Unfortunately no, bread from a bread machine doesn’t taste exactly like handmade bread. Even though you used the same ingredients, bread from a bread maker can taste slightly different. But this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t taste good. Quite the opposite actually.
However, the taste of your bread machine bread depends greatly on the ingredients you use, primarily the type of flour you have in your kitchen.
What are the Differences?
Bread baked in a bread machine has a different texture when compared to handmade bread baked in an oven. It’s slightly denser, less crusty and not so chewy as handmade bread.
If you are used to eating handmade bread, then you definitely notice a difference in taste as soon as you have a bite of bread machine bread.
The reason the texture is so dense and why bread is less chewy is not because the dough is different. It’s because the baking process in a bread machine differs from oven baking. Oven-baked bread typically rises a bit higher and has a fluffier texture.
This is because the lid on the bread machine somewhat restricts the dough from rising even more. But the rising process can also be affected by the ingredients you use (for example, yeast is not fresh). Additionally, you might have exceeded the capacity of the bread machine pan so measure all your ingredients before adding them to the machine.
The quality of your loaf also depends on the type of bread machine you’re using as different bread makers have different functions.
Many people actually prefer bread machine bread than store-bought or even handmade bread precisely because of its denser texture.
How to Make Bread in a Bread Machine That Tastes as Good as Handmade Bread?
With the right ingredients and a little bit of skill, you can make bread in your bread maker that tastes just as good as handmade bread. Here are the steps you should follow to make a mouth-watering loaf of bread that tastes great.
Step 1. Start with quality ingredients. Use bread flour rather than an all-purpose flour to ensure the best result.
Step 2. Make sure that you use fresh yeast. If you’re using active dry yeast, you can do this by mixing it with water to check whether it’s alive and to activate the yeast.
Step 3. Measure the ingredients. You don’t want to exceed the capacity of the bread machine pan so carefully measure how much flour and water you add to the dough. If you have a larger bread machine designed for bigger 2-pound loaves, you usually need about 3 cups of flour.
For smaller ½ pound loaves, about 2 cups of flour should be enough. Do check the recipe and follow the amount indicated (if using a recipe developed for bread machines).
This step is especially important if you’re using a regular recipe and wish to adjust it for bread machine use.
Step 4. Add the ingredients to the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. While typically, the wet ingredients are added first, it might be different with some bread makers. (Check your machine’s manual to be certain).
If your loaf came out to dry or too dense, add a bit more water the next time. If it collapsed in the middle, perhaps you used too much yeast or the dough rose too quickly. Check what went wrong and adjust the proportions.
An alternative to bread machine baking: If you still want to use your bread machine to save time but you also want to enjoy the crispiness and chewiness of handmade bread, there is an alternative that many people use. Use the bread machine to make the dough and let it rise for the first time.
After that, remove the dough from the pan, mix it and shape it, and let it rise one more time. Then transfer to an electrical or gas oven to bake.
Can You Use a Recipe for Handmade Bread to Make Bread in a Bread Machine?
Yes, you can. Of course, you might have to experiment a bit until you get the proportions right.
If there is a recipe that you often used for oven-baked bread and that you really like, you can adjust it to make equally flavorful bread in your bread machine. The key factor here is accurate ingredient proportions.
To make sure that you use just the right amount of water, flour, and yeast, refer to the bread machine manual. If you own a bread machine that bakes a smaller loaf (1 pound) then you will probably have to reduce the amount of flour.
If the loaf is too large for your bread maker, it will hit the lid and then collapse. You will probably be displeased with the result.
To ensure that you don’t make such a mistake, stick to the recommendations in the recipe book you got with the bread machine.
If your traditional recipe calls for 4 cups of flour, for example, but the manual recommends that you use 2 to 2/1 cups, then you will need to adjust the amount of flour.
if you’re converting a traditional recipe for bread machine use for the first time, don’t be afraid to check the dough after about 5-10 minutes to see if it is smooth enough. If the dough consistency is not good, add water or flour as needed.
If it’s too sticky, add a bit of flour (start with a teaspoon). If it’s too dry, add a bit of water.
Important: if you need to decrease the amount of flour used, don’t forget to decrease the amount of water and other ingredients as well to achieve a balance.
Is There Any Difference Between Store-Bought Bread and Bread from Bread Machine?
When it comes to the difference in taste, there certainly is one. Bread baked in a bread maker definitely tastes better than whatever you can find in the bread aisle of a supermarket. In fact, you will notice the difference the first time you make bread in your bread machine.
Store-bought bread is rarely fresh and even if it is, it doesn’t taste that good. But quality is rarely the goal when making this kind of bread. It’s quite the opposite. Store-bought bread is made to have a longer shelf life than homemade bread.
Commercial bakers aim for quantity and produce bread that can be kept in the pantry for many days without going bad. In order to achieve that, plenty of additives are added to the dough that you would normally never use at home.
What Are the Different Ingredients?
How often do we really read the label on the food items that we buy?
If you do, you’ve noticed a lot of add-ins that you don’t recognize and have no idea what they are. A lot of these additives go into the bread that we eat on a daily basis. This is the main difference between store-bought bread and bread from the bread machine.
Chemical agents including oxidants, emulsifiers, enzymes, and preservatives are added to the dough to enhance bread quality and to extend its shelf life. These additives make the dough elastic and stronger than it normally would be.
This is what makes bread from commercial bakeries appear so light and beautifully browned. We are all tempted to eat bread that features such beautiful color and crust but this is where we have to be careful.
Many of these food additives have been banned in countries worldwide. The chemical agents used in bread have been linked to countless health problems. This is a major red flag.
This is why baking bread in a bread machine is still a much smarter choice than buying bread from commercial bakers. When you bake bread at home, you control what ingredients go into the dough and you can’t put a price on the well-being of your family.
You can make perfectly healthy bread whenever you want knowing that your loved ones aren’t exposed to any health risk.
Baking handmade bread is too time-consuming and can be messy too. Not many people manage to fit baking in their already hectic schedules.
Bread machines enable you to bake freshly made bread using healthy, controlled ingredients. And if you follow the recipe and the steps we explained above, you will manage to bake a loaf as delicious as the handmade one.