Monday, January 12, 2009

Bread-making fun

One of the great things about not having a lot of milk in the winter is that it makes me stretch my imagination and step outside my bread-making comfort zone. When we have lots of milk, I tend to make very similar breads from day to day. Most of them use milk as the liquid, and the only variation is whether or not I use any whole wheat, oatmeal, rye, or other whole grains. Once we're rationing milk, however, I get creative!

A couple days ago, I noticed a half-empty jar of spaghetti sauce in the frig, so I used that for the liquid in my bread. It was Newman's pesto marinara (or something like that). It was delicious! It's been a couple years since I've had Panera's tomato-basil bread, but it reminded me of that.

Here's the basic bread recipe that I use for my bread machine. I typically make the 1.5-pound loaf, although my machine will make up to a 2-pound loaf.

1 cup liquid (water, milk, orange juice, tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, etc.)
2 tablespoons fat (butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
2 tablespoons sweetener (sugar or honey)
a hefty pinch of salt (probably a teaspoon)
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast (regular yeast, because bread machine yeast has some unpronounceable things in it)

If you don't have a bread machine, just mix everything together and knead for 15 minutes. It's great for building upper body strength! Also, it's sad but true that a lot of people buy bread machines then never use them. That means you can usually pick up one at a garage sale for about $5. I used to see them all the time but never bought one because Pierre (my imaginary butler and chef) had been chugging along just fine for 16 years! Then one day, he refused to make bread anymore. I was really kicking myself for not getting any of those bread machines I'd seen at garage sales. So, I wound up paying full price for a new one. The next summer, I bought a bread machine at a garage sale, so I'm ready when this one breaks! It also allows me to make two loaves of bread at once when we have company coming.

This is the same recipe I use to make our homemade pizza dough for our Friday night pizza and movie. Use water as the liquid, and it's easier to spread on the pizza stone if it's all unbleached flour, rather than whole wheat.

And if you're wondering where Pierre came from . . . well, if you set your bread machine to have your bread ready first thing in the morning, and you have a programmable coffee pot that will have your coffee ready first thing in the morning, it's almost as good as having an invisible chef and butler to serve you breakfast the moment you wake up! For breakfast, I use orange juice as the liquid, and throw in some dried cranberries.


SkippyMom said...

Thank you for sharing your recipe. It would never had occured to me to use anything but milk! Spagetti sauce? Orange Juice/cranberries? Awesome :D

I can't wait to try it! Thanks again

Claire said...

Yummy! Funny timing because I visited my parents at the holidays and they have a bread machine but they were not using it, so it went into my trunk and I drove home with it (2000 miles). I can't wait to try it, so this is the perfect recipe! Thanks!

Shula said...

Yum I want to try the orange juice and dried cranberries now with my bread maker. We tend to use ours to make the dough and then take it out to make bread rolls. Never thought of trying different liquids.

Anonymous said...

I am going to make a loaf tomorrow. I love to bake during off-peak hours set by our electric company and leave the oven door open when it's all done to warm the house ;-)


Anonymous said...

Like your family, we downsized and moved out of the city and into the northwoods of Wisconsin. I enjoyed reading your blog. Especially the bread making. Thank you for sharing this basic recipe. I have a hard time to get my loaves to rise. I sometiimes use a sourstarter, but sometimes I feel I still need to add extra yeast. Is that normal? Maybe it is way too cold in my house to get it to rise. I will keep trying. You'd think someone my age would have it all together by now, but this retired old lady just has a hard time to make a loaf that isn't hard as a rock. I see, by reading your blog, you are bothered by those big fuury critters. We have the wolves and bears to contend with. Deer eat my hostas and vegetables out of our small garden. But today I am only visited by blue-jays and squirrels. I am thankful God gave me the desire to my heart in our later years. I now have time to spend on Him and His creations around me. Thank you again, and God Bless...You may not realize it but you have a profound ministry to the people who read your blog. It gives people a chance to relate and connect. Lone Walker of

Deborah said...
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Deborah said...

Lone Walker - It's been years since I made sourdough, but I recall that it does not rise as much as bread that uses yeast. Giving it more time to rise can help some. I used to use a sourdough starter that started with yeast, but I'd like to get another starter going and not use yeast. It's one of the many things on my to-do list!

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sasa said...
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Diane Edgecomb - said...

Got a question for yuh. I have a bread machine and have never made pizza dough in it. But I bet that is a great use. What are the ingredients for that and do you just pull it out after it finishes the mix cycle? Thanks and By the way I got my bread machine for $5 at a yard sale and I love it! Diane

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Here's my post on pizza:
Most bread makers have a "dough" setting. It just mixes it up and lets it rise, then it beeps. We used to use ours for pizza dough before we got a KitchenAid. Have fun!

I LOVE YOU said...
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