Tuscan Bread Loaf

Making bread again makes me happy. Makes my family happy too.

We bought a bread machine again as it saves so much time. I don't actually bake bread in the machine, I use the dough setting. That setting takes care of the mixing and initial rising. It only takes an hour and half but if I started bread by the time we got home from work, we wouldn't actually take it out of the oven until 9 pm.

Obviously that wouldn't be ideal.

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There is a delay setting on the machine so I can measure the ingredients in the morning, set the timer on the machine so it's ready at 5 pm, then I get home and roll the dough out. It needs a second rising time and while it's doing its thing there, we can walk the dog or I can start on dinner. Perfect.

Here is a recipe for a good bread, one of our favorites, Tuscan loaf.

Ingredients

1 cup water
2 TB olive oil
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 package active dry yeast
cornmeal
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.

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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!

There isn't anything like a hot fresh loaf of bread.

Grab the butter and tuck in!

8 comments:

Le laquet said...

See this is why a breadmaker would be ideal for me - mixing dough by hand is just too tough. BUT and it's a big but ... no room for another kitchen gadget. If you're adding extra ingredients (I have this thing for walnut bread) when do you add those bits, oh dough goddess?

Tina said...

I have never ever been a goddess before! but I can say, if I keep eating all this homemade bread I will be doughy all around!
We don't have room for this appliance either but it is a must-have for fresh bread when you work full time. Just stash the machine in another room, it doesn't have to be the kitchen. It's large enough that I couldn't possibly store it on the kitchen counter. I place the machine on a side table in another room, haul it out when I set it up.

If you bake bread in the machine it has a setting for things like raisin bread. There is a beep when to add raisins and so, same would hold true for walmuts. Toss them in and let it cook up. If you are using the machine solely for the dough setting you would probably need to toast the walnuts prior, get the dough out out and mix in the walnuts as you roll it out for the second rise.

Vicki said...

I need to find my bread machine, I think it's out in the garage somewhere. Your bread posts are making me crave homemade bread!

Tina said...

Oh, go find it, Vicki! It's so good and you don't have any preservatives.

Katherine P said...

Oh that sounds delicious! I love baking bread though it's been awhile since I've made any. I used to have a bread machine and used it all the time but it died not too long ago and I've been doing it by hand every since. Since I don't have the work issue it isn't that big of a deal but it was always fantastic to have had a busy day and to come home to bread ready to be shaped.

Tina said...

It's a wonderful thing to make bread, Katherine. I started doing it by hand but was limited to weekends because of the time you need to be home for the rising, etc.

~~louise~~ said...

Look at you baking bread, Tina. It looks heavenly! I had a bread machine ages ago and would you believe I gave it away!!! Looks like you found a system that works for you, Tina. I only wish I lived next door so I could at least get a whiff!!!

Thanks for sharing, Tina...Love the cornmeal cheerios tip!!!

Tina said...

Thanks, Louise. Grits work too and I have used those!

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