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RUSTIC EUROPEAN BREADS FROM YOUR BREAD MACHINE\Bake boutique-style breads with machine help.

Byline: Beverly Bundy Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Linda West Eckhardt broke ground with her last bread book, and she's continuing the trend with her newest offering, "Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine" (Doubleday; $25).

In the former book, "Bread in Half the Time," Eckhardt and her writing partner, Diana Collingwood Butts, encouraged home bakers to knead dough in a food processor and accelerate the proofing (rising) process by using the microwave oven.

In the new book, the pair use another kitchen aid, the bread machine, to create ancient breads with authentic flavors.

"I think bread machine ownership is like a marriage," Eckhardt said. "You have the honeymoon, where you make bread every day because you're so in love with the machine. After the honeymoon, one of two things happens. Either you become bored with the machine and it ends up in a garage sale or you find new ways to use it. I think people really get bored because they keep making the same bread over and over, the same old brick."

"That same old brick" is a key to Eckhardt's techniques. She says bread machines should be used for what bread machines do best: kneading the dough. The baking should most often be done in a conventional oven, which allows for different shapes and a more authentic baking medium. (Only about a fourth of the recipes in "Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine" are baked in the bread machine itself.)

"Bread machine manufacturers, like all small electric appliance makers, want you to think that the machines will do everything except pay the rent," Eckhardt said. "They won't. They're very good for some of the process, but not all of it. Make those bread machines sing 'Dixie,' but don't expect them to do it all."

She suggests home bakers place a baking stone (or inexpensive unglazed tiles) in the oven to give the dough a good surface for baking. She also recommends, after two years of daily baking in testing the book's recipes, using organic flour and spring water.

"The processes that make our food supply so safe inhibit the working of yeast, which is a living thing," Eckhardt said. "Don't use city water and don't use distilled water, which is really dead water."

The "living" part of yeast also makes bread machines ideal for creating sponges or starters.

"Since bread has already been made in the machines, there will still be some spores along the walls of the bread pan, which will help the starter breathe and grow," Eckhardt said.

For many of her recipes, she suggests mixing up a starter in the bread machine and letting it stand in the machine a few days.

Eckhardt also recommends that home bakers use a "peel," an oversized paddle available at kitchenware stores, for shoveling the bread into the oven.

A benefit of all this adaptation is that home cooks can make boutique breads for a fraction of what they cost in tony bakeries. A bread that can cost $5 to $6 a loaf at upscale artisan bakeries can be made for as little as 40 cents at home.

Following are recipes from "Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine."

FOCACCIA

2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

3 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons salt

7/8 cup water

1/4 cup fruity olive oil plus 3 tablespoons for top

Cornmeal

Coarse sea salt OR kosher salt for sprinkling on top

Add yeast, flour, 2 teaspoons salt, water and 1/4 cup oil to a bread machine pan. Process on dough setting.

Once cycle is completed, remove dough to a lightly floured surface, punch down, form into tight ball. Let dough stand on counter under bread machine pan 15 minutes.

Place a baking stone on middle rack in preheated 500-degree oven at least 30 minutes.

Roll and stretch dough on lightly floured surface into an irregular 14-inch circle. It should be about 1/4-inch thick. Or, roll into a 12x3/8-inch circle. This will yield a thicker, chewier bread.

Sprinkle a peel generously with cornmeal and place dough on it. Set aside to rise until puffy, about 10 minutes. Rub surface with remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt.

Poke surface of focaccia with fingertips to dimple bread. Give peel a trial shake before opening oven (making sure dough will slide from peel), then shovel bread onto hot stone.

Bake in preheated 500-degree oven until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Cool on a rack. Makes 6 servings.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING: 354 calories; 17 grams fat; 43 grams carbohydrate; 0 cholesterol; 900 milligrams sodium.

KALAMATA OLIVE BREAD

SPONGE:

1 cup water

1 cup bread flour

1 cup rye flour

1 teaspoon bread machine yeast

DOUGH:

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup chopped Kalamata olives

Prepare sponge by combining water with flours and yeast in a bread machine pan. Process on dough setting. Allow sponge to stand in closed bread machine up to 2 days before finishing bread.

To prepare bread dough, add salt, bread flour and oil to sponge in pan. Process on dough setting again. Once dough setting has finished, turn soft dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten into a rough 12-inch round.

Press olives into surface. Roll dough from edges to center to form into a round shape, then press down to flatten lightly. Rub flour into surface of bread. Let rise, covered, on a sheet of parchment paper until nearly doubled in bulk.

Place a stone in bottom third of preheated 375-degree oven 30 minutes.

Using a razor blade, make quick tic-tac-toe slice in top of round bread, or for a baguette shape, cut diagonal slashes on a long loaf.

If desired, brush on an egg wash. (A whole egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water gives a shiny, medium brown glaze. An egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon milk gives the shiniest mahogany-brown glaze. Plain egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon water gives a caramel shine.)

Use a peel to shovel raised dough onto hot stone.

Bake in preheated 375-degree oven 30 to 40 minutes until browned and done. Cool thoroughly on a rack before cutting. Makes 1 (12-inch) loaf.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING FOR 12: 203 calories; 7 grams fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; no cholesterol; 278 milligrams sodium.

CHOCOLATE BREAD

1 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a bread machine pan. Process on light crust cycle (preferred) or regular bake cycle. When bread is finished, pull from machine and top with chocolate chips. As chips melt smear over top for a chocolate glaze. This bread is good sliced served with mascarpone cheese. Makes 1 (1-pound) loaf.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING FOR 12: 145 calories; 4 grams fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 24 milligrams cholesterol; 159 milligrams sodium.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Jan 11, 1996
Words:1197
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