Electronic, automated bread machines have made it possible for home bakers to turn out consistent loaves of bread, easily and conveniently, even if they have no personal skill at bread baking. The Panasonic SD-BT55P is a very capable example of the genre. Like other Panasonic machines, it is sturdy and well-built, able to work with relatively stiff doughs and whole grain flour. Unfortunately, while the machines themselves are durable and will last for years, the manual has become difficult to locate.
Remove the bread pan from the machine and insert the kneading blade. Measure all the dry ingredients, except the yeast, into the pan.
Pour your wet ingredients into the pan. Wipe the pan to remove any splashes of wet or dry ingredients from the outside.
Return the pan to the bread maker and close the lid. Open the yeast dispenser in the bread maker's lid and fill it with the amount of yeast called for in your recipe.
Bake a basic white bread on the default settings by pressing the "Start" button. Bake a basic whole wheat bread on the default settings by pressing the "Select" button once, then the "Start" button.
Choose the rapid-bake mode by pressing the "Select" button until either Basic Bake (Rapid) or Whole Wheat Bake (Rapid) is illuminated. Choose Basic Bake (Light) in the same way for lighter-colored loaves. Press the "Start" button.
Follow the same steps to choose the dough-only mode, which will mix up a basic or whole-grain dough for you to shape and bake in your own oven.
Some bakers find they get better results by reversing the order of the ingredients, and putting the liquids in first. If you have no firm convictions on the subject, try a few of your favorite bread recipes each way and see what works best for you.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.