Today I had my first experience with making fresh home baked bread without the aid of our bread machine.
Our trusty bread machine has served us faithfully for the past five years, but this morning when I tried to turn it on, it would not work. As I had already put in all of the ingredients, I didn’t want them to go to waste, so I looked up how to make it in the oven. As it turns out, the bread is delicious and not very difficult or time consuming to make – mostly just waiting. This is our family’s favorite bread recipe. I will admit that I don’t know if I want to make our bread by hand all the time, it is very rewarding to see the loaf slide out of the oven and taste the first slice of still warm fresh bread.
Recipe: (Adapted from the Breadman Ultimate Plus Breadmaker Cookbook.)
Rosemary Garlic French Bread (2 Pound Loaf)
1/2 cups warm water (80 degrees F)
1 1/2 tbl olive oil (we like to use 2 TBL)
2 tsp salt
2 tbl sugar
1 tsp rosemary, dried and crushed (we use dried rosemary from our garden)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
4 cups bread flour
1 TBL active dry yeast
Add the yeast to the water. The water will turn a light brown.
Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large warmed bowl. (Heat the bowl by filling with hot water and dumping the water out.)
Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly add the water, all the while mixing with a spoon. Keep mixing until the flour and the water have combined and start to pull away from the side of the bowl to form a ball.
Place the ball of dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. (Kneading is done by pounding, folding over, pressing and twisting the dough.)
Use cornstarch or cooking spray to line a bowl. Place the dough ball into the bowl. Cover and leave in a warm area for an hour.
The dough should rise and appear puffy. Remove from the bowl and punch the air out of the dough. I did this by pressing the dough into a rough rectangle shape. Then roll the dough up, pressing the seam closed along the bottom, and turn the ends under.
Oil the bottom and sides of a bread pan, or if you are like me, a large cookie sheet.
Place the dough on the pan. Cover and place in a warm area for an hour.
Bake the bread at 425 degrees F for 30 – 40 minutes.
Remove from the pan, let cool. Slice and enjoy!
Tips: To make the bread more like a rustic French loaf; before placing in the oven, spray the loaf with water and sprinkle with four. Slice cuts 1/4 inch deep along the loaf.
For a crisper crust, place a bowl full of water in the oven while the loaf is baking.
As much as we try to follow all of the instructions for recipes, this morning all of the ingredients were already in the mixing bow. I just dumped all of these into a bowl and mixed it up with my hands. From the way the loaf turned out, this worked just as well.