I’ve been using my bread machine more and more lately. I’ve had it for years, and probably like a lot of people’s bread makers, mine spends a lot of time in the back of the pantry sitting quietly. That’s kind of sad, because it makes great loaves of bread. Now, they’re not quite the perfect loaves I can get at the locally-owned bakery shop, but they’re mighty darned good and they leave the house smelling delicious.
This Italian herb bread has a tremendous aroma and taste. It made for the perfect sandwich bread. A nice light crust and soft insides, but not so soft that it can’t hold up to a mound of sandwich meat and cheese. Any leftover ends or less-than-perfect pieces of this Italian herb bread get turned into fantastic croutons. Great croutons. So good in fact that I wouldn’t hesitate to make a loaf just for croutons.
I woke up one morning and said “That’s it. I am not ignoring my bread machine any longer”. Like a lot of folks, I keep my bread machine at the back of the pantry. Way in the back. Well, no more. I’ve been using it to make fantastic po boy bread dough and since Anita requested French toast, I also made a great loaf of brioche bread. My first time. And yeah, though it’s not like I worked the dough by hand, it still feels homemade and boy, was the French toast out of this world!This bread machine brioche is so soft and eggy inside. The crust is thin but a little crunchy. It holds up well for making French toast.
The key to this bread is determining when to add the butter. You’ll be adding 8 tablespoons (a stick), one tablespoon at a time at 1 minute intervals, during the last kneading cycle. For our bread maker the second (last) kneed cycle ends 35 minutes after starting the machine. That means I add the first tablespoon of butter after 27 minutes. You’ll want to consult your bread machine manual to know when the kneading cycle ends.
Follow the measurement amounts exactly to get the proper texture.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pats, softened
Add all ingredients except for the softened butter to the bread machine in the order specified by your bread machine maker. I have listed the ingredients in the order for my older model Regal bread maker.
Set your bread machine to 'sweet' or 'regular' if yours doesn't have a 'sweet' setting and begin processing.
minutes before the second kneed cycle is completed start adding the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, 1 minute between adding each one. NOTE: My bread machine book has a chart showing the various cycle times. For mine, making sweet bread, the 2nd kneed begins after 15 minutes and last 20 minuets. So, I began adding the butter 27 minutes (15 minutes + 20 minutes - 8 minutes) after starting the bread.
Let machine finish and then open the top. Let the bread cool 20 minutes before removing to slice.