Two recent resolutions of mine led me to make veggie sandwiches with hummus. One, I was resolved to bring my lunch to work more often. Usually when I bring my lunch to work, it consists of leftovers from a dinner I have made recently. But with summer approaching, I was hoping to make more sandwiches and salads and such, stuff that doesn’t require reheating. This was also a good opportunity to try making my own hummus, since it seemed very easy and inexpensive to make at home, and it is fairly expensive to buy at the store.
My second resolve was to stop buying bread altogether and bake all the bread we eat. I have had this resolve for a while, but so far I haven’t been following through with it. Until recently, I wasn’t satisfied with my bread slicing skills, but I have gotten a lot better with practice and better equipment.
To aid me in these goals, I pulled out my bread machine. While I frequently bake bread without it, it is easier to use and make the time for than doing everything by hand if I want to produce enough bread at home. I enjoy the process of baking bread by hand, but if I am busy and have difficulty fitting it into my schedule, it is so much easier to start the dough in the machine and then just wait for it to be done. I think it will also be a good idea during the summer, when I really won’t feel like turning on my oven.
I have been interviewing bread machine recipes to see which ones will be labeled “keepers.” This week I tried a Home-Style White Bread, which I think definitely makes the list. I am not quite sure what makes it “home-style” since it seemed more like store-bought soft white bread than anything I have ever made at home. But I like soft white store-bought sandwich bread, and so I liked this very much. I did have more trouble slicing it because it was so soft. In the future I might use my electric knife, which is the best way I have found to slice very soft breads.
It is important to remember that using a bread machine doesn’t absolve you of all responsibility for your dough. You do need to check it during the mixing to make sure the flour and water ratio is correct. I usually keep the lid open during most of the mixing process until I am satisfied that the dough is in good shape. This recipe worked perfectly for me – I didn’t need to add either water or flour this time.
One of my only problems with bread machine bread is that the loaves are ENORMOUS. Usually on this site I am complaining that the 1-1/2 pound loaves I make in loaf pans are too small, but either due to the shape of the pan or for some other crazy reason, the bread machine loaves come out huge. I compensate for this by cutting the slices rather thick and making sandwiches with just one slice cut in half.
The sun-dried tomato hummus was just as easy and delicious as I expected. We have been eating it on sandwiches and as a dip all week. I based it on a Pinch My Salt recipe, but I made several changes, adding in a garlic clove, using less olive oil, and rather more sun-dried tomatoes. I think if I make it again, I might add more tahini. I used the herbed olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in the hummus, and the Italian flavors dominate it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I might want to try to balance the flavors a little more.
Home-Style White Bread
From Taste of Home
1 cup water (70° to 80°)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add water or flour if needed).
Yield: 1 loaf (about 1-1/2 pounds, 16 slices).
Sun-dried Tomato Hummus
Adapted from Pinch My Salt
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (with oil)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Combine everything in a food processor and process until smooth.