Loretta SorensenBread mixes may be one way to shorten the amount of time it takes to produce home-made bread.

If you live in a rural area, you may have difficulty finding any bread mix on the grocer’s shelf. In my area, the narrow range of bread mix choices seem to indicate that few shoppers are using them.

Fortunately, online bread mix choices offer more options. However, you may have to do some searching to locate the type of bread mix you want to use.

While bread mixes will contain everything you need to make home-made bread, it will still take some time to mix, raise, and bake them. Thoroughly review the mix instructions before it’s time to start preparing the dough. That way you’ll know what equipment to have on hand and ready. You can even set your bread machine out ahead of time, shaving a few minutes off the process.

Some mixes may instruct you to follow your bread machine manufacturer’s directions for adding ingredients to your bread machine canister. My advice is to follow the method I’ve developed:

  1. Once you’ve dissolved the recipe sweetener (sugar, honey, syrup) in the recipe liquid (water or milk), you want the liquid temperature range to be between 105 and 110-degrees Fahrenheit. I use the hottest water possible from my kitchen faucet, add my refrigerated maple syrup, stir it together well, then test the temperature. If it’s too cold, a few seconds in the microwave will quickly heat it. If it’s too warm, run some cool water alongside the utensil you’re using to mix it until it reaches the desired temperature range.
  2. Add the yeast to this warm mixture and stir till well dissolved. Allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. In winter, when my kitchen is relatively cool, I use hot tap water to warm my bread machine canister prior to using it. This helps my bread dough stay warm and give a satisfactory rise. Pour the hot water out just prior to placing all the bread dough ingredients into it.
  4. Once the yeast mixture has developed a foamy head, pour it into the bread machine canister. Add the dry ingredients; put the oil or butter in last.
  5. I generally allow the machine to knead the dough 15 minutes, rest 20 minutes, knead again for 15 minutes. You can shave a few minutes off the kneading and resting time. I don’t recommend kneading less than 10 minutes or reducing the rest time to less than 15 minutes.
  6. After the final knead, you can bake your dough in the bread machine or place it in a bread pan and allow it to rise in a warm oven before baking. I recommend heating your bread pan to help maintain the bread dough’s warmth and heating the oven to at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the final rise.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

If you use bread mixes, you may want to carefully read the mix contents before purchasing. Most mixes won’t contain the whole grain flour that you may want to generally use. Still, they can save some time.

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