Simplicity and soft homemade vegan sandwich bread

Friday, July 15, 2011

I have been craving simplicity lately. More than usual, really. For me, this is a very predictable part of my life's rhythm. It is a cycle in which I pile way too many things onto the shoulders of my days. There are so many things that I want to read and write and photograph and see. New music to hear, new trails to hike, new exploring, new creating. When this mountain of wants and shoulds gets too heavy, I collapse. Onto the couch, out of my responsibilities, out of my smooth groove. I shirk. I hide. And then I start it all over again. It is what I do. It is the way that I know myself as someone who does things and who is passionate about staying hungry.

Sworn tightly to backing off on using my goals and lists to prod myself into an anxious state of "NOT ENOUGH TIME!", I am putting a little extra effort into nurturing my soul. Sitting at my favorite coffee shop in a cozy corner and drinking a deliciously fragrant jasmine green tea, it occurred to me that simplicity doesn't mean boring and slow. This moment is so simple- sitting in a coffee shop. The layers of what is happening here, though, are what make this time worthy of being deposited into my bank of rejuvenation. Like doing shoulder presses and squats at the same time, this time is complex and multi-beneficial.

Love this cozy little corner of the coffee shop:

Yesterday I realized mid-day that I was out of bread. I had sandwiches planned for dinner and didn't want to drag the kids to the store before we headed to the pool for swimming lessons. I tossed a few ingredients into the bread machine and, a few hours later, ended up with a fantastically soft loaf of sandwich bread. No weird ingredients. No trip to the store. Perfect!

Now I realize that making bread from scratch doesn't sound, on the surface, to be an act of simplicity. It is, though, quite nurturing in more than one way. There is a feeling of success and of everything being in its place when the dough rises as it should. Homemade bread smells amazing and it seems so special despite its being ordinary.

Vegan Sandwich Bread
For a 1 lb. bread machine (or 1 loaf in the oven)

2/3 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup lukewarm apple juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

  1. Put all of the ingredients into your machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Program the machine for whole wheat bread and press Start.*
*My bread machine is a 1 1/2 - 2 pound machine and this is a 1 pound loaf. Rather than let it bake into a loaf that wasn't quite the right shape in the machine, I pulled the dough out right before the last rise period and placed it in an oiled loaf pan. I covered it with a tea towel and let it rise in the sun for 70 minutes. I baked it in my oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

I used this bread to make barbecued tempeh sandwiches with my favorite barbecue sauce. Served with sweet potatoes cooked on the barbecue. The sandwiches were made with lots of avocado tucked away inside- yum!

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