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Secrets for Success with Bread Machines

Before beginning, carefully read your bread machine owner's manual.

All liquid ingredients should be at room temperature (70° to 80°). This includes water, milk, yogurt, juice, cottage cheese, eggs and applesauce.

Measure ingredients accurately, using the measuring tools and techniques suggested before adding to your machine. Then add in the order suggested by your bread machine manufacturer.

For best results, use bread flour.

If a recipe calls for softened butter, cut it into pieces, then let it stand at room temperature until softened. This way the butter will mix into the dough more uniformly.

When either active dry yeast or bread machine yeast can be used in bread machines, bread machines yeast is a little finer, which allows for better dispersion during mixing and kneading. For 1 cup of flour, it is generally recommended to use 3/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast or 1/2 teaspoon of bread machine yeast.

Check dough after 5 minutes of mixing. The dough should feel smooth, soft and slightly tacky. If it's moist or sticky, add 1 tablespoon of liquid, then check again.

Recipes containing eggs, milk, sour cream, cottage cheese and other dairy or perishable products should be baked immediately and not placed on a "time-bake" cycle.

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