Friday, November 16, 2012

Quick and easy bread warmer.

Several years ago I received a bread warmer for Christmas.  That particular one was a large piece of fabric with a pocket in the middle that held a rice filled sack.  The sack was to be heated in the microwave and then slipped into the pocket before placing the whole thing in a bread basket, where you would ultimately fold the ends of the fabric over the bread.  It was a great idea, but after burning my fingers several times while trying to get that hot sack in the pocket (it was too close a fit to use a bulky oven mitt to protect my hands), I just resorted to putting the rice pack in the bottom of the basket by itself and then putting a towel on top to wrap the bread in.  Much simpler.
Fast forward many years and you'd find me in the sewing room, whipping up a whole bunch of them to put in the bread baskets we'll have on the tables this coming Saturday, for our big Thanksgiving dinner.  Y'all remember we do that for my mom's side of the family the Saturday before don't you?  Well, we do.  When I started to make them, I thought how great it would be as a gift.  You could buy a really inexpensive basket, make a little warmer for it (with heating instructions pinned on), bake up some goodie, and then wrap it all up in some cellophane and a ribbon, and voila - simple, inexpensive, but usually well appreciated.  At least, most of the people I know like to get baked goods as a gift and if they come with a little something more, then all the better.  So here's how to do it if you know someone who would appreciate that kind of thing.

You'll need to start by making a pattern by tracing around the bottom of your basket.
Cut out around the area you traced.  Make it a little larger so you can cut it down if you need in order to make it fit well.  You don't have to be absolutely perfect.  You're filling the pocket with rice - it won't always be shaped perfectly.
You'll need to cut 2 layers of a lining - mine was just unbleached muslin, and 2 layers of your outer fabric.
I stacked mine together and cut them at the same time.  I also cut it out with a pair of pinking shears to leave a raw, zig-zag edge.  I did this both because I thought it would be cute, and because it would save a lot of time since I wouldn't need to clip the curves and turn it right side out later.
Lining is not absolutely necessary, but the bag will be more durable if you use it.
Then you'll sandwich the 2 lining layers between the 2 outer layers.  Make sure the fabric is right side out.
Stitch around the edge using a 1/4" seam, and make sure you leave a small opening to add the rice.
For the record, I stitched around it twice, just to reinforce the seam.
The opening only needs to be large enough to fit the end of a funnel.
Make sure the tip of the funnel is in between the two lining pieces.
Add plain, white rice until the bag is a little more than half full.  It's best if it will lay fairly flat in the bottom of the basket.
Finally, stitch the opening closed.
T.Lynn wanted a picture of the group I had waiting to have the final stitching done.
She was helping me fill the bags with rice, so how could I refuse?
There you go.  Heat it up, put in a flour sack towel and it's ready for some biscuits.

How long your bag will need to be heated will depend on it's size.  Start by putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then increasing by 30 second intervals until the bag is hot.  Next time you'll know how long it will take and you can just start with that amount of time in the settings.  Use an oven mitt to get it out of the microwave.  These rice bags hold heat for a long time, and if you want a moist heat, you can put a cup of hot water in the microwave with it while you heat it up.
Allow to cool and make sure it's dry before storing in a dry area.

I've linked this post with the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest,

The Chicken Chick

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  1. Yes! Excellent bread warmer...thank you for sharing this.

  2. What a brilliant idea! Why didn't I think of this! I am so making one of these... :)

    Thanks for the tip!
    hugs x

    1. Thank you.
      And you're welcome. I'm sure yours will be lovely.