Bread & Others - Vegan Breads and Muffins
Have that great smell in your kitchen! Great bread recipes for vegans.
Bread is a wonderful thing. The smell, the texture, the look. Everything pulls together to say "home". Some kinds of breads take time -, yeast bread needs to rise anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours - but the time and effort is well worth it. I first got interested in baking my own bread when I read "Laurel's Kitchen" and she extolled about the therapeutic action of kneading bread. I made my first attempts - whole wheat bagels and whole wheat bread - and failed miserably! What seems like it should be an easy thing takes practice to get the texture right, to get a crust to form, to have it be tasty. One of the great things about bread is that for the most part it is just flour, water and yeast. Oil helps to add smoothness and springiness. Herbs add flavor. Potatoes add moistness. But bread is just simple things and all those things are a part of a vegan diet!
One important thing about bread making is the yeast. Yeast is a living organism and it helps to keep that in mind when you are baking bread. There are two kinds of yeast: active dry yeast, which does not require refrigeration and has a longer shelf life rising twice as fast as fresh yeast.; and fresh yeast, which is compressed into a square "cake". Fresh yeast perishes quickly, and has to be refrigerated and used soon. You can determine if the yeast is still good by mixing it into a weak solution of water and sugar. Active yeast will foam and bubble. Some recipes refer to this as proofing the yeast as it test the viability of the yeast before the other ingredients are added.
Of course some breads don't use yeast. Things like muffins and coffee cake use baking soda or baking powder. They make the dough rise in that they react to something in the recipe that is acid like lemon juice or vinegar. Because this reaction doesn't take a lot of time, this kind of bread is sometimes called "quick" bread.
I have been experimenting with several different kinds of breads. Hope you enjoy!