I'm not all that impressed by your average everyday loaf of homemade bread -- not that I'm a bread snob, but I've been spoiled by having a bread machine for 15 years, thanks to a generous gift from my generous grandma. (You can read more about my beautiful grandma here
I have grown accustomed to the delights of bread baking in my very own kitchen -- its yeasty smell that permeates through the house, its soul-satisfying warmth as you cut that first slice and see the butter, cold from the fridge, begin to soften then ooze its way into each little crevice.
It takes a lot these days for a bread to make me sit up and take note. This dried apricot-studded loaf, humble as it may appear, is just that sort of bread
I'm thinking of the word swoon.
So make yourself a loaf next time you get the chance, toast and butter a slice, nestle up by the fire, if it's chilly, with your homemade happy frappy
and your latest library book, and REJOICE! Life does not get any better.
Note: The recipe comes from The Bread machine Cookbook II
by Donna Rathmell German. This book not only has gobs of creative bread recipes, but it also includes instructions for small (1-pound), medium (1 1/2-pound), and large (2-pound) loaves. Kahuna and I have found the small loaves to be the perfect size for the two of us -- just enough for a day or two or three of fresh bread, but not so much that we are overwhelmed with the abundance. If you have a large family, or will be serving more than three people, I'd recommend doubling this recipe to make the large loaf. The directions here are for the small one.
APRICOT ALMOND OATMEAL BREAD
2/3 c. milk or water (I used water)
1 1/2 T. vegetable oil (I used Canola)
1 1/2 T. honey
1/2 egg, or 2 T. (this is the first time I'd ever run across 1/2 egg as an ingredient. I whipped up the egg in a small bowl and measured out 2 T.)
1/3 t. salt
1/3 t. grated lemon peel
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. oatmeal (uncooked)
1 c. bread flour
1 t. yeast
Dump all ingredients in bread machine in order listed and push the magic "on" button. At the beep, add
1/4 c. diced dried apricots
1/4 c. raisins
2 T. chopped almonds (I'm thinking next time I may toast these first for added flavor)