Breads

Vegan Fruit (‘n Nut optional) Bread

Okay, so this isn’t a historical recipe, but it tastes as classic as anything, and was just too awesome not to share. It’s so moist and amazing, especially for being relatively healthful! It’s incredibly versatile, and it’s a perfect weeknight ‘hey, I want something sweet but not complicated and nothing that makes me have to go to the grocery store’… Just use what you have on hand; I’ve recommended some substitutions below. This is a great place to start if you’re just getting comfortable with putting your own spin on your favorite recipes.

Based on a recipe from Lois Dieterly’s Sinfully Vegan — an AMAZING resource for vegan desserts. 1 serving of this cake is huge, though, and it only sets you back about 400 calories. I am pretty happy with 1/3 of a serving and a cup of coffee. 🙂

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Ingredients:
1.5c unbleached white flour
1.5c whole wheat flour
2t ground cinnamon
2t baking soda
1/4t salt
1.5c maple syrup
1 small can (15oz) pureed pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 mashed ripe banana
4t flax powder
1/4c water
1/2c canola oil
1/2c apple sauce
1 large baking apple, peeled, cored, & diced
1c dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins, whatever you have handy)
1/2c nuts (optional)

This recipe is very flexible. If you don’t have flax powder, you could use egg replacer, and if you don’t care if it’s vegan, you can use 2 eggs. If you don’t have pumpkin, you can use more bananas, and vice-versa. If you don’t have applesauce, you can use an extra 1/4c oil or some melted butter. If you love warm spiced things, double the cinnamon and add in some freshly grated nutmeg and/or ground ginger. It would be awesome brightened up with some orange zest and OJ in place of the water. Add in some English Walnuts for some extra omega 3’s, use a higher percentage of whole wheat flour for a heartier version. Use what you’ve got — including your imagination!! — and it’ll still be amazing.

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Grease a large bundt pan (or two small ones) with vegetable shortening or nonstick cooking spray.
  • Combine flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Combine maple syrup, pumpkin, banana, oil, and applesauce in another bowl. In a small bowl, combine flax powder and water. Add to liquid ingredients and comine.
  • Add diced apple and fruit/nuts to liquid ingredients and stir. Slowly add flour mixture to liquid ingredients, and fold it in slowly, just til combined (don’t stir, don’t overmix).
  • Pour batter into prepared pan(s). If using large bundt, it’ll take about 80 minutes to bake. If using small bundts, it’ll take about 45 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick inserted to the middle of the ring comes out clean. Leave in pan on wire rack for at least 10 minutes before inverting the pans & letting them cool completely on the wire rack before putting away. It’s best within the first 24 hours, but also refrigerates well (in an airtight container) for
    about 4-5 days.
Categories: Breads, Easy Peasy, Sweets | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Simplest Homemade Bread IN THE WORLD

This is really crazy. I’m going to let this recipe speak for itself:

3c self-rising sifted flour
2T sugar
1 can warm beer
1 big pinch of salt

Turn out onto a floured surface, knead quickly, put in greased pan, let rest 1 hour, bake at 375 for til golden brown on top (maybe 45 minutes?). 

Seriously? That’s all there is to it? Yes. It takes about 30 seconds of work. Try this! It’s totally worth every second. 🙂

A few tips:

  • Don’t use a beer right out of the fridge. It won’t rise as well.
  • Make sure you put your bread somewhere warmish to rise.
  • Don’t be shocked or disappointed if it isn’t, like, good for sandwiches or doesn’t slice neatly.
  • It’s an eatin’ bread, not a slicin’ bread. It’s a bit wetter than “normal” bread. And it tastes a little like beer.
  • Eat it hot, pile it up with salted butter, and you’ll flip your lid!! We couldn’t quit nibbling, and I think we went through about a stick of butter. 🙂

 

Categories: Breads, Easy Peasy | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Rolled Oat Bread

Making bread is exhausting. It takes forever and you feel like you’re stuck in the kitchen all day long. So when you get around to actually doing it, it’d better be worth the effort once it’s out of the oven. That said, it’s really not often that you taste a loaf of bread that makes you say, “Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted bread that tastes like this before.” I mean, bread is bread, right? But when you add 1/2 cup of molasses to a bread that isn’t a sweet quickbread (like maybe pumpkin bread or something like that), it lends a really unique flavor!

Here’s a brief culinary history lesson on yeast, and the mysterious “yeast cake” required by this recipe (via wikipedia):

 In 1879, Great Britain introduced specialized growing vats for the production of S. cerevisiae, and in the United States around the turn of the century centrifuges were used for concentrating the yeast, making modern commercial yeast possible, and turning yeast production into a major industrial endeavor. The slurry yeast made by small bakers and grocery shops became cream yeast, a suspension of live yeast cells in growth medium, and then compressed yeast, the fresh cake yeast that became the standard leaven for bread bakers in much of the Westernized world during the early 20th century.

During World War II, Fleischmann’s developed a granulated active dry yeast for the United States armed forces, which did not require refrigeration and had a longer shelf life and better temperature tolerance than fresh yeast; it is still the standard yeast for US military recipes. The company created yeast that would rise twice as fast, cutting down on baking time. Lesaffre would later create instant yeast in the 1970s, which has gained considerable use and market share at the expense of both fresh and dry yeast in their various applications.

2 other interesting things I didn’t realize before investigating this recipe: prior to Pasteur’s discovery that yeast is actually a living organism (around 1860), bread wasn’t made with “yeast”, it used “leaven” which you can create yourself over the course of a few days by leaving out a mixture of flour & water and waiting for yeast in the air to come feast on the paste. Talk about requiring patience! Also, apparently, yeast cake (or compressed yeast) is still available and a favorite for professional bakers because it’s quicker-acting. It’s not as widely used by home bakers anymore because its shelf life is extremely limited in comparison with its powdered counterpart (and most people just don’t bake bread all that often).

I’m a huge fan of how this old recipe worked out. Sliced thin (I had to use my electric bread knife because it came out really super soft), and with a good schmear of salted butter, it’s heavenly. Look at that beautiful top crust; golden and full of little holes. Gorgeous.

The recipe didn’t actually include cooking instructions (Gramma and I like to imagine that back when these recipes originated, you’d have to be a total idiot to not know how long to cook a loaf of bread). Instead, we just tried to recreate the most generic bread making possible: we kneaded the dough a bit even though the instructions didn’t say to (you’d have to be an idiot to not know that you need to knead bread dough, um, right? haha.) We cooked it in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. We undershot a little, and wished we’d left it in 45 (hence the softness).

So there it is. Amazingly odd tasting rolled oat molasses bread… But it really does feel like you’re eating history, something that’s truly been lost, and that is totally worth an afternoon in the kitchen.

Rolled Oat Bread
(makes 2 loaves) 

1 c oats + 2c boiling water – combine and let sit for 1 hour
 4t active dry yeast (in place of the yeast cake) + 1/2c lukewarm water – combine & let yeast soften
 1/2c molasses
1 1/2t salt (use normal iodized. If using Kosher, double it.)
1T shortening
4.5c flour
Knead gently, adding a little flour if you need to to get the dough dry enough to work. 
Let rise (in pans in a warm, draft free location)
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes

Categories: Breads | Leave a comment

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