GIVING BACK: THE WOMEN’S BAKERY + HONEY BREAD

During my time in St Louis I met some incredible go getters and my friend Markey is no exception. She founded The Women’s Bakery, which empowers, educates, and encourages women to create their own business. TWB offers women access to business education, life skills, and baking skills. There are so many social and economic ramifications and Markey’s passion is conscious capitalism.

We immediately hit it off due to our shared interest in sustainability reports, which I used to write at the first PR firm I worked for, and a research project I was working on at the time that had to do with ESG or Environmental Social Governance. Basically two quirky, passionate nerds enjoying each other’s company. We have kept up since and I could not be more excited to help her with TWB in any way that I can. Also, baking leading to social change = my dream job. It is amazing to think that something as simple and fundamental as a loaf of bread has changed lives. If I didn’t have to worry about money, I would make cookies all day, sell them on the corner, and send the money to various causes. Alas, I think I will be working for a few more years before I get to that point.

TWB helps women in Rwanda and Tanzania source ingredients that are nutritious and available locally. They learn how to make their own bread and then sell it to the people in the community. These skills empower women to be the bread winners in their families (pun intended) and to then educate others to create a sustainable lifestyle to improve their lives and the lives of others. You can learn more about how you can support TWB and their efforts here. Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, so I missed it by one day, but every day should be a reason to give!

I am in the process of brainstorming ways to help expand TWB’s mission around the country and would love to hear from you if you’d like to learn more. I hosted a FEED dinner last year when I lived in St Louis and a dinner last month for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, so one possibility is baking parties, dinners, and informal get togethers to learn more about TWB. I don’t want this to be a ladies who lunch philanthropy effort; TWB is creating real change for women. Rather, I want to find a low cost way to educate while ensuring that as much funding as possible can go directly to Rwanda and Tanzania. While this is still in the beginning stages, I encourage you to peruse the website and make Markey’s bread (recipe below). Jamie Oliver featured it on his website, so Markey is kind of a big deal. She is also in business school, while leading TWB, so she can pretty much do anything. We need more Markeys in the world!

Also, I let the bread rise for two hours while I went to yoga and ran errands, so you can leave it for awhile.

Recipe via Jamie Oliver

  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 cups of plain flour
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 6 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Put the lukewarm water in a mug and sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave for 2-3 minutes, then stir thoroughly. Leave the mixture to stand somewhere warm for around 5-10 minutes until you can see bubbles forming and the mixture looks like it’s expanding a little.

While you’re waiting, mix together the honey, egg and spices in a bowl until combined. Add the lukewarm milk, yeast mixture and two-thirds of the butter. Mix well then begin to add the flour.

Once the dough has come together, remove from the bowl and, on a well-floured surface, combine it with most of the flour – you’re looking for a light, soft dough that isn’t too wet, but you may not need all of your flour, so go slowly. If you get lots of dough on your hands, add a little flour to your palms and rub them together briskly until the dough falls off.

Knead the dough using floured hands (and once it needs no more flour, buttered hands) for around ten minutes, until it is springy and smooth.

What’s great about this bread is that it can be baked in lots of different types of tins. Cover the tin with a clean tea towel and allow to rise in a nice warm place for at least an hour – you want the dough to have risen almost to the top of the tin.

Bake at 375°F for around 40 minutes – it should have a golden brown top with a crust. To test if it’s done, take a tea towel and place it on top, then turn it upside down so the tea towel catches it. Then tap it on the bottom – if it sounds hollow like a drum then it’s done!

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Two hours later….

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