Recipe Review: Italian Herb Bread

I spent most of Sunday baking.  First I tested a new bread recipe (see previous post on the Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread recipe). Terry and I wanted to have Italian for dinner, so I decided to make some Italian herb bread.  I reviewed my two ‘stand by’ recipes, Italian Supermarket Bread and Rosemary Sourdough, and decided I really needed to program my Zojirushi for a custom dough cycle (less kneading, more rising).  I couldn’t find the print edition that I received with the BB-CEC20 bread machine (I filed it away with all the other appliance manuals), so I downloaded a searchable copy (aka as a PDF file).

As I paged through the “How to Enjoy Your Home Bakery Supreme Breadmaker Operating Instructions and Recipes” for the Zojirushi Model BB-CEC20, I got distracted by the recipes listed under the Basic Course.  I made it to page twelve out of thirty-two and no further.

I rarely ever use the Zojirushi to bake bread.  I use it to make dough, then I shape the loaf, left it rise a final time and bake it in my oven.  So the “Basic Course” is the default start position for the bread machine when you plug it in.  If you don’t remember to select a different course, the machine will do the following:

BasicCourseInstead, this is what I tell my bread machine to do most of the time:

BasicDoughCourseThe only variation to the above dough course is turning on the preheat if the recipe includes butter (to get the butter to a malleable point since it came straight from the refrigerator to the bread pan).

I never made it to page 26 (where the guide instructs you how to program Home Made Course) because this Italian Herb recipe on page 12 caught my eye:

ItalianHerbBreadp12BBCEC20ManualI thought I’d give it a try, since I’ve never tried any of the recipes in the bread machine’s operating guide.  Here’s the list of ingredients that I used yesterday, in the order they go into the bread pan:

  • 1 1/3 cups drinking water (I never use tap water)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp SAF red instant yeast
  • 1 tsp rosemary (I added this when the bread machine beeped at me towards the end of the kneading cycle).
  • egg white wash (brushed on right before baking)
  • sesame seeds (sprinkled over egg wash)

I turned off the preheat for this dough course.  Once it completed, ninety minutes later, I removed the dough, divided it in half, shaped and added it to my Italian bread pan:


Since the above Italian Herb recipe didn’t include baking instructions (because it assumes you’re using the bread machine to bake the bread), I reverted to the Italian Supermarket Bread recipe to determine the appropriate oven temperature and duration. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. While waiting on the oven, I cracked an egg and separated the yolk from the white so I could do an egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds.  I slashed each loaf three times with my lame and placed the pan in the oven.  Twenty-five minutes later this is what came out of the oven:


When we sliced into one of the loaves, it was perfect – crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the center, with large holes like you would see in a good sourdough.

A wonderful compliment to our Italian dinner on a September Sunday evening.

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