As much as possible, I like to avoid making plans on Sunday afternoon. This is my time to huddle up inside and sew to my heart’s content. After my favorite morning yoga class and maybe brunch at a nearby café, I’m quite content to spend the rest of the day doing nothing but stitching… well, almost.
I’ve recently discovered that one of the best ways to make the most of my at-home-in-the-studio afternoons is bread baking. Since this takes several hours, it’s a wonderful excuse to stay put, and since most of the process involves waiting for the dough to rise or bake, I can easily multitask, wandering back and forth between my studio and kitchen. Not to mention there are some surprising similarities between quilt making and bread baking; first of all, there’s the need for patience. Then there’s the meticulous, rhythmic nature of both activities: kneading dough and steadily stitching at the machine are more alike than one might think.
So might I suggest you do the same at some point this weekend (yes, the weekend is almost here)? Take an afternoon off to bake and sew—trust me, there’s no better smell than that of freshly baked bread (or cake or brownies…), and you can work up quite an appetite after hours of stitching.
This past Sunday, I tried my hand at tomato bread while finishing up my latest mini quilt.
I was quite pleased with both, so thought I’d share the bread recipe with all of you (it makes a great grilled cheese!)
Tomato Wheat Bread
· 1 package of active dry yeast
· ¼ cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
· ½ cup plain yogurt
· 1 teaspoon olive oil
· 2 cloves of fresh garlic, grated
· 6-ounce can tomato paste
· 2 cups whole wheat flour
· ½ cup whole wheat bread flour (or regular bread flour)
· ½ cup cornmeal
· 1 teaspoon sugar
· 1 teaspoon salt (or more)
Mix the yeast into the warm water and allow to proof for about 15 minutes, or until foamy. Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and tomato paste. In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, bread flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Stir the yeast mixture into the yogurt mixture, then add all the wet ingredients to the flour mixture.
Knead the dough for about 8 minutes (by machine or hand), place inside a large greased bowl, cover with a damp clean cloth, then allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about ½ hours. (I like to preheat my oven for one minute, turn it off, then place the bread inside to rise.)
Punch the dough down and knead again for about 4 minutes. Place the dough inside a greased 9” x 5" loaf pan, and allow to rise again until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until cooked through in the center.
Do you ever multitask while sewing?