The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread machine not giving consistant results.

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aedralei's picture
aedralei

Bread machine not giving consistant results.

I picked up a bread machine about 2 months ago from a thrift store. I paid $7 bucks for it and it was a steal! its a breadman tr44. I've used it quite a few times already and its been hit or miss results. I'll use the exact same ingredients and sometimes I get a perfect loaf, sometimes its short and dumpy, sometimes its hard as a rock! I It's been great for making dough so i'm not getting rid of it, but i'm wondering if its just on its last legs. From what I can tell its about 10 years old and it doesn't change the loaf size on the settings button. Is it time to break down and just buy a new one? or am I doing something wrong? This is my first bread machine.

Ford's picture
Ford

Okay, now you have been hooked into making your own bread, now get your hands into it.  You do not need a bread machine when you can mix in a bowl and knead on the table top.  That is more rewarding and makes better bread.

Ford

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Are you scaling your ingredients or using volume measurement?  If you are using volume measurements that would be the first place to make a change.  If thats not it, have you changed brands or types of ingredients?  

If you are scalling your ingredients and using the very same product every time then I'd assume your machine is faulting.  If not I'd buy a ktichen scale (an invaluable tool for baking) and try again to see if that solves some issues.  

I do second Ford's suggestion of gettting your hands dirty and take the leap into handmade bread as it is far superior and offers more control than any bread machine on the market.  

Happy Baking

josh

aedralei's picture
aedralei

I've just been measuring out with some measuring cups and spoons, the same amount each time. I've changed the flour a few times, but it has always been the same type. Even with the same ingrediants its diffrent loafs.

I tried in the past to make bread from scratch and I've never had any success, It never comes out to the right density. But I may have to give it another go when I get the time.

proth5's picture
proth5

can be a lot of fun and a great convenience (Load and go - what a time saver!)  And yes, most people on these pages are correct in saying you don't need one - but...

I've said this before - I have been baking using traditional methods for a long time.  Yet I have recently become fascinated with the bread machine and I enjoy the heck out of mine.  You can produce nice breads with them.

But.

Small appliances have a life span.  Depending how yours was treated before it came into your life, you may be experiencing a small appliance coming to the end of its lifespan.  If it mixes fine, but you get issues with the bake - that is something that I would suspect.

But (again),

Here are things that you do control to get the best out of what you've got.

  1. Unfortunately (for me, because I am not a "you must weight ingredients" sort of person) the small amount of dough you make with a bread machine really does make this a time when weighing ingredients (or volume measurements with a very, very practiced hand - say 20-30 years of practice) can make a difference.  I've seen loaf variations when I have increased or decreased the yeast by .5 gms (!) - Now this isn't the variation between a perfect loaf and a brick - but they are noticeable to me.
  2. Be mindful of the temperature of any liquid ingredients. With my bread machine the water needs to be 40F - kept in the refrigerator overnight.  Your machine may be different. 
  3. Always pay attention to the manual on how to load the machine.  You can probably do an internet search to find a manual for your machine or something very similar. Load it the same way every time.  The order matters.
  4. Use a formula that has been developed for your machine - or each time you bake, take notes and when the loaf comes out perfect do everything exactly the same.  Again, small variations can really make big changes in your final results.  I develop my own formulas so I find that fun rather than frustrating, but it is true.

Frankly, the newer machines have a lot of features that the old ones don't to make your baking more fun and versatile.  If the budget allows you might want to look into a more recent machine - or you might find one at a thrift store still in good shape.  I've never seen even one bread machine on my admittedly infrequent trips to a thrift store, but others claim to find them in heaps everywhere.

I'll go on just a bit more about how a bread machine is a great introduction to home made bread. Again, this comes from someone who has spent more hours with her hands in dough than the mind can comfortably comprehend.  Are lives are all so different, and when one is pressed for time there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting the machines to work for us.

Happy Baking!