Bread Machines – Deciphering the Features

Breadmakers – Understanding the Different Bread Options

One of the most challenging issues, once you have decided to make the leap to a Breadmaker, is deciding which model is best for your needs.

Each bread machine offers a variety of settings related to the type of bread it can make. Some machines also offer additional options, such as cake baking, jam making, or even low carb bread baking.

The manufacturers all offer some of the more basic settings, but after that, all bets are off.

If you are looking for a budget machine, you need to understand that some of the more exotic options may not be available within your shopping budget. If this is the case, I suggest that you make a list of the MUST have setting you need and shop accordingly.

For instance, I know that I want the Low Carb option for my next machine. This will immediately limit my choices among models, but I want this feature enough that I am willing to severely reduce my options.

Be aware that different companies may use different terms for these features. I have tried to use the most common terminology or use descriptive phrases, so you’ll know which feature is being discussed!

In addition, for successful baking, it is very important that you read the instructions given by your machine’s manufacturer for each feature and follow those specific instructions!

Bread Machine Bread Making Options

It is important to use the right bread machine setting for any given recipe. These setting have been programmed to adjust times and temperatures according the type of bread specified. They may also have adjusted kneading patterns, as well as other changes.

BASIC Bread Setting

This setting is generally used for recipes that are primarily white bread flour, although, depending on the company, small amounts of whole wheat may be possible.

If you want to experiment with a new recipe that doesn’t call for a specific machine setting like French bread or whole wheat, this is probably the setting to try first.

FRENCH Bread Setting

French and Italian breads are different from Basic White Bread. They require different kneading, rising, and baking patterns in order to product the desired light interior texture and crispy crust combination. Generally, these recipes will not include butter or margarine or milk, changes which also require adjustments.

WHOLE WHEAT Bread Setting

Whole wheat flour, called wholemeal strong flour in some countries, differs greatly from regular white bread flour. Bread machines are designed to allow for these differences yet still produce a delicious bread.

Rising time is one of the factors that has been adjusted.

Whole wheat is a particularly heavy flour, so if your bread machine doesn’t offer a Whole Wheat Setting, don’t assume that you can make adjustments successfully. It is entirely possible to burn out a bread machine’s motor trying to make whole wheat bread in a breadmaker that isn’t designed for it.

MULTIGRAIN Bread Setting

This setting would be used for bread recipes that call for additional ingredients such as rye, oats, millet, corn, etc. Often these recipes are based on a whole wheat / wholemeal strong flour base.

These recipes need adjustments such as resting periods, allowing the grains to absorb the liquid ingredients. These breads are likely to be shorter and more dense than basic breads or French breads.


The always popular Banana Nut Bread is a common example of a Quick Bread. Unlike yeast based breads, quick breads rely on baking powder or baking soda in order to rise. Because of this, this setting has unique programming and should only be used for this type of bread.

SWEET Bread Setting

When I first saw this option, I thought that the Sweet setting might be a synonym for Quick Breads, but this is not the case.

If you have a recipe that contains fruit juice, extra sugar, or any other sweetening – dried fruit, raisins, coconut flakes, or chocolate, use the Sweet Setting for best results.

The sweet setting is for baking breads with high amounts of sugar, fats, and /or proteins, which increase browning. The Sweet Setting adjusts the baking in order to avoid over browning and burning.


Many brands offer a special setting allowing you to bake a loaf of bread in a greatly reduced length of time. Both the name of this setting and the baking time will vary from company to company.

Generally this option has higher temperatures for the rising and baking cycles. Often, the types of bread this can be used for will be limited, so be sure you check this out before trying to bake. In addition, the resulting loaves may be shorter and denser.

Also, some manufacturers will require that you use rapid rising yeast for best results.

DOUGH Setting

This setting is designed to create dough which will then be removed from the bread machine, shaped by hand, placed in the appropriate pan or container, allowed to rise a second time, and, finally, baked in a conventional oven.

ARTISAN Bread Setting

Artisan bread is a term referring to bread baked with traditional methods and ingredients.

In the case of bread machine bread, an Artisan cycle will have several long, slow, and cool rises. It is important to read the directions carefully. The ingredients may need to be cool and there may be restrictions on where the machine is placed – out of the sun, for instance.

The purpose of this setting is to enhance the texture, taste, and crust in the final loaf or baguettes.

As in the DOUGH Option, Artisan bread is removed from the machine, shaped and prepared as needed for baking, then is baked in a conventional oven.

PIZZA Setting

The Pizza option may differ slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Basically, it is a process that mixes, kneads, and rises the dough through the first rise cycle. The dough should then be removed, deflated, shaped by hand and allowed to rise one or two more times, before being dressed with the pizza ingredients and baked in a conventional oven.

It is appropriate for many dough recipes except for low carb and gluten free recipes.

It can be used to produce pizza, focaccia, other Italian breads, and pretzels.

PASTA Setting

Depending on the manufacturer, this cycle may also be used for Cookies.

The machine is used to mix the dough and then removed from the machine for preparation and baking. Read your machine’s instruction book carefully.

These doughs are very heavy and your machine may need help during the mixing cycle. If this is the case, it will be explained in your bread machine manual.

COOKIE Setting

Depending on the manufacturer, this cycle may also be used for Pasta.

The machine is used to mix the dough and then removed from the machine for preparation and baking. Read your machine’s instruction book carefully.

Again, as mentioned previously, these doughs are very heavy and your machine may need help during the mixing cycle.

GLUTEN FREE Bread Setting

Most flours contain gluten, making them unsuitable for gluten free diets.

The adjustments needed to produce a gluten free product result in a yeast bread, however, the dough itself ends up much wetter and more like a batter than a traditional bread dough.

You need to be careful not to over mix or over knead the dough / batter. The cycle has only one rise and an increased baking time. These are needed to adjust for the higher moisture content.

Some manufacturers specify one particular brand and type of yeast, so be sure to read and follow the instructions for your machine.

LOW CARB Bread Setting

Low carb cycles will generally have an adjusted baking time, due to the low sugar content. Be careful not to over mix or over knead. Read your machine’s instructions and follow them carefully.

JAM Setting

This cycle is used to produce Jams and, sometimes, Chutney. (Chutney is a sweet and sour condiment. It is made from fruit and sugar, along with vinegar and sometimes onions. It can also be seasoned with hot, spicy ingredients. It originated in India)

Read your machine’s instruction manual carefully before preparing jams. It is important to avoid having the ingredients boil over. If this happens, stop the machine immediately and follow the clean up instructions for your machine.

CAKE Setting

This setting, available on only a few models, is used for making and baking cakes in the bread machine. Read and follow the instructions carefully.

SANDWICH Bread Setting

Available on only a few models, this setting lets you prepare bread with a texture suitable for sandwiches.

BAKE Setting

This is one of those settings that is available on quite a few models but the actual mechanics of the cycle may differ from company to company. Read the instructions for your machine to understand when and how to use this setting.

In general terms, this setting is for baking dough that you may have prepared without using any of the machine’s previous settings. It may also be used if the crust is too light or can be used to bake pre-made dough.

Making Your Decision

As you can see, the myriad of different options available will greatly increase the scope of opportunities for any bread machine. As mentioned earlier, it can be difficult to compare two different machines, especially if the options offered are different.

My recommendation is to review the available options, prioritize according to your needs and then base your decision on those decisions.

Best of luck and happy bread baking!

Source by Tink Boord-Dill

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