I can't quite bring myself to complain about a bread machine that only cost $14.99, but I did need to do some tweaking to improve the quality of bread I make in it. The first two loaves were made from boxed bread mixes I happened to have on hand. The first one came out good, but the crust was a little dark on the sides and bottom ...everywhere the dough was in direct contact with the pan. When I made the second loaf, I set the delay start timer with the idea I would be back in kitchen at baking time and could stop the baking process a few minutes early to see if I could thereby lighten the crust. I must have miscalculated the start of the baking time though because we got back 10 minutes before I thought the baking should have started and it was already done. Second loaf was same as the first, good but a little darker in the crust than I like.
This time I made bread from scratch, using a recipe I found in the manual for the bread machine. I also 'camped out' next to the kitchen so I would be sure and be right there when the baking cycle started. According to the manual, the baking cycle lasts 40 minutes but I turned the machine off 30 minutes into that cycle. I took the bread out of the pan and let it cool on a rack. I seem to have guessed right in shortening the cycle by 10 minutes, but if it had not seemed quite done, I could have put it on a baking sheet and finished it in the oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes.
is what I consider a pretty color on a loaf of bread.
The recipe I used to make this loaf is called Egg Bread and I am happy enough with how it turned out, I will try some of the other recipes in the manual next time.
Egg Bread (2 lb loaf)
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs plus enough water to make 1/2 cup
4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used Better for Bread flour)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp yeast (I used one packet which is slightly more than 2 tsp)
Add all ingredients to the bread pan in the order given.