How to Convert a Yeast Bread Recipe for Use in a Bread Machine

breadsticks post for blog

Soft Garlic Sticks (made in a bread machine)

These soft and chewy bread sticks remind me of the ones at Olive Garden with one big difference.  They will be hot and fresh when I eat them because I can bake them myself.  But I wouldn’t go to the trouble very often if I didn’t have a bread machine. By now, I hope you have been convinced to try mixing and kneading bread dough in a bread machine. If you have purchased or somehow obtained a machine, it’s time to master a few simple recipes.  With the holidays approaching, you may be wondering how to mix up Granny’s roll recipe or Aunt Mabel’s famous bread in your bread machine.

Converting most recipes is rather simple if you keep in mind a few rules.

  1. If the original recipe contains more than 3-4 cups of flour, you must reduce the entire recipe to the amount your machine can handle (average is 3 to 3-1/2 cups). Check the manual if you aren’t sure.
  2. For every 3-4 cups of flour, you will need 1-1/8 to 1-1/4 cups liquid. This comes out to roughly 3/8 cup liquid per 1 cup flour. If eggs are included in the recipe, one large egg is equal to a scant 1/4 cup liquid. If other wet ingredients are called for such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, sour cream, etc, regard them as half liquid.
  3. Put all wet ingredients in the pan first, followed by the flour, and then yeast.
  4. The first few times you try a recipe, hold back at least 1/4 to 1/3 of the liquid and add it only as needed. The dough should make a tacky ball that sticks to the side briefly, then pulls away.  Make a note of how much liquid you actually used for future reference. This can/may change slightly according to level of humidity in your kitchen. If you have already added too much liquid, add flour one tablespoon at a time until dough reaches proper consistency.

Top left–too wet; Top right–too dry; Lower–Just right

EXCEPTION:   Refrigerator rolls or bread where you mix the dough and put it in the refrigerator to rise don’t seem to work so well in a bread machine.  The dough is extremely sticky and is “kneaded” or mixed better in a stand mixer such as a Kitchen Aid.  If you have had good luck with this type of recipe in your bread machine, PLEASE tell me about it. A few weeks ago, I saw a recipe for Soft Garlic Rolls on Annie’s Eats. A commenter asked Annie if they could be made in a bread machine. I knew instantly it would be an easy recipe to adapt so I tried it. Worked perfectly. This is the original ingredient list given by Annie as adapted from a recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Soft Garlic Knots

Ingredients 3 cups bread flour 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons instant yeast 1-1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup milk 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water Glaze 2 cloves garlic 3 tablespoons melted butter 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (To see Annie’s instructions for making in a stand mixer and her excellent photo tutorial for forming dough into knots, click here. I am usually in too big of a hurry for the fancy rolls and prefer these quicker bread sticks for everyday eating.) HOW I ADAPTED THE RECIPE:

  1. Reverse order of ingredients so water is first. Flour will be next to last with yeast being the final ingredient added.
  2. No need to reduce this recipe–my machine will handle 3 cups of flour just fine. Yours probably will too.
  3. Add up the liquid in the original recipe and you get 1-1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons. That’s likely too much for a bread machine. I cut the milk in half and subtracted 2 tablespoons water leaving me with 1-1/8 cup liquid-theoretically perfect according to principle #2. (Oil and butter are not included in liquid measurement)

Breadsticks.jpg

How to roll out and form garlic breadsticks.

Warning:  This is a beginner’s guide–a good place to start.  Substituting different kinds of flour makes the game more interesting but also more complicated with less predictable results until you have some experience.

Soft Garlic Sticks
 
Author:
Recipe type: Bread (bread machine)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
Glaze
  • 1 clove of garlic (reduced from original recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients in order listed into bread machine pan saving ¼ cup of liquid. Select dough cycle. After about 5 minutes, lift the lid as machine continues to knead and add water 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary, until dough forms into a ball but remains tacky. When cycle is completed and dough has risen, remove from bread pan.
  2. Divide dough in half and shape into two balls. Roll out each ball into a 7 x 9-inch rectangle. Use a pizza cutter or large sharp knife to cut each rectangle into 8 strips. See picture above. Twist each strip to disguise imperfections and place side-by-side on greased baking sheet or one covered with baking paper or silicone mat. Allow to rise until almost double.
  3. Brush with glaze, sprinkle with sea salt and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15-16 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula November 17, 2010 at 9:53 am

that`s a really useful post!

have a nice time,
Paula

Reply

Carol November 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Hi Paula,

This receipe looks great, can’t wait to try it. I’m having trouble making my bread come out soft and chewy, almost like the kind you pull apart. What am I doing wrong? I’m ready to give up on my bread machine. Thanks.

Carol

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Paula November 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Are you baking it in the machine? I almost never do. The crust is usually too thick and crunchy. I use my machine ONLY for mixing and kneading. Have you tried My Favorite Dinner Rolls? They are soft and chewy–just what you’re looking for. But you have to dump the dough out of the pan, shape, let rise and bake in your oven. Small price to pay for hot, homemade dinner rolls.

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Mrs. Mordecai November 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

I just had to say that those photos are beautiful and that I love the shaping of these. I want to try it today! I have some Artisan Bread in Five Minutes dough sitting in the fridge and I’m going to attempt to make mine as pretty as yours. :) Thanks for the inspiration.

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit November 20, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Great information! I’m going to pull out my bread machine so I can make rolls next week- Those garlic sticks sound yummy!

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naomi November 23, 2010 at 2:23 am

This is wonderful! Thanks for converting to a bread machine recipe. Lovely picture to.

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Jennifer November 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! We just started using our bread machine to make all of our bread about 2 months ago, and we haven’t tried a wide variety of recipes because we didn’t know how to adapt recipes. I am bookmarking your page so that I can refer to it often. Thanks!

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Susan November 24, 2010 at 3:21 am

Mmm, fresh warm garlic bread sticks sound lovely. I think I’ll try this out.

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Michaela November 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm

This is super useful. I’ve never made anything in a bread machine, but would love to be able to convert my oven recipes into bread machine recipes (for that day in the not-too-distant future when I have my own kitchen and can buy one!)

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Roy December 27, 2010 at 9:47 am

These look great, and since catering is at a stand still and I don’t have a new job yet I have time on my hands to try new things. But there are only two in the house, so can I refrigerate some of the finished dough and bake at a later time, Also enjoy all the recipes, many have given me ideas for new recipes of mine own.
Thanks, Roy

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Paula December 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Yes, most recipes can be refrigerated. Some even develop more flavor in the process. Of course it takes much longer for the dough to rise before baking so allow extra time. Thanks for stopping by. Paula

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Lori April 29, 2011 at 11:49 am

I have been cooking and baking for over 37 years, and your blog has changed the way I bake. I have used your wonderful recipes for bread machine breads, and converted many of mine. I cannot believe how wonderful tasting and easy everything is. I can’t believe I allowed my bread machine to sit idle for so many years on a shelf in the basement. Thank you again, for all your recipes and suggestions. If anyone out there has not tried this yet. DO!!! You will love it !!!!! I just have to work out extra everyday to keep fit, for all the extra baked goods around here now.

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Erica August 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

I am making these to serve with homemade ratatouille tonight! Thanks for an awesome recipe! Is you bread machine the 1 lb. loaf, or the .5 lb? I have a .5 lb. so I’m not sure if it will all fit… I may make it by hand. But either way I am going to make these DELICIOUS bread sticks tonight!

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barbara September 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I know this is a really old post but it’s so helpful! I just have one question…I’m always confused about yeast. I have a jar of “bread machine yeast”. Is that the same as your “instant yeast”? I’d love to find a tutorial about all the different kinds of yeast and how to convert a recipe from one to the other! Thank you!

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Jaime September 22, 2011 at 11:29 am

Now only if there was a recipe for people who didn’t have a bread machine!

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Paula September 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Jaime, Actually, the original recipe printed in this post is for people who have no bread machine. Enjoy.

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Leslie November 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I found the recipe for a refrigerator roll that is made in the bread machine. I am going to try it.
http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/ButterRolls.htm

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Anu December 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Paula,

I want to finish up the huge bag of all purpose flour my husband brought :( How much all purpose four should I use for 3 cups of bread flour

thanks so much

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ms mew January 19, 2013 at 8:28 pm

I want to give this a try. I have an old family recipe that calls for 10-12 cups of flour. I would reduce that to 3. My concern is the yeast. I use one packet of Fleishmann’s traditional yeast. How much would I use in the machine?

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Paula January 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Wow! Only one packet for that much flour? I’m guessing that is some slow-rising dough. If it were me, I would start with 2 teaspoons of bread machine yeast and adjust from there.

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Safa January 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Thanks a lot for the great recipes, Paula. I tried many of them. They were delish thanks to your useful directions.

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Paula January 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm

You’re welcome Safa. Thanks for writing.

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doris February 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Can i make dough for biscuits in a bread machine? I have a bread machine book and it does not have a recipe for biscuits that i can use.

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Paula February 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Doris,
No, I would not recommend that. Biscuits need to be mixed very lightly by hand. Those would be some tough ol’ biscuits.

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Derek November 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Hi Paula,

Wow, what a great site you’ve put together! Love the salad in a jar idea and will definitely give it a try. I love salads and I make my own dressings so I’ll really enjoy that.

Secondly, like so many on here, thanks to you, I have pulled out and dusted off my breadmaker. It was a gift years ago and I was just never happy with the results but I now know from your site and others that it really is best to use it “only” for the kneading and rising and to then bake the bread in a conventional oven. I’m doing that today and the machine has 45 minutes to go. Looking forward to trying out the loaf in the oven. I was also intrigued to hear that I’m only one of many people who finds the hole in the bottom of the bread from the paddle quite obnoxious! There you are trying to create this perfect-looking and delicious loaf and there’s a big nasty chunk missing from the bottom. It is off-putting. : – )

Just want you to know that all of your advice and the posts on here continue to be help people enjoy great bread and resurrect their machines. Although they’ve come in price, my Black & Decker one was $260.00 new. That’s a lot of money for a handful of uses to I’m delighted to be back at it. There’s just nothing quite like fresh bread from the oven and it’s a nice thing to bring to a friend or neighbour as well.

Many thanks for all your help,

Derek
Vancouver, BC

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Kim October 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Just curious especially for a recipe like this, could you take the dough from the machine, shape it and possibly refrigerate until you are ready to bake? I like to get a lot of prep done during the day if I can but with dinner rolls I definitely want them hot out of the oven at dinner time.

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Paula October 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Some recipes work better than others. You just have to experiment. Any with potatoes in it usually work well but you can do it with other doughs, too.

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Joyce Collins December 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I’m so glad I found your blog! I am new to bread baking. I bought a West Bend machine because I liked the shape of the pan and the fact that it had 2 blades to handle whole wheat better. I made 4 loaves that were okay but today I’m making them for gifts and every one of the loaves rises unevenly. I read that I needed to add 1-2 tsp of water, did that and they were hard. So, after reading your article,I’m going to take it out after RISE 3 and place it in a loaf pan. I can’t seem to find a general time and temp to bake. Can you help. These are basic white loaves for gifts but most of the time, we will be making 100% whole wheat.

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Paula December 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Hi Joyce,
You are asking a question that I can’t really answer for a specific recipe I haven’t tried myself. It is a matter of trial and error to some extent. Please check out this post for more details on where to start. You might try looking for a recipe in my index that is similar to the one you are using and follow the baking instructions. Since you are new to bread baking, I highly recommend you get a quick-read thermometer like this one on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Cooking-Thermometer-Alarm-3518N/dp/B0001BFJ54. Bread should generally reach 190 degrees before you take it out of the oven.

By the way, 100% whole wheat can be tricky for bread-baking beginners and even more so in a bread machine. Don’t feel too badly if they don’t turn out as hoped in the beginning.

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Joyce Collins December 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I’m continuing with my questions about starting bread in a machine and then finishing in the oven… I saw that I should dump it out onto a floured surface and rise again. That would be 4 rises! Can I just dump it out after rise #3 in the machine into a buttered loaf pan?

Thanks

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Paula December 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Joyce,
No, you must let it rise after it is placed into the pan. Perhaps you could dump it out of the bread machine pan after the second rise and let the third rise happen in your loaf pan. Failing to let the dough rise properly in the pan will result in a heavy lump of a loaf.

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