I have the kind of job that is already going full speed before I even wake up in the morning.
I turn my work phone on at 8am to 20 missed calls and 10 new voicemails from people pulling me in every which direction. I go into a meeting with someone that should last an hour only to have it turn into 5 hours of trying to prevent a crisis. I rush, rush, rush, putting out fires, and doing 100 different things without doing anything that is actually on my to-do list. I get screamed at, I get blamed for things completely out of my control, people put their faith in me to do things that are nearly impossible. And some days, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but on days like today… it. is. truth.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy what I do. I actually really love it. But nonetheless I come home on most days feeling very tense. I need to relax. I need my OWN therapy. And on days like today, I bake.
Baking is my safe place. My creative place. My “me time” place. My “let all of my stresses of the day go” place.
I am so grateful that I discovered how therapeutic baking can be for me and I think everyone needs a “place” like this. So tell me… what is yours?
- 1 TBSP active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 TBSP kosher salt
- 2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, (or butter of choice. I used earth balance)
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pushed through a garlic press
- 1 TBSP fresh minced rosemary (or 2 tsp dried)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- In a large bowl combine yeast, water, salt, and flours
- Stir until it forms a wet, sticky dough. You can use clean hands for this, or a spoon. You can also use a dough hook of a mixer, but mix just until a ball forms.
- Cover with a clean towel or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Melt the butter and mix in all of the garlic and herbs.
- Dust a clean flat surface with flour and sprinkle flour on top of the risen dough, a rolling pin and dust your hands.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and form into a ball by pulling the sides down to the bottom several times.
- If the dough is still very sticky, dust some more flour on top of the dough.
- Roll the dough out into a large rectangle and liberally brush the dough with the butter/garlic/herb mixture. Save about 2 tbsp of the butter for the top of the dough.
- Roll the dough starting on the shorter side to the other end. Take the two ends and fold them into the center.
- Flip the dough over and put the seam side down into a greased bread pan.
- Brush the top of the dough with the rest of the butter/garlic/herb mixture.
- Let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a sharp knife, make 3 slashes on top of the loaf.
- Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.
- Let cool completely before slicing.
adapted from the techniques found in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day