High Fiber Day

Well, if you read my post yesterday, then you know I was just itching to get at my housework. And, really, in just a very few minutes, you've scratched that itch plenty enough to last for a month, if you're lucky. So I needed something to keep me occupied in the process. Enter bread-baking. Where flour is concerned, it's enough to know you'll be undoing any housework you just did within a matter of minutes.

As I've mentioned before, bread-baking is like quilting in that I have a to-do list now of breads I want to bake. Yesterday, I decided it was time to try a good old American sandwich loaf. White bread. My chosen recipe came from this book that just recently made its way onto my bookshelf:

It was a simple bread that could be made in about 5 hours. I first whisked bread flour, salt, and rapid-rise yeast in the bowl of my mixer. Then I whisked whole milk, water, honey, and a little melted butter in a separate bowl. Then I turned on my mixer with the dough hook and slowly poured the liquid ingredients into the dry. It took about two minutes for all the dry flour to be incorporated and then I let it knead for another 8 minutes.

It made a nice soft dough that was put into a large bowl to rise for two hours. Isn't it cute? 

After two hours, it looked like this...and maybe it doesn't look like it's doubled in volume to you, but it has.

Then I stretched it into a 6 x 8 rectangle and rolled it into a tight little log. It went into a loaf pan where it was allowed to rise for another 90 minutes.

Then into a 350°F oven for 35 minutes and Voila! Isn't that gorgeous?

It was hard to wait to cut into it, but I waited about 2/3 the designated time...a heroic effort if I do say so myself. It's very soft and so delicious, and I'll just say that it smelled heavenly.

It was really pretty easy to make...painless, you might say. I'll definitely be making this again and again. It's the sandwich bread of my dreams. There's also a way to make it whole wheat by substituting some whole wheat flour for the white flour, adding a little toasted wheat germ, and a little bit more honey. Yum. The loaf is half gone now, so I'll be making it again very soon.

Yesterday's mail was a treasure trove. I'm gearing up to make a baby quilt for a friend's grandbaby due in June. The request was for an elephant theme done up in pastel grays and aquas. I did a quick search for an elephant baby quilt and came up with this Mommy & Me pattern.

Cute, huh? I have plenty of fabrics already in my stash to use for this, but I needed something for the back and something for those large polka dots. As long as I was looking, I also found a pastel gray for the background behind the elephants. I'll use stuff from my stash for the rest, but these are the fabrics I purchased. The one on the left is for the quilt back.

"Aqua" is kind of a hard color. Is it blue? Is it green? Is it aquamarine? Anyway...I'm trusting my fabric choices will be good enough.

As for the rest, here are some other goodies I picked up, mostly so that I could qualify for free shipping. I was thinking about the Solstice blocks coming up. The one on the right below was purchased as a possibility for an April Fool's Day block. I already did one for Matthew's birthday on April 2nd, and so an April Fool's Day block would be a week late. On the other hand...my quilt, so my rules.

The one on the left above is for an Easter-themed block, but also, I want to make this little table runner recently published on the Moda Bake Shop. Did you see this? The "recipe" is right here.

It's a little late to be starting quilts for Easter, but this will go together quickly, and then I'll be ready for an Easter table next year.

But that's not all. I was still thinking about the Solstice Challenge when I chose these fabrics. I think these will help make a celebration block for Mike's retirement.

And then there's this, which was the one disappointment from the lot of them. I got this for an "April Showers bring May Flowers" block, but this is minky! I knew I would do that eventually. I totally missed the fact that it was minky. It's hardly worth the effort to return it, and so now I'm stuck with it.  

Finally, I was on the lookout for fabrics that might work with my scrub jay quilt. The one on the left will be great in some of the gray parts, and the one on the right will work for the blues, of course.

So today is Smitty's 5th birthday. I know...hard to believe he was once little like this, isn't it?

We're celebrating with a trip to the vet. I know he'll be thrilled about that. He just needs his rabies vaccine, and so it'll be a quick trip. Even so, the ride in the car is the same distance, which is to say, too far. Commence me-howling now. After that, one more housekeeping chore, and then I'm going to get started on my little bunny table runner.

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

CJ Smith said...

Happy Birthday Smitty! My two old gals, Mrs. Peabody (17) and Fluff (14) send their best wishes and hope you score LOTS of kitty treats today! =^..^=

heartsease54 said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one to recently fall off of the "buy no more fabric" wagon! And I bought the cutest fabric to make an Easter table runner too. Great minds think alike. Did you decide to do the vine on the Quiltmaker's Garden?

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Lots of great fabrics! Happy Birthday Smitty - a trip to the vet on your birthday, how low. Mom needs to learn how to bake kitty treats instead of bread.

Robin Haupt said...

Smitty was so gosh darn adorable as a kitten! OMG! He's rather handsome now, mind you. Happy birthday to Smitty! I have one here who is soon for his vet appt...I totally get the howling the entire way, to and fro, for the love of Heaven. You'd think he was being tortured the entire time. Love your blog. I also love the quilts you make. I make more utility quilts. I love them, but yours have such an art quality. Very pretty.

CathieJ said...

Happy Birthday Smitty! I can almost smell that bread baking. It looks so delicious. Enjoy your sewing.

claudia said...

Happy Birthday Smitty!

I love all the fabrics you got. Even the minky. Can that be used for alternate cat beds, so when you launder the ones they have, there is still a soft place to land?

That bread looks like my grandma's bread that I used to make for years. I am craving some of that now that I have seen yours. But I will not, can not bake any...that would set me back in my weight loss a bit too much!

WoolenSails said...

That bread looks delicious. I love that elephant quilt and the fabrics you have, that is going to be so cute.
Happy Birthday Smitty!


Dana Gaffney said...

Happy Birthday Smitty! It's so nice of mom to take you for a car ride to see your friends, don't forget to thank her, a nice mouse should do it.

Sherry said...

Happy Birthday Smitty, hope you get a catnip cake!

Wendy Tuma said...

That bread looks absolutely delicious! I have a recipe for a blended flour, which means you basically make up a flour blend of wheat and white flours. It makes a tasty loaf. Your fabric shopping scored some great stuff. I had the same thought on the minky for cat beds. Happy Birthday to Smitty from Max the cat. He says he will me-howl here to stand in solidarity with Smitty. :-)

gpc said...

I'm drooling and can't be sure whether it's from the bread or the fabric. Both have me in quite a tizzy. Love the elephant and bunny patterns, too! And I really need another project to add to the UFO pile on my dining room table . . . where ARE we going to eat Easter dinner??!

Barb H said...

OMG! Barbara, Your bread looks amazing! I think you qualify as a master bread baker now, don't you?

Quilting Babcia said...

I think I shall have to look for that bread book, your loaf looks simply amazing. Well, and that elephant quilt pattern too, though I think I'd make it square rather than rectangular. Super fabric choices for your elephant quilt.

Dar said...

Your bread is beautiful. I was curious to see what kind of loaf pan you use. Thanks for showing it. That little elephant quilt is darling. A friend of mine has made it and everyone wanted to rush home and make one! Your fabrics are perfect for it too. How much yardage did you get of the minky fabric? Is it big enough for a backing on another baby quilt? I love flannel or minky on backs of baby sized quilts. It makes them more snuggly.

Kate said...

Beautiful bread! It's nice to find a good go to recipe, My Guy has a couple that even DT can whip up quickly. Happy birthday Smitty! He's 5? I can remember when he was just a little guy trying to get into Gracie's good graces.

Brown Family said...

Now I am hungry for fresh bread! Those are pretty fabrics. I have a lot of Minky. I use to make cuddle blankets and sell them!.

I know I am late,but, Happy Birthday Smitty!

quiltzyx said...

My first thought about the "oopsy minky" fabric was a pillow for the catio...

That bread still looks fab! LOL Even though I know it is LONG gone by now!

Happy belated b'day Smitty!!

Lyndsey said...

Lots of fabulous fabric in your order. I haven't got any plans to start a new quilt so don't really need to buy any fabric but seeing your purchases I may just go and checkout some bits! Happy birthday Smitty.