Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Can't Knead!

I, kind of, took a break from cooking for the early part of the summer. Papa John's has been most appreciative, but I think the kids have missed having the tasty goodness around.

Spending time in the kitchen is usually enjoyable for me. I've found that most "creative" people enjoy cooking and baking. Baking is a great short-term project—a "quick creative fix" if you will. Trying new recipes is always a treat and getting everyone's feedback is interesting. I use the same two question test that my sister-in-law uses with my little brother:

1. "Do you like it?"
To which everyone always politely replies, "Yes."

2. "Would you choose to eat it again."
Then the truth comes out and a recipe either lives on or dies right there.

I was so busy in June with sewing projects that I guess I didn't feel the need to fill that creative void. So I'm not sure why, but I was overcome by the need to bake over the weekend (because I have been sewing—A LOT.) Maybe it's because we've bought a share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). So there is a bounty of fresh veggies from Singing Frog Farm in my kitchen. Or perhaps because my fresh herbs are flourishing beyond my deck.

I decided to try a new Fresh Herb Bread recipe using some of my very own basil, parsley and thyme. I swear I can smell them again just looking at the picture!
I had to use a few dried spices because I didn't have any sage or oregano. And it was really a cinch because I used my bread machine! (I must confess: I can't make bread any other way. Apparently I don't know how to knead. Perhaps it skips a generation, I don't know. I've tried, but my bread just doesn't rise.) I use the dough setting on my bread machine to do the mixing and rising and then just shape it, let it rise again and bake it in the oven. But look at this, no one would ever know! Enjoy!

Bread Machine Fresh Herb Bread
Time -Serves 12
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 cups Gold Medal® Harvest King® Better for Bread™ bread flour
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons dry milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
How to make it

1. Measure carefully, placing all ingredients in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
2. Select Basic/White cycle. Use Medium or Light crust color. Remove baked bread from pan and cool on wire rack.

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