Freshly baked bread. Is there anything better than a fresh loaf out of the oven…the yeasty aroma wafting about the kitchen, grabbing your attention with a must-have-that-now as you deeply inhale the scent of comfort. That’s what a warm slice of bread, slathered with butter, may be described as…for me anyway. It’s comfort.
Yes, I am going to yap about bread. For the first time I am having consistent results with my bread making. Perhaps it’s allowing the bread machine to do the first step. Setting it on Dough and allowing the machine to take care of the initial kneading and rising has been an enormous help to me. In regards to saving me time it’s fantastic.
My friend Rita at Sage Cuisine asked if I would post the recipe for Rustic Tuscan bread - Yes, Rita……I am happy to share it!
1 cup water
2 TB olive oil
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 package active dry yeast
1 egg white, beaten
For the machine: I spooned flour into measuring cup, careful not to dip my 1 cup measuring cups into the vat of flour. Know why I spoon the flour into the cup? Because it doesn’t pack the flour down. Thus states the directions of the bread machine. In large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt and mix well.
For my machine you add the liquid ingredients first. So, in goes the water and olive oil. Carefully add the flour mixture atop the liquid in the machine.
Now add yeast into the center of the flour mixture.
I simply select the Dough setting and the machine whirls happily while I, equally happy, am free to do something else for an hour and a half. How sweet is that?! The machine will beep loudly after that 1 ½ hour interval and I scoop the dough out with my favorite La Creuset spatula. Punch down dough.
Cover dough with inverted bowl and let rest 15 minutes. Shape into loaf about 12 inches long. Sprinkle ungreased cookie sheet with cornmeal. *
* Note: Necessity is the mother of invention and when you are out of cornmeal, grind up a handful of Cheerios, the honey nut or regular work a charm. You have to crush them fairly fine to work like cornmeal but I’m here to tell you – it works fine.
Place on corn meal coasted cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for 35 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 F. With knife slash the dough on top and brush with egg whites. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, then cool a bit and enjoy!
Baguettes were the next attempt. There's a story.....but it ended well. I am having fun trying out different recipes and it sure as hell beats bread bought from the grocery store.
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