Bread and Butter

By Michelle Plummer

You can smell it now, the yeast, the flour and then the aroma of BREAD.

I have been making bread for what seems forever, up until a couple of years ago, all the bread we ate was from me, bread in a bag-never. The bread making process is simple and fool proof. Actually I think the bread talks your through the process.

Basic Italian Bread: ( in food processor)

3 cups King Arthur Bread flour                                   3 swirls of olive oil

2 tablespoons fast acting yeast                                  1 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. kosher salt                                                         about 1 ¼ cups warm water

Place flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and olive oil in food processor and mix for 10 seconds.

With machine running, slowly add warm water, as the dough is being mixed the sound will from sand to flop, flop, flop and pulls away from the side of the bowl; stop adding water, continue to ‘knead’ bread for a count of 30.  Stop.  In a resealable bag place the bread and remove the air and seal.  Allow to rest in a microwave (do not turn on) until doubled in size.  Open bag, punch down; knead 5 times and form into a loaf; place on baking sheet, cover with kitchen towel and allow to rise until double in size.  Place in preheated 400 degree oven and bake until golden brown and when thumped, the loaf sounds hallow.  Remove from oven, cool for 20 minutes and serve warm with cheese or butter or even plain!

Jazzed up Italian bread- (focaccia)

Use the same ingredients above and add any combination of the following: 3 tbsp. Italian herb blend, ½ cup Parmesan cheese (shredded if you have it), sun-dried tomatoes, olives, onions, roasted garlic—use your imagination.

Add all of the ingredients about to the dry mixture and then begin adding the warm water.  It may take a bit more water.  Follow the same directions as above, but with this dough you can make a round focaccia or small rolls, or 2 loaves…have some fun, but this is delicious.  When it comes from the oven be sure to have a small plate of olive oil with herbs for dipping!

This is a staple in my house, the other is King Arthur’s Oatmeal Toasting Bread. This is simple loaf bread and the recipe is attached.  I make a few changes for my family of using the butter only, using brown sugar and adding dried cranberries.   This toast with a glass of milk is perfect for breakfast on the go!

Several years ago I took a baking class at King Arthur and found that the flour, the recipes and the help are fool proof.  When you have a question, they are right there, yes at 6 am on Thanksgiving morning to answer questions.

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