The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why do breads baked in the breadmaker have a different texture?

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Why do breads baked in the breadmaker have a different texture?

This is my dilemma. We love homemade whole grain bread and LOVE the price of it versus artisan breads from the bakery. With kids and "life" making bread by scratch just doesn't happen like EVER even though I like it and have a knack for it. So, we bought a breakmaker 14 years ago. We used it a lot the first two years, but then stopped, because I couldn't stomach the texture. So, I gave the breakmaker to my best friend after it sat for at least 5 years without any use.

Skip forward a few years and I decide that if I have a mixer to do it (when I got the Electrolux DLX2000/ or Assistent), then we would have homemade breads. Guess what... I still don't make breads from scratch even with the machine, but I do use it for cakes and everything else .

So, last year I bought a Panasonic breadmaker on a super sweet deal on Amazon ($60 shipped). I have used it about once a week and well, my husband loves it, but my older son and I can't stand the texture.... two different breadmakers and the same problem. This past weekend I had the breadmaker knead the bread, and then I took it out and let it's last rise be in a basket mold, and then I put it in the oven to bake... guess what? No funny texture first day or second day... it's teh baking that does it, but HOW??? and WHY????

Now I'm an a quest to make the bread even better (crisper and chewier), but I'm still puzzled with the bread machine... why???

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I don't own a bread machine so I haven't been able to do a comparison, but when baked in a machine, the dough would be able to rise to a certain dimension and no further, I gather.  Maybe, when you shape it by hand and put it into the oven to bake, it can do its own thing, that is, rise to its own height, thereby producing a better, more natural texture.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

I don't know... if you put bread in a pan (which I didn't the other day - so I should experiment) isn't it the same thing? Mine is a bread pan shape and it does grow... but that's an interesting idea.

 

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"if you put bread in a pan (which I didn't the other day - so I should experiment) isn't it the same thing?"

Not at all.  Bread will happily spring upward in a bread pan (my last loaf sprung up a good 50%), given the opportunity.  In a bread maker, this isn't an option, and so the texture of the crumb must, I would think, inevitably be affected.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

excuse my ignorance, but I don't get it. Why would the spring be different in a bread pan in a preheated oven versus a contained oven that heats up...

wait a minute, did I just answer my own question maybe? Perhaps it's because it does heat up SLOWLY (well, not slowly, but it's not preheated, so it has to get to that temp), it kills off the yeast before reaching the baking temp, so it doesn't get the same opportunity to do that growth explosion and sudden kill off like it would get in a preheated oven.

I literally gag when trying to eat breadmaker bread. My husband can barely tell the difference and he likes homemade breads (he's from Europe). Yet, my 12 year old is like me, just can't eat it.

Interesting!

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"wait a minute, did I just answer my own question maybe?"

Well, you did, sort of.  It's contained. :)  Of course, I'm assuming, here, that the resultant loaf in a pan has a larger overall volume than one baked in a bread machine.  If that assumption is wrong, you can ignore me completely. :)

Marni's picture
Marni

When I read your question, my first response was that there is no preheating in a machine - that must be it.  Then I remembered that I sometimes put loaves into an only partially preheated oven, so I doubted that answer.  I think it might be a bit of both not preheating and the lack of control over the dough consistency and the rising.  I blamed the preheating for always baking the outside of the loaf first, creating a very thick, dry and sometimes hard crust.  The heating elements in a machine might also have somthting to do with it, along with the temperature.  I have no idea what temp they cook at.

I also tried using the machine to save time, but I've found it's just as easy, even easier sometimes to use the mixer, and I can be much more creative with my bread bsking.

Marni

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Well, I made two loaves yesterday - both the same recipe. One I did using my mixer (Assistent) and the other with the bread maker. One I baked the "normal way" of on a stone that was preheated for an hour at 350 degrees and then baked for 45 minutes. It was good. and we ate more than half for dinner.

Then, since I knew we would use more than we needed for the next day with breakfast and lunches to pack, I made a second loaf. This time using my Panasonic breadmaker to mix and let it rise. I ALWAYS keep an eye on the dough while it's mixing because if you are a LITTLE off in the measuring, you can get a sloppy mess or a brick. As it turned out, I needed to add 1/2 a cup of flour (it's not a breadmaker recipe). I then took it out to rise for the final rise and while it was doing that I preheated my oven to 450 (slowly in a staggered way to avoid cracking the stone) and then baked at 450 for Five minutes (with steam added with the cast iron pan underneath, and the bake an additional 25 minutes at 400 degrees. The bread is GREAT.

 I really think the breadmaker can knead as well as the mixer or by hand (I've done it all), but I really do think it's how the breadmaker heats up that affects the texture of the bread. From a breadmaker, it has a tough crust and a crumbly texture (I only do 100% whole grain). When I bake it in the oven instead, it's a thinner, crisper crust and a chewy, springy middle.

So, until I can dedicate the time and effort in getting into true artisan baking, this will have to do.

I truly don't think it has to do with the lack of "room" for it grow because there's plenty of head room for bread to expand just like in the oven (especially if you compare it to a small oven like say the cuisinart oven)... but in how the breakmaker heats up.

Melissa

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

My cousin mixes and kneads her bread in a machine, then bakes it either free-form or in pans, and wouldn't dream of baking it in the machine.  So whether the bread is panned or not, when baked in an oven, it would still be able to rise and stretch more than it would in a machine.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I use my bread machine for kneading and do the shaping and second rise in the oven...just a fact it's much better that way....great for making pizza dough.

Sylvia

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

 My bread pan has a non-stick interior which I never use non-stick anymore for my baking or cooking....the non'stick has always to me affected the flavors in cooking...like cooking on the stove top in an iron skillet, stainless steel, different surface different flavor...it is going to taste much more different  if done in a non-stick. 

I'm really considering replacing the counter space my breadoven  takes up with a Magic Mill and it will also handle mixing a lot more dough.  I never thought I would do this because I love my bread machine it has been so handy in ways even a mixer can't beat...maybe one day they will make one that does all the programable automatic mixing,rising and kneading of several loaves and zone out the baking part....but then isn't that what is all the fun of making bread by hand!  It's great to have the choice or either method...........hand or machine.        Sylvia

Sheila Stuart's picture
Sheila Stuart

Hi, 


I had same problem with a new cheap breadmaker - the bread just tasted so doughy couldn't stomach it after a few loaves. 


But today I just used the dough setting and then put the dough into the top oven at lowest possible temp for 20 mins before firing it in the bottom oven top temperature for 30 mins. 


And perfect! Best loaf yet. I agree must be that bread machine cannot heat up quickly enough for the cooking part. 


My husband says that therefore the breadmachine is therefore a waste of money, but really having the first rise and the kneeding etc done for you is still SO much easier than making bread (which I also like to do but never have time or energy for!)


So strongly recommend you experimenting with this. Does have the disadvantage that you are only waking up to fresh dough in the morning! 


 

serenityhill's picture
serenityhill

I noticed the same thing you described: doing final shaping and bake out of the machine really improved the overall loaf.


When I found TFL, I immediately found the autolyze step, and thought about how my Breadman Ult.  does a pre-soak on WW cycles.  So, I tried doing an autolyze step out of the machine like I would if I wasn't using it, then putting the result in the machine and setting it for the white loaf associated with the number of cups of flour in the recipie.


While the crust isn't perfect, the white cycle for my mixed whole/white flour bread is much better, and the crumb no longer is bricklike.  Using the dough cycle and finishing by hand/in the oven is even better, since the crust improves so much more.


What I think is the difference between oven and machine bread is:  With the oven loaf, the baker is the brain that decides when the dough and proof is right; baking in the machine puts the loaf at the mercy of an inflexible program.  


Autolyzing for a little as 30 mins before going to the machine puts the baker back into the decision process enough to improve the loaf, as I realized that letting the machine do the soak means that only flour gets pre-soaked instead of a well-balanced mix. 


The only reason I don't use the bread machine pan for the autolyze is dodging the paddle to mix the ingredients.  Writing about it also excersises the brain; I'm going to try using the white cycle to mix, then reset for the equivalent wheat loaf with light crust to let the machine time the short autolyze.


HTH


 


 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I, too, utilize an autolyze step with the bread machine (Breadman Ultimate Plus).  My approach is to use about half the flour and a like weight of liquid, e.g. water or milk, and run it through the dough cycle. (3min pulsed mixing, 27min kneading and 1hr rest)


When the cycle is complete, I add the rest of the liquid(s)¹ and the dry ingredients, including the yeast, and run the white bread cycle.  Due to the increased amount of available sugars the enzymatic action produces, the yeast really gets after it.  A normal recipe will rise more than expected, overflowing the pan and touching the lid, giving you an undercooked portion of loaf.  Rather than reduce the yeast and taking a chance, I reduce the entire recipe, making 1½lb loaves rather than 2lb.


My primary bread uses are for sandwiches and toast.  Neither are amenable to an open crumb.  The two-step method gives me an enriched (milk, butter and egg) sandwich bread with a light crumb and a good chew, which normal bread machine recipes/methods lack. It doesn't match an overnight slow ferment and well formed, panned, oven baked loaves, but it comes close, and all with no muss, no fuss.


cheers,


gary


1. If using milk, butter and eggs, get them scaled at the start so they can warm to room temp while the autolyze cycle is running its course.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Here I used the two-step method to improve the taste and texture of a 50-50 whole and white flour bread.

  • 10oz avois whole wheat flour

  • 9oz white bread flour

  • 10oz milk (from dry, whole, skim, or whatever you prefer; I really like buttermilk)

  • 2oz water

  • 3oz honey (or molasses)

  • 2oz olive oil (or butter)

  • ⅜oz salt (by weight)

  • 1–1½ tsp rapid bread machine yeast

Put the milk and whole wheat in the machine and run the dough cycle for about 10 min,  Be sure it is well mixed. Then let it rest for an hour.


Add the rest of the wet and dry ingredients per your machine's instructions, and run the white bread cycle.  That's it. The rest really brings up the whole wheat nutty taste without the dryness and lack of chew found in most bread machine loaves.




cheers,


gary