Bread Machine Cycle Times

Bread Machine Cycle Times

Everything You Need to Know About Bread Machine Cycles and Cycle Times

Making bread can be a long and tiring process when it is done the traditional way. Thankfully, we have bread makers. These appliances allow you to make delicious breads without having to do the hard work. 

You simply drop in all the ingredients and turn the machine on. The machine does everything from kneading to baking. All you have to do is wait for the finish bell to ring! 

Bread makers have different settings for different types of bread. One setting will be great for basic white bread loaves but might not bake you the perfect french or whole wheat loaves.

This is why it’s important to get yourself familiar with the bread machine cycles. In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about that. 

We’re also going to provide you with some tips and tricks for making great bread with your breadmaker, and give you a list of some of our favorite bread machines that you may purchase. 

Stages of a Bread Machine Cycle

After you’ve placed all your ingredients inside the appliance and turned it on, the machine goes through a number of steps to create great tasting bread every time. These cycles are the same for most bread makers on the market.

Knead

As we all know, kneading is a crucial step to making yeast dough. Kneading mixes in all your ingredients and strengthens the gluten strands which gives your dough its texture. Without any kneading, your dough won’t be airy, light and chewy. Instead, it’ll be flat and tough. 

Kneading in a breadmaker can take around 20-40 minutes depending on what you’re making. The kneading is done all at once or broken down into two parts with a rest and rise session in between. 

Most breadmakers knead dough much like a mixer mixes ingredients. There’s a small paddle at the bottom of the baking pan that spins to stir the dough. While it’s spinning, the dough is tossed around the pan, which is an effective way to knead. 

Rest

Allowing the dough to rest is an essential step to making bread. This step comes either before or after kneading. 

Resting the dough is also called autolyzing dough and it is important because it helps the starches and gluten in your dough to fully expand and absorb water. This makes it easier to handle and shortens the kneading time. 

Resting your dough will also allow the dough to reach the right temperature for kneading. Depending on what you’re making, resting dough can take 5 minutes to over 30 minutes. 

Rise – Yeast

All yeast breads need some time to rise. During this process the yeast ferments the sugar and helps to develop your dough. Allowing your dough to rise will also improve the texture and the flavor of your loaf. 

Your machine will add some heat to the dough to speed up the rising process. It typically takes 45 minutes for your dough to rise, but it can take a longer time to rise if you’re baking whole wheat bread or french bread. 

Punch/Shape 

After the dough has risen, the machine begins the punching down and shaping stage. In this stage the dough is lightly kneaded again to release gas bubbles that form by the yeast during the rising stage. This helps to produce finer grain breads. 

Punching and shaping should only take a few seconds. It will typically take no more than 10 seconds. Punching and shaping your dough too long will result in a flat and tough loaf. 

Bake

After all the kneading, rising, and punching then comes the baking stage. Baking time can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 70 minutes depending on what you’re baking.

The breadmaker heats up the pan to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit to give you a delicious loaf that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

Different Breadmaker Cycles

Your breadmaker will have different cycle times depending on what you’re baking. Some types of baking require two kneading stages or two stages to rise. Others will rise with just one of each. The time it takes to complete a stage or cycle will also vary depending on what you’re baking. 

Basic or White Bread Cycle

This is the cycle that you’ll use most of the time. You can bake a wide variety of foods using this cycle. From white to potato, to rye, to garlic, to whole wheat, and even gluten free somtimes. 

It usually takes around 3-4 hours to bake using the basic cycle. Here’s how it typically goes:

Knead ingredients together…………………..5mins 

Rest……………………………………………..5mins 

Second knead………………………………….20mins 

Rise……………………………………………..39mins

Punch down……………………………………10secs 

Second rise…………………………………….25mins

Shaping…………………………………………15secs

Final rise………………………………………..48mins

Bake…………………………………………….60mins 

Yes, you can bake whole wheat or gluten free in this cycle, although it’s not recommended if you have a bread machine with a GF specific cycle. Not only are the cycle times different, it also has different rise settings.

Sweet Bread Cycle

For breads that have raisins, cinnamon, apricots, eggs, cheese, protein, fats, and sugar, using the sweet cycle is advised. This is because sugar and other ingredients cause your loaf to brown much quicker so the breadmaker uses a lower temperature to bake. 

Baking sweet bread using the basic cycle will result in it being burned or a really dark crust. So you need to make sure that you’re using this cycle to bake this type of bread.

Here is the typical cycle of baking sweet bread recipes:

Knead ingredients together…………………..5mins

Rest……………………………………………..5mins

Second knead………………………………….20mins

Rise……………………………………………..39mins

Punch……………………………………………20secs

Second rise……………………………………..25mins

Shape………………………….………………..5secs

Final rise……………………….……………….51mins

Bake…………………………………………….60mins 

As you may have noticed, the sweet bread cycle is pretty similar to the basic or white cycle. There are also three times that rise is used in this cycle. The only major difference is the temperature used for baking is higher in this cycle. 

Whole Wheat or Whole-Grain Bread Cycle

Breadmakers also come with a cycle that is adjusted to bake breads that contain large amounts of whole wheat, whole-grain, cracked wheat, or buttermilk wheat flour. 

Breads with these ingredients need more kneading and rising time to produce high quality whole wheat loaves with good texture and height. 

This is the typical cycle for whole wheat or whole-grain bread recipes:

Rest…………………………………………….25mins

Knead…………………………………………..5mins

Rest…………………………………………….5mins

Second knead……………………………..….15mins

Rise…………………………………………….49mins

Punch…………………………………………..10secs

Second rise……………………………………25mins

Shape…………………………………………..10secs

Final rise……………………………………….49mins

Bake…………………………………………….53mins

As you can see, there are again three times that rise is used in this cycle. What’s unique about this cycle is that additional kneading time is needed for whole wheat or gluten filled loaves.

French Bread Cycle

When you’re baking french bread, you want it to have a heartier crust compared to other types of bread. This is achieved by extending the time for kneading, rising, and baking. 

This cycle isn’t exclusive to french bread, it’s also great for baking european style breads that are crustier and more solid. 

Because these breads contain little or no sugar, it will need a higher temperature to bake and more time to knead and rise. 

This is how the french bread recipe cycle will go:

Knead ingredients together…………………..5mins 

Rest……………………………………………..5mins

Second knead………………………………….20mins

Rise……………………………………………..39mins

Punch……………………………………………10secs

Second rise……………………………………..30mins

Shape……………………………………………10secs

Final rise………………………………………..60mins

Bake…………………………………………….55mins

Baking bread using the french bread cycle will take nearly 4 hours to complete. Again, you can see three rise times here.

Gluten-Free Bread Cycle

If you are on a gluten-free diet, you will still be able to enjoy baked bread using the gluten-free cycle on your breadmaker. Using almond flour, millet flour and sorghum flour as well as starch flours like potato and rice flour will require different settings to bake right. 

Here’s what typically happens when you use the gluten-free bread recipe cycle: 

Knead…………………………………………..5mins

Second knead………………………………….10mins

Rise……………………………………………..60mins

Bake…………………………………………….60mins

As you can see, the gluten-free cycle on a bread machine requires less stages and less time at around 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Different to the others, the GF cycle only has one rise time.

Rapid Bake Dough Cycle

If you need to bake and you’re in a rush, using the rapid bake cycle will do the trick. You can bake great tasting bread in around 1 hour and 20 minutes with this cycle. 

When using this dough cycle, your bread machine will shorten knead and rise times. It is advised to use rapid rise yeast with this setting for better bread texture. 

Here are the stages of baking bread using the rapid rise bread cycle:

Knead………………………………………….20mins

Rise…………………………………………….18mins

Bake……………………………………………42mins

The machine only goes through 3 stages in 80 minutes to complete the rapid rise bread cycle. 

Cake and Jam

You may think bread machines are only capable of baking bread, but they can also bake cakes and even cook jams to use as spreads for your bread.

The cycle for baking cakes and making jam is very simple. It only has to mix and cook. No need for rising times and extensive kneading. 

A jam cycle will look something like this:

Mix……………………………………….15mins

Cook……………………………………..50mins

And a cake cycle will typically look like this:

Mix……………………………………….15mins

Cook……………………………………..55mins

No rise or baking in this cycle because it’s only mixing.

Top 5 Best Bread Machines 

With everything you’ve just read above, you may be excited to get started baking using the different baking cycles. If you don’t have a bread machine yet, we’ve come up with a short list of our top 5 best bread machines that you can choose from.

All of these best bread machines may come with different bread recipes or feature a different type of dough cycle, but will all bake bread fast, bake a delicious loaf of bread, and will do it consistently well.

Oster Expressbake Bread Maker 

Sale
Oster Expressbake Breadmaker, 2-lb. Loaf Capacity, 2 lb, White/Ivory
  • 650 watts oster bread maker with upto a 2.0 pound loaf capacity is ideal for larger families
  • 12 bread settings and 3 crust settings for making a variety of breads, dough, and jams
  • Expressbake setting bakes bread in under an hour
  • 13 hour programmable baking timer for fresh bread anytime
  • Large LCD display and intuitive button controls for easy operation, 40 inch cord length

Want to know how to make bread with a bread maker in about an hour? This appliance will do it.

At first glance, you can immediately tell that this breadmaker is an elegant kitchen appliance. It comes in a sleek white metallic exterior that will look good on your countertop. 

This bread maker doesn’t only look good, but it performs excellently. It has a total of 12 bread settings and 3 crust settings for baking a wide variety of delicious breads. 

The timer is programmable for up to 13 hours. This means you can program it to start baking during the night so when you wake up in the morning you have freshly baked bread for breakfast.

Pohl Schmitt Bread Machine 

Sale
Pohl Schmitt Stainless Steel Bread Machine Bread Maker, 2LB 17-in-1, 14 Settings Incl...
  • 14 Settings For Perfect Bread Every Time - From now on you can make Whole Grain Bread, French bread, Quick Bread...
  • Digital Display With Delay Timer - Use delay timer to add ingredients and choose the cycle, crust, and loaf size,...
  • Non-stick Pan - Removable interior pan for easy cleaning. Pohl + Schmitt Bread Maker also comes with one kneading...
  • Quick & Easy- The bread maker will “beep” to remind you to add final ingredients during the working cycle such...
  • The Best Quality With Pohl + Schmitt - We are here to offer you only the best quality products designed to make...

The Pohl Schmitt Bread Machine can bake basic breads, sweet breads, whole wheat breads, french bread, rice breads and cakes. It also has the option to do MI and knead only. You can even make yogurt and jams with this bread machine. 

A bake and DIY option are also included for more baking diversity. 

This bread machine comes with a digital display and a control panel to make it easy to choose the right settings you need every time you bake. 

It’s the perfect machine to mix dough for baking, whether you use it to bake or not.

A few neat accessories that go with this bread machine are its nut dispenser and non-stick bread pan. 

The non-stick bread pan that comes with this appliance will make cleaning a breeze every time. 

Hamilton Beach Digital Breadmaker 

Hamilton Beach 2 Lb Digital Bread Maker, Programmable, 12 Settings + Gluten Free,...
  • 12 settings including gluten-free developed with nutrition in mind, settings include: French, quick bread (no...
  • Choose 1.5 pounds or 2 pounds loaf and crust settings select your loaf size and choose from light, medium or dark...
  • Large digital display with delay timer view and select the cycle, crust, and loaf size use delay timer to add...
  • Non-stick, dishwasher-safe pan & 2 kneading paddles interior pan removes for easy cleaning in the dishwasher two...
  • 3 easy steps: Add ingredients, select cycle and start

This Hamilton Beach has every single cycle we discussed in this article. You can get this breadmaker in either sleek black or pearl white colors. Both will look excellent in your kitchen. 

Hamilton Beach produces a lot of great quality kitchen appliances and this is one of them. It can bake excellent breads every time. 

Operating it is a breeze. All you have to do is place all your ingredients, select the baking cycle you need and hit start. The cycle then begins and ends with a loud beep to let you know that your bread is ready to be enjoyed. 

This is the perfect fancy bread machine for making bread at home.

Cuisinart Bread Machine

Sale
Cuisinart Bread Maker, Up To 2lb Loaf, New Compact Automatic
  • Cuisinart-quality technology promises superior crust, color and texture
  • 12 preprogrammed menu options - fully automatic, easy to use
  • 3 crust shades - light, medium, or dark & bakes up to a 2 pound loaf
  • Vertical baking pan for counter-friendly compact design - removable kneading paddle and bread pan
  • Lid with viewing window to monitor the process - interior light to check bread as it bakes

Cuisinart is known for making fine kitchen appliances. This Breadmaker is one such appliance. The stainless steel finish on it makes it something that will turn the heads of anyone who walks into your kitchen. 

It also has a neat control panel up on the front of the machine. You will be able to select the different baking cycles, crust browning options, and the size of the bread you’re going to bake. 

One cool feature is also its interior light. This light allows you to watch the progress of your bread through its little glass window while it’s cooking. 

This is the perfect customized bread making by machine at home.

Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso 

Sale
Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker, 2 lb. loaf of bread, Stainless...
  • Various healthy course settings include Multigrain, Whole Wheat, Rapid Whole Wheat, Gluten Free, Salt Free, Sugar...
  • Double Kneading Blades thoroughly knead dough for superior results; Dual heaters on the bottom and lid of the bread...
  • Rapid courses allow you to bake a loaf of white or whole wheat bread in just 2 hours and 25 minutes
  • Large, easy-to-read LCD display with convenient key code on lid simplifies course selection; RAPID SETTING: Use...
  • Electrical Rating 120 volts / 700 watts.Cord Length:39 inch

When you first take a look at this bread machine by Zojirushi, you’ll immediately notice that it is different in shape than the other ones we’ve reviewed here. Instead of a tall square loaf, this bread maker makes flatter shaped bread. 

The different shape of the bread pan doesn’t affect the taste and texture of the bread, only its shape. Everything else on this bread maker is similar to the other bread makers we just reviewed. It will still bake delicious breads that taste amazing. 

The Zojirushi bread machine also comes with a control panel that looks great and, more importantly, is easy to operate. It has a staggering 15 cycle options. Having so many cycle options allow you to create even more types of bread and other baked goods. 

This machine also allows you to create your own bake cycle. You’ll be able to choose how many stages go into your custom cycle and how long each stage will last. This is a great option if you are very particular about how your bread is made. 

This is the best of the best Gluten Free making bread machine for your home.

Conclusion 

We hope that you will come away from this article with new knowledge about bread machine cycles is and the different stages and times that go into a cycle. It may seem a little intimidating at first, but once you get familiar with your bread maker and the cycle settings you’ll be able to use these cycle settings correctly every time. 

We also hope you enjoyed reading our reviews on our top 5 best breadmakers. If you are looking to buy a new bread machine, you can choose one from our list.

If none of the breadmakers on our list interests you, don’t worry! There are dozens of other great options out there that you can choose from. 

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