When your bread machine is humming along busily, it can be tempting to open it up to check that it really is baking the perfect loaf of bread. You may be wondering if it is okay to open the bread machine while it is kneading or perhaps at other stages of the baking process.
You can open your bread machine while kneading. It’s a good idea to check whether the ingredients have been mixed properly and the dough is the right consistency. You can also fix any problems with the dough before it’s too late. However, don’t open your bread machine during the baking stage.
Keep reading for more helpful information about when you can open your bread machine, why you would even want to in the first place, and how you can fix some common problems associated with bread dough to ensure that yours ends up as good as it can be.
Can You Open the Bread Machine While It Is Kneading?
If you’re worried about opening your bread machine while it’s kneading your bread, don’t be! Nothing can go seriously wrong with the bread if you open the machine’s lid while you’re kneading the dough.
It’s actually the best thing to do when baking bread because looking through the viewing window of the bread maker doesn’t really tell you what the consistency of your bread dough is like.
Why Should I Open the Lid of My Bread Machine While It Is Kneading?
Opening the bread machine to check the dough as it’s kneading is a good way to make sure that there’s nothing wrong with the consistency of the loaf and that it’ll bake good bread.
Intervening at this early stage can mean the difference between a tasty loaf of perfectly shaped bread and something that looks and tastes a little bit more… experimental.
When Can I Open the Lid of My Bread Machine?
The best time to check on your dough in the bread machine is around fifteen minutes into the cycle. That way, you can check if it’s appropriately kneaded and have enough time to solve any problems before the bread machine moves on to other stages.
You should also check on your bread right before the final rise, as this is the time to remove the mixing paddles and reshape the loaf if needed before baking.
How Long Is the Kneading Process in a Bread Machine?
The length of the kneading process of your bread machine will depend both on what type of bread you’re making and the settings of your bread machine itself. Usually, the kneading process lasts between 15 – 45 minutes.
You can easily fix any problems with your bread dough during the kneading stage. The following is a list of things you should check for when opening the lid of the bread machine and taking a peek inside.
First of all, check to see if the ingredients have been properly mixed.
If you didn’t insert the mixing paddles correctly, you could solve a disastrous problem by mixing the dough yourself before the rest of the baking process begins.
Does the Consistency of the Dough Look Correct?
Touch the dough with a finger as it’s kneading, and you’ll be able to tell if the dough is too wet or too dry. If the dough is too dry, nothing will stick to your finger, and it’ll need a bit more water. If the dough sticks to your finger and feels runny, it’s too wet and needs more flour added to it.
The ideal bread dough will be pliable, not sticky, runny, or clumping together.
To prevent the dreaded spots of flour on the crust, after the dough has finished kneading, you can wipe out any remaining flour. You can push it off the sides with a spatula and remix it into the bread dough, or you can wipe it out with a paper towel if you’re worried about making the dough too dry.
Can You Add Yeast After the Dough Is Already Kneaded?
Potentially the most disastrous problem that can occur when making bread is forgetting the yeast! As you already know, without yeast, your dough isn’t going to rise, and your dreams of a fluffy white bread for tomorrow’s sandwich will be dashed. However, even if the dough has already been mixed, you can still add the yeast.
Here’s how to do this correctly:
- Place the required amount of yeast in a bowl.
- Add four tablespoons of warm water to the yeast.
- Add the yeast mixture to the bread dough.
- Restart the bread machine’s dough cycle from the beginning.
- Add small amounts of flour (around a tablespoon or so) to the dough if it’s now too wet from adding the yeast mixture.
- Wait for the yeast to be thoroughly mixed into the dough with no chunks of it left (it probably won’t take the whole dough cycle).
- Remove the dough from the bread machine.
- Place it in a large bowl covered with a tea towel.
- Leave it until the dough has doubled.
- Continue the baking process as normal.
Can You Open the Bread Machine After Kneading?
Alright, so you checked on your bread dough as it has been kneaded, and so far, everything is going well. Now you may be wondering if you can open the bread machine after the kneading process is done, and the answer is yes, you certainly can.
There are a couple of reasons you want to open your bread machine after it has kneaded the dough.
To Check if the Dough Has Risen Enough
For most types of bread, your bread machine will let the dough rise twice. Sometimes, however, this isn’t enough. You can easily check if your dough has risen enough by popping off the lid of your bread maker and pressing two fingers into your dough. If the slight indentation left by your fingers quickly bounces back, your bread dough needs some more time to rise.
You can pause the cycle on your bread machine and leave the dough to rise a little longer (usually around half an hour works fine). However, if the kitchen you’re baking in is cold, you may be better off taking the dough out of the bread machine, putting it in a large bowl covered with a tea towel, and letting it rise somewhere warmer (you can put it on a windowsill, for example).
To Cook the Dough in the Oven
Most bread machines have a dough setting, which will make the dough for you, and then you can take it out to shape it and put it in the oven. This is a great way to make things such as pizza bases or baguettes, which either need additional preparation before cooking or won’t be baked easily in the bread machine due to their size or shape.
Some people also prefer baking their bread in their regular ovens and using their bread maker to make the dough.
To Prepare the Dough for Baking
There are also a few useful things that you can do to your bread before it begins its final rise. To work out when this is, simply use a timer and add up all of the times of the previous stages.
Before the final rise, the first thing you should do is remove the mixing paddles before the bread starts to bake. Doing this will prevent those annoying holes in the bottom of the bread that look like someone had already had a nibble of it before you sliced it.
It’s easy to remove the paddles from the bread machine – they just need to be pulled out and can be reattached when your bread has finished baking, and the bread maker is clean.
Another thing to do before the bread is baked is to reshape the loaf. If it’s looking a little oddly-proportioned, now is a good time to smooth it out, so you won’t get a loaf of bread that has a strange slope to it.
You can also break your dough into smaller sizes at this point if you want to bake two smaller loaves instead of one big loaf or create a braided loaf.
Can You Open the Bread Machine While Baking?
Opening the bread machine when baking isn’t a good idea mainly because you can let too much heat escape, and then the bread won’t bake properly. You should also not open your bread machine during the pre-heat stage for this same reason.
If you’re worried about your bread not baking properly, there are a few things to check. Make sure you’re using the right cycle for the bread type you’re baking (check your manual for more information if you’re unsure). Also, make sure you don’t have too much dough in the machine and the ingredients you’re using aren’t too cold. In rarer cases, bread that isn’t cooked properly will mean you have a faulty bread machine.
Knowing when to open your bread machine to check on your loaf is very important to ensure that the end product is as tasty as it can be. There’s no problem with opening your bread maker during the kneading process or before the final rise, but you should avoid doing so during the baking stage.