Monday, September 7, 2009
My Mother-in-law gave me an awesome bread maker a couple of years ago for Christmas. I've attempted making bread a handful of times with the machine, but the result was always dry. I finally pin pointed some of my problems and I hope you can learn from my mistakes.
MISTAKES I MADE:
~Using ONLY whole wheat flour rather than a combination of flours
~Using fast action yeast. I know this stuff must work, but I always had problems with my bread not rising.
~Not using molasses. The inclusion of this ingredient turned the bread from bland to yummy.
~Trying to use whole flax seeds rather than flax meal. Besides appearance, there's no reason to use whole flax seeds since your body digests ground flax better.
~I never added vital wheat gluten. When added, the bread has a spongier, soft consistency.
After searching the internet for tips people had regarding vegan bread making using bread makers, I settled on the ingredients below and was thrilled with the results.
MAKES 2 POUND LOAF
In your bread maker add the following ingredients in this order:
~11 ounces water (room temperature)
~1 1/2 tsp sea salt
~1 1/2 tbsp (no sugar added) apple sauce
~2 tbsp molasses (spray your measuring spoon with oil first and the molasses rolls right out of the spoon)
~2 cups wheat flour for bread making
~1 cup whole wheat flour for bread making
~1/2 cup wheat bran
~1 tsp vital wheat gluten
~1/4 cup ground flax
Make a well in the middle and add:
~2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Set bread maker for the following:
~2 pound loaf
~Whole wheat setting
Once bread is done, remove from bread maker and cool on rack. This bread tasted really good warm.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
For my husband's 40th birthday, I organized a (vegan) Jamaican theme party. Here's the flyer I made:
If you read my last post, you'll know I've been hooked on coconuts! What better way to use coconuts than in Caribbean food. This was a great excuse for me to experiment with the flavor of coconut. One of my creations was a spin on a sugar cookie. I used lime and coconut, which resulted in a sweet but tart cookie. I iced them in Rasta colors (red, green and yellow) to coincide with the theme.
NOTE: Since childhood, I've always enjoyed raw cookie dough more than actual cookies. This particular cookie dough was amazing raw! I think it would be great to use in a homemade (vegan) cookie dough ice cream, especially one made from coconut milk!
Using an electric mixer (I use a handheld one) beat the following until creamy:
1/2 cup non-dairy butter
3/4 cup sugar
Now add the following to your mixture:
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (see list below). After the dry ingredients are throughly mixed, add them to the wet ingredients and beat with the electric mixture until the dough forms:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 handfuls (or so) of raw shredded coconut
Divide dough into two balls, seal in plastic wrap and store in fridge at least a 1/2 hour.
Bake at 350 degrees
Cooking time will depend on the size of the cookie. I used small cookie cutters, so my cookies only took around 6 minutes. Otherwise normal size cookies should take around 12 minutes or so.
Throughly cool before icing (although they taste fine without icing)
Saturday, September 5, 2009
It is official.....I am a coconut! If you are what you eat, this summer I've gone from being a "nut" to a full fledged "coconut." I LOVE using Bob's Red Mill's raw shredded coconut and/or canned coconut milk (Trader Joe's has a great "light" version for around a buck).
I've also been cooking a lot with ripe bananas. I was born in the year of the monkey, so this fruit is part of my cosmic nature.
I love combining bananas and coconut because it tastes so tropical and delicious. This summer I created another way to include both these flavors into one yummy dessert. Here's the drill:
PREP #1: add 1/3 cup tapioca (med/large - not the "quick" stuff) to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add water until you've reached 1 cup. Let stand for at least a 1/2 hour or more. The tapioca will suck up all the water and really plump up.
PREP #2: In a large mixing bowl, mush up 2 to 3 ripe bananas.
PREP #3: In a small bowl or cup, combine 2 tablespoons corn starch with 2 tablespoons cold water. Whip mixture with spoon until throughly combined and liquified.
Once tapioca has stood long enough, you can move onto the cooking phase.
COOKING PHASE: (medium heat)
In a saucepan, add the following (stirring constantly):
~the tapioca (from Prep #1)
~2 cups dairy-free milk (I use a combination of soy and rice)
As the mixture cooks, add the following:
~One can coconut milk (light version is OK)
~1/3 cup sugar
~1/4 tsp. salt
~1 to 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
~the bananas (from Prep #2)
Keep stirring and add:
~Raw shredded coconut to taste
~Corn starch/water (from Prep #3)
~Cinnamon to taste (I add a lot because I love this stuff)
~Nutmeg to taste
~(optional) Ginger (powder) to taste
Keep stirring until the mixture becomes very thick and boils.
Remove from stove and pour contents into individual bowls or one large bowl. Let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge. It tastes good warm, but it changes once it has completely cooled down. The pudding becomes more firm and the taste really intensifies.
NOTE: I've also made this pudding with roasted almonds. Just put a couple of handfuls of almonds on a cooking tray and heat them for a few minutes at a high temperature. Be sure not to burn them. I usually do this in my toaster oven. Then chop them up and add to pudding as it is getting thicker. You can add them around the same time as the coconut.