Bread, Great Comfort Food
All of your senses are engaged when you cook. If it doesn’t look or smell appetizing, you are probably not going to eat it.
Texture is another consideration. Certain foods should feel a certain way and, if they don’t, your mind will tell you there is something wrong with it.
I cook by smell a lot, meaning I use the aroma of the food to determine if it is thoroughly cooked and how it will taste.
One of my favorite things to cook and smell is fresh baked bread. I like to make bread the old-fashioned way but I also use a bread machine.
A few months ago I saw a recipe for homemade bread online and I decided to treat my husband with a loaf of fresh bread. Larry loves fresh bread and it takes only a few hours. I have lots of cookbooks, but sometimes it is just faster and easier to Google it. It helps to include your machine brand in the search so you can find recipes that will work in your machine. I found a plethora (I just love that word!) of recipes for all kinds of bread.
I have a phone app called Copy Me That. It is the perfect tool to store all those online recipes you find. It sorts them and stores them, making it easy to find that recipe you saw and wanted to make someday. Best of all, it is free. I found several recipes for basic white bread, which is what I wanted. There are just a few ingredients needed and the cost is minimal. You need bread flour ($2.49 for a 5 lb. bag); active dry yeast ($4.58 for a four-ounce jar which makes numerous loaves); some type of liquid and sometimes oil, salt, and a bit of sugar. It will change your world!
I imagine most of you have been in HEB when they are baking bread. I used to think they did it purposely during the busiest time of day because, when I smell that delicious aroma, it makes me hungry.
My bread machine is set up in the guest room so it doesn’t take up kitchen counter space. About 30 minutes before the bread is finished baking, the most amazing smell wafts through my house. I could just sit in there and breathe until the bread is finished.
There is no fear in using a bread machine. I don’t think there is much of a risk of messing up as long as you follow the basic instructions. What a feeling of accomplishment when you pull that beautiful loaf from the pan.
This is one of my favorite recipes for white bread. It is called French Countryside Bread.
1 3/8 c. room temperature water
1/1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. bread flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
To prepare, add all ingredients to your bread machine as your directions instruct. Mine calls for the liquids first, then the salt, flour and sugar poured in; make a small well in the middle of the pan and carefully add your dry yeast.
Put pan in the machine, set to basic bread and start. In about 3 1/2 hours you will have delicious homemade bread.
I discovered another great recipe while looking for something a bit different. This is Hawaiian Bread, similar to the slightly sweet King's Hawaiian rolls. This makes a 2 lb. loaf.
1 3/4 c. pineapple juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. milk
2 1/2 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3 c. bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
First, add liquid ingredients to bread pan. Add all dry ingredients, except yeast, to bread pan. Tap pan to settle dry ingredients and then make a small well in the center and add yeast. Set machine to basic and turn on.
There are many recipes that are easy and don’t require exotic ingredients. I can only imagine how excited your family will be to sit down to a meal with fresh baked bread.
By: Chris Lundstrom is just a normal person who loves cooking for her family and friends. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite recipes.