Many bread machines will tell you exactly when to add whole grains and fruits thanks to a special feature (hoppers dispense whole grains and fruit at the right time). Other bread machines will beep to alert you when the time comes to add the grains and fruits.
If you don’t own a bread machine with a hopper, then you should closely follow the recipe to know when and how to add whole grains and fruits to your bread machine.
If the recipe doesn’t call for fruits but you wish to add some raisins or cranberries, it is generally recommended that you pre-soak them in water or juice so that they don’t soak up all the liquids in the dough.
When adding whole grains and fruits to bread machine dough, it’s crucial to do it at the right time but that’s not all. Adding the right amount is also very important because both grains and dried fruit soak up a lot of liquids, therefore, changing the texture of the bread/dessert.
Which Whole Grains Can You Use in Bread Machine?
Whole grains are praised for their numerous health benefits and, therefore, they are highly recommended as part of your daily diet. They are packed with proteins, fiber, vitamins, and other vital nutrients our bodies need in order to properly function.
You can add pretty much any kind of grain you like including flax seeds, oats, wheat berries, rye berries, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc. You can even use nuts if you like, all depending on your preference.
What Are the Best Combinations of grains for Bread Machine Bread?
As we previously said, you are free to use any type of whole-grain seeds you want as they are all healthy.
Rolled oats are quite a popular grain in breakfast foods/bread. They are cholesterol-free and very low in fat which makes them perfect for those attempting to lose or maintain their body weight.
Oats are also packed with protein and fiber and are thus a great suggestion for your bread machine bread. But it might take an experiment or two to see how much oats to use to get a delicious loaf of bread.
Flax seeds are also a great suggestion if you’re making bread as they are very rich in protein and fiber. As the seed is tiny, it is easily dispensed in the bread machine.
Whole wheat berries are also nutrient-dense and contain plenty of proteins, vitamins, and fiber.
There is no right or wrong combination here if we’re talking about types of grains. There really is an endless number of options when it comes to adding whole grains and fruits to your bread. You can mix any grains you want until you find the combination that you and your family members like best.
How to Add Whole Grain Seeds to the Bread Machine?
Adding whole-grain seeds to the bread machine is easy. Depending on the model you have, you can put the seeds in the hopper at the same time when you place the other ingredients in the bread machine pan. Set the desired cycle (according to the instructions in the recipe) and that’s it!
If you have a machine that beeps when it’s time to add the seeds, then you wait for the sound. Both ways are quite practical.
If you’re unsure whether your bread machine has these options, check the manual.
If you are using a recipe, then make sure to use the quantity indicated in the recipe. However, if you’re experimenting, remember not to put too many whole-grain seeds and fruits into the dough. It can soak up all the liquid and ruin the texture of your bread.
Suggestion: If you’re using poppy seeds, flax seeds or sesame seeds in your recipe, you can toast the seeds in a pan for a bit prior to adding them to the bread machine. This step adds a certain rich flavor.
Take a look at these nutritional facts on different types of grain seeds:
|Type of grain (per 100grams)||Fiber||Protein||Vitamins|
|Oats||10.6g||16.9g||Vitamin B1, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, Selenium, Phosphorus|
|Flax seeds||28g||19g||Vitamin B1, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, molybdenum|
|Whole wheat berries||10.6g||12.4g||Vitamin B1, Vitamin B11|
|Rye berries||15g||10g||Vitamin D|
Which Fruits Can You Use in Bread Machine?
Just like with whole grains, you can use a variety of fruits to add to your bread machine. Raisins and dried cranberries are most commonly used but you can add other fruits too.
Besides dried fruit, you can even add fresh fruits such as apples or pumpkin if you’re making a dessert-style bread or breakfast cake.
How to Add Dried Fruits to the Bread Machine?
Once again, the key to a successful recipe is adding the right amount of fruits at the right time. While adding dried fruits requires little to no preparation, adding fresh fruits does require a bit of your time.
You should add the fruits to the bread machine when you hear the beep.
If you have a machine with an automatic hopper, then you simply add the fruits to the hopper and it will dispense it into the dough automatically.
However, raisins and cranberries tend to stick to each other or the hopper. As a result, the fruit is not evenly distributed and incorporated into the dough.
Tip: Toss the raisins or cranberries in a bit of flour before you add them to the hopper to prevent them from sticking.
Remember that dried fruit can absorb all the liquid in your dough which results in a dry and crumbly loaf. To prevent this, you can soak the raisins or dry cranberries in a liquid of your choosing (water, juice) before adding them to the bread machine.
How to Add Fresh Fruit to the Bread Machine?
You can basically add any fruit you like. Experiment with the fruits you enjoy the most until you find the perfect combination. But beware of the amount of fruit that you use as this can ruin the recipe.
If you enjoy a pumpkin-flavored dessert, you can peel and cut the pumpkin into cubes and coat it in spices. Pour some water over the pumpkin cubes and simmer until you get a puree.
The pumpkin is now ready to be added to the bread machine. However, unlike with dried fruit or seeds, you don’t have to add pumpkin puree separately. The puree is added to the pan at the beginning along with all the other ingredients. Then simply select the desired cycle and wait for your mouth-watering loaf.
One of the most popular combinations involves bananas and some whole wheat flour. If you’re using bananas (for banana bread) then simply mash the bananas and add them with all the other ingredients in the bread machine pan (wet ingredients first). In this case, there is no need to wait for the beep to add bananas as they are incorporated into the dough right away.
You can also add fresh apples as the process is very simple. Just peel and cut the apples into small cubes and add them when it’s time.
Tip: toss the apples in some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Also, avoid extra firm apples such as Granny Smith and stick to tender apples that the bread machine can successfully process.
Just like with whole grains, you can use your imagination and experiment with many types of fruits. If you want to substitute apples for another type of fruit, for example, feel free to do so but make sure that you add exactly the same quantity that was indicated in the recipe you’re using.
Take a look at the table below for nutritional facts on the abovementioned fruit:
|Type of fruits (per 100g)||Fiber||Protein||Vitamins|
|Cranberries||0.4g||4.6g||Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K1, Manganese, Copper|
|Bananas||2.6g||1.1g||Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6|
|Apples||2.4g||0.3g||Potassium, Vitamin C|
As you can see, there are no limitations as to which whole grains and fruits you can use in your bread machine. However, stick to the recipe you’re using and the instructions provided.
While adding seeds to your recipes does seem to be simpler, when working with fruits, you might need to process them a bit prior to adding them to the bread machine. Again, to get a perfect flavorful loaf, stick to the instructions and the quantities indicated in the recipe.