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Some questions about bread machines.

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I was wondering about picking up a bread machine/maker, but before so decided to dig for some answers... so was wondering if the always helpful folks here can help?

How long (general/average) does a bread machine take to make a loaf of bread from scratch?

The same as above, but for cakes?

Can the machines bake something that has already been prepped, bypassing all functions and going straight to "bake"? And if yes, how long does it take just to bake?

Thanks in advance for reading and thanks some more if you have some answers.

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  1. I think my B&D takes from 3.5 to 5 hrs for a loaf(depends on the bread type), I stopped using it to bake the loaf because I didn't like the way it looked so I just use it to make the dough then bake the normal way or make buns or rolls . BTW it takes 2hrs to make dough.
    And no it won't let me skip the functions and go straight to bake, I don't think it would do a cake mix probably would mix it very well

    1. Depends on the model. Mine, a Welbilt (model ABMY2K1) from 2001 has a Ultra Fast cycle that will bake bread from scratch in about 1 hour. The Ultra Fast cycle only has one dough rise without a punch down. Mine also has separate dough and bake cycles. Ultra Fast, according to the manusl, is designed to make bread in 1 hour. Only specially designed recipes are appropriate for this setting. These recipes call for very warm water and a large amount of bread machine or fast rising yeast.

      The regular white bread cycle with a mix/knead, rise, punch down, rise and bake takes about 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 hours.

      Quick Cake/Breads. This setting is used for recipes that contain baking powder or baking soda rather than yeast to make bread or cake rise. Cake recipes must be specially designed for this setting according to the manual. I've never used this cycle. According to the manual this cycle takes 1 hr 45 min, with 90 baking, the rest mixing and resting.

      You can prepare dough in the machine from scratch and then remove it on the Dough cycle. It also has a separate Bake cycle. You can place already made dough in the machine and allow it to rise and bake. It also has a jelly, jam cycle that cooks and stirs to prepare jam or jelly. So there are bread machines that allow you to do what you requested. Prepare bread in a short quick cycle. You can add already prepared dough (such as thawed dough) and it will rise and bake without kneading. You can just bake something (1 hour time), also with out mixing/kneading.

      One advantage of separate DOUGH and BAKING functions is you can prepare breads that require long rise times. I've made sourdough in my machine. It mixes and kneads the ingredients, then I turn it off and let it rise 4 to 8 hours. Then when it has risen enough I turn it on BAKE cycle and bake the bread.

      You just have to research what is available to meet your needs, it's out there.

      The cycles on my machine are Basic White, French, Whole Wheat, Sweet, Ultra Fast 1 1/2 LB, Ultra Fast 2 LB, Quick (non-yeast batters/doughs using baking powder), European, Dough (mixes/kneads, warming rise cycle, but doesn't bake), Bagel Dough, Jam (stirs and cooks jam/jelly), Bake (only bakes dough, no stir/knead or rise cycle). You can also separately choose 1 LB , 1 1/2 LB or 2 LB loaves and Light, Medium or Dark crust.

      Welbilt brand is no longer made, but Breadman and Zojirushi brands (and many other brands) have many or all of these cycles.

      Here's a link at Scribd.com to a copy of my bread machine manual that you can read online or download. It shows cycles, times, recipes, etc. http://tinyurl.com/cd4qr6g

      2 Replies
      1. re: Antilope

        Thank you so much! This really helped, I guess it takes quite a while to bake a pound cake with the bread machine. Is it possible that newer machines will have a shorter bake time?

        1. re: EccentRICEater

          It's possible. I would go to Amazon and research different machines features. Once you narrow it down to several, you could go the the Mfg's website and download the PDF manuals. These usually (like my manual) list the different cycle times.

      2. Forget the bread machine! It's more fun and satisfying getting your hands into the dough. You can also take out your frustrations while kneading dough.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ChiliDude

          That's good advice for a healthy, young person. It's not always the case. Some people may enjoy fresh baked bread but are unable to manually knead or manipulate the dough as required to make a manual loaf.

          1. re: Antilope

            Right. I love making bread from scratch but sometimes, I fall back on my machine to do the work when I'm pressed for time.

            One thing about the bread machines though.... many have a "fast" cycle that will make a loaf in around an hour or two...but the results suck. You will ALWAYS get a much more flavorful loaf if you don't rush the process. Plan ahead just a bit and use the longest cycle your machine offers (usually between 3.5 to 5 hours) and you can wind up with a very flavorful and well textured loaf of bread.

            It took me a few tries to dial in the changes to my favorite bread recipes when using the machine, but once the experimentation was out of the way the machine baked loaves were every bit as good as the conventionally made ones.

            1. re: The Professor

              On my machine the fast cycle requires special recipes, according the manual. You can't use a regular recipe on the fast cycle (at least on my machine).

              1. re: Antilope

                That would make sense. Seems to me that you'd have to make adjustments to the quantity of yeast, sugars, etc.
                Still though, the bottom line is that much of the flavor of good bread comes from a slower fermentation.
                The fast cycle will make bread, it just won't be very distinctive. Which explains my theory as to why many people who buy bread machines seem to give up on the machine entirely after baking a few loaves using only the 'fast' cycle.

            2. re: Antilope

              I was born in August of 1936. I allow bread dough to ferment for about 16 hours. It doesn't take that much kneading, and if you like 'ciabatta' bread, it takes very little kneading because one uses a wet dough for ciabatta. I'm not a commercial baker. I only do one loaf at a time.

              I readily admit that I do not know anything about a bread machine and the ease of its use. For all I know it takes longer to prepare the dough using a machine than a bowl and a wooden spoon. However, such a devise would just take up more space in the kitchen. My wife only bakes pastry which I do not.

              1. re: ChiliDude

                The OP might also check out the famous, or infamous, "no knead bread" recipe (just google it). Takes minutes of active time to create, and is *very* forgiving. I do this regularly, and even when I do a quicker, higher yeast bread, baking it in a covered cast iron pot makes *all* the difference.

          2. I don't think that bread machines can be recommended heavily as timesavers, except in so far as you can save maybe ten minutes of kneading and that you can program them to cook at a later time. (For some people, those are significant benefits, and I have enjoyed them myself at times.)

            You mention manually prepping a dough to baking point and then having the machine do the baking: my Zojiriushi could be programmed to do that, but there's little point in it. You'd get a better loaf shape and browning control from a pan in the oven.

            Where a bread machine excels is in prepping and kneading doughs and maybe in doing a first rise. They're also very good for working rather wet doughs. My most frequent use of my bread machine is simply to knead a dough. Then I do the rise and finish in an oven.

            I only do full doughs and bakes in a machine when I'm in a hurry or have a yen to program a loaf so it will be done and warm when we wake up....

            1. Some of the comments on here ignore the fact that the OP was asking about BREAD MACHINES--not manual bread making. The question was not about how much better---or satisfying--it was to bake without a machine. Comments like "throw it out and make bread from scratch" are irrelevant to the topic at hand and aren't answers, but merely opinions from people who usually haven't even used a bread machine and so cannot offer any useful advice on how to operate one. It's fine if you like making bread from scratch, but that has nothing to do with this thread. Please stay on topic.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Lizzie Sparrow

                Bread machines are very versatile.
                -You can make a loaf from beginning to end in the machine.
                -You can use it to mix and knead the dough and remove the dough and shape and bake it in the oven.
                -You can mix and knead the dough, remove the dough and shape it (like cinnamon swirl bread) and return it to the bread machine to bake.
                -You can manually mix and knead the dough and only bake it in a bread machine.
                -You can bake cakes and quick bread in a bread machine.
                -You can make jam in a bread machine.
                -You can even bake a meatloaf in a bread machine. The Zojirushi even has such a recipe in the Virtuoso bread maker manual.
                -I've even made genuine sourdough bread from beginning to end in my bread machine.

                1. re: Antilope

                  I love mine. Amazing---I never realized it could do some of those things! Have you got any advice about the manual cycle, i.e. dough cycle, as far as adding ingredients like cheese, jalepeno peppers, etc.---I have a DAK turbo model, the one that looks like R2-D2--and I'm wondering when to add the cheese & stuff so that those ingredients don't get too mixed in with the dough. I'm not sure how long the dough cycle is on my machine. I'm trying to make jalepeno cheese bread in the oven after kneading it in the machine. Thanks! :)

                  1. re: Lizzie Sparrow

                    Many machines sound a beep in the last few minutes of mixing so you can add nuts or raisins. That is usually 5 or 10 minutes before the end of kneading. This is probably too long for cheese if you want visible pieces in the bread. When I first used a bread machine, many years ago, I added raisins at the beginning with other ingredients. The bread had no raisins in it when done, just brown streaks. ;-)

                    I would time a manual dough cycle then try adding the cheese in the last 2 or 3 minutes on the next time you run it.

                    Another way is let the machine mix the cheese in for a couple of minutes near the end of the manual dough cycle and then just unplug it. I know there is usually a warm rising cycle at the end of the manual kneading cycle, but I've found the dough rises fine without the extra warmth from the machine.

                    If you are adding cheese for a bread that is going to be processed from beginning to end in the machine, I would let the kneading end, remove the dough and manually knead in the cheese and return the dough to the machine. The one or two punch down cycles after that shouldn't overmix the cheese.

                    1. re: Antilope

                      Thanks for those tips! I'm planning on using the manual cycle to knead, and then removing it and letting it rise/bake in the oven. Might try adding the cheese after about 6 minutes after it beeps the final time where you're supposed to add the extra indgredients---not sure if it beeps during the manual dough cycle or not. I also added raisins and other fruits at the beginning when I first got my machine and ended up with brown streaks too. :D Thanks again! :)

                      1. re: Lizzie Sparrow

                        Bread machines are great for mixing and kneading dough. I have a KitchenAid Mixer, but after all the people reporting that the mixer breaks while kneading dough, I don't use mine for that.

                        The mixer costs $300 dollars and can't knead dough without breaking. A $50 (or $5 at a garage sale) bread machine does the job fine and rarely breaks down.