I love bread fresh from the oven and this bread is delicious. It's so simple and doesn't involve any hanging around for hours waiting for the dough to prove and its yeast free, so all good!
I made this for lunch at the weekend. I had just made some lovely watercress and pea soup and wanted some bread to go along with it, so this fitted the bill perfectly.
It's all mixed in the bowl and only requires 5 minutes of kneading and 35 to 45 minutes in the oven. I just slashed the top of the loaf into rough quarters which I then served in big rustic chunks! You can just shape the loaf into a round shape, then serve it in slices if you prefer!
I buy all my flour from Locavore and I used a mixture of organic rye flour and strong white flour and the bread turned out perfectly, with a wonderful texture.
Wheat is heavily sprayed with pesticides so its most definitely worth buying organic flour for your home baking. See organic blog post for more details here
This bread was one of the many we tried at the Vegan Cooking Retreat so again big thanks to Lee Watson at the beach house kitchen for the recipe.
The recipe is vegan and uses soya milk but you can use organic dairy milk if you do dairy.
I'm off to Portugal for a wee family holiday tomorrow, with hopefully lots of sunshine, great food and moderate amounts of exercise! We have our own pool although I don't think its heated so not sure how much swimming I'll be doing. but I'll be doing some yoga and possibly running!
I will return feeling wonderfully relaxed and raring to go with new workshops and lots of new ideas for the blog! That's positive thinking right there!!
If you haven't made bread before then this recipe is a great place to start. I hope it becomes a regular part of your repertoire!
So here is the recipe
SIMPLE SODA BREAD
500g strong wholewheat flour (use 200g strong white flour and 300g wholewheat flour for a lighter loaf)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
150 ml plant based milk ( soya is good)
2 teaspoons vinegar
200ml warm water
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
I don't know anyone who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread!
Any bread will do and it always tastes better than shop bought stuff, which is generally full of additives and does nothing for your health!
I bought some lovely organic Ciabatta flour from Locavore a few weeks ago, along with organic rye flour and spelt flour. I'm always full of great intentions of baking bread every day but reality kicks in and sadly I don't get around to it as often as I'd like.
Now I'm no ace bread baker and like the majority of us, I like a nice simple recipe that doesn't involve lots of kneading, proving and rising time, but these resting times are actually essential and lots of things start happening, given some warmth and time, all important for the flavour and texture of the finished loaf. . Kneading is a vital step in bread making as it develops the gluten in the flour which gives the bread structure. You can however cheat and just use a mixer with a dough hook if you are fortunate enough to own one!
Commercial breadmaking is all about producing the cheapest loaf in the shortest possible time. Time means money after all and the more loaves that can be produced, the happier the producers are.
So more salt gets added for flavour, which would develop naturally given enough time! More yeast gets added, along with flour improvers, assorted enzymes, emulsifiers and preservatives to achieve the desired rise, texture and shelf life.
Again these things would happen naturally, given the right conditions and enough time, without the need for added chemicals!
Interestingly I came across an article a while ago about gluten and its effect on the gut, which can cause bloating, IBS type symptoms and general discomfort.
A questionnaire asking people with gluten sensitivity found that the majority of them could eat bread on holiday without symptoms, especially in Mediterranean countries where the bread is generally baked fresh every day, without additives or preservatives, and given enough time to prove and rise naturally.
So it could actually be all the additives in commercially produced bread which cause digestive issues. Have a look at the label the next time you buy bread, the list of ingredients is shocking!
So, on that note, if you always suffer with digestive issues after eating bread, then try making your own with good quality natural ingredients.
Always use organic flour for baking since wheat is one of the worst crops for pesticide residues,, check out my organic blog post. Also spelt flour has gluten with a different structure so its generally easier to digest and worth switching to.
So back to the baking, this Foccacia bread is delicious and since I've been craving a bit of sunshine, warmth and signs that spring is coming, I decided to add some Mediterranean flavours to the bread, to remind me of summer!
A wander round the garden yielded some lovely smelling rosemary and thyme so along with some dried oregano, sun dried tomatoes and a good dollop of pesto, my recipe was complete.
You could add some sliced olives, fresh basil, caramelised red onion and garlic or some chopped walnuts. I'll definitely be making this again and will share any good combinations I try.
I guess this bread would be just as nice with just some coarse sea salt and herbs and along with some quality oil will taste delicious.
Jenna made this bread with all ciabatta flour and used the mixer with the dough hook, resulting in light and fluffy bread.
I used 2 cups ciabatta flour and 1 cup of Spelt flour and kneaded mine by hand which gave a denser loaf which was still utterly delicious. We scoffed it last night with some lovely pasta!
So whatever method you choose, and whatever flour you use, your bread will smell and taste delicious, especially served warm straight from the oven and is sure to impress your family and friends!
I really hope you give this recipe a go, it's really possible to make the most delicious bread without too much effort and its miles ahead of shop bought bread! A perfect treat for the weekend!
I will be sharing lots more bread recipes as I try them so watch this space...
I have a brilliant simple flatbread recipe which I'll share soon...!
So here is the recipe...
Makes 1 large loaf
.......your health in your hands.....
I've been posting a lot of soup recipes recently, because I love soup and its cold and soups are very warming and nourishing! However a nice slice or two of delicious home-made bread just elevates the whole soup experience and who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread?
So on that note I thought I'd share one of my favourite bread recipes from the totally awesome and fabulous Lee Watson, author of Peace and Parsnips, one of my absolute favourite vegan authors and all round cool dude! I'd highly recommend his book, it is full of mouth wateringly heavenly combinations from all corners of the world and all totally healthy and delicious.
Anyway back to the bread
This bread is delicious and really easy to make. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat and is way more nutritious than any of the modern wheat varieties. It has more fibre, iron, potassium, zinc and B vitamins and has a low GI which can help to stabilise blood sugar. It contains less gluten than wheat and the gluten is a different structure which is much easier to digest, making it a healthier choice for most of us, especially those with digestive issues. Spelt tends to be more amenable to organic farming since it has a hard hull which naturally protects it from insects and pollutants, negating the need for chemical pesticides, whereas wheat is one of the crops most heavily sprayed with pesticides!
I always buy organic flour for bread and baking anyway and would recommend you do the same. We don’t need any more pesticide residues and kids are 4 times more susceptible to chemicals than adults. So it’s a no brainer if you have kids, buy organic flour for baking!
So this loaf is really lovely, it makes great toast, it’s dense and has a lovely crisp crust. The dough is quite wet and sticky but you just have to knead it for a few minutes then it holds its shape in the tin.
If you prefer you can use half spelt and half white flour or wholemeal which makes the dough slightly easier to work with and less sticky but then its not quite so nutritious! Its still miles ahead of shop bought bread, which is generally full of additives, flour improvers, preservatives, sugar and pesticide laden flour!
500g spelt flour or( 250g spelt and 250g white or wholemeal flour)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon quick yeast
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or honey
400ml warm water
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
A large handful sunflower seeds, about ¼ cup
A large handful of walnuts, roughly chopped (optional but recommended)
.......your health in your hands......
This is the simplest, most delicious bread, from one of my favourite Vegan Authors, Aine Carlin. This is definitely my kind of bread, it’s yeast free so no waiting around for the dough to prove and rise. Also no messy and time consuming kneading, just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and bake it for 30 minutes! Voila, healthy delicious bread packed full of nuts, seeds and veggies with none of the bad stuff found in most of the shop bought bread. It also makes the most delicious toast! I always use organic flour since wheat is one of the crops most heavily sprayed with pesticides and we want to avoid them if we value our health! So here is the recipe!
Aine Carlin's Keep it Vegan is a brilliant book full of simple, healthy, easy to follow recipes. Its a great introduction to plant based eating and has loads of family favourites from chilli, lasagna, curries, breads, desserts and snacks. Well worth buying!
Here is a link to her blog
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.