Lately I’ve been posting a lot of posts about Once Upon a Time in Iowa, but I haven’t been posting many recipes. Yesterday was the fourth of July. It was hot and miserable, and we lack air conditioning to give us a break from it all. We didn’t do much. Just sat around the house trying to keep cool, mostly. We did have a couple of friends stop by for a little while.
Michigan, or at least our section of it, is marshland. Do you know how sticky the humidity of Michigan is? Give me back my dry Texas heat any day — I’ve seen ya’ll making fun of us for complaining about these 80 and 90 degree temps, but you don’t know what it’s like to find no relief in the shade.
Anyways, it was 90 something degrees with extremely high humidity, so nobody wanted to turn on the stove or oven yesterday. I slow cooked our ribs in the slow cooker early, and then kept them in the fridge until it was time for them to meet the grill while drowning in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. This is where those slow cooker bags come in handy. I pulled the bag from the ribs and dropped in a fresh bag for the potatoes.
We have a small grill and had a large slab of baby back ribs to fit on it. I did have Clark throw a foil packet of broccoli — tossed with butter, lightly seasoned with sea salt — on the grill with the ribs. Then there was the bread. When it’s this hot, I am so thankful for my bread machine. That amazing beauty can cook my family up a loaf of fresh bread without turning the entire house into an oven.
This bread was so delicious that, even with all of the delicious food listed above, almost the entire loaf of bread was gone last night. This is a two pound loaf of bread, and there were 4 half slices remaining — one for each member of the family to eat for breakfast.
Here is the recipe:
Awesome Bread Machine Italian Bread Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 2/3 cups flour
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
In small saucepan heat water and milk to lukewarm. Pour into bottom of bread pan. Add remaining ingredients in the order listed. I like to make the well in my flour for the yeast, and then put 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar on either side of the well.
Place bread pan in bread machine and follow your machine’s instructions for a 2 lb loaf using the French setting at the desired darkness.
Using oven mitts, remove the bread pan from your machine when it is finished. Turn upside down on a cooling rack and allow to rest for ten minutes. It should easily slide out. If for any reason it becomes stuck, gently slide a spatula or butter knife between the bread and the pan to dislodge it.
Wrap with a bread towel or thin kitchen towel and allow to rest and cool on the wire rack at least 30 minutes for easy cutting. To keep bread moist, store leftovers — preferably uncut — wrapped in towel and stored in an airtight container or bread box.
I hope you enjoy this bread as much as my family did. Leave your comments below.