Basic Bread machine settings
What to do when your manual is missing.
The Machine and Its Parts
Bread Machines have three main parts. The machine itself is:-
Part # 1. Set the machine on the kitchen counter and take a look at it. No
matter what brand you have you should notice two things. There is a
hinged lid which can be lifted and shut. There may be a window in
it, and probably a small vent too. Next to the lid you should see a
control panel with a few buttons and maybe a light or two if you
have a fancy version.
Part # 2. When you lift it. Inside the bread machine there is a
bread pan or bucket. It may be square or rectangular shaped.
There should be a handle on it, which is probably folded down so the
lid will close completely. The bread bucket works as both the mixing
bowl and the baking pan.
Part #3 In the center of the bread bucket will be a little bread
paddle or kneading blade. It is responsible for kneading and
mixing the dough. When the dough bakes, it bakes around the kneading
blade. For some bread machine this can be removed. You must remove
the blade from the bottom of the loaf after the bread is baked.
Newer bread machines, this blade cannot be removed.
You must have all three parts in order to make bread. The machine
itself, the bread bucket, and the kneading blade. If any one of
these parts is missing you must replace it. The kneading blade is
the smallest part and the one most likely to be missing. It is also
the least expensive to replace.
The bread bucket is removable. To take the bread bucket out of the
machine, lift up the handle and give it a good, hard yank or
turn turn it left or right in some machines. Your machine may
require you to pull harder or softer, depending on how it snaps in.
In older machines where the blade can be removed. There will be a
little spinning gear underneath the bread bucket. This is what turns
the kneading blade. There will also be a peg inside the bread
pan that the kneading blade fits over. Place the kneading blade on
its little peg and then take it off again to familiarize yourself
with it. It should go on and off . Set the kneading paddle aside in
a safe place so it wonít get lost.
What is Your Bread Bucket Capacity?
Next take the bread bucket out set it next to the sink. Get a
measuring cup and fill it with water. Pour the water into the bread
bucket. Do it again and again and again, until the bucket is full.
Count how many cups of water you are adding to the bucket, until you
get a total. This part is important, so measure carefully. If your
bread bucket holds 10 cups of water then you can make 1-1/2 pound
loaves of bread. If your bread bucket holds 12 cups or more then you
can make 2 pound loaves of bread. If your bucket holds less than 10
cups then you can make 1 pound loaves of bread. When you choose a
recipe it is important that you match it up to the size of the bread
bucket you have.
Here is a chart for handy reference.
Bread Bucket Capacity Size of loaves you can make
Less than 10 cups 1 pound
10 cups 1 & 1-1/2 pounds
12 cups 1, 1-1/2, & 2 pounds
14 cups or more 1, 1-1/2, 2 & 2-1/2 pounds
Control Panel & Settings
On the control panel. You will probably find a Select button, a
Stop/Start button, Crust Color and Timer or Arrow buttons. The
Select button and Stop/Start button are the most important ones.
Unplug your machine. Plug it back in. The machine will be on its
Basic (or default) setting now. Place the bread pan and the kneading
blade in position. Close the lid. Press Start. Watch what happens.
It should make mechanical sounds and the kneading blade should begin
to swish around at a steady pace. It goes slowly at first and then
goes faster after about 10 minutes. You can lift the lid and
watch if you like. Place it back down when you are done. Lifting the
lid while the machine is running doesnít hurt it but in some machine
it will pause the turning. When you are ready, press the Stop/Start
button to stop it. You might need to press it twice or press and
hold it for about 5 seconds.
The Select button.- Close to the select button are several
choices. The most common ones are White or Basic; Whole Wheat;
French; Sweet; Rapid, & Dough. To set the machine to a particular
cycle you have to keep pressing the Select button until it gets to
the cycle you want. Sometimes each cycle is identified by a number.
White or Basic is usually 1.
Whole Wheat is 2. French
is 3; and so on.
Each cycle takes a different amount of time to mix
and cook the bread. On my machine the
White Bread or Basic Cycle
takes 3 hours.
Whole Wheat bread takes 3 hours and 40 minutes.
French bread takes 3 hours and 50 minutes.
Sweet bread takes 2 hours
and 50 minutes.
Rapid Mix takes 1 hour and 20 minutes.
machines take the same amount of time for each setting. Some
machines take 3 hours and 40 minutes for its Basic Cycle. Its Rapid
Cycle is 3 hours.
Practice pushing the Select button and then pushing Start and then
Stop until you are confident in your ability to select a specific
setting. Remember, you cannot break the machine by pressing the
buttons. If you are worried you have broken it then unplug it and
plug it back in. It will automatically reset itself to the Basic
The crust setting is not available on all machines. If you do
see a button labeled Crust then it will have 3 settings available:
Light, Medium & Dark. The default setting is medium. When you
unplug the machine and then plug it back in, it will automatically
set itself to the medium setting. If you prefer a light or dark
crust instead then you press the Crust button to change the setting.
Usually the Crust button will not work until after you select the
dough cycle and before you press Start.
The order works like this.
1. Select your bread cycle (Basic, or Whole Wheat, or whatever)
2. Select your Crust Setting. You may have to press it several
times, to get the setting you prefer.
3. Select the size of your bread based on the recipe you used. 1.5
or 2 lb
4. Press the Stop/Start button.
Follow this order with your empty bread machine using different
cycles and different crust settings. The crust button probably wonít
work with the Dough Cycle. This is because the Dough Cycle doesnít
actually bake any bread, so the color of the crust doesnít come into
play. Usually the Rapid Cycle doesnít allow you to choose a crust
color either, but this may not be true of all machines.
Using the Timer or Delay Cycle
This part is challenging at first, but it has great benefits. Start
with an empty bread machine. Use the Select button to choose a
setting like Basic or Whole Wheat. If you look at the control panel
it will have the number of hours and minutes until the bread will be
For example - the Basic Cycle on my machine 3 hours. The
control panel will look similar to this: [ 3:00 ]. The bread will
take 3 hours to mix, rise and bake. If you start the machine at
noon, then the loaf will be done at 3 p.m., 3 hours later.
There should be 2 buttons on your machine with arrows on them. One
arrow will point up, to increase the time on the display screen. One
arrow will point down to decrease the time on the display screen.
These are the buttons you will use to adjust the time on the delay
Letís say its 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, how can you get the bread
machine to delay its cooking action so that the bread will be fresh
cooked at 2 p.m.
First, choose your bread cycle. The display screen will look
similar to this: [ 3:00 ]. In 3 hours it will be 9 oíclock. You
donít want to eat your bread at 9 a.m. though, you want to eat it
several hours later at 2 p.m. You need to increase the time on the
display screen so that the machine will finish baking the bread at 2
p.m., not 9 a.m.
To do this you will need to do a little calculation. How many hours
are between the time you are starting (6 a.m.) and the time you want
the bread to be finished baking (2 p.m.)? In this example, there are
8 hours difference. The display area looks like this [ 3:00 ], you
want it to look like this [ 8:00 ]. You want the bread to be
finished baking, hot and ready to eat in 8 hours, or at 2 oíclock.
Next, use the arrow buttons to increase the 3 on your display screen
to an 8. Each time you press the Up-Arrow button, it will increase
the time by 10 minutes. Pressing the Down-Arrow button will decrease
the time by 10 minutes. Press the Up-Arrow once. The display
screen will look like this [ 3:10 ]. The bread cycle is now delayed
by 10 minutes. After a ten minute delay, the machine will start
kneading, rising and baking. Press the down-arrow button next. The
screen will change and go back to this [ 3:00 ]. The Up-Arrow
increases the time, the Down-Arrow decreases the time. Press the
Up-Arrow now, and hold it. The time should increase really fast.
Keep holding it down until the display screen says [ 8:00 ]. If you
go over, then use the Down-Arrow to adjust it.
Lastly, make sure your bread pan and ingredients are in the machine,
close the lid and press Start. In 8 hours you will have a perfect
1. Put your ingredients in the bread pan and snap the bread pan into
2. Select the cycle you prefer (Basic or Whole Wheat or French or
3. Select the size of your loaf
4. Calculate out how much time before you want the loaf to be
5. Use the arrow buttons to adjust the time on the display screen to
match the number of hours your figured out above.
5. Close everything up and press Start.
Example #2: Its 1 oíclock in the afternoon, and you want a nice loaf
of whole wheat bread at 5:30. Your whole wheat cycle lasts 3
hours and 40 minutes. Put the ingredients into the bread bucket and
snap the bucket into the machine. Select the Whole Wheat Cycle. The
display screen will look similar to this [ 3:40 ].
The bread will be done at about a quarter to 5. (1 p.m. plus 3 hours
and 40 minutes is 4:40, or about a quarter to 5). You want it to be
fresh, hot, and finished cooking at 5:30, which is 4-1/2 hours away.
Use the arrow buttons to increase the time from [ 3:40 ] to 4 hours
and 30 minutes. The display screen will look like this [ 4:30 ]. Now
press the Start/Stop button, . In 4 hours and 30 minutes, it will be
5:30, and the bread will be finished baking.
A quick note about using the Timer or Delay Cycle, make sure you use
a recipe that you have already tested and that you trust.
Also, make sure that you place the ingredients into the bread bucket
in the correct order (see below). This means the liquid ingredients
first, then the dry ones, and finally the yeast. If the yeast comes
in contact with any liquids during the delay cycle, it will over
work and you will have a nasty mess.
There are a few basic ingredients you need to make bread in a bread
machine. They are yeast, flour, salt, sugar, liquids and fats.
Yeast used in a bread machine should always be labeled ďActive
DryĒ on the label. Sometimes you can buy yeast in a jar that
says it is specifically for bread machines. If that is the kind that
is most available to you, then it is fine to use. Packets of yeast,
available in the baking aisle of the grocery store, usually hold
2-1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast. You may use one packet of yeast
to replace 2 teaspoons of yeast in most bread machine recipes. The
extra 1/4 teaspoon of yeast wonít make that much difference.
A quick note, I donít use rapid rise yeast. I donít think itís worth
the extra cost, and the time savings is negligible once you get the
hand of making bread.
Bread Flour makes better bread. Bread flour is made
from hard wheat so it has more gluten, or wheat protein, in it than
regular all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour is a blend of hard and
soft wheat. This makes it suitable for biscuits, cakes and quick
breads, which prefer soft wheat flour. It is called
all-purpose flour because it is designed to be used for all baking
Bread flour or high protein flour is made for yeast bread. If you
donít have bread flour then you may use all purpose flour for most
bread recipes. Your results will not be exactly the same as if you
had used bread flour, but you will still have good results, and you
will still get good bread. Sometimes you will need to add a tiny bit
more flour to your dough if you use all-purpose flour.
Different brands of bread flour produce different textured breads. .
Bread flour costs a little bit more than all-purpose flour. I
consider it worth the extra cost.
Salt is a necessary ingredient in machine made bread. It
regulates the rising process so that the bread dough doesnít spill
over the bread bucket into the machine. It takes at least
1/4-teaspoon of salt per pound of bread to regulate it properly.
Salt also adds flavor to the bread. Bread made completely without
salt doesnít taste as good as bread made with some salt.
Sugar, honey and other sweeteners soften the texture of the
dough and the finished loaf. They also contribute to the browning of
the bread and the crispness of the crust. The main role they play
though is as easy-to-use-food for the yeast. Yeast can use the
starch in flour for its food but it is much happier if it gets an
easy to use food like sugar or honey. Most bread machine recipes
call for at least a small amount of sugar. A very few may not, like
machine made French bread, or occasionally pizza crust.
Bread machine breads do best if they donít have too much sugar added
to them. When making sweet dough from scratch it isnít unusual to
add a full cup of sugar to the dough. When making sweet dough in the
machine though it is better to use 1/4 to 1/2-cup of sugar or honey
at the very most. This is because the dough rises faster and higher
in a bread machine than it does when prepared by hand. Too much
sugar is too much food for the yeast and it gets over-excited. This
can result in a machine made mess.
Liquids used in a bread machine should be room temperature or
a little bit warmer. You should never use hot liquids in a bread
machine. Liquids that are too hot will kill the yeast. Room
temperature liquids make the yeast happy. If you are using tap water
then warm tap water is fine. If you are using yogurt or buttermilk
you may want to take it out of the fridge to warm up a bit before
you use it in the bread machine. This isnít strictly necessary,
especially for breads baked on the Basic Cycle or longer. If you are
using the Rapid Cycle though it is imperative that the liquids be
warm or at least at room temperature.
Milk, buttermilk, and yogurt make the finished loaf of bread
softer and give it a finer crumb. With milk or buttermilk, I usually
use warm tap water and add powdered milk or dry buttermilk with my
If you are making bread with water you can add a spoonful of
vinegar along with the liquid ingredients. You will not taste the
vinegar in the finished bread but the acid in it will keep the bread
fresh for a little while longer after it is baked. This is an
old-fashioned trick that still works well today.
Fats make the finished loaf richer, softer, and also keep the
dough from sticking to the non-stick surface of the bread pan .
Usually between 1 and 4-tablespoons of fat are used in a 2 lb loaf
of bread machine dough. You can use most fats interchangeably in a
bread machine. Margarine, oil, shortening, lard, chicken fat, bacon
grease or butter will all give you pretty much the same results.
Some of the fats will add a different flavor, and the texture of the
bread will change very slightly, depending on which type of fat you
use. The changes however, are minor so you can pretty much use
whichever type of fat you prefer.
Solid fats do not have to be melted before adding them to the bread
machine. It helps if they are at room temperature. If you are
using the Rapid Cycle the temperature of the fat becomes more
important than for the Basic Cycle or longer cycles.
The Order In Which Ingredients Should Be Added to the Bread
There is a big mystique about the order in which ingredients should
be added to a bread machine. The truth is, if you are going to mix
and bake the dough right away then it really doesnít matter which
order you add the ingredients. The machine will mix them all up
regardless of the order they were added to the bread bucket.
If you want to program the machine with the Delay Cycle to start
while you are away, then the order becomes very important. The
ingredients must be added in a way that will keep them inert until
the machine begins its mixing.
Most machines require you to put the liquid ingredients in first.
This would include water, eggs, milk, honey, buttermilk, fats and
extracts. Put the liquids into the machine first. Next add the
flour. As you are adding the flour, urge it out overtop of the water
so that that it sort of seals the water in. Then you can add the
other dry ingredients like salt, sugar, dry milk powder and
seasonings. The last thing you should add is the yeast. Most recipes
suggest that you make a shallow indentation or well in the center of
the flour and sprinkle the yeast into it. This is important because
it prevents the yeast from coming into contact with the liquid until
the machine begins mixing. If the yeast and liquid get together
before the machine is scheduled to begin, then the yeast will become
For quick reference, here is the order in which the ingredients
should be added:
1. Liquid ingredients (water, eggs, milk, fat, honey)
2. Flour, to ďsealĒ in the liquid
3. Other dry ingredients (dry milk, salt, sugar, seasonings)
4. Add the yeast last.
To sum it up, if you are going to mix and bake your bread right
away, then add the ingredients in any order you please. If you are
going to use the delay cycle to program the bread machine to work
while you are away, then add them in the order given above.
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