The machine shown here is a Kenwood Rapid Bake BM250, but there are many other machines that are equally as good to use. The important thing to appreciate when using a bread maker is that you need to measure the ingredients precisely. The machine cannot adjust the quantities as you would with a hand mix.
When loading the baking pan, it is best to add the water first. The flour can then be carefully spooned onto the water to float, and the yeast and salt placed on the top. This method of loading will ensure a good mix.
Set the machine according to the manufacturers instructions and allow to run for the mix cycle. After about 4 minutes you may want to open the lid and check the mix is complete. Some machines will benefit from you pushing any residual flour on the sides of the pan to the bottom. If there are any issues at this stage the mix can be adjusted manually.
When all is well, the machine can be left to complete its baking cycle. Many machines will beep at the second kneading to allow you to add more ingredients if requires. You may want to have a look at this stage, but the machine will have the job under control. If the recipe is good, the bread should be detached from the non-stick pan at the end of the bake. It may need to be cooled a little before you remove the loaf. The kneading paddle will still be in the loaf, but attached to the bottom of the pan. This may require a little persuasion to remove the loaf in most types of bread makers.
Caution: Freshly baked bread will be hot!
As with all bread, the loaf should stand for at least an hour to cool before it is used. This allows the chemicals to settle and the volatile substances to evaporate before eating.
Strong bread making flour is normally used, but do take care with extra strong , high gluten flours as they may cause the bread to rise excessively.
The loaf can be cut from top to bottom, but if you cut it horizontally, the bulk of the slices will be of an even and square shape.