For the person who has a bread machine, and is interested in trying new recipes, or who has one and doesn't use it enough, or who is getting one for Christmas (sometimes you have inside information like this!) and needs to know what to do with it, I strongly recommend this cookbook:
Robert Rose and written by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, this cookbook is available for $27.95 Canadian. The authors are professional home economists and have co-authored 10 cookbooks. They even have their own website at www.bestbreadrecipes.com.
This bread machine cookbook contains a wide variety of bread recipes, from your standard white and whole wheat loaves to special breads such as wraps, bagels and rolls. As well, there are holiday bread recipes, such as Hot Cross Buns, Panettone, Challah, Stollen, and Kolach. There's also a dessert section and, of special interest here, a chapter entitled "Beyond Breads," which includes recipes for pasta and gluten-free loaves and buns. Throughout the book are picture pages showcasing some of the recipes and generally making you hungry for bread! :)
One chapter of this cookbook will be especially helpful to those new to baking bread, or wanting to understand a little more about ingredients. Each ingredient category is dealt with in depth, helping you to understand how to choose, store and use your ingredients to achieve the best results. Along the way, tips and variations are included to help you.
The first recipe I tried from this book is the Braided Squash Crescent! Normally I have trouble getting the kids to eat squash, but this recipe resulted in such a lovely bread with an attractive orange colour, that they gobbled it up no problem! :) I'll include the recipe for you to try as well, with permission from the publisher. Although a crescent loaf is very aesthetically pleasing, I think you could also shape this dough into a regular loaf shape if you so wished.
I'm sorry I can't get the recipe to format better, but if you'd like to print it out, here's a link to a printable file.
Excerpted from 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt
© 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.
Braided Squash Crescent, page 305
Beautiful on the outside, golden on the inside, this bread complements every autumn menu.
Makes 1 crescent
• Baking sheet, lightly greased
1⁄2 cup water 125 mL
1 cup mashed cooked squash 250 mL
1 egg 1
1⁄4 cup skim milk powder 50 mL
11⁄2 tsp salt 7 mL
3 tbsp packed brown sugar 45 mL
2 tbsp butter (room temperature) 25 mL
31⁄2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour 875 mL
1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg 2 mL
11⁄2 tsp bread machine or instant yeast 7 mL
1 egg yolk 1
1 tbsp water 15 mL
2 tbsp sunflower or sesame seeds 25 mL
1. Measure the bread ingredients into machine’s baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into the oven chamber. Select Dough Cycle.
2. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface. Cover with a large bowl and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Divide dough into 3 portions. Roll each, with the palm of your hand, into a long, smooth rope, 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Taper at ends, leaving the middle thicker. Braid the 3 ropes and place on prepared baking sheet, curving to form a crescent. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until doubled in volume. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
3. Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and water until smooth. Brush the risen dough lightly with glaze and sprinkle with seeds. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until crescent sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Use butternut or Hubbard squash for this recipe. Scoop out seeds from one half squash and cook the squash in the microwave on High for 3 to 4 minutes per pound (500 g), or until tender, without adding butter or sugar.
For a light-textured loaf, mashed squash should be at room temperature before adding to baking pan.
Check out this and other cookbooks (and many other books as well!) published by Robert Rose as great gifts for the holidays! :)