Always check dough consistancy during the kneading cycle; add water or flour a little at a time, if necessary. It's easier to start with a little less water in a recipe, then adjust by adding about a teaspoon at a time while it's kneading.
Keep yeast refrigerated. If you buy in bulk, yeast will keep in the freezer for years. 2 teaspoons active dry yeast = 1 1/2 teaspoons rapid-rise, instant, or bread machine yeast.
Moist ingredients, such as vegetables, fruit, mashed potatoes or cottage cheese, count as about half liquid. For instance, if you add 1/2 cup of mashed bananas, reduce liquid by 1/4 cup.
Applesauce can be used to replace the butter or oil in most recipes.
If you substitute honey or maple syrup for granulated sugar, reduce the liquid by an equal amount.
Dough blades often stay in the loaf; always check for the blade when removing the loaf.
Whole grain breads will not rise as high as white breads. Add vital wheat gluten (found in the flour section of most grocery stores) to give whole grain flour a boost.
Toss dried fruits with a little flour before adding. They'll blend into the dough more evenly.
To create a warm environment for dough that must rise out of the machine, turn the oven on its lowest setting for about 1 minute, then turn it off.
Take notes! If your bread is comes out great, you'll want to make it the same way again, and you might want to share the recipe.
Basic ratio of ingredients for each cup of bread flour:
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon fat
- approximately 3/8 cup liquid (1 large egg = scant 1/4 cup)
Zojirushi Home Bakery
Bakes a traditional horizontal loaf, cakes, and makes jam. Settings include "homemade," which allows you to enter your own time settings for each stage. Comes with a recipe booklet and video.
Oster ExpressBake Bread Machine
This machine will make a 1 1/2 to 2-pound horizontal loaf in under 1 hour. The Oster also has 18 settings, a keep warm feature, delay bake timer, modern design, and good price.
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