This past weekend was (and still is) a truly dark time in American history. It’s certainly kept me up at night. The audacity of this ban on “people from Muslim-majority nations” is beyond me. It makes me feel numb. When I look at pictures of people finally being reunited with their families at airports across the country, I want to cry, both tears of joy for them but also tears of anger and sadness because they had to go through SO. MUCH. already, and then to be put through this additional gauntlet is just heartbreaking. These are human beings. The United States should be a place of refuge, a place where people can feel safe, not a place of fear and hate-mongering. And of course the countries where Trump has business ties have been left off of his list. We are a nation of immigrants. We know that. Everyone knows that. And to turn people away, people that need our help, people that are already legally residing in the country, people that have put their lives on the line to help our military and government abroad, is sickening. I implore you to please donate to the ACLU on a monthly basis, if your budget allows. Go to protests (you can easily find them in your area by searching on Facebook). Find your local chapter of CAIR and look for volunteer opportunities. Call your representatives. And for those of you who have left comments about how you don’t like my politics (or worse), you are welcome to go elsewhere, because this is important and if you’re going to turn a blind eye to the world right now because it’s too hard or you just don’t want to deal with it, then I feel ashamed for you. This is about people and they deserve every chance and opportunity that every American deserves. We have to keep having these tough conversations, especially with people who disagree with us or people that voted for the current president. These recent actions are indefensible. Even Republicans think so. This is not the time to just wait around and “give him a chance” and see what happens. It’s clear what this administration’s priorities are, and we cannot stand for it.
It’s honestly hard for me to even put a recipe up right now. It’s hard to think about anything other than the current political climate and all of the horror that is being inflicted upon people, from this ban to the struggle of so many other people in this country, but it’s important to rest and stay focused and spend some time re-energizing yourself. If that means going for a run, watching a movie, meditating, or, in my case, baking or cooking, then that’s a good thing. One of my friends sends out a weekly email blast with various calls to action and ways to help, and one thing she mentioned was that it’s easy to burn out, so find the things that you are passionate about and make sure you take care of yourself while you work on them. I’m trying to do that as best I can. I am obviously very lucky and I am in a position where I am able to donate, protest, and try to spread information to others. Not everyone is so fortunate, and I realize that. That’s why I feel a responsibility to use this blog and whatever reach it has to try to do some good. But at the end of the day, it is a food blog, and I do want to share some recipes with you, if anything, to help alleviate some of the pain everyone has been feeling. And bread is a great way to do that. Kneading the dough together is soothing and therapeutic, and there’s really nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread. This is a simple rye bread recipe. It’s perfect for sandwiches or toast or even just snacking with some butter and salt. We made a brisket a few weeks back, had some friends over, made sandwiches, and watched a movie. This bread was wonderful slathered in mustard and piled high with tender slices of meat, pickles, and onions. If you’re new to baking, especially to baking bread, then this is a wonderful place to start. Bake some bread, take care of yourself, and while it rises, give your representatives and senators a call. Thanks to everyone who has been working tirelessly to make a difference, and thank you especially to all of the people around me who are inspiring me to be better and work harder.
One tiny ball of dough, ready to rise.
The same dough, all big and tough and ready to punch down.
Rolled out and folded.
A second rise.
My favorite way to eat this is with some butter and sea salt.
- ¼-ounce (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (about 110-115 degrees F)
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, plus more for topping
- 2¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1¼ cup rye flour
- 1 egg white, for brushing
- In the bowl of an electric mixer (or just a large bowl if you're making the bread by hand), sprinkle your yeast over ¼ cup of your warm water. Add in ½ tablespoon honey and whisk until the yeast dissolves. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
- Add in the remaining water and honey, as well as the butter, caraway seeds, and salt. Mix to combine, then gradually add in both flours, one cup at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a sticky ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface or with your dough hook for about 5 minutes, then shape into a ball. Transfer to a large buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Butter a 4-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch loaf pan and set aside. When the dough has risen, punch it down and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to a 7 x 7-inch square, then fold it into thirds, like a letter, and pinch the ends to seal. Place the dough seam-side-down in the loaf pan and brush with your egg white and sprinkle with extra caraway seeds.
- Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it on top of the dough (so that it doesn't stick when you peel it away later). Let stand for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the dough touches the plastic wrap.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, then when ready to bake, lower it to 400 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 45-55 minutes or so, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the top is a nice, golden brown. Let the bread cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before removing and slicing. This will keep well, wrapped in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to a week.