Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recipe: Italian Herb Bread (bread maker recipe)

Most of you know I love to bake bread, and although I am a big fan of doing it the "old-fashioned" way and hand kneading, I have also been using a bread maker. For one, now that hot weather has arrived, I don't want to heat up my kitchen any more than absolutely necessary. And for two, since I am now making all of our bread it's a wonderful time saver!

Instruction manuals for kitchen appliances can come with recipes, but I have never been all that impressed with them. I have to say, though, that the recipes for the West Bend Automatic Bread and Dough Maker are actually quite tasty. And while I would love to make 100% whole grain breads here all the time, I have to kind of ease the family into this healthier eating style I have decided we all need to eat. So, I make the Country White bread and reason that even though it is white bread, I at least use unbleached flour, sneak some whole wheat in there from time to time, and can pronounce all of the ingredients I put into the bread pan so it is at the very least marginally more healthy than anything I can buy at the store.  Baby steps...

This week, to go along with our delicious spaghetti and homemade sauce with organic, free range, wild fed forest "beef" (aka's a long, gruesome story!), I made the Italian Herb bread (on page 19 in this PDF file). Ok, I'll be nice and put the recipe here, too:

Italian Herb Bread 
1 Pound Loaf...see PDF file above for 1.5 Pound Loaf instructions

2/3 cup water, 80 degrees
1 3/4 cups bread flour
2 tsp dry milk
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 Tbs butter or margarine
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast or 3/4 tsp bread machine/fast rise yeast

Put ingredients into bread pan in the order given. I set this for the "dough" cycle, then let it rise a second time in a deep dish stoneware pie plate until doubled (I wanted a round loaf, not a square one with a hole in the bottom), then baked in the oven at 350 until done, probably half an hour (we had company and I didn't pay attention to the time while we were chatting). I used a homemade Italian seasoning mix and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

The result was a very flavorful, soft and delicious bread that went very well with our spaghetti. It was still very soft the next day and went great with our seasoned dipping oil, cheese and pepperoni for lunch. I will definitely make this again! Maybe next time I'll try baking it in the bread maker...especially if it's hot outside!

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