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I bought a bread machine that makes delicious bread, but in the weekday, I rarely have time to put all of the ingredients together. I would like to prepare many batches for a whole month, all at once.

Many years ago, I could buy box mixes, for use in the machine, but the cost has gone up considerably. Would it be possible for me to measure out the ingredients for the bread, store them in zip-lock bags, to later be throwing into the machine?

Typical recipes include such ingredients as these:

- water
- butter
- honey
- salt
- bread flour
- nonfat dry milk
- yeast
- granola
- Italian seasoning
- mozzarella cheese
- sun-dried tomatoes

I suspect cheese, butter, water, and milk cannot be added, but can all other ingredients be added together, then stored in zip-lock backs, to later be poured in the machine? Will this result in less quality taste? How long can it be stored?

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You can certainly mix together all of the dry ingredients out of the above, and store them. They should store for a few weeks in the fridge, and a few months in the freezer.

However, by dry, I'm referring to the following out of the above:

  • Bread flour
  • Nonfat dry milk
  • Salt
  • Yeast
  • Granola
  • Sun dried tomatoes, if completely dried (not packed in oil or brine)

The other ingredients all contain some moisture and would be problematic to store in advance of making the bread, for several reasons:

  1. The wet ingredients might ferment on their own or together with the dry ingredients;
  2. The wet ingredients might cause clumping in ways the bread maker cannot break up;
  3. Some of them don't freeze well;
  4. Premixing them might cause the bread machine to not be able to mix properly.

Some explanation on the last: many bread machines instruct you in a specific order of adding wet and dry ingredients. This is because their mixing and kneading action is designed to work with that layering. So if you premix and store ingredients, you can't me sure that your bread machine will mix them properly. You can test this, of course, if you can afford a few failed batches.

This means that you need to create your mixes of only the dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredients the day you make bread.

More ideas and information along this line can be found in the following articles:

  • Bought bread mixes aren't normally stored in the fridge, and if you're going to do so you need to be very sure they're well sealed as the humidity varies a lot – Chris H Jul 7 at 7:05
  • Humidity is the specific reason I recommend storing in the fridge. Outside the fridge, humidity varies a lot. – FuzzyChef Jul 8 at 15:23
  • It does vary out of the fridge, but in the fridge you get a sudden influx of warm most air when the food is cold, leading to condensation if not sealed. Would you store flour in a fridge (as an example of one ingredient)? – Chris H Jul 8 at 16:22
  • Chris: yes, I do store my flour in the fridge. It lasts much longer that way. Except specialty flours that I don't use very often ... those go in the freezer. – FuzzyChef Jul 8 at 21:36
  • That explains it. You must have a very different climate to me (and a big fridge). Here flour keeps for months in a cupboard. – Chris H Jul 9 at 6:44

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