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Bread Machine Secret Ingredient

This is my version of a french bread recipe. Keep an eye out for my secret ingredient.

  • 1 package Yeast
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 6 leaves Stinging Nettle or Fresh Spinach
  • about 7/8 cup water

I've got an old hand-me-down bread machine that sat in my closet for years. I was planning on selling it at a garage sale and figured if I made a loaf of bread, just to prove it works, I might get a couple more bucks out of it. Once I tasted the bread, it never made it to the garage sale and I've been using it on a fairly regular basis ever since.

The egg acts as a binder and makes the bread more spongy, like store bought bread. Without egg, it tends to be crumbly and doesn't work as well for sandwiches.

The Secret Ingredient

My secret ingredient is the Stinging Nettle, or Fresh Spinach will do in a pinch. It acts as a yeast enhancer and makes the dough rise better. Breads that would usually turn out heavy are light and fluffy. I can use 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour and 1 cup White Flour and still end up with a great loaf of bread.

If I use Stinging Nettle, I'll boil the leaves for a minute or two and then throw the leaves in whole and use the left-over water in the bread. With Fresh Spinach, I'll just throw the leaves in whole, right from the fridge.

I discovered this by accident. I like Stinging Nettle and on a whim, I figured I'd try putting it in bread. I was really surprised when I walked into the kitchen and found the dough was huge in comparison to what it usually was. Since I have a farming background, I think of the Nettle acting as a fertilizer for the yeast. The Nettle provides different types of nutrients the sugar can't provide and helps the yeast grow more than with sugar alone.

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