Where is my custard crumb?!Where is my custard crumb?!
Too dense = not cooked in the middleToo dense = not cooked in the middle
It looked nice on the outside, but the thing felt like a brickIt looked nice on the outside, but the thing felt like a brick
  • Where is my custard crumb?!
  • Too dense = not cooked in the middle
  • It looked nice on the outside, but the thing felt like a brick

A friend of mine very generously gave us a Cuisinart bread maker for a wedding gift. She knew that Charlie loves bread, so it seemed like the best solution.

It seems, though, that the bread maker does not like me. I have made bread in the bread maker dozens of times, with only mediocre results. Granted, I am using whole grain recipes, but still – it is called a recipe for a reason, right? The bread never really rises, and we end up with a big solid brick of bread. This is great for toasting and slathering with butter, but not so good for sandwiches or any other purpose.

This time I tried a nutty/seedy recipe that looked intriguing. By the time it got to the rising stage, the thing hadn’t even mixed together properly. It was way too dry and didn’t even look like dough. I took it out and added a bunch of milk to it so it would at least mix together, then put it back in to rise and bake. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well. The center didn’t even bake through all the way, and the thing was denser than ever.

What am I doing wrong? (Besides using a bread maker to begin with.) Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi bread makers. You’re my only hope.

7 Responses to “The joys and sorrows of using a bread maker”

  1. Desiree
    16 November 2010 at 8:27 am #

    I can’t offer advice, but I can offer sympathy. I have tried to make a nice, fluffy loaf of sandwich bread from whole grains on multiple occasions (not using a bread maker, by the way), with similar results. Perhaps whole wheat flours just do not rise as well? My next plan of action is to use half white wheat flour.

  2. Mrs Trumbo
    16 November 2010 at 8:50 am #

    1) check your information that came with your bread maker to see if you are using the correct settings
    (2)I check your yeast to make sure if proofs.
    (3) Adding the milk.. did you warm it?
    (4) If you are useing whole grains, they use more moisture to work well. (useing half whole grains and half white worked best for me)
    (5)make sure all ingredients that go into your breadmaker are room temp. before adding to bread maker.
    ((6) If bread maker wont cook like you want, use your regular oven.

  3. Jessica
    16 November 2010 at 9:08 am #

    I inherited a bread maker from an ex, and have never had the guts to try it out. My mom swears by them, but it all seems very intimidating to me. I guess I should pull it out to see if it even works. Let me know if it gets any better, and what you did!

  4. CoMo Homestead
    16 November 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Desiree – you’re right, whole grain flours don’t rise as well. My Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book described that at a microscopic level the whole grains are sharp and cut the gluten fibers that help it to puff up. They always have you add extra gluten to whole grain breads, and that seems to help.

    I’ve had relatively good success with the 5 Minutes a Day method, but the bread maker just really isn’t working out for me.

  5. Leigh
    16 November 2010 at 10:01 am #

    I don’t remember the name of it, but when I’m making bread they recommend to make a mixture of warm water, little bit of flour and a lot of yeast and let it stand for 15min. This is supposed to “guarantee” rising fluffy bread. Granted I don’t have a bread maker so who knows if this would help.

    I wish I could remember the name of this mixture!

  6. CoMo Homestead
    16 November 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Hmm, you’re not referring to proofing the yeast, are you? That’s where you add water, sugar and yeast together to make sure the yeast is active. Generally you don’t have to do this anymore because modern yeast very rarely fails.

    But if it definitely involves flour, that may be something else…

  7. Debbie
    16 November 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    I have had the same results with my bread maker. I finally just gave it away after I tried making bread by hand and finding that method makes a much more fluffier loaf of whole grain bread.

    I thought it was just me at first too but now that I make bread by hand I realized that it’s not me it’s the dang machine. Maybe a different brand of bread maker will work better for you.