Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Well, it has been cold and snowy here in the foothills of the cascade mountains. Here at our house, we had a foot of snow dumped on us Friday! In an effort to help keep us warm (and knowing we wouldn't be going to the store any time soon), I made Egg Bread for us to enjoy this weekend. I took a little help from my bread machine and I followed a recipe from Best Bread Machine Recipes.
I've never really liked the loaf size of the bread pan on my machine, nor do I care for the large hole that always results in the baked loaf, so I like to use the machine to handle the mixing and raising, then transfer the loaf to my own pan (or free-form it), so that's what I did with this loaf.
My husband couldn't wait to dig in, so he kindly took these last two photos for me (isn't he great?)! This recipe resulted in the perfect bread for sandwiches - cold or grilled, toast and I'm pretty sure it would make absolutely delicious French Toast. The crumb is spongy, tight and resilient, the crust is crisp and delicate and the egg lends it a lovely, dare-I-say creaminess, that just about melts in your mouth. If you're looking for the perfect every day loaf for lunches, breakfast, and enjoying with a nice slathering of butter - this is it!
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tbls butter, melted
3 cups bread flour
2 tbls sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
If you are using a bread machine, follow the manufacturer's instructions for making bread. If you are making this bread by hand:
Heat milk and butter until butter is melted and milk scalds. Add water. Check the temperature - ideally it should be 80-90 degrees for dissolving the yeast. I usually shoot for baby-bottle temperature - you should be able to touch it without getting burned and it should just about match your body temperature if you test it on your wrist. Sprinkle on the yeast and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir to combine. Beat the egg lightly, then add it to the milk, butter & yeast mixture. Stir in the sugar and salt as well. At this point, you can continue by hand or switch to an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment. Gradually add the flour, one cup at a time, until it is fully incorporated and forms a soft ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set it in a warm place to rise until it doubles in size (about an hour).
Lightly knead the risen dough and form it into a log, about the size of your loaf pan. Spray the pan with non-stick spray (or coat it with butter) and place the formed loaf in the pan. Split the top with a sharp knife and allow it to rise for about another 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes (it took exactly 35 minutes in my convection oven). The finished loaf should be golden brown on top, bottom and sides and should sound hollow when you tap it. Remove it from the pan and allow it to cool for as long as you can stand it until you have to break down and have some!
*this recipe is for a 1 1/2 pound loaf, the book also has a recipe for a 2 pound loaf
Enjoy - Ciao!