Most of us know that you’ll extend the cooking time of something when you open the oven door and let the heat out. With some appliances, opening the door will cause it to stop working altogether for our safety.
That’s a safety mechanism in washing machines and microwave ovens. However, we may be tempted to open the bread machine while baking.
This may be to check on it, or it may be because something is wrong. But can you open it while it is running? And how do you correct for things if you do so?
Can You Open the Bread Maker While Running?
It is reasonable to open up the machine as the dough kneads. You should check on it about ten minutes into the kneading cycle. The bread dough shouldn’t be liquid (overly viscous) or stiff and dry.
If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour. If it is too dry, add a little more water. Then let it continue mixing. At this stage, opening the bread machine ones or twice to check on the dough won’t do any damage.
You may also find that the bread machine isn’t doing anything at all. Maybe you forgot to install the blades. You can fix it now when later you’re left with an inedible mess.
Or you may need to push the blade into a proper position so that it engages. You’ve still avoided the problem of baked-on dry ingredients instead of a fresh loaf of bread.
If your fancy bread machine has a dough setting, you will open it up when it is done making the dough so that you can bake your sweet bread, pizza dough or cinnamon rolls.
People often leave the bread dough inside the machine to proof. In fact, you may want to leave the bread dough in the machine while it proofs and until it doubles if your house is cold.
This maximizes the flavor and texture of the bread.
When the dough is done, you can open up the machine and wipe away excess flour.
That helps prevent flour spots on the crust. You can remove the paddles from the bucket, too, so it won’t rip a hole in the loaf bakes.
Do that just before the final rise. The hard part here can be the timing, but you can’t really do worse than the ripped up loaf you could end up with.
Some people check on the loaf before it rises and finds that it has formed the dreaded ski slope shape. You could, in theory, reshape the loaf before the final rise and then bake it without harming anything.
After all, it isn’t being heated up yet. Avoid dividing the loaf into smaller rolls, since the thermal profile is set for a whole loaf. If you do that, you’ll end up burning parts of the new, smaller loaves. However, you can twist a single loaf and return it to the bread maker without hurting anything.
What happens if you open the bread machine when it isn’t necessary?
As with an oven, you’re at worst letting heat out. That will either result in the bread needing more time to cook or undercooked bread as the bread machine sticks to its original thermal profile.
Don’t open up the bread machine to smell that sweet bread smell. You could ruin the food. Just wait until it is done. Then you can enjoy the warm bread aroma before you eat it. Once the bread maker is in pre-heat, heat or bake modes, keep the lid closed.
Don’t try to change the bake cycle to offset how often you opened the lid to check on it. If you’re really concerned the bread isn’t fully cooked, get an instant-read thermometer so you can check it while opening the lid for as short of a time as possible.
Don’t you need to open the bread maker to cool the loaf?
You will need to open the bread maker to get the bread out to eat it. The question for many is when you want to remove the loaf from the bread maker.
Many take the bread out of the machine and put it on the counter to cool. A better choice is to take the bucket out of the bread machine, remove the bread from the bucket (made easier if you removed the paddles), and then return the loaf to the machine.
Just leave the bucket out where you can wash it. Turn the machine off, and leave the lid open an inch or two. The warm air will keep the bread warm, while the cracked lid lets the steam slowly escape. The moisture won’t condense on the loaf and leave it wrinkled.
However, the loaf won’t cool down too fast. And you’ll be able to enjoy the warm bread smell.
However, you’ll end up under-cooking the bread in many cases if you leave the lid cracked open so you can smell it while it bakes.
Shouldn’t I open the bread machine to make sure it is baking properly?
It is possible that the bread machine isn’t working properly. It relies on heating elements that can burn out. However, opening the lid will get in the way of the dough heating up properly.
If the dough is under-cooked despite the fact you chose the right thermal profile, you either had too much dough in there, chose the wrong cycle for your recipe, or the bread maker needs to be fixed. In rare cases, the bread maker needs to be moved to a warmer area.
More often than not, the issue is that you added cold ingredients that prevented the dough from heating up as quickly as it should have. This won’t fix a loaf that’s under-cooking or under-done, but it will prevent future ruined loaves.
If you added too many ingredients to the bread maker and it overflows, you’ll want to open the lid long enough to scrape off the mess. Then try to let it finish so that you didn’t go to all that work for nothing. Once done, open it up and clean it up.