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Assemble Your Ingredients
If bread-baking seems like a mystery or a complex scientific process, a bread machine can take out a lot of the guesswork. Even seasoned bakers can't argue with the fact that today's bread machines make loaves that are just as good as those you could create from scratch.
If you're still nervous about getting started, follow these easy steps to attempt your first loaf. Every bread machine is different, so read your instruction manual first. I'm using a Breadman Ultimate.... Incidentally, although making bread in a bread-machine requires little work on your part, it does take a good amount of time. Machines and bread types vary, but most bread recipes take around 3 hours.
This recipe makes a 1.5-pound loaf of basic white bread. First, remove the bread pan from the machine and position the kneading paddle as indicated in your instruction manual.
Assemble your ingredients:
Continue to 2 of 8 below.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached white bread flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (I use yeast specifically designed for bread machines; you can find it in most supermarkets)
02 of 08
Add Wet Ingredients
Measure your wet ingredients into the pan. In this image, I've put the water and the oil in the pan. The liquid ingredients should always go first, so that they are separated from the yeast (which you'll be adding last). The yeast will start to activate once it comes in contact with the liquid ingredients, and especially if you're going to use the timer to delay the start of your bread-making cycle, you don't want this to happen yet.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Add the Salt
Add the salt, if the recipe calls for it. Because salt will kill the yeast if it comes in direct contact, it's best to add the salt to the liquid ingredients, before the rest of the dry ingredients.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Add Remaining Dry Ingredients
Add the remaining dry ingredients. Here, I've added the sugar, the nonfat dry milk powder and the bread flour. Then, use your finger or a spoon to make a small indentation on top of the dry ingredients, being careful not to make it so deep that it reaches the wet ingredients underneath.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Add the Yeast
Pour the yeast into the indentation. This method keeps the yeast from prematurely activating until it's time to knead them together.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
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Set the Machine
Return the bread pan into the bread machine, securing it in place according to your user manual's instructions. Then set your machine for the proper settings. On my machine, I've chosen "White" bread cycle, a "1 1/2 pound" loaf size, and "Medium" crust setting. Press "Start" to begin the process.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
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Monitor the Machine's Progress
The machine will start mixing the ingredients, then kneading the dough. At first the dough will look shaggy, but as it's kneaded, it will start forming into a smooth ball, as shown. Try to avoid opening the lid of the breadmaker—the machine is heated to the optimal temperature for the yeast to multiply and the dough to rise. Most machines have a control panel that will indicate what stage the bread-making process is at, whether it's kneading, first rise, second rise, or baking.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
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Remove the Finished LoafWhen your bread machine beeps to indicate your bread is done, put your oven mitts on and remove the bread pan from the machine. Take the loaf out of the pan immediately by turning the pan upside down and shaking it until the loaf becomes unstuck. Let the loaf cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. If the kneading paddle sticks inside the loaf, you can carefully remove it with a plastic or silicone spatula.