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Making Dough with a Bread Machine

March 26, 2012

You know how you search around the internet reading random stories, and you always come across these self-help, do-it-yourself type articles?  Well that’s me.  I always find myself on random websites or reading various stories about all sorts of different things.  One of the articles I always seem to find myself reading are the ones that talk about how certain kitchen gadgets are a great buy because they save you time, and money, and basically pay for themselves vs. gadgets you should stay away from because they are just money pits or money wasters.  One such article I read on this subject described how buying a bread machine and using it to make your own homemade bread was a terrific buy and that every household that ate bread should get a bread machine.  The article praised the virtues of making your own bread and how healthy it was because you could control what went into it and it would be healthier than the bread you buy at the grocery store.  The article also went on to say that for people who use their bread machine for all their bread needs, the machine would quickly pay for itself and then some because bread at the store could be expensive, but bread made at home on your own bread machine would be relatively inexpensive.  From that point on, I was so enamored with bread machines and knew I had to have one.  Luckily for me, my husband and I were gifted with a bread machine.

After spending some time looking online for various recipes and ideas for our bread machine, we’ve now used it to make a bunch of different items.  We certainly like the ease and convenience of it, and we like the freshness and quality of the dough that it makes.  What we seem to use our bread machine for the most is to make dough.  The machine has a dough setting where if you put all the ingredients into the bread pan, it will mix and knead your dough for you.  By the time it’s done, you’ve got dough that’s ready to go right into the oven.  The only downside of the dough setting is that it takes 1.5 hours from start to finish to create the dough, so trying to make fresh dough after work for dinner doesn’t make much sense unless we want to be eating at 10 pm.

One of the items we’ve used our bread machine for is to make dough for calzones.  It’s super simple, requires very few ingredients and then the machine can do all of the work for you.  All you need is some bread flour, white granulated sugar, dry evaporated milk, water, active dry yeast, iodized salt, a little bit of oil and some Italian seasonings, which add some great flavor to the dough.

Start by removing the bread pan from the bread machine.  Add all of your wet ingredients, into the bottom of the bread pan.  that includes adding the water and the oil.  Next, add the dry ingredients right on top of the wet ingredients.  So, add the flour, and the salt, and the Italian seasonings, and the sugar and the dry evaporated milk.  These dry ingredients will basically sit right on top of the wet ingredients.

Notice, the one remaining ingredient we haven’t added is the active dry yeast.  You always want to add the yeast last.  As soon as the yeast comes into contact with the liquid, it’ll start blooming and reacting.  When all the ingredients are the in bread pan, create a well in the dry ingredients right in the center of the bread pan.  You want to make sure that the well isn’t deep enough to penetrate down to the wet ingredients.  Add the active dry yeast right into the well that you’ve created.

At this point, all of the ingredients you need for the calzone dough are ready.  Transfer your bread pan back to the bread machine and make sure it’s in securely.  It’s time to let your bread machine do all of the work.

Close the lid on the bread pan and set the bread machine to the dough setting.  With my bread machine that means a 1.5 hour cycle before the dough will be ready.  Hit the start button and watch the machine start.

The bread hook in the bread pan will start to churn and mix the dry and wet ingredients together.  You’ll see the flour start to come together and a ball of dough start to form.  If you need to, take a rubber spatula and scrape the sides of the bread pan where the remaining flour may be sticking.  And if you need to, you can add a drop or so of water if you feel like the dough is too dry and isn’t coming together.  Once all of the flour has been picked up, close the lid again and allow the bread machine to do its job.  The heat from the bread machine will create a nice warm environment for the yeast to do its job and allow the bread to rise.

After an hour and a half of waiting the dough will be ready.  When you come back to your machine, you’ll see that the dough has basically risen and filled the entire bread pan.  You can take your bread pan out of the bread machine and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  You’ll see in your dough lightly colored green specs dotted throughout; that’s the Italian seasoning that you added earlier.  When the calzone dough bakes, the Italian seasonings will give the dough great flavor and make everything smell wonderful.

When the dough has been turned out onto a floured surface, work it a little bit and then divide the dough to the right portion for the calzone you’re going to be making.  From here, you can make all sorts of different calzones.  One of our favorites is chicken and broccoli calzone.

The results of the homemade dough using the bread machine are wonderful and heavenly; and it’s fun to make stuff yourself.  Even if it may be easier to go to the grocery store and buy something, it doesn’t mean it’s always cheaper, or healthier for you.  And you lose out on the satisfaction of having made it yourself, too.  My husband and I love our bread machine and try to use it whenever we can.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    March 26, 2012 11:00 am

    I have a love/hate relationship with my bread machine. I love the idea of it, and I hate that it doesn’t make as good of bread as I feel like I do the old-fashioned longhand way. I think I just need to use it more. With bread, it’s such a “feel” thing. You get to know what feels right and what it should feel and look like at certain stages, and you lose some of that with the machine. However, I used it to make whole wheat hamburger buns last weekend and those turned out pretty well.

  2. June 23, 2012 8:16 am

    I do not like my bread machine. I have an Oster and it’s very big which makes storage difficult. It also makes awful bread – dense, tough, flavorless, bad crust. It doesn’t matter what recipe I use or what kind of flour. It also never bakes the top of the crust properly, though just using the dough cycle then baking it in the oven makes it marginally better. Hands down store-bought bakery bread is much more enjoyable and less expensive when you consider all the ingredients you waste on botched bread machine loaves. Homemade bread goes stale very quickly too, I find. To me a bread machine should be very simple – if you follow the recipe you should get edible bread with minimal effort. That’s not the case though, you can tell from all the tips out there on how to baby your bread machine process with tweaks and adjustments. My grocery store bakery makes incredible fresh baked bread that I can buy for a couple bucks. That’s a much better deal for me. 🙂

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