Converting Bread Recipes for Using a Bread Machine

When using a bread machine, don't throw out your favorite flavors.

| 2010 Guide to Homemade Bread

  • Bread Machine
    The first step is looking at the manufacturer's manual, or even the box, of your bread machine to see what type of machine you have and how much flour is called for in the recipes. Gill

  • Bread Machine

Say you’ve been baking bread for more than 20 years; if you’re like me, there’s no nourishment comparable to a fresh loaf of dill bread, still warm from the oven. Your family members no doubt have their favorites, too – perhaps a rye loaf for ham sandwiches, or a banana nut bread for dessert.  

But as age sets in, homemade bread making can get tough. Unfortunately, as in the case of my mother, who endures and battles severe arthritis, we watch as loving hands that prepared countless meals can no longer engage in tasks like kneading bread or even combining dry and wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. 

Take solace, though, in the fact that since the mid-1980s, the physical labor is no longer an obstacle in bread-making. Released at American trade shows in 1987, the home bread machine has changed the way we bake one of the most basic items in our diet. 

But now, the question becomes, “How do I convert all of my favorite bread recipes from 30 years ago to a bread machine?” 

The major difference between baking bread by hand and by machine is the size of the loaf. Nowadays, there are three common sizes of bread machines: small 1-pounder, medium 1-1/2-pounder, and the large 2- or, in rare cases, 2-1/2 -pounder. In categorizing by pound size, you’re really looking at the volume of the loaf rather than its true density, since loaves with nuts and dried fruit will always weigh more than the same size loaf made with basic ingredients. 

Traditional recipes for bread were intended to make two loaves at once, so many older recipes call for 6 cups of flour. A single-loaf recipe will call for around 3 cups. 

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