Breadmaker errors to avoid

By on March 11th, 2016

If you have ever owned a breadmaker, you will know that it’s wonderful to wake up to fresh bread in the morning. However, not everyone does. The reasons may be many, though once you know the basics of your machine, you really can avoid them. That soggy loaf that woke you this morning may make you think that the breadmaker is not working correctly. However, in this case, blame the user. Read on to find out the common mistakes made by breadmaker owners.

The soggy loaf in the morning

With breadmakers getting more sophisticated, the timer function will allow people to make bread so that it’s ready for the morning breakfast. This is a great feature, though if you use it wrongly or oversleep, beware. The timer setting needs to be set so that the bread finishes at the time you are there to take it out of the pan. If you are not and the bread is allowed to sit for any length of time, this horrid soggy crust is a result of condensation within the breadmaker. It’s not the breadmaker’s fault you set it too early or got up too late. Be prepared to get up in time and set the timer correctly and your bread will be perfect.

Measurements

People tend to stick to the instructions when they have a new breadmaker, but get a little lazy about quantities after a while. Make the bread with too much liquid and the load sinks. Similarly, if the wrong amount of salt is added or less yeast than advised, it’s hit or miss whether the loaf will rise correctly. The measurements are vital, but you need also to understand how different temperatures affect whether the loaf rises or not. If it’s hot weather, allow for this by using cooler water. 

If you find that you follow instructions very carefully and still get a loaf which hasn’t got a really good brown crust, add sugar, but note how much you added because the next time could give different results if you are unaware of exact ingredients added.

The ingredients used

It is surprising what a difference it makes to use different flours. In fact, when using a breadmaker with a cheap flour the bread which was produced was light and fluffy and great quality. However, when a stronger flour was introduced to make a “healthy” loaf, what happened was that the loaf was heavy and hard to digest. Try different flours until you find the one which gives the desired taste. Recipes in breadmaker recipe books may tell you the type of flour to use, but manufacturer’s products vary considerably, so one flour may make a better loaf than another.

The amount of water that is used is vital to the finished loaf. If you are careless with measurement and put in too much, the resulting loaf may just be soggy in the middle, whereas not enough water will produce a loaf which may taste dry and the loaf will not rise to its maximum.

The design of the breadmaker

Sometimes you can blame the design of the breadmaker for not producing a wonderful crust. With a breadmaker that has a transparent top, there is a way to get around this problem. Often these are the breadmakers that create condensation and thus the crust is disappointing, especially if you leave the loaf in the pan for a while after it has cooked. The way around this is to line the glass in the lid with aluminum foil as this helps to brown the bread.

If you find that the design of the breadmaker is such that mixing is not regular and the loaf comes out with a floury coating, open the breadmaker after the mixing stage and mix in any flour from the edges of the pan that have not been mixed in properly. In a case like this, it may be an idea to check that the dough paddles are functioning as they should. Perhaps you are using flour which is too heavy and this may affect the efficiency of the paddles.

The instructions on the order to add things

The reason that breadmaker manufacturers are so fussy about the order that ingredients are added is because they know how to best make bread in their machine. For example, with some breadmakers, you are asked to add the yeast and sugar before all other ingredients. On another machine, these are added last. Be very careful to follow the instructions on the order as it could make or break the way the loaf comes out. The reason for the differences is the difference in design and function of the breadmaker and the instructions are written to take account of this. Never take for granted that one machine works just like another. There were reasons that the manufacturers provided this valuable information.

Strange tastes

One thing that you may experience is that whole wheatgerm loaves have a strange taste. You may want to experiment with wheatgerm because you think it a healthier way to make break. However, bear in mind that unlike white flour, you do need to keep whole grain flour and wheatgerm refrigerated to avoid a strange taste. Other things that may affect the taste are different kinds of butter used as an addition. Make sure that the butter is completely fresh.

These are common problems with a breadmaker, although the biggest problem is that you will find you eat more bread than normal because the freshly baked bread is so delicious. If you run up against any of these problems, do check for errors on your part, rather than faults with the machine, since it is perhaps user error that caused the bread to sink or to lose its wonderful crust.

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