Bread is everywhere. We see it and eat it on a daily basis, perhaps without even really noticing it – dinner rolls, hamburger and hotdog buns, crackers, cakes, bagels, sandwich loaves, croissants, muffins, you name it. And though largely considered a breakfast item or perhaps a snack, bread is an omnipresent food.
This seemingly humble food staple was considered an important part of ancient cultures. Bread was seen as a sign of fertility and abundance, and was offered to gods and goddesses during feasts. From its flat and unleavened form baked by the early Egyptians and Mesopotamians, it has now evolved to become the many shapes and sizes it takes as displayed on fancy bakery store windows.
So if you want to channel your inner Martha Stewart and are up to the task of bread making the easy way, here are two easy recipes perfect for that little evening get-together or for a classy party you’re throwing.
Total preparation and cooking time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Served in a basket, breadsticks are excellent starters for a meal. If you really want to go the distance, you can even add in bits of dried onions, sesame seeds or herbs to leave your guests with a superb impression of your culinary skills.
330 ml water
15 g butter
22.5 g sugar
22.5 g salt
540 g bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
Put all of the ingredients for the dough into your bread maker in the order they were listed. Start the dough cycle. When ready, remove dough onto your countertop or bread board. Dough should be tacky but not sticky; when you touch it, no dough should come off on your fingers.
Cut the dough into circles the size of a small saucer. With lightly floured hands, roll and stretch each circle into ropes about 6-8 inches long and an inch thick. Place the breadsticks on an ungreased baking sheet. Cover the bread with a towel and allow it to rise for 20 minutes.
Mix the egg white and water to form a glaze. Brush this mixture over each breadstick after they have risen. You may add whatever toppings you wish to at this point. Bake the breadsticks at 204C for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Total preparation and cooking time: 3 hours
There’s nothing quite like a basket filled with warm, golden dinner rolls to begin a wonderful meal. Amaze your friends and family with such, courtesy of your bread maker.
250 ml water
30 g softened butter
50 g sugar
1 teaspoon salt
440 g bread flour
2 ½ teaspoons yeast
Melted butter or margarine
Place all ingredients in the bread maker in the order given, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Start the dough cycle – don’t select the delay cycle. When ready, remove dough and place on a lightly floured countertop or bread board. Cover with a towel for 10 minutes.
Grease a cookie or baking sheet. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place each ball 5 cm apart on the sheet. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 30-40 minutes. The dough is ready when an indentation is seen if you touch it.
Bake the rolls at 190C for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush melted butter or margarine over the top of each roll.