Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Favorite Bread Machine Recipe

This recipe makes 2 loaves of a moist, richly flavored, very high rising bread with a soft texture.  I adapted a recipe found at to better fit my tastes (read that as richer and moister).  The recipe calls it Challah.  Trust me - it's not challah.  But it has a very pleasant faintly eggy flavor.

I like to prepare the dough in my bread machine, then form it into loaves, let it rise again and bake it in the oven.  This recipe originally called for it to be baked in the machine, thereby making one large loaf.  I found that it overflowed the pan when baked in the bread machine.  I solved that by forming into 2 loaves and baking in my oven.  I also like the texture and flavor better.  I think that bread baked in the bread machine has a slight steamed flavor.  It may just be my machine, or it may just be me.  Try it either way.

Bread Machine Challah
3/4 cup warm water
1 egg, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pats
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Add ingredients to your bread machine in order suggested by the manufacturer.  If you can't find them, place wet ingredients in machine: water, egg, egg yolks and butter.
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt and yeast.  Stir to combine.
Add to machine on top of wet ingredients; don't stir.  Set the machine to dough cycle, 2 lb. loaf and start the machine.
Peek inside to be sure the blade is moving the ingredients about.  Set a timer for 5 minutes.
When the timer goes off, use a spatula to scrape in any flour that isn't mixed into the dough.  It will not look like dough.  It should look too wet, but not soupy. If it looks soupy, add up to 2 tablespoons additional flour. If the dough looks a little dry (very firm ball of dough wrapped around the dough blade) add additional water - up to 2 tablespoons.
Don't agonize over it, neither will kill the bread.  Not enough flour and the bread will be flat and dense.  Too much flour and it will be dry and tough.  Either way it's edible.  Remember that's what bread pudding, bread crumbs and french toast are for.  Keep making bread and within 3 or 4 runs you will figure out how it's supposed to look when it first is mixed.  Then it's easy-peasy from then on out.
It should take somewhere around and hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours before the dough is ready - so take note of when you need to be home and be SURE to be there.
Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking oil. Spray 2 pieces of plastic wrap with oil and set aside.
When the machine sounds it's end of cycle beep, beep, beep - flour your clean dry counter top and dump out the dough.  Fish out the paddle and put it aside to wash.  Remove your rings to a safe place and flour your hands.  Pat out air bubbles in the dough. and form it into a flat rough rectangle.  Being mindful of your counter top, cut the dough into two equal pieces.  Roll one piece like a jelly roll starting at a short side.  Pinch the ends and tuck them under; place seam side down in pan.  Repeat with the other piece of dough.
Cover each pan with a piece of prepared plastic wrap and set in warm spot to rise.  Allow to rise until it is about 1" above the top of the pan, about 45 minutes.  After 30 minutes, start preheating your oven to 350F, so it's ready when the dough is ready.
Remove plastic wrap and place into preheated oven.  Bake 30 - 40 minutes or until tops are browned and loaves sound hollow when you knock on them.
Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to come to room temperature before slicing.  I slice one loaf and place it into a gallon size zip top bag and store it at room temperature.  The second loaf is also cooled to room temperature, then placed, unsliced in a zip top bag and frozen until needed.

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