Making the most of your bread maker
By Yvette Fletcher
Making your own bread is really satisfying, but do you know the secret to making the perfect loaf? Read our expert guide for top tips on how to get more from your bread maker.
We reveal our top tips for making perfect bread with a bread maker. From getting the best crust and rise, to experimenting and enhancing the flavour of your loaves. Watch our videos and become a bread maker expert.
The bread maker you use can make a big difference to the results you get. In our bread maker tests, we've found models that create loaves with knobbly, uneven crusts and a dense, unappetising bread inside. Best Buy bread makers, on the other hand, make loaves with golden brown crusts and a light, airy crumb texture.
Looking to buy a new bread maker? Then make sure it won't disappoint you - take a look at our bread maker Best Buys.
Bread making video guide
Baking bread requires the right balance of ingredients, so getting the perfect loaf isn't always simple. Watch our video, below, to find out what makes a great loaf of bread, how to avoid baking disasters and how to tweak recipes for better results.
How to make great bread with a bread maker
Expert bread maker Patrick Moore, owner of More? The Artisan Bakery, shares his top tips on how to get the perfect loaf with a bread maker:
- Know your bread: a perfect loaf has a crisp crust, is evenly risen, has a nice dome top, an open texture, and has doubled in size. Get it right with a basic bread recipe first, and then experiment from there
- Too low a setting results in a pale colour and a too open texture; too high a setting results in a tough crust
- Adding too much yeast means the loaf rises too early and then sinks
- Too little water results in a loaf that's too dense. But too much water makes the texture too open
- Use a high-protein flour and add the miller's recommended amount of water.
How to make the most of your bread maker
You can do a lot more with your bread maker than just baking white and brown bread. We've asked Patrick Moore to give us his tips on going a step further and creating different breads.
Watch our video guide, below, for top tips including the types of flour to use, adding additional ingredients to your loaves, the type of yeast to use in your bread maker and how to use dough settings.
Expert tips on experimenting with your bread maker
Here are expert baker Patrick Moore's top tips on making the most of your bread maker:
- Try mixing different grains, such as spelt and rye, for different flavours and textures
- Add-ins, such as cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, soaked or toasted seeds and grains, add extra flavour and texture. Soaked grains are particularly good as they won't rob moisture from the loaf
- Some ingredients can be added at the start of the bread making process. But seeds and nuts can be damaged by the process of kneading the bread, so are better added later. This is where an automatic dispenser can come in handy as it means you don't have to remember to add the ingredients at a set time
- Easy-dry yeast is best for using in a bread maker - don't use yeast that you have to soak beforehand
- Use the dough setting on your bread maker for ciabatta, focaccia and rolls, then bake in the oven (ideally a fan oven) for a crusty finish
- Long fermentation breads are breads that have been allowed to rest longer. They are truer to the flavour of the wheat in the bread, and are believed to be easier to digest. Ideally, you want as long resting time as possible, so use the longest cycle available on your bread maker for the best results.
Use your bread maker's longest cycle for the best results
Bread makers have a range of features and many of these can help you to try making different breads. Some features can bump up the cost of a bread maker, so decide whether you really need them before you buy. We can help you decide which you need and which you don't - take a look at our guide to bread maker features.