Tea Break Treats

Sometimes the best tea break treats are the most humble. Having grown up on tea and toast, I still find a slice of freshly baked bread to be high on my list of foods that go well with tea. Here’s the famous New York Times recipe from Mark Bittman for Quick Whole Wheat Bread. Top it with butter and preserves or eat it plain.

Oil or butter for greasing pan
1 2/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt, or 11/2 cups milk and 2 tablespoons white vinegar (see Step 2)
2 1/2 cups (about 12 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup molasses.

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-by-4-inch or 9-by 5-inch loaf pan, preferably nonstick.

2. If using buttermilk or yogurt, ignore this step. Make soured milk: warm milk gently — 1 minute in the microwave is sufficient, just enough to take the chill off — and add vinegar. Set aside.

3. Mix together dry ingredients. Stir molasses into buttermilk, yogurt or soured milk. Stir liquid into dry ingredients (just enough to combine) then pour into loaf pan. Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Yield: 1 loaf.

Lighter Whole Wheat Quick Bread: Use 1 1/2 cups whole wheat and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour; omit cornmeal. Substitute honey for molasses. Beat 1 egg into wet ingredients in Step 3. Proceed with recipe.

To accompany this tea break favorite, add some fresh fruit.

Enjoy peeling an orange. Really think about it. Inhale the scent. Feel the juice as it spritzes on your fingers. Eat it slowly.

With this tea break, carry Earl Grey in your thermos. It will go perfectly with this homey bread and orange pairing.

More tea break suggestions coming up on Thursday!