Homemade food is becoming more and more viable for families as prices increase and allergens are everywhere. Cutting out the middle man by making your own pasta, bread, or other dough product is often an affordable, safe alternative.
However, anyone who has made dough before knows that it isn’t an easy process. Beyond measuring and mixing ingredients properly, you must knead the dough, let it rise once or twice, and bake it. This process takes up a significant chunk of your time and may not be possible for people with busy schedules, weak hands, or a lack of kitchen skills.
A bread maker is the best tool for making perfect dough, whether it’s for bread, pizza, pasta, or something else. It eliminates the manual labour of making dough and ensures a perfect result every time. Luckily, nearly all bread makers will let you run a dough cycle only, so you can let a machine handle all the prep for you, leaving you responsible only for the baking part of the equation.
What Is Dough?
Dough is used for dozens of products, including cookies, bread, pizza, pasta, pastries, and more. Its main ingredient is flour, but it also needs yeast, a little bit of water, salt, and sometimes egg, sugar, and other ingredients for flavour. Dough is quite thick and can maintain its shape without a pan, a characteristic that most plainly sets it apart from batter. Dough is malleable and can take on virtually any shape you can think of, from the standard rectangular loaf of bread to pretzels to croissants to every size and shape of pasta.
Benefits of Making Dough in a Bread Machine
There are many benefits to using a bread machine for mixing, kneading, and proofing dough.
Bread machines come with a guide on how to add dry ingredients and wet ingredients together so that they mix properly. No matter what type of dough you’re making, you can follow this guide to create perfectly mixed dough that reaches the right consistency and behaves as it should. The last thing you want is under-kneaded dough or dense bread and using a bread machine takes the guesswork away.
Second, it frees up a significant amount of time. The dough-making process can take more than an hour or two in many cases, and that is quite a while to be spent making dough manually. You’re busy, and there are better uses for your time. A bread maker takes over the entire process, so all you have to do is measure and add your ingredients.
Plus, bread machine recipes for dough are incredibly simple to follow. They often provide detailed instructions to follow once your dough is made, so it’s pretty difficult to mess up the baking process once your dough is finished. As an added bonus, there are recipes out there for any kind of dough, whether you need vegan, gluten-free, salt-free, or any other specialty dough – a bread maker accommodates all of these requirements.
Finally, bread machines handle the hard physical labour portion of the homemade baking process. Even if you start with a stand mixer, kneading dough can be quite hard on the hands, especially for people who have arthritis, are older or weaker, or who have an injury. Dough is a finicky beast, but a bread machine knows how long to mix, how long to knead, and how long to rest and proof to leave you with dough that’s ready for shaping and baking (i.e., the fun part!).
How Long Does it Take to Make Dough in a Bread Maker
Well, this entirely depends on your specific model. Most dough settings will take about 90 minutes when run by themselves, though the dough cycle may be quicker for something like white bread since the Rapid/Express cycle on bread makers handles the dough faster than normal for basic bread. For most dough, though, the total time you should expect it to take is at least an hour, if not an hour and a half. The lengthiest part of the process is letting the dough rise, so for recipes that don’t require risen dough such as Indian Chapati, you can end the cycle at the 15–20-minute point since the kneading will finish around that time.
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Dough in a Bread Machine
Most dough uses the same ingredients, with subtle changes between types of dough. The main ingredients you’ll use almost all the time include bread flour, all-purpose flour, or whole wheat flour if making whole wheat bread, room-temperature or warm water, bread machine yeast, instant yeast, or active dry yeast, a bit of olive oil if making French bread, about a tsp salt, and the necessary ingredients for whole grain bread if applicable. You may also add mix-ins like cheese, seeds or nuts, chocolate, fruits, and others for flavour according to your preferences.
How to Make Dough Using a Bread Machine
No matter what type of bread machine dough you’re making, whether it’s for fresh bread or pizza, the process is very similar when using a bread machine.
First, you’ll measure out your ingredients. We recommend measuring all of your ingredients first before getting the bread machine involved. If ingredients mix together inappropriately or for too long while you’re measuring additional ingredients, the dough may not come out as expected. The prep time will differ for each recipe, though most won’t require more than 10 minutes at this stage.
Next, you need to add the ingredients to the bread maker. This needs to be done in the right order, so make sure to check your bread machine’s manual to know which ingredients go first and which come last. Usually, you’ll add your liquids like water, egg, and butter first, then add the dry ingredients on top. You must always make sure that the yeast does not touch any wet ingredients until the bread machine begins the mixing process, so it’s recommended to add the yeast last by making an indent in your flour pile to prevent it from mixing ahead of schedule.
Next, you can press start on the dough cycle on your bread machine. Sometimes, it will preheat first to stabilize the ingredients for better results compared to non-preheated cycles. For baked bread, you can run the whole cycle including the baking cycle since your bread needs to be shaped by the bread pan anyway. The bread recipe you use for homemade bread should be specific to bread machines, so following the guidelines in your included recipe book is the best way to go.
For other dough, you need to handle it yourself after the dough cycle is finished since the dough setting only mixes, kneads, and gives the dough its first rise. This includes adding mix-ins if needed, cutting it into the desired number of pieces, shaping it for rolls, pretzels, or whatever else you’re making, and baking it according to your recipe’s instructions. You’ll want to use a lightly floured surface so the dough doesn’t stick.
The dough recipes you can follow with this simple process include:
- Pizza Dough
- Cinnamon Roll Dough
- Bread Dough
- Dinner Roll Dough
- Naan Dough
- Sourdough Bread
- Pasta Dough
- Pie crust dough
- And more!