. Were you making a quick bread or a yeast bread?

  58. Ovens are quite a rarity here in Hong Kong, so is space. A bread machine is a great compromise for me. 🙂

    1. Hi David,

      I’ve heard that. Did you know that you can remove your dough from the bread machine before the final rise, take out the paddle(s), shape it and put it back in the bread machine pan for the final rise and bake. Makes a prettier loaf with smaller holes in the bottom.

  59. Judeann Williams says:

    When do you take the dough out of the machine to put in your bread pan? And what temperature do you bake the bread and approximately how long. Thank you! Judeann

    1. Hi Judeann,

      Check out this post. I think it will answer all your questions. Let me know if you still aren’t sure after you read it.

  60. My oven has a proofing setting. I think it’s about 90. Will this help the proofing or is it too war,?
    Can I use parchment paper in the bread pan?

    1. Hi Al,

      Is the proofing setting adjustable? Mine is, so I was wondering. I would prefer not quite so warm, but 90˚F is OK. The longer your dough takes to proof, the better the flavor. You might try turning it on for a little while, then turn it off with your bread still in there if the dough seems to be rising too fast.

      Yes, you can use parchment in a bread pan. That’s a great idea if your pan is not non-stick.

  61. Elvisinflorida says:

    Thrift stores and yard sales are a good place to pick up a bread machine, often under $10. Because of all of the negatives stated, people get disenchanted with them after trying them a few times. So usually they are in good working condition. But, always check the bottom of the pan to see that the paddle is there. It’s small and removable so it is sometimes missing.

    1. Hey Elvis,

      You are so right about used bread machines. Love your tip about checking for the paddle. Never thought about that.

  62. Margit Szallos-Farkas says:

    All the above happens because you don’t have a Panasonic bread machine. My whole wheat bread is amazing, well risen, well baked, thin, crispy crust at the bottom and top, only one paddle, no hole, just a thin line. What is the point in investing in a machine for kneading? Plus where is the convenience of the timer? I sincerely recommend Panasonic!

    1. Hi Margit,
      Point well taken. I’ve never used a Panasonic machine. For me, I prefer to have more control over the shape, the timing, and the temperature. If the bread suits you, then keep doing what you’re doing. If you make one of my recipes and do it all in your machine, I would love to see some pictures. Thanks so much for writing.

  63. Great article. I’ve been baking my bread machine dough in the oven for years. The main reason is the shape — baking it in a loaf pan gives it more of a regular store-bought bread shape and size, making it easier to use for sandwiches or toast. I bake basic white loaves at 350F for 30 minutes, rye or wheat at the same temperature for 40 minutes, and rarely go wrong.

    1. Hi Anna,

      Good to hear from a like-minded bread machine user. There are so many advantages to using a bread machine the way we do. I like your simple method for time and oven temperature for baking loaves. Seems like things get a little more complicated when you are making free-form loaves and going for a crispy crust. Hope to hear from you again soon.

  64. Jane Lacy says:

    I came to the same conclusion as you have but I need to know about the oven temperature for the baked loaves and the time to keep them in the oven, approximate.

    Thanks for your answers and your expertise for the home baker.

    1. Hi Jane,
      Good question. You can see a simple tutorial for the specifics here. Also, all of my 60+ bread recipes are made this way and will give you specifics about oven temperature, what pan to use, etc. Don’t hesitate to write me (paula at saladinajar.com) whenever you have a question.