I want a bread machine...tell me about yours, please!

After numerous attempts over the last several years at making homemade bread by hand…and failing due to improper rising…I’m ready to get a bread maker.

Please tell me about yours and what you do and don’t like about it.


I own a Breadman machine that was a present from a parent several years ago. It does what I want it to, and has no problem mashing up all the stuff I like to throw into my breads.

No problems so far, but then I usually only do about a loaf every 2 weeks or so.

You might have excellent luck if you find a machine – pretty much any machine – in which you can pour your ingredients, have them mixed and “kneaded,” and then rise, entirely within the machine. All you must do at this point is shape the loaf, let it proof (if required), and bake it in your regular oven. You’ll have to experiment with it a bit – I personally don’t like my bread to rise very quickly, so it’s a bit of a balancing act using slow controlled retardation in the fridge and all that. Lots of professional breadmakers use bread machines in this way, though.

If it’s very cold where you live, that’s certainly one reason your attempts at breadmaking might have fallen flat.

And one more point about actually cooking bread in the machines. Unless the designs have changed significantly, you won’t be able to make bread with any sort of crust in the usual sense on it, and your loaves will all be cylindrical with a fairly large hole in one end where the mixing paddle must be removed after baking. It will still likely be much better bread than the sort you can buy in bags at the grocery store, but nowhere near as good as if you just tossed it in a hot oven after letting the bread machine do all the work for you.

Your other option is to use a stand mixer and, instead of carefully finding the right warm spot to let your dough rise, pop the dough in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. This will create a slow, controlled rise while essentially turning the entire bit of dough into what’s called “pate fermentee” – yeast flavor will be minimal, while the flavorful lactobacilius will have a chance to develop relatively uninhibited. Just turn it out from the fridge onto your table, give it a chance to warm up, and shape it into rustic forms. Even without proofing, if you stick that in the oven, you’ll have fine tasting bread, with the option of tweaking your recipe into perfection quite easily.

Use bread flour. If you use any other kind of flour you will need to add some gluten.
Use fresh yeast, and make sure you dissolve it in water that is 105°-115°.
Make sure all your ingredients and utensils are at room temperature (except the water as noted above).
Mix and knead with a good stand mixer according to directions.
Rise in the oven - if you have gas, the pilot light will keep it warm enough. If you have electric, turn it to 400° for 1 minute, then turn it off and place your dough in it to rise.

This method is foolproof and effortless, and will get you the real “loaf” type bread, not those tubes of crustless bread that a bread machine will give you.

If this still doesn’t work, buy a bread machine. :wink: I can’t advise you as to which one since I’ve never used one, only tasted the bread that came out of one, which was enough to convince me to keep making my own. :wink:

I’ve got a Breadman Ultimate machine. I’m making a loaf of bread in it right now, actually! It has many different settings, for many different style breads, you can have a light, medium or dark crust, you can make dough for pizza crust, rolls, Focaccia bread, just to name a FEW! Get one and you’ll love it! I rarely buy bread anymore. I just make it in the bread machine. Sometimes, for special occasions and/or holidays, I DO make my own bread. My machine makes a huge 2 lb. loaf, and it even LOOKS like a loaf of bread. It’s not one of those ‘tube loaf’ things. We love ours! I hope you decide to get one!

Anyone have some favorite bread machine recipes they want to share? I started a thread a while back with these recipes: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=321697&highlight=bread+machine

Basically, I’ve got a couple of standard breads I make. Currently perfecting a sourdough. Actually waiting for this special starter to go at it again. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=337992&highlight=bread+machine

I’ve got a really cheapo basic bread machine that works pretty well. For my slow rising sourdough, I mix it up in the evening through the rise cycle. Then I pull out the mixing paddle, set the timer for morning. Because I don’t have a bake bread only setting, then in the morning it goes through the 3 hour mixing, rising baking cycle. Because the mixing paddle is pulled out, it doesn’t actually do anything but eventually bake. Then first thing in the morning I’ve got some fresh bread waiting for me.

I used to have one. I had to get rid of it. I was gaining too much weight. :rolleyes: When I had it I was working nights. I’d take it to work, start the process around midnight and have wonderful fresh bread for the night shift breakfast.
Even better, it made the day shift sooo jealous!

When they first came out, they were REAL expensive and I bought one for my parents for Christmas. They barely used it.

Long story short, I sort of inherited back. Used it for a few months and then sold it at a garage sale for about $10.

Most supermarkets now sell a freshly baked, full loaf of bread for about $1.00. That wins.

I have one a friend gave me. I’ve used it exactly once. I’ve been making my own bread by hand for years, and the bread that came out of the bread machine tasted, well, didn’t taste much, it was flat and bland. Without the longer fermentation time I give my own bread, it was just dull, but that’s a personal taste.

I went back to making bread by hand. If you’re having trouble getting handmade bread to rise, your problem is most likely that the recipes you’re using give too little time for the rise.

I’ve found many recipes give wildly optimistic rising times, which might work in a test kitchen where they can keep everything at a specific temperature, but in a normal kitchen most bread will take much longer to rise than recipes lead you to believe.

If you’re up for trying it again, start on the weekend or a couple of days where you don’t have to work. Make up your bread in the evening and let it rise at room temperature overnight. Next morning shape it and let it rise again, for as long as it takes to almost double in size … which might be a couple of hours or might be all day, depending on room temperature.

I regularly make bread with this method, in the hot weather I put the dough into the fridge to retard the rising … although it’s maybe 24 hours from dough to bread, the time devoted to actually making the bread is around 15 or 20 minutes all up, apart from baking time. The rest you go about your business and let the bread go about its.

Lately I’ve been making sourdough bread almost exclusively and that’s even easier because I don’t knead it at all either.

Elizabeth David’s “English Bread and Yeast Cookery” is still, I think, about the best primer for the novice (and not so novice) home bread maker, and she goes into a lot of detail about rising times.

I agree with DMARK. I, too, had an expensive breadmaker. It was fun for the first month or so, mmmm cinnamon bread, but they are a large appliance and I just didn’t have the room for it. I made a total of about six loaves.

If you believe that you will consistently use it, then have at it. I thought that I would (I lurve me some bread) but it quickly got old like many of the “gotta-have-it” appliances.

I use mine in cycles- pretty regularly for a hwile and then put it away for a while. They do have a bit of a learning curve, so don’t get your hopes up too high for that first loaf. I, too, finish the bread in the oven- it looks and tastes better when done that way.

I love my machine.

I bought an Express Bake by Oster after pleading for help here on the Dope about three years ago.

This thing has probably turned out 400 loaves of excellent bread and rarely fails. Even when it does, I use the failure for stuffing or something.

Believe they are around 60 bucks now, but they have settings for about anything you want, including three settings for crust. It has a timer, allowing you to set it to deliver a fresh loaf of bread for breakfast or when you get off work. It will make a 1 1/2 pound or two pound loaf.

What still amazes me after all this time is that there is no mess. Just dump the ingredients in and poke a few buttons, but the real surprise to me is that I can turn out a completely cooked and wonderful loaf of bread in less than an hour!