Monday, January 26, 2009

Herb Bread

Who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread? Or the satisifation of knowing all of your hard work paid off? There is nothing like sinking your mouth into a warm, soft, and chewy slice of homemade bread! I've been going crazy baking all kinds of breads, desserts, and other "doughy" creations in my bread machine. I've decided to share a few of my favorite recipes.

What can be more mouthwatering than the scent of herb baking in your home? That is why I LOVE this herb bread. The best part is that this bread makes one mean bag of croutons...that is if you have any of the bread left! Fresh herbs are best, but I've had great success with dried ones. This recipe comes from Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberb and Lois Conway. If you own a bread machine Bread Machine Magic and The Bread Machine Book of Helpful Hint, both by the same authors, are you best bets for books out there with easy and fabulous recipes. I keep borrowing mine from the library, but I use them so much that I might just go and buy the books!

Bread machines are nice if you don't have a lot of time to mess around in the kitchen or are planning to go somewhere. However, I've discovered that it is better to use the machine to mix the dough and then bake it in my oven in my own pan. It takes a little more time, but I think it is worth it. The bread is lightier and produces more normal size slices. Make sure to invest in an electric knife. I got mine at a thift store (for $2), but you can find them at Walmart for about $15. I've included both instructions and you can decide which is best for you. Also, I included a instructions on how to make your own bread flour. I find that it is cheaper and works just as well as the store made brands.

Herb Bread (1 1/2 lb loaf)
Bread Machine Magic
by Linda Rehberb and Lois Conway

3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 C Chopped Onion
1 C Milk
3 C Bread Flour**
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Dried Dill
1/2 Tsp Dried Basil
1/2 Tsp Dried Rosemary
2 Tsp Yeast

1. Saute butter and onion for 8-10 minutes.
2. Allow to cool.
3. Add ingredients to bread pan in the order that is shown. This is VERY important. Make sure to make a "well" for the yeast to go in.
4. Select Light Crust and press start. Remove and slice one hour after cooling. May be store in a ziplock bag for 3-4 days or frozen for 2 months. To thaw sit out for 1 hour in a ziplock bag on the counter.
4. Select Dough
5. After dough has mixed and risen the timer will beep. Remove dough and place into a well greased bread pan and place in warm oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour. (To warm oven set to warm for 2 minutes. Then, turn oven off.)
6. Take pan out of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
7. Bake for 20 minutes.
8. Wait one hour before slicing. May be store in a ziplock bag for 3-4 days or frozen for 2 months. To thaw sit out for 1 hour in a ziplock bag on the counter.

**Bread Flour: To make your own, add 1 1/2 tsp gluten (found at any grocery store) to every cup of flour (all purpose or unbleached). I find that adding gluten to any type of flour, especially whole wheat makes a HUGE difference.

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