What's Wrong With My Breadmaker?

I have a Breadman automatic bread machine. (Model TR444). It’s probably about six or seven years old. I stopped using it a while back because every loaf of bread came out like a brick. I changed my yeast, I changed my flour, and I even changed the recipe that I used. Nothing-- every loaf was as dense as cement. Still, I figured I must be doing something wrong.

I brought it out again today and decided to use a Just Add Water mix, 'cause there ain’t much you can do to screw that up. I just went downstairs to peek through the window at it and was very dissapointed with what I saw: the bread had “collapsed”, promising to be just as dense as always. (It’ll be done in 30 minutes-- i’ll let you know then if it was.)

Considering a “foolproof” recipe and following the instructions has eliminated the obvious cause of “user error”, I have to now blame the machine.

I used the setting for “wheat bread” just like the box suggested, and the bread rose fine during those cycles. (The same problem has occured on the “white bread” cycles.) It never comes out burned or underdone-- just very dense.

Should I just get a new bread machine and assume this one is a dud?

If you want to really find out what’s going wrong, you could try setting your machine for a dough cycle and try baking it in your regular oven. It could be that the bread machine isn’t kneading the dough correctly or it’s not baking at the right temperature. Having the machine only make the dough would narrow that down.

However, bread machines are fairly inexpensive, and you’ve gotten a good 6 years out of this one. I personally wouldn’t consider it a tragedy to have to buy another one at this point.

Have you been watching the texture of the dough as it’s mixing? It sounds like you may be using a tad too much water.

I gave it a poke to see how it was doing when it was rising. It didn’t seem too sticky to me.

Do you have problems with the bread at a certain time of year? Back when we were using a breadmachine all the time, we would have to very the amount of water we used, based on the air humidy. More in winter, less in summer. Also, try adding an egg or some high glucose flour to the mix. Those would usually let us get something other then bricks. (We actually discussed how many collapsed loaves it would take to build a cabin.)

Gluten. Try adding some high gluten flour to the mix.

Well, I suppose you could do that too, but what would be the fun (Sorry, I was typing faster then the brain was working)

**wanders off wondering what the heck high glucose flour might look like.

Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure Dr. Atkins (God rest his sole) would be against it.