Yesterday I made some dough in the bread maker with this recipe:
1 cup water
1-1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 cups bread flour
2-1/2 tsp yeast
I kneaded the dough, shaped it into a freeform loaf, and let it rise for an hour before sticking it in a piping hot (preheated for about 15 minutes after it reached nominal temperature) 500-degree oven for 10 minutes, then dropping it down to 400 for another 30 minutes. It came out great.
So later in the day I decided to make some more. I doubled the recipe, but since I knew I’d never get the bread machine to knead a lump that size, I used a silicone spatula (and, later, my hands) to put the dough together. It started off looking really ragged, but it came together nicely. After it rose for an hour (the top of my stereo system is the ideal warm spot), I punched it down again, cut it into four pieces, shaped them into balls, and let them rise on individual squares of parchment paper. Just before I popped them in the oven, I sliced an X with my handy-dandy vorpal blade onto the top of each ball, then brushed them all with a raw scrambled egg. Same heat, slightly less time — 10 minutes hot-hot-hot, 25 minutes hot. They came out great.
said it reminded her of bread from France. was too busy eating to say much of anything.
And remember, this is just white bread. No sourdough sponge, no rye flour, no whole wheat flour, no oil or milk or potato or seeds or orange peel or anything. Just water, flour, yeast, sugar, salt and properly applied heat.
Why on earth did I ever let a bread machine cook my dough? It’s not bad for making the dough, but if I ever get a stand mixer with a dough hook, that bread machine is going to be out on its electronic ass before you can say Wonder Bread.