Kitchen Tools: Bread Machines

I didn't start puttering around with a bread machine until a few years ago, but now I use mine at least a couple of times a month. Freshly baked bread, pizza dough, and cinnamon rolls are really a nice treat that become simple when you have one around. And if you are like me and enjoy inspiring sandwiches, something like this is also a snap when you use your bread machine and slow cooker:

The corned beef is simple enough. I tend to buy mine and rinse most, if not all, of the brine off the roast before setting it in a slow cooker on LOW with potatoes, carrots, and onions. About five hours later, it's fork-tender and amazing. I always set aside a bit of the roast for reubens later on. Slice the meat when it's cold and you won't have trouble getting perfect slices!

In lieu of sauerkraut, I prefer to sauté a little fresh cabbage with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a splash of rice vinegar. And make sure you have Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese. Then it's just a matter of assembling your sandwich and, if desired, toasting it in a pan on the stove to give the bread a little texture and melt the cheese to perfection!

Now, you could buy rye bread, but if you've got a bread machine, it would be a shame to ignore the possibility of soft, pillowy rye bread that's been freshly baked. I used to have mixed results when trying breads that used mixed flours in the bread machine until I began adding a few teaspoons of vital wheat gluten to the mix. It encourages a nicer rise and a tender crumb in your finished loaf. If you bake more than once or twice a year, having this secret ingredient on hand will have you yearning for even more fresh-baked bread. Oh, and don't forget those sandwiches!

Bread Machine Rye

  • 1 1/3 c. water
  • 1 T. butter
  • 3 c. bread flour
  • 1 c. rye flour
  • 4 tsp. vital wheat gluten (found near the flour in your market)
  • 2 T. dry milk
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. caraway seed
  • 2 1/2 tsp. yeast

Place the water and butter in your bread machine's bread pan.

Add the dry ingredients (except the yeast) on top of the water and butter in the bread pan.

Form a hole in the flour for the yeast. Make certain none of the wet ingredients are seeping through. Pour the yeast into the hole.

Snap the bread pan into the bread machine and close the lid of the machine. Use the basic bread setting and a light crust. Start the machine. When the bread is done, carefully remove the loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing and using.

  • Yields: 1 - 2 lb. loaf
  • Preparation Time: 8 minutes to assemble (Baking time is about 3 hours)