Bread Maker Smoking – Common Causes And Ways To Prevent It

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When it comes to bread, there’s no limit to the different appliances in the market. You’ve got ovens, toasters, sandwich makers, grills, and bread makers. You couldn’t just bake your bread in an oven, you just had to buy a bread maker, but now it’s smoking

The most common reasons why a bread maker is smoking are food or oil spills and lack of cleaning and maintenance. To prevent your bread maker from smoking, ensure that you clean it after every use and keep it clean of grease, grime, and dirt. Always check for any damage and wear and tear issues.  

If you’re wondering why your bread maker is suddenly smoking, read on!

This article will explore:

  • The different possibilities for why your bread maker is burning.
  • How to check for the cause of the smoke.
  • How to prevent your bread maker from burning, and how to deal with it when it happens.  

3 Common Reasons Why Your Bread Maker Is Smoking

Here are some of the common reasons why your bread maker is smoking.

1. Food Spills on the Bread Maker

Food and food particles will most often spill onto the surface of any appliance and begin to burn. This theory also applies to your bread maker. For example, if your dough spills over and falls on the crumb tray or the heating coils, it’ll begin to burn. 

It’ll first start to smell and then will begin to smoke. 

2. Dried Food Debris

It isn’t just dough that spilled that can cause that burnt smell and smoke.

For example, you previously made banana bread with walnut bits or fruit bread with dried bits of raisins. There’s a good possibility that food debris, apart from flour or dough, such as butter, cooking grease, or egg wash, bits of fruit, or nuts, sizzled over and found their way to the sides or bottom of the baking rack.

If you haven’t cleaned your bread maker from the last time you used it or haven’t cleaned it well enough, there will still be crumbs, flour, and bits of dough stuck to the sides or bottom of the pan. In addition, you’ll find food debris on the heating element in the bread maker. 

Why Does It Smoke?

If left there for a cycle or two, the food particles or grease will harden and stick to the bread pan or coils. Every time you bake bread, your food debris will burn all over again and start to emit smoke. 

Over time, it will turn into burnt, crispy charcoal. If smoked bread wasn’t what you wanted to make, you need to deal with these spills before using your bread maker again.

Dust and Dirt on the Bread Maker Due to Unuse

Speaking of time spent sitting on the shelf, if you haven’t used your bread maker in some time, then it’s probably been gathering dust. So, the chances are, you took it out and immediately got right to baking your bread, and then you see the smoke. 

The smoke may be caused by particles of dirt, a fine smattering of dust, or cobwebs along the underside of your pan or around the heating coils and elements. When you plugged the appliance in, the heat would have burnt it, and you’ll see the resulting coils of smoke. 

What To Do When There is Smoke?

Here’s what you need to do when your bread maker is smoking:

  1. The first order of business would be to turn off the appliance. 
  2. Make sure you handle the appliance with care as it’s likely to be hot. 
  3. Avoid touching it altogether, but immediately unplug it from the power outlet. 
  4. Once it has cooled down completely, pop the lid, and let any smoke trapped inside clear out as well. 

Tip: If you saw sparks along with smoke, don’t douse with water. Use an extinguisher, or call the fire department and let the professionals handle 

The Factory Coating Has Burned Through

When you use your bread maker for the first time, you can expect to smell some smoke. Why? Most appliances that are fresh out of the store come with more than a warranty. 

Newly bought bread makers have a nice layer of factory coating, usually on the heating coils, that are primarily meant to keep the appliance protected from wear when it’s on the shelf. 

So, when you plug the bread maker the first time and bake some bread, the factory coating will burn, and you’ll smell the acrid sting of smoke.

What To Do When You See and Smell Smoke?

When you see or smell smoke, it’s usually a one-off. Since the factory coating has burned through after being used for the first time, your bread maker shouldn’t smoke again because of that particular reason.

However, once it has completely cooled down, it would be prudent to clean your bread maker before you use it again. You can find instructions on how to care for and clean your appliance properly further along this article.

To avoid dealing with smokey food, manufacturing instructions recommend that, ideally, you should clean the entire appliance before you use it for the first time. Once cleaned, turn on the device, and set it to function for around 15-30 minutes to intentionally burn off the coating.  

Ultimately, your bread maker, if cared for and maintained well, shouldn’t smoke up anytime.

How to Prevent Your Bread Maker from Smoking

There are two ways you can prevent your bread maker from smoking:

1. Maintain Your Bread Maker 

Always keep on top of your electronic gadgets. You need to know when they need to be taken in for servicing, and if you don’t get them checked out in time, you might have more than just smoke to worry about. 

Have your appliances inspected for any damage, rewiring, or other wear and tear-related issues that might pop up. There’s no point in shutting the barn door after the horses get out, so make sure to check your bread maker regularly.

2. Clean Your Bread Maker 

Ideally, it would be best if you clean your bread maker after every use. If you’re using wet ingredients like butter and eggs, and they spill over, not only will they burn and smoke, they also pose a risk of bacterial growth if you don’t clean the machine in time.

Here are the steps on how you clean your bread maker:

3. Clean Out the Crumbs

Sweep out the crumbs, flour, and residue. You can use a paper towel, a paintbrush, or even a basting brush. 

Things to remember: 

  • Do not wash the bread maker in water or run it under a tap. 
  • Also, at no time should you ever soak or submerge your bread maker in water.

If there’s runny liquid like grease or egg wash, use a paper towel to wipe it off. 

4. Clean the Bread Pan

Cleaning the bread pan is one of the more manageable aspects. Since you can detach the pan from the bread maker, you can always just wash, rinse, and dry it, or run it through the dishwasher.

However, remember to check the manual first to see if your bread pan is dishwasher-friendly before you do.

5. Clean the Crumb Tray

Your crumb tray probably sees a lot of action when you bake bread. The tray is all that stands between your baking pan and the heating coil, and as such, it catches a lot of spills, grease or cooking oils, butter, food debris like dough, or other food particles like crumbs, flour, or nuts.

It’s the food particles on this tray that can burn and start the smoke. Also, if left uncleaned, the grease and crumbs will harden, and when heated, they’ll stick to the surface.

To clean your tray, follow the steps below:

  1. Dust off your tray.
    Use a brush or a paper towel to dust off the bigger crumbs and debris. 
  2. Soak the tray in warm, soapy water—preferably overnight.
    This should soften the hardened bits and make them easier to rinse.
  3. Apply a baking soda paste.
    Alternatively, you can use a chemical-free baking soda and vinegar solution to get the food debris out and clean the pan.
    Make a paste of one part water and two parts baking soda, then apply the paste to the rack and allow it to sit overnight.
    Use a moist paper towel to wipe the paste off. 
  4. Spray some vinegar and watch it react with the baking soda.
    This makes it easier for you to wipe down the tray.
    Baking soda and vinegar should also help you eliminate any smoky odor from the burnt food particles. 

Tip: Don’t use steel wool to scrape the crumb tray. 

6. Clean the Heating Element 

While cleaning the bread pan is relatively easy, cleaning the heating elements requires care and caution. Additionally, your spill tray should catch all the spills and crumbs and keep them off your heating element, but it might still need some dusting off.

Always read the manual to see exactly how to clean your appliance’s heating element. 

But typically, to clean the heating element of your bread maker, the best course of action would be to use a paper towel and carefully wipe it down. 

Things to remember:

  • Don’t spray any liquid cleaning solution or water. Never immerse the bread maker in water. 

You want to avoid shorting something that might release smoke, not cause it in the first place.

Word of Caution

Before you start cleaning your bread maker:

  • Make sure that the appliance is turned off.
  • Unplug it from the power outlet, and keep it unplugged throughout the cleaning process.
  • Only plug it back in after it has been cleaned and is completely dry.

If you plug it back and there’s moisture inside, then:

  • The heating element will either start to sizzle, which will make the bread maker smoke again.
  • A wet electrical gadget is a definite way to short circuit or cause an electric shock.

Also, make sure the machine is plugged into a secure socket. If your socket is broken, faulty, or has a loose outlet, there’s a good possibility that it can cause sparks and smoke to appear.