Sunday, October 7, 2012

Perfect Whole Wheat Bread

This is the only bread recipe you will ever NEED. Maybe not want, but need. So delicious and simple. Keeps for about a week at room temp too! No eggs or milk needed. No need to add white flour, or deal with a loaf thats heavy and dense.

You will need:
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water 110* or just hot faucet water
  • 3 tbs honey or more (other sweeteners work)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2-3 tbs course ground flax seed
  • 3+ cups hard winter wheat berries (grind yourself in blender, use 3 1/2 cups of resulting flour) You must grind your wheat for this recipe. If you don't the flour needs drastically change depending on the brand/style of wheat flour you use.
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp active yeast
  • note: you can add other nuts/seeds or spices to change things up. We like to add raw sunflower seeds, millet, or whole flax. Or I add italian seasonings for spaghetti night.

  1. In your large bowl (or breadmaker) add hotwater and honey until dissolved.
  2. Sprinkle yeast on top of water and let set 10-15min in a warm place until foamy.
  3. Stir and add oil and 1/2 cup of flour. Let set another 10min. Keep warm
  4. Finally add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. At this point I let the bread maker or mixer with dough hooks do the work. Make sure to set the bread machine on dough only. If you take that route, skip to 7.
  5. If you have the time to make it by hand, knead it well and then place in a bowl loosely covered for about an hour in a warm place.
  6. Punch down and let rise again for 50min.
  7. Pull out the dough and form into a loaf. Drop in a greased loaf pan and let rise for 40-45 min until it doubles in size.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350
  9. Bake the risen dough for about 40-45 min until the top browns and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap on the top.
  10. Allow to cool 10 min, and remove from pan. Cool on a wire rack as long as you can keep people away from it.
  11. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Easy Vegan Whipped Topping

I had to make a vegan "Better than Sex Cake" for a dinner 2 weeks ago. My struggle was that our local healthfood store doesn't carry a vegan whipped topping except during the Holiday season. I was a bout a month too early. I only had a few days to prepare, so I couldn't order any. I searched and experimented and came across the best recipe I tried so far. It can go one of two ways, either it can  be ugly as mud, or have a creamy texture. Either way it tastes great, but it's up to you whethe you need appearance or can deal with the gritty sugar grains. It was delicious on the cake, and my husband also threw it on top of a friends apple pie to add some more sweetness to it.

You will need:

1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp corn starch (or other starch)
5 tbs vegan margarine
.42 Cups sugar (I had to convert from metric so just say little less than 1/2 cup.) side note: you can     use powdered sugar or honey ( I tried both) if you want a smooth texture, but I warn you it WILL be ugly.
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla sugar (you make this by putting a split vanilla bean in some sugar and letting it sit for a few days. If time is an issue, no worries, mine turned out fine without it)

To make it:
  1. Cream together butter and sugar for about 5 min? until really combined well. It will have the appearance of buttercream frosting at this point, which is basically what it is.
  2. Let that sit in the fridge while you heat the milk minus 2tbs in a small saucepan. Mix the corn starch in with the set aside milk and then stir that into the saucepan as well. This will (hopefully) help your milk to thicken up some.
  3. Bring milk to a boil and simmer until it thickens. Mine never really seemed to and got lumpy even though my cornstarch was well mixed in, so I just gave up with slightly thicker milk.
  4. Let the milk cool until room temp and then whip into the butter mix.
  5. Add vanilla and vanilla sugar.
  6. Server on top of whatever you desire.

It's pretty good, and in a pinch it works. I like that it's thick (when you use regular sugar) and keeps well, but I did double the recipe because it makes so very little.
I will also be testing out a coconut cream topping that looks more promising than this, but until then this should hold you :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Amazing Moist Banana Bread

I happened to just stumble on this recipe today (which i modified to be vegan and my kid friendly). It was the first one on the search results, and had rave reviews. Plus, it used more bananas than most recipes that I've tried. This was a plus, because I had 4 overripe bananas ready for making bread, and I didn't feel like making two batches, or having to freeze more bananas. (We already have quite a few). So I went ahead and whipped up a batch. Now I'm not allowed to taste it for a few more weeks (diet restrictions) But my ever willing husband was more than happy to be my guinea pig. First reaction was akin to something only seen in the bedroom ;) if you catch my drift. Followed by "Whoa! That is so good and moist!" After he calmed down I grilled him, "Is it sweet enough? Should it be sweeter? Would you guess there's not "sugar" in it? or that it's vegan?" All the aswers were no, except that it could Maybe use a few more dates. Maybe. So, if like me, you love your banana bread extra sugary, you may add more dates, or just use brown sugar. Or mabye sprinkle some sugar on top before baking. But otherwise, this recipe is delicious, healthy, and something you won't have to feel guilty about scarfing down... Unless of course you slather it in gobs of butter like I do.
You will need:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (all purpose works if you want less healthy)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 3/4 cups mashed dates (3/4 cup brown sugar will work if no dates)
  • 2 tsp ground flax
  • 6tsp boiling water
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (174 C) and lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt
  3. In a blender combine butter, dates, flax, and boiling water until well blended. (I found this the best way for my dates to be chopped well and needed the liquids from the other ingredients to make it work. Not sure if it will work as well if you don't have a Vitamix or other great blender. If you're worried, you can always just use the brown sugar and skip the blender.)
  4. Scoop date mixture into the mashed bananas and mix well with a spoon.
  5. Pour in flour mixture, and stir just until all of the flour is moist. DO NOT overstir!
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan
  7. Bake for 60-65 min until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let bread cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

This was the first slice, just before Jerrod devoured it in two bites. Yup, it was that good.