More than a decade ago, Craig got me a bread machine for Christmas. I use it fairly frequently, especially in the fall and winter, and it’s still going strong. One of our favorite recipes is for garlic bread, which I like to serve when we have pasta.
For a large loaf:
1 1/8 c. water 3 Tbsp grated parmesan
2 Tbsp olive oil 3/4 tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp minced garlic 3/4 tsp garlic powder
3 cups flour fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp sugar 2 tsp yeast (bread machine, fast rise, or active dry)
1 1/2 tsp salt
Put water, oil, and minced garlic into bread pan. Add flour (I usually use some combination of white and whole wheat) and the rest of the dry ingredients. Set machine on regular, rapid, or delay bake cycle. Delicious served warm.
The other night I made a loaf and held half of it back so I could make croutons. I cut the bread into cubes, put them in a large bowl, and tossed them with some olive oil cooking spray.
Then I spread the cubes on a baking sheet, and baked at 250* until dry and crunchy, tossing occasionally. This took a little while, maybe an hour or so. Test one occasionally; they can be crunchy on the outside but still a little chewy on the inside, which of course is fine if that’s what you want. I wanted them crunchy all the way through.
These make flavorful, relatively healthful croutons (healthful compared to the store-bought kind full of partially hydrogenated oils and other shady ingredients). Last time I did this, the kids discovered them and ate them all for a snack before I even had a chance to put them on a salad.