Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bread and Tomatoes

Since exploring more vegan foods coincided with the weather changing, I have been baking up a storm. Most people would probably use the new Vegan cookbook Happy Herbivore to explore Vegan main dishes. Me? I am fascinated by the baking section, which uses no oil, no eggs, and on and on. So this week we have been living on Apple Crisp muffins, Blueberry oatmeal muffins, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and on and on. They are all amazingly delicious and really, you don't miss the eggs, oil, etc. Seriously you don't! And of course since I bought yeast at Costco, I took out the breadmaker to start making bread. Have you seen bread prices? Insane! And frankly there is no comparison between homemade bread and what stores claim as bread.

Now I know that many people are against breadmakers, classifying them as an evil object, but for a busy person who tends to forget things or multitask too much, they're great! They aren't set and forget items though, here are my tips for using them:

Be prepared to make a lot of bread. This loaf was just couple hours old.
I blame the cats.

  • Buy yeast in bulk. I can get a large container of yeast for just a few dollars at Costco. It's insanely overpriced in the small packets. Keep it in the freezer and just measure it out as needed. 
  • Use water that is slightly warmer than it should be. Not hot, but bathwater warm. It will cool as you're putting in your other ingredients, and it needs to be warm for the yeast.
  • When you turn it on watch it and be prepared to add more water or more flour. You want to make sure it's forming a ball. The ball shouldn't be sticky, just a firm dough ball that will feel tacky to the touch. I typically go light on the water, and add another 1/4 cup or so, slowly as it's mixing the first time.
  • Find simple recipes, and don't be afraid to change them up. I switch whole wheat and regular flour a lot.
  • Be prepared to bake a lot of bread. I know I have 5 people, 3 dogs and 3 cats who all like the bread but seriously we go through a LOT of bread this way! But it's ok, it's cheap and everyone is happy.
  • When the bread comes out of the maker, immediately take a bit of oil on a paper towel and rub it lightly all over. This will keep the crust from drying out and add flavor. I use olive oil for it, since I use olive oil practically for anything. My grandma used to use Crisco. 
  • Don't have a breadmaker? Look on Craigslist. Mine came from there, in the box, never opened for 10.00. Score!
Speaking of olive oil, since I'm trying so hard to cut out saturated fats, I'm not using butter on bread. Instead, I placed a small bowl of olive oil in the fridge with a bit of garlic salt added to it. Olive oil hardens up when cold, and I can spread a small amount on the bread, using a healthy oil instead of a saturated one. It's also amazingly good. I think I was Italian in another life.

What? Doesn't everyone arrange their tomatoes in crystal candy dishes?
No? Weirdos.

Finally, we went to the farmers market today. There is still a ton of food available, even here in the frozen north. I went a little wild with the tomatoes, but who could resist them? They are such a beautiful thing, they just make me happy! This may again relate to that Italian in another life thing.

Happiness in a bowl

1 comment:

  1. Bread prices have stayed pretty much the same down here so far. Flour has gotten crazy expensive.