When I’m spending the day in the kitchen, I like to multi-task and make a couple of recipes at the same time. While my cookies were in the oven, I set my bread machine on its dough cycle for some delicious homemade bread.
I find that I only really like using the bread machine to make dough, which I free-form into loaves, rather than using it to make bread. I don’t enjoy the shape or texture of the loaves the machine makes. The machine loaves are big, rectangular bricks, but they do’t have the classic bread top you’d get from using a loaf pan. I’ve also found the bread made in the machine to be tough, not soft and crispy-edged like I enjoy. But, the machine is useful to execute dough, including kneading the rising steps, while I’m doing something else.
I set the machine to the dough cycle, which on my machine is 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once the cycle was complete, I gently punched down the dough and kneaded it a couple of times on a lightly floured cutting board before shaping it into a ball and setting it in a greased bowl to rise in the oven. I’ve learned to set my oven to broil for a few minutes to warm up quickly, then turn it off and set the dough inside to double in size.
Once the dough was doubled in size, I again punched it down gently and cut it in two, setting one piece aside. I rolled out the first piece (recommended size was 8” x 12”) and then rolled it up into a baguette shape and tucked the ends under. I did the same to the second piece, cut slices across the top every 2 inches, and let them rest on a greased cookie sheet for 30-40 minutes. Then I baked them in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Freshly baked bread! We enjoyed a few slices plain and a few with a smear of butter, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Yum! How do you eat your freshly baked bread? What’s your favorite topping? Or is plain your jam? (see what I did there?! Haha).