About a year ago, my step-mom gave me a bread machine she'd bought at a yard-sale for $5.
I even put it IN a yard-sale this past fall with no takers.
So it has sat in my mother's garage for months.
But I started looking for little ways here & there to budget better, so I dragged it out & you know what? I'm not half bad at this! I wish I'd taken pictures, but for once, I wasn't a camera nut.
BUT, I did learn a thing or two for bread machine beginners, things that looking back, I keep saying DUH.
Yes, this is the biggest "Captain Obvious" statement ever. BUT, you have to remember, I cook. I don't bake. If I do, it's a box cake mix that I just make it LOOK awesome or I roll out sugar cookie dough & decorate! My everyday method is throw ingredients together & "poof" it's yummy food! So, follow the instructions in your machine's manual. (Though I've now got a load of PINS with tips)
#2....let the bread cool INSIDE the bucket, IN the microwave.
No, seriously. It slid almost perfectly out of the bucket & it kept it nice & soft with no wrinkles or collapsing. And it sliced so pretty too!! I love my long bladed-serrated Cutco knife!
#3....Vital Wheat Gluten
Seriously, buy some. They sell it at Wal Mart & it's not expensive. Because most people that are using a bread machine don't have time for the hand kneading that naturally produces more gluten.
Now this tip is more for someone like me who has 5 people eating the bread so that you're constantly making bread. I mix all of my dry stuff in quart bags & label them with the amount of water, butter, & yeast to add in & which buttons to push on the machine to get it going. This is awesome because my 13 yr old can come home & start a loaf so I'm not up til all hours of the night so that I can pull my bucket out of the machine. (Even "short" cycles are almost 3 hours, so starting one after work, yeah, I'm ready to crash before it's done).
Hopefully I can get some pictures next loaf!