Feb 122013
 

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One of my favorite kitchen gadgets (and I do LOVE kitchen gadgets) is my bread machine. I have purchased several because I literally wear them out. But since I am a penny pincher, I get them at thrift stores or garage sales from people who have not learned to appreciate their value in the kitchen!  They make superb bread dough without the addition of extra flour that often toughens home baked bread.

But there is another reason that I like them! It is because I think that they are close to MAGIC! You put the ingredients in, push some buttons, and voila`, you have the perfect dough to form into whatever you want. There are only a few recipes that I actually bake in the machine, and that is only if I am pressed for time and cannot babysit the process with shaping and baking.

This recipe is especially soft, sweet and aromatic. The addition of milk and egg give it a soft crumb. It impresses with its beautiful presentation and stays fresh for several days. It is a favorite of my daughter, Andrea, who loves to eat it plain or with butter.

Give it a try. You don’t have to make the braided coil. It works well as formed rolls, too. I like to make sandwiches with it, using a bit of Italian dressing to add some flavor to a cheese and lunch meat combo.  Take it to any potluck or bake it as a gift for any occasion.

Italian Herb Bread

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Start by placing the following ingredients into your bread machine pan:

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup hot tap water

Swirl the pan to mix the above ingredients.

Then, sprinkle 1 T. active dry yeast on top of the liquid.

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Allow to soften for a few minutes.

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Next, swirl this mixture to dissolve the yeast into the warm liquid.

Add 1/4 cup shortening (I prefer Butter Flavor Crisco)

Now, add the dry ingredients:

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 t. salt

4 1/2 cups flour

Top with the herbs:

3/4 t. rosemary

3/4 t. thyme

3/4 t. marjoram

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Start your dough cycle on your bread machine. “Babysit” your machine for the first 5 minutes to be certain that it does not labor too hard. Add a bit of warm water if it seems to be working too hard. If it gets too soft, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour. Most of the time the ingredients don’t need additions, but I like to monitor the first few minutes to be sure that the dough is soft and pliable, but not too sticky. Allow the cycle to finish.

Once the dough cycle is completed, dump the dough onto a flour-sprinkled counter. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. This will allow you to separate the dough into nine equal pieces without tearing the gluten.

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Next, using a pinching motion with your hands, divide the dough into 3 portions.

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Then, divide each portion into 3 more pieces.  Set them aside and cover with a towel.

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On a clean counter (do not dust with flour) use a rolling motion with the palm of your hands, squishing each portion into a rope, being careful to work from the middle to the ends, using pressure, not pulling, to stretch the dough into 16-18 inch ropes.  If the dough is resistant, dampen your hands with a bit or water, and if too sticky, dust with a little bit of flour.  The trick is to form the ropes without tearing the gluten.  Tearing the gluten will affect the appearance of the coils.

Continue to form all 9 pieces, keeping the dough covered to prevent drying.

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Pinch three ropes together and proceed to loosely braid the pieces, pinching together at the end.

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Next, spray a large, shiny cookie sheet with no stick cooking spray.

Now, loosely coil the braid into a round mound, pressing the end underneath one of the top ropes.  It is important to complete this step so that the coil stays formed.

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Place onto the cookie sheet, placing the coil’s end against the cookie sheet side to prevent uncoiling during baking.  Complete the same action with the remainder of dough.  Once all three are on the cookie sheet, cover loosely and allow to rise for approximately 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, making certain that the middle rack of the oven has at least 5 inches of space for your bread to rise during baking.

Beat one egg with 1 T. cold water.  Using a pastry brush or your fingers, slather all exposed areas of the braids with the beaten egg mixture, being careful not to press too hard on the raised braids.  Use all of the egg, it will give it an appealing  gloss.  Sprinkle with one of the following:  sesame seeds, poppy seeds or marjoram flakes.  You can achieve a consistent coverage by sprinkling from about 12 inches above the pan.

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Place in the oven and set your timer for 12 minutes.  Check every 2 minutes after this and remove once the bread is a consistent browned appearance.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove each coil using a large, sharp spatula.  Because of the egg wash, it will stick to the pan, so be patient to remove the coils.  Allow to cool on a rack.  Once cool, store in plastic baggies.

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topped with poppy seeds
Here is the Ziplist version of this recipe:

Herb Bread

Herb Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup hot tap water
  • 1 T. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I prefer Butter Flavor Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • Top with the herbs:
  • 3/4 t. rosemary
  • 3/4 t. thyme
  • 3/4 t. marjoram

Instructions

  1. [For detailed directions and pictures, go to: /http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/category/recipes/yeast-breads/]
  2. Start by placing the following ingredients into your bread machine pan:
  3. 1 egg, milk,hot tap water
  4. Swirl the pan to mix the above ingredients.
  5. Then, sprinkle 1 T. active dry yeast on top of the liquid.
  6. Allow to soften for a few minutes.
  7. Next, swirl this mixture to dissolve the yeast into the warm liquid.
  8. Add shortening (I prefer Butter Flavor Crisco)
  9. Now, add the dry ingredients:
  10. Top with the herbs:
  11. Start your dough cycle on your bread machine. "Babysit" your machine for the first 5 minutes to be certain that it does not labor too hard. Add a bit of warm water if it seems to be working too hard. If it gets too soft, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour. Most of the time the ingredients don't need additions, but I like to monitor the first few minutes to be sure that the dough is soft and pliable, but not too sticky.
  12. Allow the cycle to finish.
  13. Once the dough cycle is completed, dump the dough onto a flour-sprinkled counter.
  14. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. This will allow you to separate the dough into nine equal pieces without tearing the gluten.
  15. Next, using a pinching motion with your hands, divide the dough into 3 portions.
  16. Then, divide each portion into 3 more pieces. Set them aside and cover with a towel.
  17. On a clean counter (do not dust with flour) use a rolling motion with the palm of your hands, squishing each portion into a rope, being careful to work from the middle to the ends, using pressure, not pulling, to stretch the dough into 16-18 inch ropes. If the dough is resistant, dampen your hands with a bit or water, and if too sticky, dust with a little bit of flour. The trick is to form the ropes without tearing the gluten. Tearing the gluten will affect the appearance of the coils.
  18. Continue to form all 9 pieces, keeping the dough covered to prevent drying.
  19. Pinch three ropes together and proceed to loosely braid the pieces, pinching together at the end.
  20. Next, spray a large, shiny cookie sheet with no stick cooking spray.
  21. Now, loosely coil the braid into a round mound, pressing the end underneath one of the top ropes. It is important to complete this step so that the coil stays formed.
  22. Place onto the cookie sheet, placing the coil’s end against the cookie sheet side to prevent uncoiling during baking. Complete the same action with the remainder of dough. Once all three are on the cookie sheet, cover loosely and allow to rise for approximately 1 hour.
  23. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, making certain that the middle rack of the oven has at least 5 inches of space for your bread to rise during baking.
  24. Beat one egg with 1 T. cold water. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, slather all exposed areas of the braids with the beaten egg mixture, being careful not to press too hard on the raised braids. Use all of the egg, it will give it an appealing gloss. Sprinkle with one of the following: sesame seeds, poppy seeds or marjoram flakes. You can achieve a consistent coverage by sprinkling from about 12 inches above the pan.
  25. Place in the oven and set your timer for 12 minutes. Check every 2 minutes after this and remove once the bread is a consistent browned appearance. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove each coil using a large, sharp spatula. Because of the egg wash, it will stick to the pan, so be patient to remove the coils.
  26. Allow to cool on a rack. Once cool, store in plastic baggies.

Notes

A beautiful bread that will impress you and your friends!

http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/herb-bread/

 

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