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"Mess Up" Bread

So, here is the homemade bread recipe I've been DYING to blog.  Yesterday I had to make it way before dinner (woohoo band practice in the middle of the afternoon), so I had the time and frame of mind to photograph some of the steps.

This recipe also comes from the lovely cookbook my mommy made me (which I explained here).  But it also has even more of a back-story.  At one point when I was growing up, Mom got a bread machine.  And she used it a ton.  Seriously, unless you're just really having a bad day and you want to pound on some dough for a while, the bread machine is totally the way to go!  It basically does all the work for you, and then you get to put a delicious loaf of homemade bread on the table with literally NO work!  Anyway, one time, she accidentally set the bread maker on the "Dough" setting (which means that the machine will knead the dough and let it rise but won't bake it), and the trouble with the bread maker was that you couldn't start it in the middle of a cycle just for bake.  So Mom had bread dough but had to figure out how to finish it off to make it into bread.  So, she did her kitchen magic, and that night for dinner we had "Mess Up" bread.  Since then, it's been one of our favorite breads.  It is her (and my) go-to homemade bread for just about any meal.  And we've also never renamed it.  So, to this day when she's taking meal requests, she'll still ask us, 'do you want mess up bread with that?'

This bread is similar to a French bread loaf.  It's not authentic in that the crust is not super crunchy, but it has a French bread flavor.  It is definitely a bit of a chore to make if you don't have a bread machine, but if you do have one, you have got to try this bread!  I usually half everything to make just one loaf, and Thomas and I eat it all week with dinner.  We'll toast it under the broiler with some butter and garlic salt, or dip it in oil and Italian seasonings, or sometimes I even just butter it and stick it in the microwave to heat it back up.  It is sooo good!

If you're using the bread maker, it takes care of all the kneading and the first rise for you, so the first hands on part is when you get the dough out onto a floured surface, shape it into a ball (it's pretty sticky, so you want to just lightly cover it with flour), and then roll it out into a rectangle.  (Or an oval if you're me and can't roll things into rectangles very well.)  Also, you'll see some little specks in my dough because I added some Italian seasoning that's not in the recipe.

Then just roll it up and place it on your prepared baking sheet, like so.
Then you let it rise for another hour.  I usually set my bread on the stove and preheat my oven at the same time (even though the oven doesn't take that long to preheat) just so that the bread soaks up some of the extra heat.  So here it is ready to pop in the oven.
And once it's baked, it comes out looking beautiful!  It's so fluffy and delicious!

Homemade "Mess Up" Bread
From: My Mother's genius ingenuity in the kitchen!
Makes: 2 loaves
*This recipe also works great when half-ed, and it will make one loaf.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon margarine, softened
1 tablespoon oil
4 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast

margarine
salt
cornmeal

Directions:
*If you have a bread maker, just put all the ingredients in your bread maker and set for dough.  This should take care of all of the kneading and the first rise, so you can start at step 7.
For those of you that don't have a bread machine:
  1. Add yeast to warm water and stir.
  2. Put 2 cups flour, the salt, and the sugar in a large bowl, add water and yeast; mix thoroughly for 2 minutes.
  3. Add oil and margarine; mix thoroughly for 2 minutes.
  4. Add remaining flour until dough is firm, but still elastic.
  5. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.
  6. Place into a well-greased bowl.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  7. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle.
  8. Roll the dough up starting at the long side to form two loaves.
  9. Place both rolls on a baking sheet that is greased with margarine and sprinkled with cornmeal and salt.
  10. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-40 minutes until golden brown.  (Baking one loaf in my oven usually takes a little over 20 minutes.)
  12. Let cool slightly before cutting and serving.
This bread is so delicious, seriously... you should make some!  Yummy!

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