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Bread Machine Baking: Tips for Experimenting

Once you've mastered the basics of bread machine baking, you can start experimenting!

Want to use a standard bread recipe in your bread machine? We can help. You can also convert bread machine recipes so you can make them by hand.

Dough Consistency

The key to bread-making success is proper dough consistency. Generally, dough should feel smooth and soft, not tacky or moist, and definitely not dry or crumbly. It should be elastic and resilient, so that when you push your hand into it, it tries to resume its original shape.

Experimenting with Ingredients

The best plan is to start with your favorite recipes, and make one substitution at a time. For example, swap rye flour for some of the wheat flour, maple syrup for honey, or milk for water. Keep in mind that you should be substituting dry for dry and wet for wet, unless you make the proper adjustments. For example, you may substitute fresh milk for dried milk as long as you reduce the water by the amount of fresh milk added. Try adding herbs, spices or seeds for a delicious change of pace, or even cheese (this should be considered a wet ingredient because it melts with heat).

Adapting a Manual Recipe for the Bread Machine

The first step is to find some recipes that have been successful with your bread machine, and examine them. How many cups of flour are in them? How much liquid? Then, adjust the ingredient amounts, being careful not to exceed your machine's capacity. Consider that most manual bread recipes make two loaves and can be divided in half to make a recipe that is roughly the right size for a bread machine. For example, a manual bread recipe that makes two 9x5-inch loaves may be divided in half to make a 1 1/2-pound bread machine loaf.

You may also size your recipe by the following formulas:

  • 1-pound loaf takes about 7/8 cup liquid and 2 3/4 cups flour.
  • 1.5-pound loaf takes about 1 cup liquid and 3 cups flour.
  • 2-pound loaf takes about 1 1/3 cup liquid and 4 cups flour.

Once you have started to mix your dough, check to see if it needs any additional liquid or flour. The dough should be slightly sticky but not wet.

Adapting a Bread Machine Recipe to a Manual Recipe

Go ahead and use the bread machine recipe to make a loaf by hand. Just be sure to keep a comparable non-machine recipe close by, and refer to it for basic instructions. If you don't have a comparable non-machine recipe to refer to, you may want to refer to these basic steps to making most yeast breads:

  • Proof the yeast (dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in warm water).
  • Combine the ingredients and mix well.
  • Knead the dough until smooth and soft.
  • Rise until doubled. Punch down, and shape.
  • Place bread in a greased loaf pan, or on a baking sheet for a round loaf.
  • Rise again until nearly doubled.
  • Bake. Most bread is baked in a moderate oven, 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the bottom of a loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

As you work with the dough, be sure to pay close attention to its consistency, and adjust the recipe as needed, adding small amounts of flour or liquid at a time.

Adapting Bread Machine Recipes for Different Machine Capacities

Converting recipes between different size bread machines is rather tricky. This is especially true when converting downward to a smaller machine, as you definitely don't want to overload your machine. Just use your best judgment when you measure out your ingredients.

Jul. 7, 2009 10:51 am
what other flour can you use unstead of bread flour because i like to buy in bock
Jul. 8, 2009 3:22 am
Wenda, Here is some info on flours you can buy in bulk! They have work just as well.The Skinny on Flours and Gluten Gluten, a protein in wheat flour, is what provides the structure in bread. Strands of gluten are woven together by mixing and then inflate as the yeast multiplies. High-protein flours help to give yeasted bread a chewy texture, so look for flour ground from hard wheat with 13 or more grams of protein per cup (hard wheat yields the highest amount of protein, or gluten). If you want to add more stability to your bread, you can add a product called "vital wheat gluten." This is especially important if 25% of the total flour in your recipe is a low- or no-gluten variety such as whole wheat flour, cornmeal, rye flour, soy flour or oatmeal. The rule of thumb is to add 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten for every cup of low- or no-gluten flour that is being used in your recipe. Bagels and pizza dough also benefit from the added elasticity of high-gluten flour.
Jul. 23, 2009 6:45 pm
I have a WelBilt machine that makes a 1 lb loaf but have lost my manual and recipe book. I want to try experimenting but you have recomended to take a couple a recipes that have worked well and go from there. I only have one and so I really don't know where to go from here. Do you know of any recipes that will work for it?
Jul. 24, 2009 8:18 pm
Sorry! Need to copy and paste link~
Sep. 15, 2009 10:32 pm
Is there ever a recipe for the machine to come out with softer bread instead of dense and heavy? Bread you can use for sandwiches instead of just toast?
Sep. 16, 2009 3:40 am
Please I'd love some help with making a pumpkin bread in the bread machine. The pumpkin puree bit confuses me no end. Bye, Carol.
South Florida 
Sep. 16, 2009 6:45 am
MSJUJUBEE~ I'm pretty new to bread making, but love the country seed bread recipe on this site. It's soft and flavorful. I've also started using Vital Wheat Gluten, which helps the loaves rise. Good luck and have fun!
Sep. 16, 2009 3:44 pm
I rarely use bread flour, I use regular flour 3/4 white 1/4 wheat in all my bread machine recipes I just shift the flour before measureing (both types together. I do not add gluten
Sep. 16, 2009 3:45 pm
pumpkin puree I believe is just canned punpkin
Sep. 18, 2009 3:06 pm
Thank you LadyMichigan, using the puree do I lessen the liquid content and by how much I wonder.
Lisa k 
Sep. 29, 2009 4:18 am
Has anyone used splenda in leu of white sugar or splenda brown sugar in leu of brown sugar in bread maker recipes? I just got my zojirushi bread maker and having a ball with it!!
Oct. 1, 2009 11:28 pm
Splenda makes a special brand for baking...I've used it and the bread came out fine...
Oct. 2, 2009 6:35 am
I have a zojirushi bread maker and love it. My first bread loaf rose too high so I cut back on the yeast, placed the bread maker on the dough setting and it still rose too high..still experimenting...
Oct. 14, 2009 8:14 pm
Casee - I have a zojirushi too. You have to use the right kind of yeast. Bread machine and rapid rise yeast are identical and should be used only when you are making a quick baking loaf. For regular loaves use active dry yeast.
Oct. 29, 2009 8:51 am
above for softer bread use a little bit more liquid or a little less flour. jan
Nov. 1, 2009 1:59 pm
Where's the "Print" link?
Nov. 5, 2009 8:05 am
my breads are hard and to dry. i want to have my bread: moist and with air wholes in it.I have tried rye breads, i want bread to be like bakery bought. what am i doing wrong? help!
Nov. 13, 2009 7:52 pm
I am wondering about using my bread machine for cake and brownie mixes. and what adapttions are needed like add yeast, liquid changes anything please e-mail me at thank you
Nov. 17, 2009 6:57 pm
can you use the box bread mix in any bread machine i think the box says something like for a pound and for a pound and half breads how do you know what size machine you have i lost my instruction book during moving and im not sure what i have
Nov. 25, 2009 12:14 pm
What is the difference between Bread flour and All-purpose flour? Is Bread flour the same as self-rising flour?
Nov. 25, 2009 9:06 pm
Ironically today I bought my first flour to try to make bread. Apparently from the comparison I made (verified on one of the packages) bread flour has more fiber, and nutrients than regular all purpose flour. Thanks everyone for the tips. I'll be making my bread Friday so "here's hoping."
Dec. 2, 2009 2:44 am
i found to make a soft bread in my plain-jane machine, I used 1/2 bread flour and 1/2 all purpose flour, also increased the fat a little (I like coconut oil or safflower oil). Also, I add 1/2 Cup flax meal and it still stays soft. Check the dough after the mixing stages - should be slightly sticky but not tacky. I call it my healthy crusty wonder bread.
Dec. 14, 2009 7:27 am
I am trying to make a French Bread dough on my manual setting, yet the bread comes out to heavy. Dose anyone have a good recipe for a baguette?
Dec. 18, 2009 3:35 pm
I have trouble with the loaf rising even in my bread machine. Its always higher on one side than the other. Any ideas on this?
Dec. 27, 2009 1:49 pm
This recipe makes 2 long Baguettes. Start in the bread machine, then form yourself.
Dec. 29, 2009 7:22 am
Fill bread pan with water and measure quantity in cups if pan holds less than 11 cups it is a 1lb.capacity more than 11 cups 1 1/2 or 2lb capacity
Jan. 1, 2010 7:34 am
Hi, my bread is always yellowy in colour never white how can I rectify this.
Jan. 10, 2010 5:40 pm
I make banana bread on the quick bread cycle. the bread is nice and moist and good but the outsides tend to burn. any suggestions.
Jan. 21, 2010 11:17 pm
where can i get the extra vital wheat gluten to add to flour.I love grain and wholemeal but cant get it right.Do u have a recipe i can try that actually works?
Jan. 24, 2010 1:45 pm
jack-i. try
Jan. 24, 2010 3:53 pm
Can you make bread in a machine using Oatmeal processed into a flour the same as reg. flour?
Feb. 27, 2010 8:09 am
My bread machine says to do the dry ingredients first then the wet and the water has to be 120-130 degrees. Does anyone have a machine like this? I'm wondering if I can do the wet ingredients first & if I really need the water that hot?
Feb. 27, 2010 6:33 pm
Try the recipe on Best Bread Machine Bread the reviews are great..1,109 to be exact, what have you got to lose
Mar. 11, 2010 7:28 am
So, I read through many of these posts, no mentioned dough enhancer? I use it in my gluten-free baking (when I remember) and it DOES make a difference! 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid 1 teaspoon pectin 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
Mar. 17, 2010 9:56 am
I was wondering if after i let the bread machine do it's job. Can I refrigerate the dough then when ready let it rise after that? Then bake?
May 8, 2010 9:56 am
I use a juicer and would love to add the leftover pulp into a bread or muffin recipe but I am not sure how to do this. I have a bread machine and it would be nice to find a recipe that would allow me to add the pulp. I thought that maybe using the pulp and less water would work. Does anyone have any suggestions?
May 16, 2010 2:30 pm
My bread machine makes the crusts too dark and dry. Can I remove the bread before the machine turns off? I have heard that the last 10-15 minutes just browns the crust and that the bread is already baked. Has anyone removed the bread during the last 10-15 minutes? If so, is the bread baked in the center?
May 25, 2010 1:02 pm
I used to us a juicer and used my pulp in quick breads. Just add 1c pulp to the ing.
Aug. 17, 2010 10:45 pm
Forgot to mention, when I said the dough is tacky, it is only during the 1st knead, by the second knead the dough is smooth and elastic.
Aug. 28, 2010 7:34 am
I just bought my first breadmaker ever. Does anyone have a good banana bread recipe? I can't wait to get started.
Sep. 1, 2010 6:38 pm
We love breads, 2 of us. Machine capacity 1 1/2. We generally get rid of at least 1/2 loaf, to friends, etc. Can dough be refrigerated or frozen and later baked in an oven?
Sep. 22, 2010 10:48 am
I just got my 1st bread machine and my first couple of experiences have gone very well. I was wondering, like others, if I can take the dough out and freeze it for later use. And if so, how do I do this?
Oct. 11, 2010 10:09 pm
I have a Breadman breadmachine. I have a breadcook book that says to use "vital wheat gluten". When I did the bread rose too high. Should I not use the gluten? My machine is 2lb capacity. I also used "breadmachine yeast". Should I use "active dry" instead?
Oct. 17, 2010 9:39 am
I know take my bread out about 15 min. before the machine says it is done. It is always done but nice light soft crust that we like :)
Nov. 13, 2010 4:43 pm
JUst discovered Bulgarian buttermilk. Gave the bread a great texture and far less salty than regular buttermilk.
Nov. 14, 2010 3:38 pm
Nov. 17, 2010 3:57 pm
I just purchased a bread machine.. I cant wait to strat making bread... Thank you for this aticle I have learned a lot and cant wait to learn more!
Nov. 26, 2010 5:35 pm
i have found that if u use regular flour like all purpose flour, and just sift it BEFORE MEASURING, that it works well instead of having to buy bread machine flour. oh one question, does anyone have a mashed potato bread recipe for the bread machine???
Dec. 5, 2010 12:56 pm
Someone just gave me a bread machine so i can make Gluten -Free bread for my daughter. Any advice or recipes????
Deb C 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:16 pm
@Amanda (Feb. 27, 2010 8:09 am) Amanda, I have a bread machine just like yours. Yeast goes in first, at the edge of the round bread pan, liquids go in last at the temp you mentioned. Follow your bread machine directions and don't be afraid of the machine: it knows best! I have 2 bread machines and the one you have is very powerful and works well. You can adapt all bread recipes to your machine. Most of them say "add the ingredients according to your bread machine instructions." So go for it, and don't worry that your machine is the opposite of most other machines!
Jan. 16, 2011 2:17 pm
After read this site,

I got my first bread machine. Anyone have any recommendation for an electric bread slicer?
Jan. 27, 2011 8:02 am
Alfredo, I make all my bread in a Cuisinart bread machine, don't buy bread anymore. Found the best way to slice bread is with an electric knife. Tried various shapes and sizes of regular manual bread knives but difficult to keep your slices even, electric knife works great.
Captain Vern 
Feb. 3, 2011 10:45 am
My wife can not have anything with seeds in it, can I GRIND caraway seeds for use in Rye bread?
Feb. 11, 2011 4:26 pm
I have a Black and Decker bread machine that makes 1.5, 2 and 3lb problem is that even when using the machines own recipes my loaves rise so much that it pops the top open wide and the bottom cooks great but the top I have to cut off. My loaves are tasty but enormous, what might the problem be?
Feb. 16, 2011 10:41 am
I made bread for my bread machine, after checking the machine I discovered that it was not raising. low and behold, there was no heat. what could have happened???? It was turned on and had already went thru the process of mixing. Help!!!!!
Mar. 5, 2011 4:53 am
Captain Vern- You probably already know this but there are varieties of rye bread without the caraway seeds. If you're set on having the seeds, you can definitely grind them up. It won't be exactly the same but it should have the taste you're looking for. Kathleen- I'm not sure what exactly is the problem but, I do know in the past when I've had bread recipes that rose too high adding a little salt to inhibit the rising of the yeast usually helps. Try an extra 1/2 - 1 tsp and see if that makes a difference.
Mar. 21, 2011 8:53 am
Thank you so much for the great info. Included a link as you instructed thanks for that to!! I just got my bread maker and am in love with it. I am sure to be referring often to tips on it's use!
Ruby McCune 
Mar. 23, 2011 3:51 am
what is a Url?????
Mar. 23, 2011 5:21 am
Betty wrote: "after checking the machine I discovered that it was not raising. low and behold, there was no heat. what could have happened???? It was turned on and had already went thru the process of mixing." I had exactly the same experience recently and think I know what happened. I have two machines, the more recent being a Panasonic which keeps track of its current process if the power is turned off for several minutes. My no heat problem was with the older machine where I believe my wife, while cleaning the counter, accidentally unplugged my machine while running then plugged it back in. The machine thought it had been plugged in for the first time and did nothing, waiting for instructions. My solution: Start the oven towards 425F, dump the risen dough onto a floured surface, punched it down, covered it with the pan. When the oven reached 425F, I placed the dough, now risen quite a bit, into a bread pan (stoneware but any pan would do), covered it with a damp towel whi
Mar. 23, 2011 5:32 am
Ruby McCune asked: "what is a Url?????" On my browser, I used the URL: and found this hopefully useful definition: "In computing, a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) ... specifies where an identified resource is available and the mechanism for retrieving it. ... The best-known example of the use of URLs is for the addresses of web pages on the World Wide Web, such as"
Mar. 27, 2011 9:03 am
I have an ultimate breadman and live at 6000 ft. Any changes to bake at high altitude in the machine?
Mar. 29, 2011 6:40 pm
I am loving my new (second hand) bread machine. I grew up on home made bread. I like to try various recipes but am curious about dry milk/water vs milk. How does this make a difference in bread recipes???
Apr. 12, 2011 3:20 pm
TrixieWells-I have the same bread machine as you and have a problem with the rising. I can never get it to rise high enough for a lighter loaf any ideas?
Apr. 22, 2011 1:43 pm
I like homemade bread better because you appriciate it more because of all the work that you put into it.
May 19, 2011 6:39 am
I just bought a bread machine, I have always wanted one. So far I have baked three loafs; however I have problems with the loaf coming out alittle too crusty to cut. Any suggesting?
Jul. 2, 2011 4:55 pm
I love all the advice & help with bread machines ,aren't they one great invention. I don't have one of the really fancy ones, but I have lots of fun.thank for all the help. Now--bananas hmmmm'
Cooking Kelly 
Jul. 10, 2011 11:28 am
I have had 2 bread machines. The Zojirushi is the one I prefer. However I do not use the machine to bake bread, I bake all my breads in the oven. In the mavhine the bottom of the bread always seems to be wet. I also use I egg and a t/l of sour cream to paint the loaf top before baking this gives the loaf a dark beautiful crust with a shine. When experimenting with liquid +or - one tablespoon of liquid at a time. I also use 2 tbs of either olive oil or butter to make the bread come out soft. Too much oil and the loaf will not rise properly. A lot o things can be added to bread, like eggs, fruit, herbs, powdered milk and they all affect the outcome, however the the liquid to dry ingredients affect the outcome the most. Bread like French bread which requires no sugar baked better in a high moisture oven so I add a pan of water to the oven to create that crust that we all like with French bread. I alway put the dry ingredients to one side of the mixing bowl and add the sugar and yeas
sandor szabados 
Jul. 17, 2011 3:45 pm
For a softer better texture, add 1 tbls of Lemon Juice. Also, try using just water instead of milk.
Jul. 31, 2011 9:22 am
I don't care for the taste of the crust bread cooked in the bread machines. I use the dough section and take it out, knead then shape, put in a loaf pan and let it rise. Bake at 375 for aprrox. 20 min. Taste just like the bread I used to make by hand. Try this if you have arthritic hands and unable to do the kneading.
Aug. 2, 2011 10:57 am
I use the dough cycle 1 1/2 hours in the bread machine and then bake the next half hour in the oven. I don't like the 'square' loaf from the BM
Aug. 27, 2011 3:45 pm
Is there a recipe using the bread machine that you can use self-rising flour rather than all purpose and yeast. I am trying to save money and yeast can get costly when I have to make bread every other day for my family of 6.
Oct. 3, 2011 4:12 pm
The pumpkin spice bread recipe on this site looks good. Does anybody now what needs to be adjusted so I can do it in my bread machine?
Oct. 5, 2011 6:53 am
In Canada, all purpose flour is the same as bread flour in the US and it goes on sale often at 6.99 for a 10 kg(25 lb)bag You used to be able to buy a huge can of yeast at Costco. does anyone know where you can find it now? It lasted me years. If it's getting old, you can add an eggwhite to the liquid portion of the process and it will help it rise more.
Oct. 14, 2011 6:43 am
I think the machine makes the difference. I have a panasonic and it makes great bread.
Nov. 5, 2011 4:04 am
After all these wonderful helpful hints I'm feeling a little dizzy not knowing where to start first.I'm an accomplished cook of many recipe varieties, but an absolute novice at bread making. So, looks like a lot of trial and error coming up, but I'll have fun trying. Nothing is achieved for anyone without trying fisrt, like "Blood, Sweat and Tears" and no use in just sitting here saying to myself "I wish, if only". Being a retired swimming instructor our motto was "No pain, No Gain" So, from here I'll try anything as that's my first gain to my goal of bread making.
Nov. 24, 2011 1:22 pm
i just got a bred maker but i don't know how to anything with the bread maker i have made bread but i have cooked it in the oven can some one please help me with how to start to finish because i dont know what i am doing can i make it just like i was going to cook it in the oven
Dec. 31, 2011 7:52 am
We just got an Oster bread machine...I have made 3 loafs and 2 of them rose great but then fell during the baking cycle..and the bread seems to be heavy and dense...any ideas...thank you
Feb. 3, 2012 9:18 pm
I always add a cup of whole wheat in place of bread or all purpose in my bread recipes. We also add some millet and buckwheat (1/4 to 1/2 c. We do this to make them healthier
Feb. 8, 2012 10:22 am
This is in regards to Apprentice Chef's Sandwich Loaf recipe. Nov. 10 2009. Can I use bread machine rapid rise and cook on quick rise settings?
Feb. 15, 2012 1:36 pm
If you buy too much yeast it freezes well. I`m still using yeast I bought 3 or 4 years ago,m still works great. My secound 2 lb bag in about 8 years. I use my bread machine all the time.
Feb. 27, 2012 9:42 am
I have a Zojirushi mini loaf machine. I am looking for a low carb bread to make. Going by the formula carbs minus fiber equals net carbs, I'm trying to figure out how to add fiber. I tried wheat bran (tasted like wheat bread) today I'm trying flaxseed and unbleached bread flour. Does anybody have any ideas? No zuchini please. I don't want flavors just plain bread.
Mar. 12, 2012 9:04 am
@Deanna, I have an Oster too, haven't had any problems with falling bread yet, but there's a regular bread recipe in the book which is lighter. Also try the lemon juice idea for the more dense recipes you've tried
Jun. 5, 2012 4:16 pm
Diana6389 Following is a recipe for mashed potato bread (1/1/2 lb loaf) 6oz cooked potato water to equal 1-1/2 Cup liquid 1-1/2 tbs. Butter 2 tbs. sugar 1 tsp. salt 3 Cups bread flour 1 pkg active dry yeast or 2-1/4 tsp (this is the same as bread machine yeast) You can cook your new or small potato in the microwave until soft and cut it into quarters or eighths Place the cut potato, peel and all into a liquid measuring cup and add water to 1-1/2 cup level. The bread machine will mash the potato. Add ingredients in the order your bread machine specifies.
Jul. 15, 2012 1:46 pm
Can I make any bread recipe with no milk and just substitute for water? or should I use soy milk or something like that?
Aug. 19, 2012 4:56 pm
I get from your comment you want to use water not milk? Just use water and dry milk.
Aug. 19, 2012 4:57 pm
I HATE how the machines make goofy looking bread, so I make the dough in the machine, turn it out into a bread pan and bake in the oven. Just like home!
Aug. 28, 2012 8:15 am
When baking bread in the oven, if you wish to make a crustier loaf, you can throw a couple of handfuls of ice in the bottom of the oven, when using a bread machine,(I have a Panasonic) can I add a handful of ice between the wall of the bread pan and the wall of the breadmaker?
Jan. 7, 2014 7:36 am
Not all machines make goofy loaves. We have found, after buying 4 machines until we found our current and fav, that you a lot of times get what you pay for. We went through a heck of a time being satisfied with our bread until we bought the one we have now.was a little spendy but you get what you pay for and we have owned it for 2 years now and the bread looks and tastes like it came from a bakery. Got it on or something like that (sorry wife bought it lol) We love it.
Jan. 5, 2015 4:43 pm
cassie, google the welbilt bread machine , u can buy a manual thru them
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