I made bread! And it didn't suck! Granted, I really only hunted and gathered all the ingredients, read and re-read the recipe 40 bazillion times, and then dumped it all, in the proper order, into the bread machine. So I guess the bread machine did all the real work :) But for all intents and purposes, I made bread and it was good.
I can't believe how easy it was. We have a West Bend bread machine and it is pretty great. I have never done anything like this before, and I've never even really seen a bread machine...except for when we moved and I carried it into the kitchen from the old apartment. That's about it.
I inventoried our cupboards and determined we had very little on the ingredients list, so to the market we went. Yeast is weird. I've only ever seen Kevin stirring it up somethin' fierce at the holidays when he makes these really amazing rolls that go with dinner. I've never actually participated in the yeast'ing of anything, so I was a touch intimidated, but there was no need to be :)
Basically, just add the ingredients in the exact order below...this is important.
- 2/3 cup water (70 to 80 degrees F...I nuked it for 1 minute in the microwave...and yes, the temp of the water is important)
- 2 teaspoons butter, softened (you can also sub with olive oil if you like)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt (I used kosher sea salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (I used one full 1/4 oz. packet and it was just fine :))
- In the bread machine pan, place all ingredients in the order listed above. Select Basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available (our machine doesn't have these options). Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed...I ended up adding 1 tablespoon of water as it looked a little dry).
The prep was quick and easy, and the total bread machine time was around 3 hours and 10 minutes.
And that's that! It was incredibly tasty! Golden crispy, but not too crispy, crust, and a warm moist center that has a great density to it. It is perfect :) We immediately enjoyed a slice with butter...yum. Then we decided that wasn't enough of a sample size and that we'd better expand our research/tasting efforts, so we dipped it in olive oil with shredded parmesan cheese. Whoa. That was a whole lotta yum. The herb flavors are there, but not in your face. I could taste more of the rosemary and thyme, but Geof said he could taste the garlic. I thought the garlic was pretty subtle, but I wouldn't add any more than I did. This would be perfect with any sort of Italian dish, or just by itself...in excess ;)
I scooped this recipe from HERE in case you want to read any of the reviews and see how others adapted the recipe, including for the oven (instead of a bread machine).