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.
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.
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!
There isn't anything like a hot fresh loaf of bread.
Grab the butter and tuck in!