Quick Recipes and Easy

Bread Maker – Don’t Sell It On eBay – Use It

Is your bread maker stuck on a back shelf collecting dust? Or, worse still, is it in your garage or basement waiting to be sold on eBay or at a yard sale?

I have talked to several people lately, who are disenchanted with their bread makers because their bread is heavy or has poor texture or has fallen — just generally inferior. Here are some tips that will help:

First, get to know your bread maker and your favorite type of bread maker recipe. It’s incredible how a seemingly terrible recipe can become a favorite when modified to fit your bread maker and your home and even the type of wheat flour you are using. The first time I use a new bread maker and/or bread maker recipe, I watch the machine, keeping track of the dough to be sure that the ingredients are mixed thoroughly and that the dough is neither too dry nor too sticky. If the recipe needs liquid or dry ingredients added, I carefully measure whatever I add and make meticulous notation on the recipe for future use. Near the end of the baking cycle, I keep track of the bread to see what is happening with the crust, whether it is too dark, too hard, etc., and turn the bread maker off early if necessary, noting on the recipe the crust setting I need to use. Then the next time I use that particular recipe, I have the knowledge of turning out superior bread even while I’m sleeping! Note: Sometimes it takes two or three tries before I have the recipe fine-tuned, but, believe me, it is worth the effort.

Another vital factor to making excellent bread in your bread maker is: no more by guess and by gosh!

“Measure ingredients exactly” must become your motto when using a bread maker. According to the Toastmaster Bread Maker Use and Care Guide, when measuring liquids, place a see-through measuring cup on the counter and read the measurement at eye level. Be very fussy so that it is exact. When using measuring spoons, be exact.

When measuring dry ingredients, use a knife or other straight edge to scrape off the excess until it is level. For flour measurement, spoon it lightly into a dry ingredient measuring cup and level it with a straight edge such as a knife. By doing this you will get an accurate measurement. If you scoop the flour in with the measuring cup, tap it on the counter, or shake the cup, you are likely to get more flour than the recipe calls for, resulting in inferior baked goods.

The Sunbeam Breadmaker User Manual gives us the secret of adding the ingredients “into the bread pan in the exact order given in the recipe: first, liquid ingredients; second, dry ingredients; last, yeast… Also, make sure the ingredients are at room temperature, unless otherwise noted. Last, it’s a excellent thought to start with fresh ingredients (especially fresh flour and yeast).”

Regarding bread maker recipes and why so many of them seem to be terrible recipes, keep in mind that where you live really does affect how your bread turns out. My friend, Sheila, had to modify her bread recipes each time she went to a different city in order to accommodate altitude changes. Therefore, if the recipe you are trying was made in a different city than where you live, it will most likely need to be altered.

If all else fails and you just can’t get your bread to turn out divine, try using a

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