Baking Square Bread
I grew up with my mom telling me that square loaves of bread came from the store and round loaves from home. While at the time that was partially true, it is no longer since I picked up my new-to-me bread machine at a yard sale.
I love baking bread but almost never have the time. Quick breads, no problem, but the good, crusty, wholesome breads I long for involve too much time. Letting the dough rise for 2-4 hours is so daunting. Yes, there are many people who seem able to work baking bread around other things so that it is rising while they do something else. For me, that does not seem to work. Inevitably, I forget about the bread for too long (and then dinner is around ten o’clock) or something comes up and I decide on making something quicker. Thus, my excitement at finding my new bread machine for only five dollars at a local yard sale. “Does it work?” I asked the woman. “Well, the last (and apparently first) time I used it it did but none of my kids liked the bread so it went into the basement.” Sold.
Now, I can get up in the morning; throw the ingredients in, and presto! Three to four hours later, I have piping hot homemade bread. Square bread yes, but wholesome, absolutely. I have been enjoying my bread making experiments and have had to start buying more local butter. The best bread so far comes from the simplest recipe. I found it in a 1993 Fleischmann’s Yeast cookbook called Best-Ever Breads. I figured it would work well and it has become a family favorite. The nice part about this recipe is that I can substitute ingredients as well as add different ingredients.
Below is the original recipe:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of flour (can use white, wheat, soy, flax, or spelt flour or a combination of different kinds. Note: using soy, spelt and flax flour makes the bread very dense)
2 tablespoons of instant dry milk
2 tablespoons of sugar (I have found that if I only use 1 tablespoon, it tastes the same)
2 teaspoons of bread machine yeast
Add all ingredients to the bread machine. Select 3-4 cup flour loaf and use “light” bake option. Machine use/options may vary, so follow your bread machine instructions.
Add 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese for cheese bread
Add 2 tablespoons of your favorite herb or herb mix (oregano, rosemary, and thyme work best) for flavorful herb bread
Add 1/3 cup of rolled oats and 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds for a nicely textured oat and nut bread
If making the bread with flax flour (or any of the flours) add a ¼ cup of flax seed
Our favorite variation of this recipe is using spelt four and adding both dried rosemary and the parmesan cheese for an herb and cheese bread