Mastering the Dough Cycle on Your Bread Machine

If you’ve been using your bread machine to bake bread you’ve no doubt discovered the range and breadth of great breads you can make. But you don’t have to go through the whole baking cycle with your bread machine. You can remove the dough after the kneading and/or first rise and do some very creative and wonderful things. You can make dinner rolls, long French bread loafs, hamburger and hot dog buns, pretzels, pizza, even Holiday favorites like braided Challah bread.


Why your Dough Needs to be Kneaded

The great thing about a bread machine is that it easily handles one of the most tedious and critical steps in bread making: kneading the dough. If you’ve ever made bread by hand you know that the kneading process is both physically demanding and time consuming. It’s also a bit of mess as you continue to dust with flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Your bread machine makes this process easy. What you need to know is when the kneading process and rising process is complete. Sometimes there are audible beeps and most times there will be a cycle or setting on your brad machine for dough only. Once your dough is kneaded you can either let it rise in the machine or take it out to manage the rise yourself.


Let it Rise

The best way to allow any dough to rise once it’s out of the machine is to cover is with some plastic wrap on a baking tray and let it rest for 30 to 40 minutes. But before you let your dough rise for the first or second time you need to work it into the shape you want.


Shaping the Dough

Once you have your dough-ball in hand you need to consider what you are going to bake in your oven. The recipes sometimes vary so you may already have an idea, but many basic rolls and buns use the same fundamental recipe. If you’re making hamburger buns you’ll want to cut off a piece of dough and shape it into a bun shape. You do this by folding the dough under itself until your have a piece of dough that resembles a bun. Remember, it will rise to 2 or 3 times its size. You can use the same approach with less dough to make dinner rolls.

If you are making a hot dog bun for a hot dog or sausage you’ll want to pull the dough into a long shape and again fold it under itself until it resembles a long, bun shape. This too will rise to 2 to 3 times its original size.

French bread is traditionally long and thin. Roll the dough ball with two hands into a tube shape and pull it into shape with the dough distributed as evenly as possible across the loaf and let rise. You can top any of the rolls, buns or loaves with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or other toppings such as cheese or grilled onions. This is something that’s a bit difficult to do in a bread machine.

Pizza dough is easy and obvious. Just roll out the dough with a dusted rolling pin and pull into shape. I’ll often make a double or triple batch of pizza dough to have on hand. It keeps in the refrigerator up to a week if it’s wrapped in plastic wrap. If you want to whip up a pizza just cut off a chunk of dough, but let it rest for about 30 to 40 minutes until it gets up to room temperature and rises a bit. If you roll out the dough when it’s still cold it will continue to contract to a smaller size no matter how much you roll and stretch it. Put it on a baking sheet dusted with corn meal or sprayed with a vegetable oil spray and you’re ready to top it.

Something else that people like about shaping and baking their bread in the oven is the various shapes they can achieve. Many bread machines produce a tall, vertical loaf. Just as many leave a hole in the bottom where the kneading paddles have baked into the finished bread. If you want to control the size and shape of your loaf, the dough cycle is the way to go. You could even take your dough ball and stretch it into a traditional bread pan and bake that in the oven if you want the traditional loaf shape you get at a grocery store.

There are other variations, but here are some recipes and tips for using the dough cycle and finishing your bread in a conventional oven:


French Bread and French Breadsticks Recipe:

Baked french bread with glaze descriptions

(Makes one 2-pound loaf)


  • 1 1/2 cups of water (80°F/27°C)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast


Select the Dough course or remove the dough before the baking cycle begins for any of the other courses. Shape the dough on a baking pan into an elongated shape and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes. Cut diagonal slits in the top and glaze with 2 tablespoons of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. In an oven preheated to 400°F/205°C bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top turns a golden brown.

For bread sticks, roll out the dough on a flour dusted surface into a 14″ square. Cut the dough into 18 long strips. Brush with melted butter and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese if you like. Twist the strips a few times and let rise on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap for 25 to 30 minutes. Removed the plastic wrap and bake at 400°F/205°C for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Dough strips for bread sticksTwisted raw breadsticks

 baked breadsticks


Dinner Rolls and Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns Recipes:

rolls and buns unrisenrolls and buns risen

(Makes 24 rolls or 12 buns)


  • 1 egg at room temperature plus enough water to equal 1 1/3 cups. Water should be at 80°F/27°C.
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast


Select dough course. Once the dough cycle is complete place on a lightly floured surface and cut into 24 equal pieces for dinner rolls, or 12 equal pieces for buns. Shape into either a long, bun shape for hot dogs or a round shape for hamburgers. Dinner rolls can be slightly elongated similar to an egg shape. Cover the shaped dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C and bake for 12 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

baked rolls and bunsbaked rolls and buns in a basket


Pizza Dough Recipe:

(1 thick crust or 2 thin crusts)


  • 1 2/3 cups of water at 80°F/27°C
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dry milk
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast


Select Pizza Dough Course or the basic dough course. When cycle is complete place on a lightly floured surface. If making two thin crusts, divided in half. For one thick crust begin to roll out the dough with a flour dusted rolling pin and push and pull dough into shape raising the edges. Spread a pizza sauce over the top (this could be as simple as a canned tomato sauce) and sprinkle with your toppings. Bake in a preheated oven set at 425°F/218°C for 20 minutes or until crust is a golden brown. You can top your pizza with just about anything so experiment and have fun.


Soft Pretzels Recipe:

pretzel dough 1Pretzel dough 2 sliced

(Makes 16 pretzels)


  • 1 1/4 cups of water at 80°F/27°C
  • 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Pretzel dough rolled 2pretzel in shape 2


Select dough course. When dough cycle is complete remove dough to a lightly floured surface and cut dough into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece with both hands to form a 16-inch rope of dough. Fold the dough into a pretzel shape. To do this, cross the ends of the rope to make a loop and twist the crossed ends once and fold across the loop. You might have to practice a bit, but when you get the pretzel shape you’ll recognize it. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with a glaze of 1 egg white and 1 tbsp of water beaten together. Top with coarse sea salt and/or parmesan cheese or whatever toppings you like. Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F/190°C for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.

pretzel pile 1 after bakingSalted pretzels and cinnamon sugar pretzels baked



These are good, fundamental recipes to get some experience with how the dough cycle can open up your baking creativity. Your recipe book for your machine may have more or you can continue to visit our website as we add more ideas to make all of your home bread making great.color: #7e5d50;

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  1. Reply
    Lori DeLeon April 24, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    Your pizza dough calls for 1 2/3 c water to 2 1/4 c bread flour. That just leaves soup. Please let me know if I’m reading incorrectly.

  2. Reply
    Keith Weatherby II December 6, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    I’m confused, as the manual for my Hamilton Beach bread maker says that after the second kneading there is a second and third rise. Why does it have two separate rises? It doesn’t appear to knead in between second and third. Doesn’t it just stay in there the combined time of the two rises?

  3. Reply
    Laura February 6, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    I have a new Hamilton Beach bread maker….and I want to make Sourdough buns. I used the dough setting – but none of the recipes I can find say how many times I need to let the dough rise! One? (does it do that in the bread machine on the dough cycle?) or two? (after I take it out of the machine and form it into buns?) Help!!

    • Reply
      Dianne Arnett April 4, 2019 at 6:16 pm

      I have a kbs bread machine and most recipes say to use “dough” cycle, but my machine has a raw dough cycle and a leaven dough cycle. Which of these do i use for something like cinnamon roll dough

    • Reply
      Toby February 17, 2019 at 12:00 am

      I have been working this out for my Black and Decker and probably by now you have an answer. I think the dough cycle is the same on all the machines –the dough is ready for the first rise to begin when you take it out of the machine.

      I have worked. things out for my B&D for the whole grain setting so that I can remove the dough, take the paddle out, and return the dough to the machine so that it can have a final rise and bake. I don’t want to turn the oven on for just one loaf of bread. toby.

  4. Reply
    Nichole June 21, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Hi, I had just tried to shape dough for the first time just now. (Normally I would complete the whole baking process in the bread machine itself.) However, I realised that I had to use a lot of flour on my work space when shaping the dough. And I had to flour my hands or the dough sticks to my fingers too. But I felt that im using wayyyy too much flour ?

  5. Reply
    Kim May 11, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    I have black and decker B2300 bread machine and would like to know the time of each cycle re: mixing, kneading, rising so I can take my bras dough out and cook in my regular oven

    • Reply
      Toby February 17, 2019 at 12:07 am

      I have been working this out for my Black and Decker . I have an All in One Plus but most likely it’s the same for all their bread machines. I like to let the machine do all the work, and then remove the paddle and replace the dough in the baking pan before the oven turns on. I did this for the multigrain setting which has a longer kneading and mixing cycle. At 2-1/2 hours I can remove the dough, pat it into a nice shape to cover where the paddle had been, and replace the dough [leaving the machine on of course] so it’s ready to bake.

      I am not sure about basic breads or sweet breads which I assume would be the same. The multigrain cycle is 20 minutes longer so maybe at 2 hours and 10 minutes I can take the paddle out of basic breads.

      The bread bakes beautifully in the B&D machine when the paddle is removed.

  6. Reply
    Don November 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    New to using my Breadman only a few times and after filling our house with the fresh baked bread which 4 ladies say tastes great my low sugar diet Grape they wanted more! I’ll try some of these breads on this page… Mahalos!

  7. Reply
    Becky Dortignac June 6, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Steve,

    I have a Hamilton Beach bread machine and I use the dough cycle for my breads. The first couple of times I used it, the bread rose beautifully, but ever since, it has started kneading the dough again halfway through the rise! I assume this isn’t normal, and maybe just a glitch in my machine? My bread hardly rises now and always turns out like a brick. Any thoughts?

    • Reply
      Steve Nubie June 7, 2017 at 6:36 am

      Hi Becky,

      Most bread machines do a double knead and double rise cycle. It’s not the machine but the ingredients and how you have combined them. Measure carefully and add the yeast last on top of the flour. This is an unusual occurrence considering that you have had mixed results.

      • Reply
        garry renshaw April 12, 2019 at 8:07 am

        a question…bb290 bead machine…i’ve used the dough setting before and it didn’t work – i thought one just used the dough setting then cooked the rolls….i’ve just read – here in the letters – i should have let it rise, once or twice ?? i just bought a muffin tin and i have it on ‘dough’ setting , 8 , and when the setting finishes, i’ll now take it out, put it under plastic till it doubles, knead it, again rise under plastic, then make muffin sized lumps, and cook in the oven – 220c for 40 minutes…do i know what i’m doing ???? garry

  8. Reply
    Anon January 30, 2017 at 1:02 am

    For the dinner roll/hamburger bun recipe, is that 1/4 TBS of oil?

    • Reply
      Admin February 4, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Hi, it’s 1/4 cup oil. Sorry for the mistake and the late response 🙂

  9. Reply
    Kim Singer March 20, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Great article, Steve, but is there a bread maker available that allows you to use the timer on a dough program? (My Panasonic one doesn’t!)

    • Reply
      Steve Nubie March 25, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Hi Kim,

      I am not aware of a bread machine that let’s you do a delayed setting for the dough cycle, but I suspect a machine with custom settings might allow that. Let us know if you find one 🙂


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