I have one of these really fancy bread machines, but have never been too impressed with the quality of the breads I’ve prepared in it. I decided to come up with a recipe that produced a better product, so I began to experiment. Since it takes 4 hours to make a loaf of bread in my machine, I got to spend a lot of time wondering just exactly how each loaf would turn out. On my first try, I used too much flour and the resulting loaf grew up, out of the pan, and actually pushed the door of the bread machine open! I scaled back everything proportionally, and tried it again. The result was a good loaf of bread, but a bit chewy. My third try was a success, and here’s my recipe for it!
1 ¼ cups water
3 ½ cups A/P flour
1 ¾ teaspoons sugar
1 ¾ teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
To the bread machine pan, add the above ingredients either in the order I have them listed (per the Operator’s Manual for my bread machine). Or, if your machine likes them added in a different sequence, by all means follow the manufacturer’s suggestions.
I placed the pan and the ingredients in the machine, then set it to “regular” bread, “medium” brown crust, and turned it on. When the bake cycle is completed, remove the bread and allow it to cool on a wire rack. The resulting loaf has a very light crumb, a nice crust, and excellent taste. Clean up was fast and easy, there was no kneading required, and I was able to get other chores done while the machine did all the heavy lifting. You need to give this one a try.
If you don’t have a bread machine, you can, of course, make this loaf the old fashioned way:
Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and set aside until it begins to foam.
Add the flour, oil and salt and mix until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. Clean up the mixing bowl and oil it lightly. Place the dough ball in the bowl, cover it and let rise for about an hour. Punch it down and let it rise another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shape the dough into a long loaf and bake it for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack.