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Saturday, March 15, 2014

French Bread vs. The Bread Machine

I love homemade bread.  It is yummy, smells good, and is healthier than store bought bread.  I just really do not like the way a bread machine cooks the bread.  It is too dry and the texture is not appealing to me.  I also dont like the shape.  However, I do not have time to punch down the dough, wait, punch down the dough, wait, punch down the dough....  I have too much to do.

My solution, use the bread machine to just make the dough.  I always use the french setting - it is versitle and a favorite of everyone in my house.

Basic recipe:

9 ounces water (usually use= amounts keifer if I have it)
1 tbsp butter
3 cups flour (i dont use bread flour and my white/wheat mix works just fine)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 bread machine yeast

Add ins:

  • cinn/sugar mix
  • italian dry seasoning mix
  • grated parmesian cheese

Put everything in the bread machine and use the DOUGH setting.

When the dough is finished I split the dough into 2 loaves.  Shape the dough as desired (flat, braided, bread sticks, rolls or in a loaf pan) and bake.

As I said, I don't like the texture the bread machine gives the bread.  So, I put the bread into a cold oven at 200 degrees.  I bake it for 20-30 minutes at 200 - until the crust is just getting firm.  You know it is firm when you tap it with a fingernail and it sounds hard.  Then turn the oven up to 350 for 10 minutes to brown the crust.  Done.

Doing it this way makes the inside soft and the crust crunchy.  If you want, do an egg white wash on the crust before baking (one egg white with a table spoon of water brushed on the bread before baking.)

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