Bread Machine Basics

What to do when your manual is missing.

The Missing Manual

People often ask me what to do with a bread machine that doesn’t have its own manual. It can be very frustrating, especially when you have never used a bread machine before. Some folks find used bread makers at yard sales. Other folks may receive their mother-in-law’s old bread maker when she buys a new, sportier model. These previously owned bread machines seldom have their manual included. Other people, myself included, have set their bread machine aside for a year or two. Time and neglect create a gulf of separation between a bread maker and its manual that mere mortals are seldom able to bridge. The result of all these scenarios is that the manual is missing and the bread machine is inactive as a result. Never fear, with the help of the following information, you should have your machine up and running within the hour.

The Machine and Its Parts

Bread Machines have three main parts. The machine itself is Part # 1. Set the machine on the kitchen counter and take a look at it. No matter what brand you have you should notice two things right away. There is a hinged lid which can be lifted and shut. There may be a window in it, and probably a small vent too. Next to the lid you should see a control panel with a few buttons and maybe a light or two if you have a fancy version. Don’t worry about the control panel and all its bells and whistles yet. We’ll get to it in a little bit.

Right now we are going to concentrate on the lid, and what you find when you lift it. Inside the bread machine there is a bread pan or bucket. This is Part # 2. It will be square-ish or rectangular-ish shaped. There should be a handle on it, which is probably folded down so the lid will close completely. The bread bucket works as both the mixing bowl and the baking pan. In the center of the bread bucket will be a little bread paddle or kneading blade. This is Part #3. It is responsible for kneading and mixing the dough. When the dough bakes, it bakes around the kneading blade. You must remove the blade from the bottom of the loaf after the bread is baked. I’ll explain that in a little while.

You must have all three parts in order to make bread. The machine itself, the bread bucket, and the kneading blade. If any one of these parts is missing you must replace it. The kneading blade is the smallest part and the one most likely to be missing. It is also the least expensive to replace. If you need replacement parts then do an Internet search to find the manufacturer of your machine. Go to their website and email them about what you need. They will be happy to help you. When you have all of the parts you can go to the next step.

The bread bucket and kneading blade are removable. To take the bread bucket out of my machine I lift up the handle and give it a good, hard yank. Your machine may require you to pull harder or softer, depending on how it snaps in. Look it over, grab the handle, and pull. Don’t worry. You aren’t breaking it. After you get the bread pan out, examine it. If you turn it upside down the kneading blade will fall out. There will be a little spinning gear underneath the bread bucket. This is what turns the kneading blade. Don’t worry about it much.

There will be a peg inside the bread pan that the kneading blade fits over. Place the kneading blade on its little peg and then take it off again to familiarize yourself with it. It should go on and off with little trouble. Set the kneading paddle aside in a safe place so it won’t get lost while you do the next part.

Now practice putting the bread bucket into the machine and snapping it into place. For my machine I have to shove down really hard. Don’t worry, you aren’t breaking it. Take the bread pan out and put it back in several times until you feel pretty secure about the process. Yours may go in very easily or you may have to turn the gear under the bread bucket just slightly to get it to fit into the machine the right way. Keep trying until you are satisfied with your skills in this regard.

What is Your Bread Bucket Capacity?

Next take the bread bucket out set it next to the sink. Get a measuring cup and fill it with water. Pour the water into the bread bucket. Do it again and again and again, until the bucket is full. Count how many cups of water you are adding to the bucket, until you get a total. This part is important, so measure carefully. If your bread bucket holds 10 cups of water then you can make 1-1/2 pound loaves of bread. If your bread bucket holds 12 cups or more then you can make 2 pound loaves of bread. If your bucket holds less than 10 cups then you can make 1 pound loaves of bread. I have heard tell of larger buckets that hold 2-1/2 pounds of bread, but I have never actually seen one myself. I suspect they would hold 14 cups or more. When you choose a recipe it is important that you match it up to the size of the bread bucket you have. You would not want to make a 2 lb recipe in a 1 lb machine. It would result in a big mess. Here is a chart for handy reference.

Bread Bucket Capacity

Size of loaves you can make

Less than 10 cups

1 pound

10 cups

1 & 1-1/2 pounds

12 cups

1, 1-1/2, & 2 pounds

14 cups or more

1, 1-1/2, 2 & 2-1/2 pounds

Finally, place the bread bucket into the machine, and place the kneading paddle on its little peg. Fold the handle down, and close the lid. You are now ready to move to the control panel.

Control Panel & Settings

Have a good look at the buttons and display screen on the control panel. You will probably find a Select button, a Stop/Start button, Crust Color and Timer or Arrow buttons. Don’t worry about the crust color or timer yet. The Select button and Stop/Start button are the most important ones.

Unplug your machine. Plug it back in. The machine will be on its Basic (or default) setting now. Place the bread pan and the kneading blade in position. Close the lid. Press Start. Watch what happens. It should make mechanical sounds and the kneading blade should begin to swish around at a steady pace. It goes slowly at first and then goes faster after about 10 minutes. Watch it as long as you like. There isn’t any dough in it yet so you can see everything that the machine is up to. You can lift the lid and watch if you like. Place it back down when you are done. Lifting the lid while the machine is running doesn’t hurt it. When you are ready, press the Stop/Start button to stop it. You might need to press it twice. Everything should come to a stop and the machine should reset itself to the Basic setting again.

When you have mastered the Stop/Start button, it is time to look at the Select button. Close to the select button you will see several choices. The most common ones are White or Basic; Whole Wheat; French; Sweet; Rapid, & Dough. To set the machine to a particular cycle you have to keep pressing the Select button until it gets to the cycle you want. Sometimes each cycle is identified by a number. For instance, White or Basic is usually 1. Whole Wheat is 2. French is 3; and so on; you get the idea. Each cycle takes a different amount of time to mix and cook the bread. On my machine the White Bread or Basic Cycle takes 3 hours. Whole Wheat bread takes 3 hours and 40 minutes. French bread takes 3 hours and 50 minutes. Sweet bread takes 2 hours and 50 minutes. Rapid Mix takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. Not all machines take the same amount of time for each setting. My dad’s machine takes 3 hours and 40 minutes for its Basic Cycle. Its Rapid Cycle is 3 hours. This is because each machine has its own way of doing things, the same way that each cook has her own way of doing things.

Practice pushing the Select button and then pushing Start and then Stop until you are confident in your ability to select a specific setting. Remember, you cannot break the machine by pressing the buttons. If you are worried you have broken it then unplug it and plug it back in. It will automatically reset itself to the Basic setting. When you have mastered cycle selection you can go on to the next step.

Crust Settings

The crust setting is not available on all machines. If your machine doesn’t have one then don’t worry about it. I almost never use my crust setting. I don’t find that it makes that much difference in the finished loaf of bread. If you do see a button labeled Crust then it will have 3 settings available: Light, Medium & Dark. The default setting is medium. When you unplug the machine and then plug it back in, it will automatically set itself to the medium setting. If you prefer a light or dark crust instead then you press the Crust button to change the setting. Usually the Crust button will not work until after you select the dough cycle and before you press Start. The order works like this.

1. Select your bread cycle (Basic, or Whole Wheat, or whatever)
2. Select your Crust Setting. You may have to press it several times, to get the setting you prefer.
3. Press the Stop/Start button.

Follow this order with your empty bread machine using different cycles and different crust settings until you feel confident about the process. The crust button probably won’t work with the Dough Cycle. This is because the Dough Cycle doesn’t actually bake any bread, so the color of the crust doesn’t come into play. Usually the Rapid Cycle doesn’t allow you to choose a crust color either, but this may not be true of all machines.

Using the Timer or Delay Cycle

This part is challenging at first, but it has great benefits, so I urge you to learn how to use it. Start with an empty bread machine. Use the Select button to choose a setting like Basic or Whole Wheat. If you look at the control panel it will have the number of hours and minutes until the bread will be done. For this example I am going to use the Basic Cycle on my machine, which takes 3 hours; yours may take more time. The control panel will look similar to this: [ 3:00 ]. The bread will take 3 hours to mix, rise and bake. If you start the machine at noon, then the loaf will be done at 3 p.m., 3 hours later.

There should be 2 buttons on your machine with arrows on them. One arrow will point up, to increase the time on the display screen. One arrow will point down to decrease the time on the display screen. These are the buttons you will use to adjust the time on the delay cycle. You can press them right now if you like, to see what they do. When you are done pressing them unplug the machine and plug it back in to reset everything to its default mode.

Example #1: Let’s say its 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, and you have a bunch of yard-sailing to do today. The crock pot is cooking a nice roast with some carrots and potatoes or some yummy lentil chili. Wouldn’t a fresh loaf of hot bread be just the right thing to serve alongside your meal? How can you get the bread machine to delay its cooking action so that the bread will be fresh cooked at 2 p.m. when you plan to eat dinner?

First, choose your bread cycle. We are using a 3 hour Basic Cycle for our example. Yours may be different, that is all right. The display screen will look similar to this: [ 3:00 ]. In 3 hours it will be 9 o’clock. You don’t want to eat your bread at 9 a.m. though, you want to eat it several hours later at 2 p.m. You need to increase the time on the display screen so that the machine will finish baking the bread at 2 p.m., not 9 a.m.

To do this you will need to do a little math. How many hours are between the time you are starting (6 a.m.) and the time you want the bread to be finished baking (2 p.m.)? In this example, there are 8 hours difference. The display area looks like this [ 3:00 ], you want it to look like this [ 8:00 ]. You want the bread to be finished baking, hot and ready to eat in 8 hours, or at 2 o’clock.

Next, use the arrow buttons to increase the 3 on your display screen to an 8. Each time you press the Up-Arrow button, it will increase the time by 10 minutes. Pressing the Down-Arrow button will decrease the time by 10 minutes. Give it a try. Press the Up-Arrow once. The display screen will look like this [ 3:10 ]. The bread cycle is now delayed by 10 minutes. After a ten minute delay, the machine will start its regular business of kneading, rising and baking. Press the down-arrow button next. The screen will change and go back to this [ 3:00 ]. Pretty easy huh? The Up-Arrow increases the time, the Down-Arrow decreases the time. Press the Up-Arrow now, and hold it. The time should increase really fast. Keep holding it down until the display screen says [ 8:00 ]. If you go over, then use the Down-Arrow to adjust it.

Lastly, make sure your bread pan and ingredients are in the machine, close the lid and press Start. In 8 hours you will have a perfect loaf. This may seem complicated, so let’s walk through another example using a few basic steps, for easy reference.

1. Put your ingredients in the bread pan and snap the bread pan into place.
2. Select the cycle you prefer (Basic or Whole Wheat or French or whatever).
3. Using math, figure out how much time before you want the loaf to be finished baking (8 hours in the above example, 4-1/2 hours in the example below).
4. Use the arrow buttons to adjust the time on the display screen to match the number of hours your figured out above.
5. Close everything up and press Start. Walk away now, and let it do its magic.

Example #2: Its 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and you want a nice loaf of whole wheat bread for supper at 5:30. Your whole wheat cycle lasts 3 hours and 40 minutes. Put the ingredients into the bread bucket and snap the bucket into the machine. Select the Whole Wheat Cycle. The display screen will look similar to this [ 3:40 ]. Yours may be longer or shorter, depending on how long your Whole Wheat Cycle lasts.

If its noon now, then the bread will be done at about a quarter to 5. (1 p.m. plus 3 hours and 40 minutes is 4:40, or about a quarter to 5). You want it to be fresh, hot, and finished cooking at 5:30, which is 4-1/2 hours away. Use the arrow buttons to increase the time from [ 3:40 ] to 4 hours and 30 minutes. The display screen will look like this [ 4:30 ]. Now press the Start/Stop button, and let the machine do its job. In 4 hours and 30 minutes, it will be 5:30, and the bread will be finished baking.

A quick note about using the Timer or Delay Cycle, make sure you use a recipe that you have already tested and that you trust. I wouldn’t make a recipe for the first time on the Delay Cycle. Also, make sure that you place the ingredients into the bread bucket in the correct order (see below). This means the liquid ingredients first, then the dry ones, and finally the yeast. If the yeast comes in contact with any liquids during the delay cycle, it will over work and you will have a nasty mess to clean out of the machine, trust me on this one.

Using the Delay Cycle isn’t difficult. It is a lot simpler than using a pressure cooker. When you get the hang of the Delay Cycle you can pair it with your crock pot and serve up some pretty spectacular homemade dinners that cook while you are away. Even if it seems a little bit intimidating it is still worth trying. One thing you might want to try is to set the Delay Cycle without any ingredients in the pan, and see if it works the way you think it will. Personally I would stop the machine before it got to the bake cycle, because I wouldn’t want it to heat up without any dough in it. It would be a good way to try a starter run though, especially if you are afraid of trying it with ingredients the first time.

About The Ingredients

There are a few basic ingredients you need to make bread in a bread machine. They are yeast, flour, salt, sugar, liquids and fats.

Yeast used in a bread machine should always be labeled “Active Dry” on the label. Sometimes you can buy yeast in a jar that says it is specifically for bread machines. If that is the kind that is most available to you, then it is fine to use. Packets of yeast, available in the baking aisle of the grocery store, usually hold 2-1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast. You may use one packet of yeast to replace 2 teaspoons of yeast in most bread machine recipes. The extra 1/4 teaspoon of yeast won’t make that much difference.

The cheapest place I know to buy yeast is at my local Warehouse Store (Sam’s). A 2 lb package costs less than $4. This is even cheaper than my local health food store, which charges over $3 a pound. I had been paying over $14 a pound for yeast, when I was buying it in 7 oz jars from the grocery store. I find that when I bake all of our bread myself, I go through about 4 pounds of yeast a year. This savings of $52 more than pays for the Warehouse Store’s yearly membership fee. If you bake a lot of bread, you owe it to yourself to find a good source of yeast.

A quick note, I don’t use rapid rise yeast. I don’t think it’s worth the extra cost, and the time savings is negligible once you get the hand of making bread.

Bread Flour makes better bread. I know you don’t want to hear that but it is true. Bread flour is made from hard wheat so it has more gluten, or wheat protein, in it than regular all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat. This makes it serviceable for biscuits, cakes and quick breads, which prefer soft wheat flour; and also serviceable for yeast bread, which prefers hard wheat flour. It is called all-purpose flour because it is designed to be used for all baking purposes.

Bread flour is made for yeast bread. If you don’t have bread flour then you may use all purpose flour for most bread recipes. Your results will not be exactly the same as if you had used bread flour, but you will still have good results, and you will still get good bread. Sometimes you will need to add a tiny bit more flour to your dough if you use all-purpose flour. This isn’t always true but it is sometimes.

Different brands of bread flour produce different textured breads. I use the cheapest bread flour I can find and have always been very pleased with the results. Bread flour costs a little bit more than all-purpose flour. I consider it worth the extra cost.

Salt is a necessary ingredient in machine made bread. It regulates the rising process so that the bread dough doesn’t spill over the bread bucket into the machine. I have read that it takes at least 1/4-teaspoon of salt per pound of bread to regulate it properly. I don’t know if this is true or not. If it is though then it means that you can reduce the amount of salt in a 2 lb recipe to a minimum of 1/2-teaspoon. Salt also adds flavor to the bread. Bread made completely without salt doesn’t taste as good as bread made with some salt.

Sugar, honey and other sweeteners soften the texture of the dough and the finished loaf. They also contribute to the browning of the bread and the crispness of the crust. The main role they play though is as easy-to-use-food for the yeast. Yeast can use the starch in flour for its food but it is much happier if it gets an easy to use food like sugar or honey. Most bread machine recipes call for at least a small amount of sugar. A very few may not, like machine made French bread, or occasionally pizza crust. If desired you may add between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of sugar to recipes that don’t call for any sweeteners of their own but you don’t really have to.

Bread machine breads do best if they don’t have too much sugar added to them. When making sweet dough from scratch it isn’t unusual to add a full cup of sugar to the dough. When making sweet dough in the machine though it is better to use 1/4 to 1/2-cup of sugar or honey at the very most. This is because the dough rises faster and higher in a bread machine than it does when prepared by hand. Too much sugar is too much food for the yeast and it gets over-excited. This can result in a machine made mess that is unpleasant to clean up.

Liquids used in a bread machine should be room temperature or a little bit warmer. You should never use hot liquids in a bread machine. Liquids that are too hot will kill the yeast. Room temperature liquids make the yeast happy. If you are using tap water then warm tap water is fine. If you are using yogurt or buttermilk you may want to take it out of the fridge to warm up a bit before you use it in the bread machine. This isn’t strictly necessary, especially for breads baked on the Basic Cycle or longer. If you are using the Rapid Cycle though it is imperative that the liquids be warm or at least at room temperature.

Milk, buttermilk, and yogurt make the finished loaf of bread softer and give it a finer crumb. With milk or buttermilk, I usually use warm tap water and add powdered milk or dry buttermilk with my dry ingredients. If you have any whey leftover from making cheese it makes a very finely crumbed bread. It tastes really good too, better than you would think. Also runny yogurt that didn’t set up quite right is great in breads.

If you are making bread with water and you want to try something fun for a change, add a spoonful of vinegar along with the liquid ingredients. You will not taste the vinegar in the finished bread but the acid in it will keep the bread fresh for a little while longer after it is baked. This is an old-fashioned trick that still works well today.

Fats make the finished loaf richer, softer, and also keep the dough from sticking to the non-stick surface of the bread pan (weird, huh?). Usually between 1 and 4-tablespoons of fat are used in a 2 lb loaf of bread machine dough. You can use most fats interchangeably in a bread machine. Margarine, oil, shortening, lard, chicken fat, bacon grease or butter will all give you pretty much the same results. Some of the fats will add a different flavor, and the texture of the bread will change very slightly, depending on which type of fat you use. The changes however, are minor so you can pretty much use whichever type of fat you prefer. Most often I use margarine or oil.

Solid fats do not have to be melted before adding them to the bread machine. It helps if they are at room temperature, but this isn’t always practical. I have added a couple of tablespoons of cold margarine to warm tap water before, and the bread has turned out fine. If you are using the Rapid Cycle the temperature of the fat becomes more important than for the Basic Cycle or longer cycles.

The Order In Which Ingredients Should Be Added to the Bread Machine

There is a big mystique about the order in which ingredients should be added to a bread machine. The truth is, if you are going to mix and bake the dough right away then it really doesn’t matter which order you add the ingredients. The machine will mix them all up regardless of the order they were added to the bread bucket. If you want to program the machine with the Delay Cycle to start while you are away, then the order becomes very important. The ingredients must be added in a way that will keep them inert until the machine begins its mixing. Therefore it is a good idea to get in the habit of adding the ingredients in this way from the beginning.

Most machines like it best if you put the liquid ingredients in first. This would include water, eggs, milk, honey, buttermilk, fats and extracts. Put the liquids into the machine first. Next add the flour. As you are adding the flour, urge it out overtop of the water so that that it sort of seals the water in. Then you can add the other dry ingredients like salt, sugar, dry milk powder and seasonings. The last thing you should add is the yeast. Most recipes suggest that you make a shallow indentation or well in the center of the flour and sprinkle the yeast into it. This is important because it prevents the yeast from coming into contact with the liquid until the machine begins mixing. If the yeast and liquid get together before the machine is scheduled to begin, then the yeast will become active and likely make a big mess out of the machine. I have never seen this happen, but my imagination is pretty vivid, and I try to avoid it. For quick reference, here is the order in which the ingredients should be added:

1. Liquid ingredients (water, eggs, milk, fat, honey)
2. Flour, to “seal” in the liquid
3. Other dry ingredients (dry milk, salt, sugar, seasonings)
4. Add the yeast last.

To sum it up, if you are going to mix and bake your bread right away, then add the ingredients in any order you please. If you are going to use the delay cycle to program the bread machine to work while you are away, then add them in the order given above.

© Hillbilly Housewife 2003-2009

Permission is granted to print, copy and download this article for home, school, church, and personal use. You may not sell it, you may not charge money for it, not even shipping and handling if you send it to a friend. It can only be given away for free with love and kindness. Thanks –Susanne :-)

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Dish - July 7, 2014

Excellent article – thank you so much.

    C.S.Jones - April 15, 2016

    Yay, everything responds the way you explained it! (“Bread Machines for Dummies”?!)
    Great, thank you very much!!! (Bought mine at Goodwill for $ 5:00, and the machine -sans manual – seems brand new). First loaf was perfect and delicious.

Doug - August 3, 2014

Excellent article and tips. Some notes:

1) Some buckets twist-lock into place. Forcing one by pulling or pushing could destroy it.

2) Some machines have ‘+’ and ‘-‘ instead of up/down arrows. The function is the same.

3) Many manuals can be found on the manufacturers web site or the general internet. Searching the name, model number and ‘pdf’ will in many cases return a printable download copy.

Thanks for posting !

Jeanna - September 8, 2014

Hi! I recently inherited a Magic Chef breadmaker (CBM 250) and it had been sitting in the garage for a while. I wiped it down and tried to start it, but most of the buttons don’t respond when I push them. Is it toast or is there a master-reset switch other than unplugging it (I’ve tried that repeatedly)? I can’t set the timer and it won’t let me select any options other than the crust (which is pointless when the machine won’t start). Thanks for your help!

    Kathryn - January 15, 2015

    I had a similar problem with my Oster machine…It turned on but I couldn’t select anything but basic. After ignoring it for a couple of years I brought it out, cleaned it up and found that if I press and hold the buttons they eventually respond. Sometimes I had to do it again – press and hold to get a response. I will bake in it tomorrow….excited! Good luck, I hope this works for you too.

      Christine - January 25, 2015

      Thanks Kathrin,that is just my problem,i will try and hold and press at the same time.I have a older Version and my Paddle is thicker,so always had a big hohl in the middle,by taking the paddle out bevor rising works very well.

    Bob Go4th - January 23, 2015

    I bought a used magic chef 350 in which the buttons didn’t work. I took the pad off the machine and cleaned it inside with a q tip and alcohol, but it back together and it works fine. Just remember how you took it apart so you can get it back right.

Tessa - September 11, 2014

Thank you, that has been a great help, cant wait to start making bread

Thanks again

Carol - September 30, 2014

I have an older panasonic model SD-BT10P. I am not sure if the machine will stop automatically if I am not there when the cycle is over. The manual does not address this. It says to press the stop button when the machine beeps indicating that the cycle is complete. Does anyone know?

    Hillbilly Housewife - October 1, 2014

    I don’t have that model, so I really don’t know I would stay around the first time you run it and see if it stops automatically or not.

Alice Killgore - October 3, 2014

Could u send me a simple white bread reciepe for a first time bread maker for the machune.thanks alice

Natalie - October 5, 2014

Just trying to work out my bread bucket capacity, and this is helpful, however, what size measuring cup?? I have lots of different sizes, so I’m none the wiser at the moment. Thanks

    Hillbilly Housewife - October 5, 2014

    Natalie, you can use whichever one you like, just measure how many total cups you end up with. I have a glass measuring cup that holds 2 cups of liquid. That’s what I use, noting how many times I fill it up. If I fill it up 5 times, I know my bread maker holds 10 cups of liquid, which results in a 1.5 pound loaf of bread.

    Hope that clears things up.

      Mel - October 31, 2014

      That’s tremendous! Thank you!!! 😀 Still chuckling…

Angela - October 28, 2014

Thank you so much for this very helpful information. Because of this posting I found out the that the machine a friend gave me that she found was broken but fixable. My husband a Mahican oiled(veggie oil) the paddle base and released the seized gasket. I am making my first bread now:).
Thank you,

kim - November 1, 2014

This was very useful. I have been baking bread gor about a year and found two great hints. Different fats and vinegar to extend life of nread. Thanks!

sue - November 21, 2014

I have an old bread maker and followed your advice to get the manuel on line. My problem is I don’t have the add extras on my choices. Does it matter if I add, say nuts at the beginning or should I add them during a rest period? Thanks in advance.

    Hillbilly Housewife - November 26, 2014

    Unless otherwise stated in the recipe, I usually add everything at the beginning in the order they appear in the recipe.

      Toni - November 28, 2014

      Great info! I bought a Pillsbury 1016 at Salvation Army for $5.00. I’m making my first loaf now. I also wanted to know when to add extra ingredients, such as raisins and nuts. Your article is the most helpful that I found so far.

Shawna - November 24, 2014

This was a wonderful article. I wanted to thank you! I bought my first breadman bread machine at a thrift store with all the parts, whew! I’m excited to make my first bread!

Steve Trubridge UK - November 26, 2014

Hi Susanna. Greetings from the UK. I’ve just found your website and think it’s fantastic!. But I need your help please. I have acquired a machine but it has no measuring cups. The basic white bread recipe that came with the machine lists the ingredients to include 8oz water and 2 cups of white flour. How do I know what size cup to use? I’ve got a cupboard full of cups! Better still, rather than cups, what weight of flour do you suggest I use in order to match it up with 8oz water? Hope you can help me. I’m sure you can! Thanks and regards.

    Hillbilly Housewife - November 26, 2014

    Hi Steve, here in the US we don’t weigh our flour, we use a standardized measuring cup. You can Google conversions of cups to grams for different types of flours. I don’t have any experience doing that and honestly don’t know what it would convert to.

      Sally - February 13, 2015

      do you fill all the way to the top or to the line inside the bucket

    CSJ - April 15, 2016

    Use the converter on the internet?! I’m European and that’s what I often have to do.

Denise - November 29, 2014

Hi Susanna,

I’ve just got a new Panasonic bread machine. I think your manual covers more than the manual that comes with the set. Yours is as complete as a ‘bible for bread machine owners’. I’ll definitely bookmark your page.

I’m a bit of a health freak. I’ve got 1 simple question. Since I’m using roasted salt and stevia as substitutes for the normal salt and sugar, do you think they can be used to make great bread?

    Hillbilly Housewife - November 30, 2014

    The salt should not be an issue, but you may want to stick to regular sugar or honey. It doesn’t use much and the yeast will need the sugar to work.

Perla Ósk Kjartansdóttir - December 2, 2014

Great, thanks! Very useful :)

Francis - December 5, 2014

Hi I am from South Africa and just got a bread machine free but without the manual. I read your instructions and I am going to try it this weekend with your basic recipe. Thank you very much as this is so easy to understand.Will let you know how it comes out. Have a great weekend.

Judi - December 7, 2014

We wanted to purchase a bread machine, but the one we want is out of stock until at least February! We found one yesterday on a local garage sale site, but minus the manual. We were able to download a PDF version, and my 14 yr old son wants to be THE household breadmaker, so this article is an amazing gift! I’m sure he will be far more confident after reading it, and I can’t wait for his first loaf of bread! Excited about your HH Newsletter as well!

Kathryn - January 15, 2015

I forgot to say thank you for your article…it’s been awhile and you have laid out all the important information I need to go forward with my bread machine.

Joannah - January 29, 2015

Thank you so much for this very helpful information. I used it to learn how to set the timer after several failed attempts and disappointed faces in the morning for breakfast. All smiles this morning and smell of fresh bread wafting throughout the house.

Mary Laczkoskie - February 10, 2015

I have a recipie for gluten free bread that says “set on number 10” What does this mean?? I never used a bread machine before for gluten free bread, I don’t have a manual , my friend gifted hers to me with no manual. Anything I need to know about gluten free breads in bread makers?

APRIL - March 19, 2015

I have tried a few times to make a basic white bread in a bread machine I got for free. I follow all directions exactly but the bread doesn’t mix all the way. I don’t see a ball of dough when it starts rising, just flour. I’ve tried to mix it a little with a spoon while the machine is mixing but that didn’t seem to help either. The bread always comes out covered in hard flour any suggestions?

Mariana - April 12, 2015

I am wanting to make rice mochi cakes. I saw a video that shows putting steamed rice into a bread maker on the dough setting. I have an oster bread maker. The dough setting is number 9. I keep starting the cycle,the timer automatically sets at 1:30 but the machine stops moving after 30 minutes. I have tried adding time on the timer, but it wont let me start the cycle unless it’s set at 1:30. And again, it is only active for 30 minutes. Is this normal? I dont know what to do :(.

Sharleen - April 28, 2015

Hi there,
I just bought a second-hand Westpoint bread maker Model: WPBM-1138. 2.5lb pan. Is it possible to actually BAKE bread rolls in it – from ingredients to baked product? I don’t have a conventional oven. If so, please could you send me recipe / instructions? Also, the machine has cake and jam making abilities, but no recipes or instructions in booklets provided. All assistance greatly appreciated.

Dekenya - May 2, 2015

I finally pulled out my mom’s old sunbeam bread maker. My husband got a few boxes of bread mix by Pillsbury and krusteaz. One box gives bread maker instructions but the others don’t. Can I still use them in the bread maker?

Better Bread Maker - May 26, 2015

Just got an old bread machine for free from a relative. This guide will definitely come in handy once I start using that thing!

doreen hughes - June 3, 2015

I just looked through these questions and one of them I can answer. In the UK 1 American cup is usually considered equal to 8 oz of white flour, but wholemeal flour is denser so the recipe total might be expected to have slightly less cups of flour, or to produce a heavier loaf of the same size.( 1 cup water equals 8 fl. oz – 1 pint equals 20 fl. oz) Hope this helps. Great information – I just got my breadmaker back minus its instruction book soI was glad of your reminders, many thanks

Laura - June 11, 2015

Hi, Im not sure if this is the right place to ask this but I’ll ask anyway just incase.
My mom has this old betty crocker bake it easy 2 bread maker and mixer. She’s had it for a while now, maybe 18years. Its bread bucket recently started leaking at the side. there’s a small hole. Do you think its possible to get a new bucket Event for such an old version?

    Hillbilly Housewife - June 16, 2015

    I would get in touch with the manufacturer to see if there’s replacement parts available. You could also do a google search or a bucket for the exact model and see if (a) someone is selling a used bucket or (b) someone created replacment parts for the older machines. Never hurts to ask and look around.

monty - September 19, 2015

Thank you so much for this very helpful and useful information. Not only do I love eating bread, I love baking bread. And I have baked quite a bit in my life. But nothing pleases me more, than when a fresh loaf of bread comes out of the my bread machine. I tried different kinds of bread machine like Oster and magic chief. But I had some problem. I have Zojirushi now and it is perfect. It is very useful .

Jeanette - October 8, 2015

Thank you!
Thank you!
Thank you!

Yvonne - November 6, 2015

Fab and thorough details for bread making for novice bread machine user , many thanks …… Just trying a 2lb cheese and dried mixed pepper loaf for bonfire party tonight to go with slow cooker carrot and coriander soup!! Yum

Dianna - November 22, 2015

This article is perfect! Thank you!! Picked up a bread machine a couple of months back at a thrift store. Was worried about using the timer and that causeing problems with the yeast. Great to know how to layer the ingredients.

little kitty - November 22, 2015

I had a very old Breadman tall version breadmaker about 10 years or more. Very very simple to use. Had just a few buttons haha like on and off. Gave it to my church for the yard sale and replaced it with the new version of Zojurushi bread maker. Has all the bells and whistles BUT NO SWEET BREAD cycle. Has basic, wheat, jam, and cake. BUT NO
sweet bread cycle. Thank you for any information.

kaycee - November 23, 2015

This is an awesome commentary but photos would’ve been nice bcuz I still don’t know which button is the light or dark crust color setting!
Other than that, I thank you for all the info. It really will help with the B&D bread machine I purchased without a manual. Ciao for now, ☺

    Hillbilly Housewife - November 27, 2015

    I’ll try to take some pictures of mine, but doubt it will help much. Each bread machine is different and the info in this post is intentionally kept very general to make sure it works for different models.

Beth - December 4, 2015

Thank you for sharing !

Debbie - December 28, 2015

Once the bread is finished baking, do you let it cool in the machine? Take it out and cool on a rack in the silver square pan? Or take the bread out of the square pan immediately?

    Hillbilly Housewife - December 28, 2015

    Debbie, I personally prefer to allow the bread to cool in the machine until it has cooled enough that I can comfortably take it out of the bucket. If you’re in a rush, it helps to remove the square pan, then take some oven mitts and take the hot bread out and allow it to cool on a rack. It can be a bit tricky getting the paddles out of a piping hot loaf of bread, but it will help the cool it much faster.

Lee - January 10, 2016

One of the clearest, most comprehensive (but easy to understand) guides to bread machines I’ve found! Thank you so much for posting it.

Michelle - January 16, 2016

Thanks for the detailed explanation? Could you elaborate if you have use manual cycle much and have tips? I bought my bread machine at a thrift store for $10. It has the round sort of pan so I think sometime I may want to use a different shaped pan but I do not want to do all the kneading and such! My goal is to make us better, cheaper bread than can be bought.

Luise - January 24, 2016

Thank you for posting your very comprehensive guide. It is clear and beautifully writte. Your hard work and sharing is greatly appreciated!
– Luise

Michelle - February 5, 2016

Super helpful article. Thanks sooo much. You saved the day! – Michelle

Ginger Swartz - February 6, 2016

Just bought a Bella Cucina Bread Maker at auction. Does not have measuring cup or spoons with it that the manual talks about. Will regular measuring cups and spoons work?

Margaret - February 13, 2016

Thank you for your excellent article. The information is vey well put together and is priceless.
I have a Paderno bread machine. I lost my manual and was so lucky to find your article . It was very very helpful. I made a perfect loaf of bread today, and I also saved some money. I used milk instead of dried milk which is quite expensive, and as I had no vegetable oil , I used margarine as an alternative as you suggested. I followed your tips to the letter, and my bread is delicious.

Marisol - February 16, 2016

I have laugh my heart out reading this article! it’s like a “Dummies for bread machines” manual.
I’m neophyte at anything that could be made in the kitchen and I’m hoping I shall remain like that for the rest of my life. My skills are somewhere else but strangely I do own a bread machine that I have never used so this article, written in such detail, is just perfect for me. I do thank you so very much!!!!! I guess I can now make a bread that could actually be eaten.

Ruthann - February 29, 2016

I have a Cuisinart Bread Maker. Can’t get the loaf out. Sticks to paddles and bucket.
Would spraying the insides w/Pam help? Using a basic white bread recipe that always worked in other breakmakers. Frustrating.

Creativecook - March 20, 2016

Small tip. I am using a Welbilt breadmaker someone gave me when I left the paddle of my original one on a loaf. It has a warming cycle before the first kneading. Practically broke this one trying to understand why the motor wouldn’t start. 15 mins in all that are barely mentioned in the manual I found online.

Patrice - April 17, 2016

Just wanted to add anther thank you for taking the time to write this information and the insight to knowing what is useful. I read a number of articles that were of no use. Thank you!

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