The Sweet Smell Of Baking Bread

posted in: Cooking | 6

When I bought the bread machine, my hope was that we wouldn’t buy sandwich bread from the grocery store anymore. That hasn’t been the case as we don’t bake bread every day but we are slowly getting into it and I do hope that at some point, all the sandwich bread, at least, eaten in this house is homemade. The one problem we have run into is the fact that we don’t finish the loaf the day I bake it so lots of it, sometimes half, goes stale and has to be thrown away. I’ve tried to save some to make croutons but never get around to it and have to throw it away anyway. We need to figure out a way to save the bread so we can have the next day as well.

I’ve been trying different recipes with varying degrees of success. Some were awful, the whole wheat one for example, and some have been really good, like the Italian bread I made today for the second time. I’ve found that I like bread that contains milk rather than water better. They tend to be richer and more tender. The flavor is also much better. One thing I have that has struck me as odd is that all the recipes I’ve tried have needed more salt than called for. The bread is usually fine like that if eaten as a sandwich or with some sort of spread, be it butter or jam or whatever but I like to eat bread plain so I’d like them to be a bit more salty. Of course, that’s the beauty of trying things; you stick with what works and adjust what doesn’t.

Italian Bread

For 1 1/2 pound loaf

3/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 tbsp water
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt (more if you’re like me)
1 tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast

Pour the milk, egg and water into the bread machine pan. If the instructions for your machine say you must place the yeast first, reverse the order in which you add the liquid and dry ingredients.

Sprinkle over the flour, making sure all the liquid is covered. Add the butter and salt in separate corners of the bread pan. Make a small indent in the center of the flour, making sure not to go as far down as the liquid, and add the yeast.

Set the bread machine to the basic/normal setting and select light or medium crust. Press start. Remove the bread from the machine at the end of the baking cycle and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

There’s nothing quite like waking up and smelling fresh baked bread and trust me, we can smell it all the way upstairs! I set up the machine the night before and use the timer feature to have the bread done at 8:00 AM when my husband takes it out and onto the cooling rack. This way, the bread is ready to eat when I wake up around 9:00 AM and for his lunch at Noon. Lucky guy him, gets to come home for lunch every day!

I know that some one, some where is thinking “What??? You leave a dairy and egg based recipe sitting on the counter for hours??? The horror!” Let’s put it this way….I use the ingredients straight from the fridge so they are cold when they go in. The house gets kept at 66°F during the night, which is pretty cool. So, no, the milk and egg don’t spoil in a few hours. You will not die of food poisoning, I promise you! Unless of course, your ingredients are already contaminated, but that’s another issue altogether. If you do make the bread straight away (no timer) then I suggest you use room temperature milk and eggs, that way the proofing isn’t retarded by cold ingredients.

6 Responses

  1. Dragon

    I’ve just started my adventures in bread making. Nothing better than the smell of baking bread. Your italian bread looks great!

  2. Tart Reform

    I tried a few wheat breads in the bread machine and they all came out horribly. The only one that worked is a pumpernickle styled to be like at outback (delicious). Don’t know what causes the difference.

  3. Jeanne

    What a lovely looking loaf. Like you guys, we just don’t eat enough bread to justify regular baking – half the loaf wudl always end up stale! But as you say, can there be a better smell in a house than baking bread?

  4. Maya

    The best way to keep your bread fresh is to freeze it as soon as it’s cool enough to slice.

    I make nice slices, pop it in the freezer and voila! I take it out of the freezer 5 minutes before I need it, let it thaw and it’s like freshly baked bread every single time!

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