Salad in a Jar

How To Delay the Dough Cycle on Your Bread Machine

Published about 2 months ago • 3 min read

Hi Friends,

I hope you are well and experiencing success in the kitchen these days. I've been thinking about our Easter celebration and making Hot Cross Buns (with the link I messed up in my last email, sorry) on Good Friday.

Easter dinner and the egg hunt are planned for my house. When I get home from church, I want to have bread dough ready to shape into dinner rolls.

One option is to make brown and serve rolls or refrigerate the dough the day before, but there's another way to have hot, homemade bread that's even fresher.

Use the timer on your bread machine.

Depending on which brand you have, there are two ways to do it. The Zojirushi is the only brand of bread machine I am aware of with a timer connected to the DOUGH cycle. However, you can mimic the concept with any bread machine with a built-in timer.

If you have a Zojirushi bread maker

  1. Determine when you will return home and be ready to shape the dough. Let's use 11:00 AM as my return-home time. If I assemble the ingredients for the bread at 7:00 AM, the DOUGH cycle should start on its own and end at 11:00. That's four hours.
  2. After selecting the DOUGH cycle, press the timer until it shows the time of completion as four hours. Then, press START.

When you walk in the door, the dough should be ready to shape before the final rise. (I hope the preacher doesn't preach too long, causing the dough to overproof.) 😉

If you have a different bread machine with a timer

First, use the owner's manual to determine the length of the DOUGH cycle, or watch the clock the next time you use it. Write it down.

Here's the basic formula for figuring out the amount of time to set the bread machine timer: (number of hours before you want the dough ready) minus (the length of the DOUGH cycle).

I'll use the same timing as my example above.

  1. For the dough to be ready to shape in 4 hours (time of arrival back home), subtract 1½ hours (length of the DOUGH cycle), leaving you with 2½ hours.
  2. Regardless of the kind of bread you're making, select your bread machine's BASIC bread cycle (not the DOUGH cycle). Then set your timer for 2½ hours, and press START.

***There is a huge caveat with this method. If you miscalculate or don't return home when you predicted, your dough either will not be ready to shape or will be baked into a loaf. Both of these things have happened to me in the past because I made a mistake with the math or my schedule didn't work out like I predicted.

I suggest you try this ahead of time when the stakes are low, to ensure you've got the formula right.

Note: This is one of the main reasons I love my Zoji. Even if I miscalculate the time on the timer, the dough will not bake because I can actually select the DOUGH cycle. I can also use the timer to autolyze sourdough or bread with whole grains, but that's another topic for another time.

If you need ideas for a celebration dinner, you will enjoy these Herb and Garlic Dinner Rolls. The smell of them baking will make you think you are in a little French cafe or La Madeleines.

This Slow Cooker Pulled Ham is a slightly different recipe for that cheap ham you can pick up around this time every year. It doesn't matter if the ham has a little too much fat because you'll remove it as you "pull" the ham apart.

I always make this ahead, then it only has to be warmed before serving. Use it to make sliders with the Herb and Garlic rolls. Leftovers can be frozen in small packages for a quick sandwich or salad topper.

Happy Bakers

Speak Up about Herb and Garlic Rolls

I’ve been making these since I saw the recipe in 2014! Have used for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as “regular” days! The fragrance while cooking is heavenly. We also enjoy using them for sliders. --BARB MC

Hoping this is helpful,


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