Earlier this month, my cousin hosted a luncheon for her sister to celebrate her soon-to-be-born second child. It was a nice, small gathering of family and a few close friends. My cousin put together a great spread of veggie sandwiches, chicken clubs and egg salad sandwiches, along with several delicious salads and desserts. But the star of the spread was the bread she used for the sandwiches. It was firm and crusty with perfect texture and taste.
And guess what? She made it in her bread machine.
Now, if you are anything like me, you probably have a bread machine that you used to use fairly regularly but now resides crammed in a corner of your pantry, behind mixers, blenders and storage containers. Let me tell you: it’s time to break out the machine.
First off, making your own bread can save you money – particularly if you like more expensive breads. A loaf of store bought sandwich bread runs anywhere from $3 – $6. The bread flour I use is roughly $5 for 5 pounds. That bag will make at least three loaves of bread. Other than that for a standard white bread, you need water, yeast (about $1.99 for a three pack which makes three loaves), sugar and salt …
Secondly, homemade bread just tastes good — better than many of the store bought brands. Instead of uniform texture, flavorless crusts, and half stale squares, you can have a fresh, hot out of the machine, loaf with little work on your part. Totally worth the time.
This particular bread, which isn’t the one my cousin made, has a soft texture and a crunchy, flaky crust. It’s best eaten on the same day that it’s made. If you have leftovers, use them to make homemade croutons. Yum.
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 (.25 ounce) package bread machine yeast
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2½ cups bread flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ tbsp salt
- In the pan of the bread machine, add the water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes -- the yeast will dissolve and foam.
- Add the oil, flours and salt to the pan. Do NOT mix.
- Set the bread machine to the white bread setting and start the machine. (This will take about three hours to bake.)