A bread machine is one of those big bulky kitchen appliances that I never imagined would be an essential item in my house—that was, until I got a bread machine. I love this thing. The loaves that bake in the machine are a little funky in size: tall and puffy with a hole in the bottom from the mixing device. But, the kids don’t complain: they love fresh, warm bread. The thing that I really love about the bread machine is that it mixes dough perfectly. We use every week to make pizza dough: dump the ingredients in and the dough is ready in 45 minutes. All it needs is a short rest and then it’s ready to roll out.
I’ve also discovered that the bread machine can make lots of other doughs, including enriched doughs for brioche, sweet rolls, pan de muerto and challah. Look at this beauty I made yesterday:
And here is today’s school lunch, featuring that lovely bread:
Here at Love and Lunch Corporate Headquarters, we have had a rough couple of weeks (a month?) of sicknesses working their way through the office. As a result, I haven’t been keeping up to date with my lunch posts. But, rest assured, we have been eating. And eating quite well, I might add. I was thinking about this as I made sandwiches for the kiddos last night. I took sandwich requests (always a mistake), so I had to make two different types for today’s lunch: one with mortadella and the other with roast beef. Making these fancy sandwiches made me reflect on my own childhood of bologna, American cheese (Kraft singles), and ketchup (Heinz, please) sandwiches. Yep, that atrocious combo was my favorite. My kids definitely have way better taste than I ever did at their ages.
Of course, I didn’t grow up in California (except for a brief stint in kindergarten when Dad was stationed at March AFB), land of plenty. I mean just look at this strawberry:
My kids are so lucky to have year-round access to such amazing produce. It makes it a lot easier to pack reasonably healthy lunches when you always have delicious fruit and veggies on hand. Here is a round-up of some recent lunches. Almost all the produce is from the SLO Farmers Market. Yum, yum and more yum.
This week I made a variety of sandwiches and such on bread. For Valentine’s Day, the kids got pizza bread on King’s Hawaiian rolls with sugar cookies, carrots and radish flowers on the side. I admit that I’m not very skilled at making radish flowers, but the kiddos were eager to jump in and help.
Wednesday it was Make Your Own Sandwich day with some kid-approved sandwich ingredients: salami, ham and delicious Irish cheddar cheese.
I got creative with my bread machine this week and made a lovely loaf of spiced carrot bread. I love adding shredded fruit or veggies and cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice into the bread dough: it gives the bread just a little hint of sweetness. Yum!
And here were are at the end of the week with a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. Seriously, what could be better than ending the week on a sweet note?
Remember when I bought a bread machine? Well, I love that thing. On average, we go through about two loaves of bread per week. I also make pizza and focaccia dough in the bread machine, and it turns out perfectly every time. What can I say? We’re a gluten-loving household.
Last night I made a nice focaccia to go with our black bean soup for dinner. My bread maker is still going strong and it makes the best focaccia and pizza dough ever: light and filled with air. I had just enough bread left over to make fancy sandwiches for the kids and dad.
Lunch making just got a little more fun here at Love and Lunch, because—BIG NEWS—we just got a bread machine. I love to make bread and was raised in a house of homemade bread made by my Mom (and expert baker) who learned how to make bread from her Mom (and expert baker), my amazing Nanny Yetman. Well, both Mom and Nanny are probably having a heavenly tête-à-tête right about now—enjoying a nice cuppa and discussing what a hopeless Yankie (this is the Newfoundland term for us ‘Mericans) I am with my newfangled bread machine. Now, I never even considered buying a bread machine until a good friend, neighbor, expert baker and all around superDad extolled the incredible convenience of a bread machine. I thought about it, did some research and then thought about it some more. Then I asked our wonderful neighbor to make us a loaf, which the kids promptly declared the “best bread ever.” Sold.
The bread maker arrived last Thursday, and since then I’ve made three loaves of white bread, one loaf of whole wheat bread and a focaccia (by using the pizza dough setting). This bread is not artisanal or crusty or complex: it’s super soft, amazing sandwich bread. The process is ridiculously easy: measure ingredients, put in pan, press start. A loaf of white bread takes four hours start to finish. Wheat bread takes longer: five hours. Dough whips up in about 45 minutes. Amazing. I’m in love with this newfangled contraption.