Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunflower Bread & June's Give-Away

Today, I decided to create a bread to accompany the apron material I have chosen for this month--Sunflowers.  There are a number of reasons why I chose to celebrate this magnificent flower--it's Kansas' state flower and a symbol much associated with our prairie states which gave women the right to vote in the late 1800s before it was ratified in the 19th Constitutional Amendment on August 26, 1920.  There's also the fact that sunflower seeds and oil are good for you! The seeds are a good source of protein and fiber and the oil is affectionately called "Golden Child" because it's the highest in monounsaturated fat and lower in both saturated and polyunsaturated fats.

I'm proud to say I share a birthday with one of this country's most noted social activist, abolitionists and leader in the early women's movement--Elizabeth Cady Stanton [November 12, 1815 - October 26, 1902].  Along with Susan B. Anthony, they traveled through these midwest territories to spread the word of women's suffrage after the first Women's Rights Convention in 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York.  Unfortunately, Elizabeth died 18 years before women all over the United States held that right by the 19th Amendment.

I'm not going to make this post a whole history lesson, but to say I'm grateful that these women fought for us to have a vote and to honor a part of our country, where women stood right beside their husbands and family or even by themselves, to build a life and forge a living amidst these wild, wide-open spaces.  This apron with it's Prairie-like sunflowers is to honor these women.

Here is a list of the states that granted women the right to vote before the 19th Amendment:
New York
South Dakota

Sunflower Bread
1/2 cup warm water (between 105 - 110F-degrees)
2 T (or 2 pkg) active dry yeast
1 T honey
Whisk ingredients together and allow to set for 7 to 10 minutes until frothy; this is called proofing the yeast.

4 cups King Arthur bread flour
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
2 T Whole-grain Bread Improver
4 T Unsulphured molasses
1 T Kosher salt
1/4 cup Sunflower Oil
1/3 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/3 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk

1 1/4 cups water
additional flour as needed

In a stand mixer, using a dough hook, mix the dry ingredients together.  Whisk together the water, molasses, and oil and add to the mixer, while it's running.  Depending on the weather, you might have to add additional water or flour until the sides of the bowl are "clean" and the dough is being kneaded around the hook.
 Transfer dough to a lightly floured board and knead a few minutes, until smooth.  Brush a bowl or plastic dough bucket with some of the sunflower oil.

Place the dough right side up, down in the oiled bowl (or bucket) and then turn it upright again.  This oils the top.  Let the dough rise until doubled about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and divide into two pieces.  To form loaves, pat out the dough to 8"wide x 8" long.  Start rolling the dough, about 2 inches at a time and pinch the seam as shown.

Continue rolling and pinching until you come to the end--this keeps from getting "air pockets" in your loaf.  Brush a 9" x 5" loaf pan with the sunflower oil.
Place the dough, seam side down into the loaf pan and press lightly to fill the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed lightly with baking spray, then, cover with a towel to add some extra "heat."
Let rise again until doubled--45 minutes to 1 hour.  Before the time is up, preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  As a final step...I sprayed the tops with "Quick Shine" and sprinkled some additional sunflower seeds on top.  I think you should say what kind of bread this is!

Bake 35 minutes, rotating pans half-way through to insure even baking.  Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes in the pan before turning them out to cool completely.
Golden brown and smelling delicious, I could hardly wait to cut into a loaf and slather with butter and jam.

I've met so many beautiful women through blogging and want to pay tribute to them with this post.  I also thought about my grandson, Ari, who loves Bob the Builder.  One of our favorite DVDs to watch together is where Bob helps Farmer Pickle build a new storage unit for his Sunflower Oil business.  I get to be Wendy his helper and listen to him giggle every time he says..."Farmer Pickles!"  Enjoy!


  1. Oh wow, that bread looks so good! Drooling! And the apron you made is so pretty. All your aprons are beautiful. I hated sewing when I used to sew when I was in my teens. Never have sewn anything since then. But I love to sew on my cards! LOL!

    1. Like baking, my mother made sewing fun and challenging--which are two of the most important things to me. But I do know, you have to love to do something or it seems like a chore. Your cards are beautiful and you can tell that's what you love to do:-D

  2. Hello Susan...I'm wondering about the fabric you choose for your aprons. Do you have a favorite store where you shop? Have you already decided on the fabric for July? And do you sew a duplicate for your own kitchen? Oh, for a slice of your sunflower bread this morning with my would be perfect!

    1. Meggie, if you couldn't and your blog were my inspiration for this apron! I have a couple of local quilt stores where I find my fabrics and I know this sounds funny, but as I'm walking around, imagining what would be a good combination, the fabric combination just speaks to me to choose them. (I know I could be committed over that one--LOL!) I only make the one apron for each month because I want them to be a "one-of-a-kind" gift to the recipient.
      I don't have July's picked out, although I did buy some fabric that "spoke" to me with Paris landscape and ladybugs! I thought, Kelly is telling me that will be a wonderful trip to take with Erin next Spring...just wish she was going with us.
      And, I wish you were close enough to have a slice of bread this morning. XOXO

  3. Your bread looks so good! We love sunflower seeds, so I always add them to my bread, along with poppy seeds and oats. They give the loaf so much more flavour. I love the apron too - you choose such beautiful fabrics. J planted out our sunflowers in the garden on Saturday - the sun is shining today (it poured down all day yesterday) so I'll go out later to see if they've survived the slugs and snails! It was so interesting to read about some states giving women the vote ahead of the legislation.

    1. Scarlet, I wish we had sunshine here, but sadly, it's going to be rainy all week;-( We have slugs too and I'm always trying to figure ways to keep them out without putting harmful pesticides down.
      What's amazing to me, is that the UK gave women the vote much earlier than the US and for that, I applaud them. We have an important Presidential election coming up in November and I hope women give their voice to this decision.
      I love sunflowers seeds healthy!

  4. I've never been very successful at making bread, but yours looks so delicious!

    1. That's just what my sister she makes the most wonderful bread! And, by the way, toasted--it's even better:-D

  5. The bread looks so good, I can almost smell it baking in my oven! I love the sunflower apron too.... my sunflowers are coming up in the garden. A couple of different varieties planted this year, but the Teddy Bears are always my favorites! The birds and squirrels get to enjoy them too. Pretty funny to watch a squirrel stealing the entire head of the flower, and drag it across the yard!

    1. I love the Teddy Bears too, but I have to say I'm partial to those big ole' sunflowers that stand so erect! You're right, squirrels and crows are pretty much "pigs" when it comes to stealing the entire head!

  6. Hi Susan, I was with the CT girls (sue w, Muriel, grace) yesterday. We were talking about your wonderful baking and blog. I'm go delighted to be following you now. I was lucky enough to have enjoyed some of your delish baked goods at GASS. Don't know if you remember me, we only met a couple times at the store. I remember how beautifully packaged your treats were. Are there special requirements to get in on the apron giveaway?

    1. I do remember you special requirements, other than making comments on the posts for the month. You are now entered for June!

  7. Again, if only I could come over for breakfast and toast with this beautiful bread. I can bring the jam. ;) I've wondered what you think about cake yeast? It's hard to find around here, but I understand it makes wonderful yeasty breads. What's your advice? My yeast never seems to proof, or maybe I still have no clue what to look for? Have a wonderful week, my friend! XO

    1. I've used cake yeast and especially like it when I need to make a "biga" first. The dry yeast seems to work better for me (and is less expensive and lasts longer) when making these kind of doughs.
      For proofing, the mixture should become foamy which indicates you have "hungry, alert" yeast...remember it's alive!

  8. I am so anxious to try the Sunflower Bread---but first I need to order a few items from KAF! The apron is lovely and I agree that you find the most beautiful fabrics. I love sunflowers---there is a farm nearby that one entire field is just sunflowers and it's stunning! I have a lot of "volunteers" coming up in my flower beds---usually a variety of size and shapes because of the sunflower seeds that I feed the birds and squirrels.

    I am gaining confidence with each loaf of bread that I bake----thanks in part to your wonderful pictures and description. I feel that I am no longer afraid to fail and I take my mistakes in stride and look forward to trying new bread recipes. (Before your Blog, the only bread I baked was in my bread machine!) Hugs, Barb

  9. I have not found the confidence yet to tackle making bread. I bake lots I'm just afraid for some reason of doing bread. You however make it look so easy !
    Tracy P

    1. It is easy, but it has taken me years to convince my she bakes 2 or 3 loaves a week and would be the first to tell you, "if I can do it, anyone can!" Of course, I knew she had baking genes; just needed the confidence!

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  10. What a beautiful apron! Love this post and the vote!

  11. Hi, Susan,
    I'm one of the CT gals who rode to the Springfield, MA, stamp convention on Sunday with Leslie; not sure if you and I ever met at GASS; I've been living in Hyde Park, NY, for the past 6-1/2 years. Sue W. sent me the link to your blog and I am just blown away by the fabulous recipes, extraordinary photograph and your great anecdotes. Your aprons are beautiful, too. Have been sitting here for the past hour reading old posts. Thank you for putting yourself out there.
    Petti A.

    1. Thanks Petti--we did meet at GASS and thank you for your lovely comments. My daughter, Kelly encouraged me to start a blog and "share" my stories...I'm sure she must have known I'd need the support when she passed away. I love sharing and the apron give-aways are my way of saying thank you to everyone who "stops by." XOXO

  12. That bread looks AMAZING! I love anything with sunflower seeds. Growing up I always wanted to marry someone with the last name Anthony so I could be Susan B Anthony, too! I don't think it hurt that the Susan B Anthony golden dollar came out the year I was born. :)

  13. Hi Susan, homemade bread is always good and smells so good when it is baking. Wow! see all our friends from CT. stopping by to say hello. it was fun when we were all connected with our stamping.
    stamping sue

  14. Hi Susan! I love baking bread and will be making this recipe soon! I also love sunflowers too! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes with us all!

  15. You've been baking up a bread storm! These loaves look amazing!! I learn so much from you...I just recently got some dough enhancer, very similar to the KAF. I'm going to try it sometime soon! lv, me