If there’s one thing that’s true about baking, it’s this: A machine used to make bread must be cleaned thoroughly. This is an especially important step before you use your bread machine. You then need to do the same thing in between making different food items so that the latter doesn’t get any of the former’s ingredients on it, messing up the result.
It all sounds so easy, but it can actually be tricky to clean the parts of a bread machine. Well, at least you have us and Bread and Buzz to help set you on the right track. Today, we’ll look at how bread machine cleaning can take place safely and efficiently, so you can accomplish your tasks with ease and confidence.
Cleaning Your Bread Machine: When To Do It
The first thing you’ll want to know is when is the best time to clean your bread maker. You can’t just go all crazy-cleaner on your appliance because that would mess it up. Regardless, a good-quality bread machine should be cleaned after every use. That means every time you take a loaf out of your machine, clean it.
Cleaning is even more necessary when you fail to cook a food item completely since that means some of the ingredients would have been left behind. Now, imagine how much of a haven all those stuck-on bits would become for bacteria if they’re not removed right away.
Another important time to make sure your bread maker is spotless is after you remove it from storage. Obviously, you don’t know what microorganisms have been calling your bread machine’s parts their home since the last time you used it. Be extra careful, too; whatever these tiny creatures are, they are going to end up in your food if you don’t remove them.
Lastly, a bread maker should always be cleaned after being bought. Whether you bought it new or used, make sure it goes through some thorough cleaning so that there’s no chance for any dirt, grime, or debris to make it onto your food.
Cleaning Your Bread Machine: The Steps
Now that we’ve covered when to clean your bread maker, let’s tackle how to clean the appliance the right way. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Do Some Sweeping
Position the bread machine sideways. Then, using a paintbrush or basting brush, sweep out the leftover crumbs. Don’t attempt to rinse the inside with water; it’ll burn out the machine’s electrical parts. Brushing the machine using your hand also won’t be a good idea, as it could end up burning you.
A clean brush should be used to sweep out any leftover dry dough and flour residue. In case the dough is still moist, don’t attempt to scrape it out. Let it dry first before you attempt to get it out so that you don’t end up ruining your machine.
If there happens to be some liquid in your unit, grab a soft, clean cloth to wipe it down with. Then, get rid of the cloth before you accidentally use it to wipe another part of your bread maker.
Step 2: Take Care of the Heating Elements
Let’s move on to the heating elements. Unlike most users, you want to make sure you don’t skip this part of the cleaning. That’s because flour and grime that gets stuck to heating elements for too long can eventually cause a fire. Yes, these particular components of your bread maker are super-sensitive, but that doesn’t mean you should forego cleaning them. You can still clean them efficiently by:
- Using a moist cloth to wipe them down
- Not spraying them with water, as these could short-circuit the parts
- Wiping as many times as required for the parts to get clean
- Cleaning any spills that made it to the outside of the unit
- Not using any cleaning solutions
If you’re concerned about any bacteria in these parts, wipe them down using cleaning wipes.
Step 3: Take Care of the Bread Pan
Now it’s the bread pan’s turn. This part shouldn’t give you too much trouble. In fact, most seasoned cleaners of the bread machine look forward to this phase of the cleaning process more than any other.
You can clean the bread pan simply by running it through your dishwasher. Of course, you have to actually make sure it’s labeled dishwasher-safe before doing so. In case the dishwasher is out of the question, you can do the following:
- Use a soapy rag to wipe it down. Then, wash the soap residue away by rinsing it with clean water.
- With a non-stick bread pan, or a pan that food sticks to regardless, carefully scrub the surface using a soft sponge.
- A steel sponge or a brush with steel bristles can damage your pan, so don’t use it under any circumstances.
- Check the manual, as it can inform you of the proper way to remove and clean mixing paddles.
- Make sure attachments are given time to dry in an upright position before reassembling them.
Step 4: Dry the Machine Properly
Before reassembling everything and placing them back in the bread maker, make sure they have dried completely. This should get rid of all the food residue, which could become potential breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.
However, as much as you hate these things and want to prevent them from happening, you don’t want to use any type of bleach inside your bread machine. If any of these chemicals get left behind, they could make it onto your food and turn it toxic.
Aside from making your food toxic, these chemicals can also ruin the inside components of your machine, particularly its finish. With the finish practically melted off, you’ll no longer be able to bake bread evenly and then remove them with ease.
Why Clean Your Bread Machine?
Aside from your bread maker being a precious investment, another reason you should clean it (and the most important one at that) is for your health and the health of those who will be eating the bread you make.
Cleaning your machine correctly ensures that the food items you create with it are as close to bacteria-free as possible. Plus, you can also be sure that it tastes exactly as it’s supposed to, without the influence of any leftover ingredients from the previous session.