First the bread…
A bread maker, I’m not—but somehow I’ve managed to survive and put on 2 lbs. the first half of August with this really easy bread recipe:
Easy White Bread
(I use a food processor but this same recipe can also be made by hand)
1 package active dry yeast
2 t. sugar
1/3 c. warm water, 110-120 degrees
3 c. flour
3 T. butter
1 t. salt
2/3 c. ice water
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm (110 to 120 degrees) water, about 5 minutes, until foamy.
In food processor, add 3 cups flour, the 3T. butter and 1 t. salt, process 20 seconds-- (same thing but longer if by hand)
Add yeast mixture and with motor running pour ice water through tube in steady stream.
Process until ball forms—then continue to process an additional 60 seconds.
Remove from food processor and knead for 2-3 minutes by hand.
Put in oiled bowl and cover, lightly with towel or plastic wrap.
Let rise until doubled—60 minutes or so.
Punch down and shape into loaf and put into greased bread pan-- cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise again—about 60 minutes.
Bake in center of preheated 375 degree preheated about 30 minutes or until browned and starting to pull away from sides of pan. Remove from pan and let cool on rack.
Wait one or two days before using the bread for bread salad. In the meantime, this bread tastes great toasted and makes a really good base for a tomato sandwich with homegrown or farmer's market tomatoes and a little mayonnaise.
Now the Bread Salad
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons chiffonade fresh mint
Salt and pepper—to taste
4 cups day-old bread
6 ounces shredded or cubed mozzarella
3 c. cubed cucumber, salted and drained
4 c. fresh tomatoes, cubed
1/2 cup black oil-cured olives, sliced
1. Place vinegar, shallots, and garlic in a medium bowl and set bowl aside for 20 minutes. Stir in olive oil, lemon juice, and mint. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the bread and mozzarella. Pour two-thirds of the dressing over, and toss again. Set the bowl aside for 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and remaining dressing, and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.