Your First Loaf of Machine Made Bread
- 1-1/2 cups warm tap water
- 2 tablespoons oil or margarine
- 4 cups of bread flour, or all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Measure all of the ingredients as accurately as possible. Accurate measuring is very important in the bread machine, especially if you are using the delay cycle.
Begin by removing the bread bucket from the machine. Make sure the kneading paddle is in place. Measure 1-1/2 cups of warm water into the bucket. Add the oil, or margarine. Sprinkle the flour over the water to sort of “seal” it off. Add the salt and sugar. Use your finger to make a small indentation in the center of the flour. Carefully place the yeast into the indentation.
Snap the bread bucket into place inside the bread machine. Close the lid. Select the Basic Cycle. Press the Start Button. You can walk away and leave it now, or you can check it out as it processes, to see how it works.
The machine will begin kneading the dough right away. After about 10 minutes, you should see a nice cohesive ball of dough inside the bread pan. Open the lid and carefully touch the dough with clean hands. It should feel exactly the way good bread dough feels, with a slight clay-like texture, or like a baby’s bottom. If the dough seems dry you can add a little bit of water: a teaspoonful at a time. If the dough seems too moist you can add a little bit of flour: a teaspoonful at a time. This recipe is very well tested, and doesn’t really need water or flour to be added. You can add a teaspoon of each though, if you want the practice.
Watch the dough for as long as you like. When you are bored, make sure the lid is down, and let the machine do it’s business. The dough will mix, then rise, and finally bake. It’s a good idea not to open the lid while the bread is actually baking. The heat loss, may make the bread under cook a little. When the machine beeps, signaling it is done, turn the machine off by pressing the Start/Stop button.
Use potholders to remove the hot bread bucket from the machine. Be careful not to burn yourself. Turn the bread bucket upside down and the dough should fall out easily. If it doesn’t, then tap it gently to get the bread to release itself. If the kneading paddle is stuck inside the loaf you can remove it with a chopstick or the end of a wooden spoon. Do not use a metal tool to remove the kneading blade. Use a plastic or wooden tool, so you don’t mar the non-stick surface of the blade.
Allow the bread to cool down some before you slice it. Use a serrated (bumpy-edged) knife to slice the bread. This recipe makes a 2 pound loaf of bread.