Bread machines are for more than just bread

Not for Bread Alone – Great Ideas for Other Things You Can Make in Your Bread Machine

Bread machines are much more versatile than most people realize.  Some people are hesitant to buy a bread machine because they don’t want to take up so much space in their kitchen for a single use appliance.  But there are actually a lot of other things you can do with your bread machine.

Or are you just a little bored with making bread? For me, that almost never happens, but when boredom does strike, I find a new reason to use my bread machine. I try new and different bread recipes (see my 50 Loaf Bread Machine Project).  There are a lot of great recipe sources online and in print. Bread machine manufacturers like Breadman and Zojirushi also include some recipes on their websites and in their manuals (find our handy list of links to manuals here). Cooking forums and websites that gear towards bread machine users are also great places to find new ideas.

Many people let their bread machine sit and collect dust if they get tired of bread. Don’t follow that bad example. Play with yours. There are many delicious recipes for cakes, quick breads, jams, pastas, and many other dishes that can be prepared in a bread machine. In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the things besides bread that you can prepare using this great little appliance.

Cakes and Quick Breads

Bread machines can bake all kinds of wonderful treats, in addition to yeast breads. Among the great ideas for other things you can make in your bread machine are cakes and quick breads. These sweet treats can be baked as if they were in an ordinary oven using the bake cycle on your machine. Your bread machine, if it’s like most models, bakes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that your cake or quick bread recipe is set to bake at this temperature as well.

If your bread machine does not come with a timer, you will need to have one on hand. Bake cycles on bread machines are often set by 15 minute increments. Bake your cake or quick bread for the time specified in the recipe you are using. If you start to smell your cake beforehand, test to see if it is done. If it is not, resume baking and check every five to ten minutes. One great tip for baking cakes is to smell them. When you can smell the cake, it is probably done, or nearly done.

Jams

One of the benefits of a home bread machine is the ability to make fresh jam. This is now the only way I make jam, and my second favorite thing to do with my machine.  There is nothing that beats the flavor of a delicious fresh fruit spread, prepared in your own kitchen. Most bread machines offer a jam cycle. When you make jam in your bread machine, you need to keep a few basic things in mind, though.

Don’t try to double the recipes because you could damage the heating element in your machine. Use potholders to pull the pan out when the jam is done, and pour the jam into heat-safe containers. Keep in mind that you are NOT canning. This method of making fresh jam is not safe for canning, so making small batches is actually a good thing.  I use old store-bought jam jars or mason jars that I’ve freshly washed in the sanitizing cycle of my dishwasher for my jam, and I store it in the refrigerator.

Using cubed fruit will yield a better result than pureed fruit in most machines. Don’t change the sugar proportions from your recipe, either – the amounts in jam recipes are set to ensure the proper thickness.

Even though it might be tempting, don’t use fruit that is unripe or overripe. The best jams are made from fresh fruit that is perfectly ripe, and has no bad spots. Fruit that is overripe or not quite ripe can give your jam a sour flavor. If you want to try a new flavor combination, make sure that you pick jam recipes that require the same level of acidity or sweetness. For example, berries can be combined easily, so blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries can easily be mixed together in the same batch of jam. They generally won’t require any added acid.

Jams made with stone fruits like cherries, or apricots, as well as with blueberries, pears, and apples, may fare better with a touch of lemon juice. These can be combined together, as well. For most jam cycles in bread machines, you should make a batch of 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit, crushed or cubed and 3 ¼ cups sugar. For blueberry, pear, apple, or stone fruit jams, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the mix.

Pasta, Cookies, Pie Crusts, Dumplings, and Other Goodies

If you love pasta, be glad you have a bread machine. You can use the dough setting to help create pasta doughs, which can be notoriously difficult especially for the beginner. Of course, you will still need a floured surface where you can roll out your pasta dough. If you have a pasta press, you will be able to get very thin and perfectly even pasta. If not, just use a regular rolling pin. Your pasta might end up thicker, or less even, but it will still be delicious.

You can also use your bread machine to make dough for cookies, pie crusts, dumplings, and many other tasty treats. You will need to use a rubber spatula to help your bread machine with any non-bread or cake doughs, though. Don’t worry, it’s still easy and less messy than mixing by hand! After about five minutes, scrape down the sides of your bread pan with the spatula to ensure that everything mixes thoroughly. If not, you might end up with some unpleasant and rather icky lumps in your dough. Cookie doughs can require a little extra help; scrape down the sides of your bread pan twice while preparing them, and make sure that your bread pan’s paddle doesn’t get stuck on any solid ingredients like nuts, chocolate, or dried fruit that you have added to the dough.

Conclusion

There are many great ideas for other things you can make in your bread machine. Look on the manufacturer’s website for great ideas, as well as in cookbooks that are written specifically for bread machines. Use your own creativity to help you determine which recipes would bake well in your machine, too. You can make nearly everything imaginable that requires dough, and a few things that don’t. Have fun with it! If you have any truly unique recipes that are worth sharing, let me know. I’ll test them out and the best ones might even show up here on the blog.

 

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