Homemade Fresh Bread
I know homemade fresh bread is the last thing on your radar as you prepare your Thanksgiving feast. Trust me, I am not master baker. But, this is my go-to bread recipe that I make often. It’s easy to tweak and the best part is that most of the work is done in a bread machine.
Yep, a bread machine. True, I am a foodie and like to make many things by hand. Unfortunately, bread is not one of them. Back in my younger days, before the boys came along, I could knead dough all day. Now, I am lucky if I am able to bake them fresh bread at all. I invested in a bread machine about 5 years ago and it makes all the difference.
Every once in a blue moon I get a wild hair and make bread by hand, but most days I use the bread machine. Remember when I told you that for many of my Thanksgiving meals I use a mixture of my four favorite herbs? This loaf is no exception. The herbs infuse the bread with wonderful flavor and aroma. The green herb specks make the loaf attractive and look great on the table. It will almost be too pretty to eat…almost.
You Won’t Need a Knife
The coolest things about “cutting” in a design for this loaf is that first of all it makes the bread look pretty, Second, you won’t need to slice it before serving. Your guest can rip off a hunk without taking half the loaf! I don’t know who invented this technique, but it’s genius!
If you are not into herbs or want to throw in other flavors, it’s easy to do. Just after the dough comes together from the kneading process, toss in the flavorings. Shredded cheese and bacon bits are a great combo (just a suggestion) 😉
Easy Thanksgiving Herb Bread
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine or rapid rise yeast (one envelope)
4 tablespoons of chopped herbs
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Place 1 cup warm water, olive oil, bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast into bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select Dough cycle, and press Start.
When the machine has formed the ingredients into a ball, add the herbs. Let the dough rise in the pan or, after the dough has been kneaded place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
After the dough has risen, punch down dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and cut the dough into two equal pieces.
On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 16x12 inch rectangle. Cut dough in half, creating two 8x12 inch rectangles. Roll up each half of dough tightly, beginning at 12 inch side, pounding out any air bubbles as you go. Roll gently back and forth to taper end. Place 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.