Sometimes the recipe ingredients are similar - I mean, flour, water, salt, yeast, and maybe some sugar are the basic ingredients. And those ingredients can be used to make a lot of different breads.
This time around, I was playing around with an interesting gadget - the Lekue Silicone Bread Maker that I reviewed here.
It's really more of a baking pan that a "maker" that mixes dough, but it's not just a pan, either. When the bread maker is open, it's bowl-shaped, so you can mix the bread ingredients in it. The company also suggest kneading the dough right in the bowl. You can do that, if you like, but I prefer to knead on a counter top.
After the dough is kneaded, you let it rise in the closed pan, covered with a towel. Then it's shaped and placed back in the pan for the final rise. And finally, it's baked right in the pan.
The crust was similar to the crust I've gotten from baking bread in a clay pot, no doubt because of the steam trapped inside the bread maker. The bread also ended up being a unique shape - sort of a football/submarine hybrid.
If you don't happen to have this particular pan, you can bake this bread in a standard bread pan or free-form on a baking sheet.
The Lekue bread maker doesn't require anything to keep the bread from sticking, but if you decide to bake in another pan, consider using cornmeal under the loaf.
White and Semolina Loaf
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Combine all ingredients and knead by hand (or with your favorite machine) until smooth and elastic.
Cover the dough and set aside until doubled in size, about an hour. If you're using the Lekue bread maker, close it, then cover it with a towel to cover the open ends. If you're using a standard bowl, cover it with plastic wrap.
When the bread has risen, form it into a log-shaped loaf and put it back into the Lekue bread maker (or whatever pan you'll be using.) Allow it to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the dough has doubled, bake in the closed Lekue pan (or your chosen method) until nicely browned, about 40 minutes.
Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.
More about the pan:
This silicone bread maker isn't just for bread. It's microwave-safe, so I used it for cooking vegetable in the microwave. I's a particularly good shape for microwaving on on the cob, if that's something you want to do. you could also use it for cooking or baking other items in the microwave or oven, either open or closed.
Or. use it as a bowl.
I tried cooking bread in the microwave, just for giggles, and it wasn't particularly successful - you'll never get the desired browning. But we didn't really expect that to work, did we?
Disclaimer: I received the bread maker as a sample from the manufacturer.