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?
Spicy Garlic and Herb Swirl Bread
adapted from the techniques found in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
- 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.
9. Roll the dough starting on the shorter side to the other end. Take the two ends and fold them into the center.
10. Flip the dough over and put the seam side down into a greased bread pan.
11. Brush the top of the dough with the rest of the butter/garlic/herb mixture.
12. Let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
13. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
14. Using a sharp knife, make 3 slashes on top of the loaf.
15. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.
16. Let cool completely before slicing.