Spiced Bread for my mom

Since I'm no longer home to cook and bake for the family, I occasionally get questions on how to do things when someone feels adventurous enough to make one of my recipes. Or any recipe.

This recipe is for my mom, who loves the spiced baguettes I keep making. They go with any kind of occasion. We've served them on barbeques, fancy dinners and filled them like sandwiches for a lunch. Even my mom's made a few and she's pretty good at it too. She just forgets the recipe.

Don't you dare forget it now!

And, an important note before you start the recipe: Add your own spices! This recipe is one of the most used recipes in my beloved Bread-book. Yet I've never followed it precisely. As you can see on the pictures, I experimented with whole wheat flour and a turmeric/curry spice blend as well. Just add whatever herb or spice combinations fancy you!

Spiced Bread
1 loaf or 3-4 baguettes or 8 buns - from Bread

300 ml water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato puree or ketchup
500 grams flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons milk (optional) *

2 teaspoons garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh garlic)
2 teaspoon paprika powder
1-2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Mix the water with the oil and tomato puree and set aside.
2. Whisk the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and spices together. Make an indent in the middle of the flour, pour the water in and mix to form  a dough.
3. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough has become soft and doesn't stick (use more flour or water if necessary).
4. Place in a bowl and cover with a wet towel. Leave to rise for 1-1 1/2 hour until doubled in size.
5. Knock down and shape into a loaf, a braided loaf, 3-4 baguettes or 8 buns, as desired. Place on a greased or lined tin and leave for about 30-45 minutes to rise.
6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes for a loaf of bread, or around 15-20 for buns or baguette-shapes.
7. * Optional: as soon as the bread comes out of the oven, brush the top with milk. This ensures a shiny golden and soft crust.

Admittedly I don't make it by hand most of the time. I have a bread machine which does a perfect job at making bread dough, which I'm very grateful for.

Bread machine Spiced Bread
In case you have a bread machine, this whole process is a lot easier:

1. Put the water with the olive oil and tomato puree in your bread machine pan.
2. Whisk the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and spices together. Place on top of the water in your bread machine pan and turn on the dough setting.
3. Once done, knock down and shape into any desired shape. Place on a greased or lined tin and leave for 30-45 minutes to rise.
4. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes for a loaf of bread, or around 15-20 for buns or baguette-shapes. 

I remember a baking enthusiast telling me that once I had a KitchenAid(-like machine), I would instantly abandon my bread machine. I tried to make bread with my kitchen machine a few times and I don't feel it. It works, but it still requires me to knead a bit anyway, just to make sure the bread is fine before putting it into a bowl for rising. So No, sorry...

Did you abandon your bread machine yet? Did you abandon any kitchen tools for your kitchen machine? I wonder if I'm the only one who's attached to almost every piece of machinery in my kitchen.