This is so nice! I wrote Beth and told her about this post and she wrote back, “You are a great baker!!!!! I love the commentary…yes, it is an unusual bread. Keep on bakin'” Just had to share.
When I won $500 worth of cookbooks from Raincoast Books and saw The Bread Bible by Beth Hensberger published by Chronicle Books on the list… I just had to have it! I want to learn everything about bread and this book has over 300 recipes. This choice was a no-brainer.
This is the first recipe from the book that I put through my test kitchen. When I saw that it had recipes for bread dough made in a food processor, I just had to try it. What a cool and helpful idea, right? So many people do not have mixers or breadmakers but there is a good chance you might have a food processor ready to make bread in your kitchen.
In 1/2 cup of lukewarm water (105-115F) add 2 1/2 tsp of yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let sit for ten minutes. I used bread machine yeast and see how it got all nice and frothy?! That is what you want.
The bowl of the food processor fitted with a metal blade combine 1/3 cup milk powder (I used skim), 2 3/4 cup bread flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary because I had some, if you only have dried add 1 tsp instead. Pulse.
Pour in the yeast mixture with the motor running.
Add 2 large eggs and 1/4 cup olive oil through the feeding tube of the processor. Process 10 seconds to blend. In a steady stream drizzle in 2 to 4 tbsp of cool water.
You are supposed to process to knead the dough until it forms a soft, elastic ball and “clears the sides of the bowl.” Well my dough was way too wet! I added more and more flour until it looked like this. I decided, it would have to do. Let dough rest five minutes. You were supposed to turn on the processor and add more water to the dough but seriously? It was way too wet. I refused.
“Using a plastic dough scraper, turn the dough out onto a clean work surface.” Um… how do I get it off the blade without hurting myself??? I guess it if ends up a nice little ball you do not have to worry about that but…
I carefully removed the dough, brought it together with my hands on a floured surface to even out the consistency. I patted the dough into an oval and sprinkled it with raisins. I kneaded the dough but apparently not enough to distribute the raisins evenly.
They all ended up along the edge of the dough but I was done! I shaped the dough into a kind of circular shape and placed it on a baking sheet. I brushed the surface with olive oil, covered with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
My dough did not double in size but did get a little bigger. I brushed the top with olive oil again and cut an X on the top, perhaps a little too deeply but no worries. I baked the bread in a 350F preheated oven for 30 minutes and cooled on a cooling rack.
In the beginning I wanted to omit the raisins from the recipe. I thought the combination with the rosemary was just too weird but curiosity got the best of me. I am glad it did. This was a beautiful and yet odd bread. The combination works but just barely. Bread purists probably will not like it but if you are searching for an egg bread with unusual flavours, this will definitely be the bread for you. It made the most lovely grilled cheese sandwich but sadly, it was doughy in the middle. I did not despair! I sliced the center pieces into cubes and turned them into the most beautiful croutons which went great with my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and on my Warm Spinach Salad. They added a “je ne said quoi” factor that I loved and nothing was wasted.
BUT!!!! I hated using the food processor to make this bread. I think the machine did too because it started to smell like it was overheating and sounded very unhappy. I give the author kudos for thinking out of the box and if you are desperate to make bread and this is the only tool at your disposal, fine. To be honest, I would make this all with my hands next time if I had to. As well, the writing of the recipe was unclear. I could not tell if I was supposed to add the oil and eggs to the yeast mixture before adding it to the food processor and seriously, my dough is never too wet in the winter. Something felt a little off.
Still, I loved this unusual bread. As a result, I give this recipe four out of five wooden spoons.