Italian herb bread for bread machine

I made this for our Thanksgiving dinner and it was delicious. I realized after the bread was mid way through its cycle in the machine that I needed to move the machine so we could sit down at the table for dinner. Thing is, with bread machines, you can’t interrupt them if they’re past the very first mixing phase or they reset. I had the turkey in the oven, so finishing the loaf in the oven wasn’t an option.
So, I left the machine plugged in and gingerly moved it over to an inverted Rubbermaid tub used as a makeshift table. But, alas, the machine was bumped while it was baking! My beautiful, gently rounded loaf ended up rather deflated. Cue  waahhhh-wahhhhhhh trumpet sound.
Still, it was tasty served hot with butter melting into it! Aside from this little snafu, I’ve found this little Oster 5838 bread machine works great with every recipe I’ve tried in it. I just love it.

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My smarty-pants family had fun speculating about what happened to cause this flop. They also came up with alternative uses for the loaf. After I turned it cut-side-down after slicing off some warm pieces, mom said I could put a nativity scene in it since it so closely resembled a creche. Everyone’s a critic.

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I thought the sliced loaf would make any dolly an attractive and delicious, edible chair. Look at that nice texture inside, too.

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I hope tonight’s loaf turns out a little perkier. But, if it doesn’t, we know it’s still great-tasting bread. This recipe includes instructions for use with my bread machine, but it applies to any bread machine that has a French bread cycle.

Italian Herb Bread
Adapted from Oster 5838 ExpressBake bread machine user manual

1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1) Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan.

2) Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan.

3) Use your finger to form a well (hole) in the flour where you will pour the
yeast. The yeast must NEVER come into contact with a liquid
when you are adding ingredients. Measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the well.

4) Snap the baking pan into the breadmaker and close the lid.

5) Press “Select” button to choose the French setting.

6) Press the “Crust Color” button to choose light. medium or dark crust.

7) Press the “Start/Stop” button. Cycle takes 3 hours, 45 minutes total.

Boy does that garlic smell good! A few tips about bread machine recipes…

This first tip applies to measuring flour, regardless of what you’re making. When measuring flour, don’t scoop with the cup you’re using to measure! Aerate the flour a little in its container (fluff it up) and use a spoon or scoop to sprinkle flour into your measuring cup until it is heaped above the top of the measuring cup. Then, take a straight edge and scrape the top level. If you don’t do this, you can have as much as a tablespoon too much flour per cup, which impacts how your recipe turns out. Been there, done that!

With this recipe, if you don’t have all the herbs, improvise. For instance, I didn’t have any onion flakes, so I used about 2 teaspoons of garlic flakes and omitted the garlic powder. It’s really a to-taste kind of thing when it comes to spices, anyway so no biggie.

As I mentioned, my first attempt at this loaf tasted good, but wasn’t exactly your picture perfect loaf. Make sure you don’t bump your bread machine while the dough is rising and baking.

Update: Well, this loaf turned out worse than the first one! This one could be a Barbie bathtub…

Bread bathtub for Barbie?

And placed cut-side-down, it’s even more cavelike than the original loaf. This one has a doorway. Hey, it could be Jesus’ empty tomb. Maybe I can re-create it for Easter. 😉

The empty bread tomb

But you know what? This bread still tasted great, even if it is an ugly loaf! When I peeked in during its cycle, I could tell the dough had been too wet. It was too late to do anything about it, though, since the knead cycles were already finished. If I’d caught it in time, I could have sprinkled in a little flour so the dough ball would have been a little more firm. Live and learn!

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