How To Make Perfect Bread Without the Headache

While nothing beats the comfort, aroma and taste of freshly baked bread, bread can be one of the most frustrating things to bake. Bread recipes are extremely temperamental, which is especially infuriating after putting in hours of labor and sore triceps. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a newbie, it seems like anything can cause your bread to fall, to be too chewy, be too dry or just be plain bland. Some people even say that making delicious bread must happen by hand, and a breadmaker sabotages the process.

Well, we’re here to disprove that idea. Making warm, fluffy bread has never been easier with the development of the modern breadmaker. If you’ve been disappointed by the bread you’ve made in the past or want to take a stab at the art of breadmaking, keep reading. We’ll walk you through the steps of how to use a breadmaker and the secrets to crafting a perfect loaf. Guests at your dinner table will “ooh” and “ahh” at your product and be shocked when you tell them you oh-so-effortlessly tossed it together in a breadmaker.

Step 1: Assemble Your Work Station

Celebrity pastry chef and cookbook author Johnny Iuzzini said “Baking is about multi-tasking. If you are organized and prepared, that’s half the battle.” Be sure you’ve gathered everything you need for your bread recipe, and make sure you have exactly the right amount. There is nothing worse than setting the water and yeast and finding out you haven’t melted the butter. For delicious basic white bread that will serve up to 12 people, we suggest the following list of ingredients:

- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons of white sugar
- ¼ ounce package of bread machine yeast, or 2 ¼ teaspoons
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 cups white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- A really good breadmaker

Let’s pause at the last ingredient - there are lots of choices of breadmakers out there, but we’ve narrowed the list down to our favorite two. Check them out and pick your favorite. This machine is your key to success!

1. Breadman TR529 Bread Maker in White – Highly programmable, the TR529 has eight different baking functions to fit the adventurous breadmaker – from basic white to hearty rye, and even cheesy onion focaccia to decadent cinnamon rolls. The user-friendly button control panels allow chefs to choose light, medium or dark crust shades and even includes a delay timer for up to 13 hours – perfect for waking up to the homey aroma of a fresh, ready-to-eat loaf. Choose from a one-pound, one-and-a-half pound, and two-pound loaf. Other snazzy features include an add-in signal for fruits, nuts and spices, an easy-clean nonstick baking pan, and a viewing window to watch your masterpiece rise.

2. Cuisinart CBK-200 Breadmaker, 680 W in Silver – if you’re looking for a breadmaker with all the extra bells and whistles, this is the machine for you. With sixteen preprogrammed menu options, three crust colors and three loaf sizes, the CBK-200 offers over 100 bread, pizza dough and cake choices all possible in this one little silver magic machine. Cuisinart also exclusively offers the only breadmaker with Low Carb and Gluten-Free presets and recipes, so you can stop stressing about diet restrictions over the holidays. This breadmaker has every special setting you can imagine and can create a chewier texture or more rustic crust to your preference. This one-size-fits-all option is a breadmaking marvel.

Step 2: Follow the Directions

Not to sound like your elementary school teacher, but this tagline really rings true in the art of superb breadmaking. One incorrect proportion can give you a solid flat pancake instead of a light, fluffy loaf. Check out our fool-proof recipe below (p.s. – it works best for the 1.5-pound loaf setting).

1. Place the water into the bread pan.
2. Sprinkle the sugar, THEN the yeast over the water. Allow the yeast to foam for 10 minutes.
3. Add in the melted butter, oil, flour and salt.
4. Select the correct setting for your breadmaker (usually called something like “basic” or “white bread”) and your preferred crust darkness and press start.
Can you believe it? That’s it. No hours of waiting, no sore arms from kneading – breadmaking can be simple and easy with the right breadmaker. Bread machine recipes are so simple, and you’ll love the result!

Which did you love more – this two-step process or your fabulous breadmaker? Got any suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

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