Perfect Bread Machine Loaves

In many bread recipes, but especially when we use our bread machines, we have to get the water just right. Too much water or too little water will make a dramatic difference in the end result. And with a bread machine, water at the wrong temperature may spell failure.

To get the right amount of water always use a clear measuring cup designed for liquids. Fill the cup nearly to the desired mark. Place the cup at eye level on a level shelf or on the window sill. Dribble water from a glass into the cup until the liquid is just right on the mark.

For bread, always use a thermometer to get the correct temperature. Do not rely on touch to get water right. Even the most experienced baker is likely to be off at least a few degrees.

After measuring the water, place the thermometer in the water and give it a few moments to adjust. If the water is a few degrees cool, place the cup in the microwave for ten seconds or so. If it is a few degrees too warm, place the cup in the freezer for a couple minutes. If the temperature is off more than a five or ten degrees, it is usually quicker to empty the cup and start again.

For most bread machine mixes and recipes, eighty degrees Fahrenheit is about right. If you are fine tuning a particular mix for your machine, always use the same temperature of water. (In our work, we are nearly exactâ€"the temperature is never more than one degree off of target.) For bread machine mixes, get in the habit of using exactly the same water temperature every time. For most traditional mixes, the exact water temperature is not as importantâ€"water for 105 degrees to 110 degrees is right.

Copyright 2003-2007, The Prepared Pantry ( ). Published by permission

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About The Author, Dennis Weaver -
Dennis Weaver is a baker, a recipe designer, and a writer. He has written many baking guides and How to Bake, a comprehensive baking and reference e-book--available free at The Prepared Pantry which sells baking and cooking supplies and has a free online baking library.