The automation of baking bread has made it much easier to easily make fresh, homemade bread. Ingredients are placed in the machine, a few hours later a hot, fresh loaf of bread pops out. The machine has various components that are part of the process. Among the most important of these are the bread machine paddles. These fit into the bottom of the bread maker and are the tools that stir the ingredients together and knead the dough before it bakes.
Each different type of bread machine has its own unique type of bread machine paddles. These paddles have slightly different shapes, but all have the same general characteristics. They consist of a single, elongated arm, usually made of sturdy metal, that is tall and wide enough to stir and knead the dough in the machine. Bread machine paddles can be removed for cleaning.
It is important to use the proper paddles when using a bread machine, so that the dough is well-stirred and the machine is not damaged. The bread machine paddles must be large enough to thoroughly mix the bread dough in the machine. If they don’t reach close enough to the sides of the pan, some of the flour and other ingredients may not combine properly. Conversely, if the paddles are too long and actually touch the sides of the pan, this can damage the pan.
To assemble a bread machine, the pan fits down over a shaft, and is placed in the baking chamber. The bread machine paddles slide to fit onto the shaft inside of the pan. When the motor is running the shaft rotates, causing the paddles inside to rotate in the pan, stirring the contents. The machine has different cycles, and in addition to stirring it will use a different pattern of rotation designed to knead the dough after it has risen.
After the dough is prepared and has had time to rise, the bread machine becomes a small oven and bakes the bread in the interior pan. Usually, the machine signals the user when the bread is done baking. When the bread is removed from the bread machine, the bread machine paddles have been baked into the bottom of the loaf. After they are removed there is a small hole in the bottom of the bread that marks the position of the paddles during baking.