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5 Reasons Why You Might Need a Bread Machine

Are you wondering if you need a bread machine? Read about why I love mine and why I think you might need one, too.

Updated March 2020.

bread dough beside bread machine--Reasons Why I'm in Love With My Bread Maker Machine

Have you ever eaten bread made and baked in a bread machine?

Were you impressed? If not, let me encourage you to take another look.

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 or may not have noticed most of the yeast bread recipes on this blog are written for a bread machine. Not only do I love how easy it makes bread, but apparently, I don’t need to knead.

Bread Machine Secrets

Are the benefits of making bread by hand overrated?

Probably not. If that’s what you prefer, my hat’s off to you. Please invite me over when your bread comes out of the oven and I’ll help you eat it.

Nevertheless, 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.

Nonetheless, if you love making bread by hand or even with a stand mixer, far be it from me to try to talk you out of whatever works for you.

On the other hand, when you want homemade bread you can count on to be ready at mealtime, try using a bread machine to mix and knead the dough. With practice, you can expect good texture, height, and superb flavor.

Did you notice I didn’t say “bake” the bread in your bread machine in the last paragraph?

Three reasons I don’t care for bread “baked” in a bread maker:

  1. I’m not fond of strangely shaped bread and/or the unsightly hole left in the bottom of the loaf where the blade was inserted.
  2. The crust is often thick and tough.
  3. Usually, I want dinner rolls or some kind of specialty shape so actually baking in a bread machine is not even a choice.

So here we go…

5 Reasons why you should get a bread machine:

#1

Simple assembly. Simple clean-up.

First, dump all ingredients in at once. No need to dissolve the yeast. Then, close the lid keeping the flour mess inside. The result? Only one pan and one blade to clean.

unmixed ingredients in bread machine pan

#2

Less hands-on time.

 unsliced bread--one mixed by hand and other mixed in bread machine; comparison pic
Hands-on time:  20 minutes +             vs.                  Hands-on time: 5 minutes

3.

Bread rises higher and texture is finer.

(See post by King Arthur Flour for similar experiment and results) Just take a look at the Sweet-Milk Soft White Bread on the right below.

comparison of bread kneaded by hand and bread kneaded in a bread machine
Left: Mixed and Kneaded by Hand            Right: Mixed and Kneaded in a Bread                                                                               Machine

4.

Minimal attention to the process is required.

dough mixed in bread maker machine pan
Dough after mixing and kneading; before rising. Look Ma! No hands.

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.

Changing mixing speeds and blades are a non-issue with a bread machine.

Furthermore, you will no longer need to grease a bowl, find a cover, or look for a warm place for the proofing stage.

The bread machine takes care of the mixing automatically. A peek or two under the lid about 5-10 minutes into the dough cycle is all that’s necessary.

risen dough in bread maker machine pan
Bread dough after proofing (rising), ready to be shaped.

5.

Bread machines have useful timers.

pizza dough made in a bread machine
My Favorite Pizza Dough works great in a bread machine.

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.

Another example…

I often throw ingredients for My Favorite Dinner Rolls into the bread machine pan before church. Upon arriving home 2-3 hours later, the risen dough is ready to form into the shape of my choice.

soft dinner rolls
Dinner Rolls mixed and kneaded in a bread maker

Do you still have questions about bread machines?

1. The times I tried to make bread in a bread machine, it turned out like a brick. Who needs it?

Using the automatic cycle on a bread machine from start to finish is fraught with pitfalls. Although you might get lucky and it works, often it doesn’t. I don’t care for the odds so I choose to take more control.

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. So what do you recommend?

You’ll find at least 53 recipes designed to be mixed up in a bread machine from this website alone.

4. What do you recommend if I have no oven and need to bake my bread inside the machine?

First, read this post for lots of general tips about using a bread machine. I would start out with this recipe for Sweet-Milk White Bread. It’s a winner. If you prefer something more substantial try this recipe for Cracked Wheat Berry Bread.

White bread made in the bread machine
Sweet-Milk Soft White Bread makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

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More posts about bread machines:

Previous
Jalapeño Snacks with Crispy Cheese on Flour Tortillas
GLAZED PEANUT BUTTER BARS
Next
Glazed Peanut Butter Bars: No Special Occasion Required

Chris

Friday 1st of May 2020

One important benefit I didn’t see, predictability! Rise time in the machine is not dependent on, temperature in the kitchen. If recipe is rich, uses eggs and sweet it may take a bit longer to proof but usually mentioned in the recipe. Helps with scheduling outside commitments. King Arthur flour has many great bread recipes and most provide instructions for conventional and Bread machine. This machine, my third, is 3 yrs old and I have never baked only dough cycle.

Paula

Friday 1st of May 2020

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your input. I agree that the timer on a bread machine can be quite useful with scheduling. I'm surprised you have never used the dough cycle. Obviously, you are only making loaves. Each to his own. One caveat about the kitchen temperature. If your kitchen is really cold in the wintertime (or summertime with A/C), it can indeed make a difference. I've seen it many times. The bread machine helps but it can overcome only so much. :-) Happy Bread-Eating.

Peggy

Tuesday 24th of March 2020

Your sweet milk soft white bread has been my go-to bread for years. It's delicious and makes wonderful gifts. People always ask for more.... I solved the left-over condensed milk problem: I just make two loaves and freeze one!

Lauren

Monday 19th of August 2019

What temp do I put it on in oven once it finishes the kneading cycle and for how long should it go in the oven. Thanks!

Paula

Monday 19th of August 2019

Hi Lauren, Check out this post to help you. Honestly, it's a bit of a guessing game in the beginning (unless you are using one of my recipes.) A good place to start is 375 F. If you are cooking dinner rolls, start checking around 12 minutes. If it is a loaf, it will probably take more like 25-35 minutes. If you are new at baking bread, a quick-read thermometer is VERY helpful. Bread should come to 190 degrees F in the middle when done. Good luck!

Suchi

Wednesday 5th of July 2017

Nice! I have indian bread machine call rotimatic. It makes Indian roti without much hassle. You can view my product review here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdBPkIHh8XM&t=11s

Mary Susan

Sunday 18th of June 2017

Hey Paula! This recipe sounds awesome. I recently received a Zojirushi as a wedding gift and have been making my husband bread weekly for his lunches. So far, I've only used recipes in the Zojirushi book, and haven't been super happy with them. I want to try this recipe today, have you ever let it finish baking in the machine? I went to pastry school, but I wanted the bread machine to save time and effort because we are always so busy! Any idea if it'll turn out well if I let it ride in the machine the entire time? I just need to find a good go-to white bread recipe for his sandwiches that I can toss in the machine on Sundays while I'm doing housework, hoping this is the one! Thanks!!!

Paula

Monday 19th of June 2017

Yes, Mary Susan. This is a pretty good recipe to let the machine finish if you must. I used to do it quite often until I decided that if I was going to eat bread, it had to be fantastic. In my opinion, it is only fantastic when you shape and bake it yourself in a conventional oven. I assume you've read this post about all the reasons I like it better. But if you are pushed for time, it will usually work. (One can never guarantee any bread machine recipe will always bake up perfect in a bread machine because making bread is not so much an exact science as it is an art that often requires a real life brain to decide if it needs more or less flour, a longer rising time due to temperatures, etc.

Having said all that, this is my absolute favorite white loaf bread recipe on this blog and I think many others would agree.