Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reinhart's Light Whole Wheat

For a while, I had been experimenting with bread making using random recipes from different recipe sites, other blogs, or miscellaneous books. I was beginning to feel like I was getting the hang of this whole kneading, rising, shaping, baking thing, but I felt like something was missing. So, I coughed up the money and bought my first bread book - Peter Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice." Let me tell you, I am extremely impressed. Reinhart "deconstructs" the whole process, from the ingredients used to the different categories of bread (other than just quick or yeasted) to the actual baking of the bread. Of the few recipes I've tried, each has been outstanding. Many of the recipes require an overnight preferment, but some, like this Light Whole Wheat, can be made in one day. I altered Reinhart's recipe a bit, substituting the dry milk powder for soy milk and adding a little water, so that this bread fits my vegan diet. It is the perfect sandwich bread - a nice soft crust, a creamy crumb, and a slight honey flavor. I'll definitely be making this more often!

8 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
3.25 oz bread flour
6.75 oz whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp yeast
8 oz warm soy milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
1.5 tbsp honey, melted
3-4 oz water

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Add the remaining ingredients except 1 oz (2 tablespoons) of the water, and mix to form a rough ball. Add more water if it seems too dry.
  2. Transfer to a lightly floured or oiled counter and knead for 10 minutes (if using a machine, knead using the dough hook for about 6 minutes). **My dough seemed very stiff and was not very stretchy, but turned out great**
  3. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and let rise at room temperature for 90-100 minutes, until it has risen to twice its size.
  4. Gently turn the dough out onto the counter and shape into a log. 
  5. Place in an oiled loaf pan and let rise again for 75 minutes, or until it has crested over the rim of the pan.
  6. About 10 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, rotate, and bake for another 15-30 minutes. The bread should be a nice golden brown and register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  8. Let cool at least 1 hour before slicing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Basic Sourdough

I'm not really sure what it is about having more time to get things done that makes you do less. I think the excitement of being busy keeps you going strong. I blame this for my recent lack in posting. I haven't been a total waste, though. I've been experimenting with a few things, like scales and sourdough. First things first, let's talk about scales.

There are a few websites that post their ingredients by weight, not volume. For a while I steered clear of these recipes. I was either too scared to try something that seemed so advanced, or I just really didn't want to go out and buy a scale. However, I wasted more & more time on the internet and found a few pages that convinced me that having a scale was necessary. One of them was a post by Susan at Wild Yeast Blog, The Right Weigh. Here she really explains why scales are important and how they can be used for things such as Baker's Percentages (another one of her great posts, or four, the first of which is found here). She really knows what she is doing, so listen up and go buy yourself a scale! I got myself the Salter MaxView scale from BB&B for about $50, and it was well worth the money.

The next topic is sourdough. While it seems very daunting, it really isn't that difficult. It just takes some time. The thing that makes sourdough different is the fact that it uses an aged, fermented starter, which is composed simply of flour, water, and yeast. You can make your own starter at home (Another Wild Yeast post, very in depth tutorial by Heavenly Homemakers, etc. I will post on that in the future), or buy some commercially (from King Arthur Flour, for example). After that's done you can make some sourdough bread!

So here we go. This recipe is adapted from one I found at King Arthur Flour. 

1 cup / 8 oz active sourdough starter
1 1/2 cup / 12 oz lukewarm water
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp / 1/2 oz sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups / 15 1/4 oz all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups / 6 oz whole wheat flour

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Knead to form a smooth dough.
  2. Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until doubled in size, about a 75-90 minutes. 
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into two 10" logs or two round boules.
  4. Cover with a lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size again, about 60 minutes.
  5. Near the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F.
  6. Wet a sharp knife and make two to four cuts in each loaf in either an X, a cross hatch, or diagonal slashes. 
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Let cool 1 hour before slicing.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stuffed Peppers with Avocado Sauce

I was at the grocery store the other day and saw red peppers on sale for $0.89! Eighty nine cents!!! For those of you who don't pay attention to how much each item you buy at the grocery store costs (I have to - I'm a starving college kid), red bell peppers get expensive. The green one's aren't bad - they usually go for about $1 a piece or so. But the red ones can be as much as $3 for one! Which is usually enough incentive to just buy the green ones, even though the red taste sooo good. So anyway, I seized the opportunity and grabbed a few... and then had to think up ways to cook them. So here's one of them - Stuffed Peppers. These are very easy to make and the recipe is very flexible. No matter what you do, they're almost guaranteed to be good!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies

I really should be studying for finals, but I came home after taking two of them today and really didn’t feel like sitting down with a book quite yet. So I decided to make some whole-wheat sourdough bread (coming soon!), and then got stuck making cookies while I waited for it to rise. And by “stuck” I mean I went to New Frontiers to pick up some chocolate chips, stock up on whole wheat flour, meander around and find nutritional yeast... and then come home and make some cookies. Apparently this blog is appropriately named.

Anyhoo, I took a traditional favorite and made it vegan, more nutritious, and soooo delicious! In case you didn’t notice, these have no added oil, no butter, and use whole wheat flour, which makes them that much more awesome. I only made a half batch just in case they didn’t turn out great, but I think I’m going to need to make some more.. I don’t expect they will stay around very long!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Poppy Seed Loaf

I'm so excited!! First of all, this turned out AMAZING. I made it last night when I really should have been focusing on my essay that is due today, but I needed a break. But it's all good, because I ended up finishing my essay with plenty of time this morning, AND I get to eat this amazing.... loaf. About that, I'm not really sure what it is. It's not really a cake, because It's a little tougher than cake and it's made in a loaf pan. But it's not just bread, either.... It's somewhere in between. So I've officially just dubbed it a loaf. It's great toasted and with a little jam for breakfast (my boyfriend can attest to that), wonderful as a snack, and just sweet enough to pass as a dessert. Hey, you can just eat it all day long :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


My parents got me the cutest little mini Cuisinart food processor for my birthday, so I put it to use for the first time today and made some guac! This one's a bit spicy, so cut down on the jalapenos if you're sensitive. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Whatever-You-Like Pizza

So the picture is not much to talk about, but the pizza is AMAZING. I made this for my parents when they came up for my birthday (along with a blueberry pie!) using my brand new pizza stone from my boyfriend. Holy moly it was good! The crust was crunchy without being burnt (probably due to my amazing new stone), and the crust rivaled the best I've ever had from a pizza parlor. The cool thing is you can really put whatever you want on top of it to get exactly the pizza you like. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


When it comes to Mexican food, Southern California has just about the best you can find, second only to... well, Mexico. There are the super authentic hole-in-the-wall places where you almost need to speak Spanish to order, the Americanized places that still serve authentic-tasting food, but with more of the American style, and the giant chains that really just say they are Mexican because they serve burritos. Whatever your preference is, you can find what you're looking for. So I naturally grew up with the love for Mexican food ingrained in me. But when I decided to try the vegan lifestyle, some of my beloved Mexican dishes went out the window. So instead of just leaving them in the dust and forgetting about them, I decided to try to combine two of my old favorites, enchiladas and fajitas, into something I could eat - and the result was amazing.

The picture shows some I made with cheese on top (for the boyfriend), but they are just as good without!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Whole Wheat Brownies

Brownies are intrinsically... unhealthy. Which is unfortunate. And when you try to make them healthier, it often ends in disaster. So when my roommate told me last night that she wanted to make brownies, I decided to take baby steps and start with whole wheat. So while these still have way too much butter and too many eggs for my liking, it's a work in progress. Fortunately, these weren't disastrous at all, but rather much too tempting. It's tough to stay out of them!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Armadillo Potatoes

These are really called Hasselback Potatoes, named after the restaurant where they were first served in Stockholm, Sweden. But my boyfriend, upon seeing what came out of the oven, dubbed them Armadillo Potatoes, and the name stuck. Because of the slices in the potato, they bake quicker than regular ol' baked potatoes and develop a different texture. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tomato & Herb Pasta

The ingredient list for this dish is very short and general - you probably have all these things in your kitchen right now! The simplicity of the ingredients tastes so clean and fresh that you won't want to go back to your "sauce out of the jar." Serve with fresh steamed vegetables, such as string beans or broccoli.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spicy Peanut Stir-Fry

I don't have a picture for this one yet (it disappeared before I had a chance to take one), but you can take my word that this recipe rocks. One thing I really love about stir-fry's is that they are so versatile - just take whatever you have in the fridge and throw it in there. Go ahead and be creative with this one. It's pretty hard to mess up. (Note: I threw this together without a recipe, so the ingredient measurements are not exact. Keep in mind - vegetables cook down a lot, so make more than you think you will need.)

No-Knead French Boule

This no-knead bread is so easy and sooo good! As it rests in the fridge it develops a mild sourdough taste, so there is no need to keep a starter alive. This works best when baked in a cast iron dutch oven, but a pizza stone or cookie sheet will work, as well.

Banana Nut Muffins

Let's start off with a simple, delicious recipe for low-fat and vegan banana bread muffins. I make these in the morning before class (they're actually in the oven right now!) and bring a few to work with me. Let's just say they don't last very long. They're very moist and chewy, and you honestly can't tell they're made with whole wheat!

Thursday, April 14, 2011