“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I personally believe that to be true, though I would add ‘and/or soup’ to the equation. There are very many whose daily toil only really leaves them homemade bread and/or soup (especially when flour isn’t available – can at least make soup out of carpet plants ‘weeds’ and drink clay water) as a physical channel with which they feel any kind of hope, contentment or ability to continue.
I know that mum and I have always made a lot of bread when running low on food or we’ve had the same thing for a long time. We usually make one of the many types of flatbread until the next lot of groceries meet our path but this time we decided that we missed loaves of bread, the type with a crust. It’s also through cooking that I found a way to consistently physically/personally/directly show my consideration and do my best to clear my mind of anything I wouldn’t want to go in to the food.
Everyone has their own ways of making bread and I mean bread that has a crust and is fluffy/light on the inside rather than cake loaves. Vegans have to experiment more with gums/binders/thickeners (xanthan, guar, agar) or flour mixes that don’t need gums. For those with a decent budget, health necessities like gluten free folk or people with allergies to gm soy/dairy/corn xanthan and to a lesser extent guar aren’t great due to their origins/processing or raw foodists (non baked breads) there’s alternatives like psyllium husks, chia and flax seed. Sometimes it just comes down to what you have in your kitchen, I’ve yet to try apple cider vinegar in bread but I’ll get to it 🙂
The below recipe will make one loaf, but I doubled it and made two 🙂
1 Cup plain white (unbleached) flour.
1 Cup wholewheat flour.
1 Cup multi-grain/seed flour.
1/2 cup water or soya/nut milk.
1/2 Cup oil of your choice (I used sunflower but would have liked a nut oil).
2 tbs Unrefined Brown sugar.
2 tsb Guar gum.
1 tsp Bicarbonate soda mixed with 2 tbs water (I didn’t have any for cooking so used Himalayan salt – which meant it didn’t come out as fluffy as I would have liked).
Yeast = 2 tsb active dry vegan yeast, 3 tbs water, 1/2 tsb Brown sugar .
Dried fruit (however much you want really) e.g. raisins, currants, sultanas.
1) Heat 6 tsbs of water, warm-hot not boiling.
2) Put the 2 tsp yeast and 1/2 tsb sugar in a glass or bowl, put the 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda in another glass/bowl. When the water is ready add 3 tbs of it to the yeast/sugar and 2 tbs to the bicarb. Leave the yeast/sugar for upto 15min to melt. The bicarb should dissolve much faster but it’s ok to leave it until you need it.
3) Put the 3 cups of flour, 2 tbs sugar and 2 tsp guar gum in a mixing bowl – and stir until everything is spread evenly (no need to be too enthusiastic with the stirring 🙂 ). Remember once you add anything with liquid the guar gum will activate so I always add it with the dry ingredients and get it mixed in first.
4) Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix – again don’t over-stir, since you’ve already dissolved the bicarb it should mix in ok without any ‘salty bits’ once baked. Just mix until you think it’s spread through enough.
5) Add the yeast to the mix and add/pour in a little of the water/milk you have aside, a little as you go along, you may or may not need all of it. Knead as much as possible until you get a dough. It’s ok for the dough to be abit sticky.
6) Leave the dough lump/unshaped for approx 45min – 1 hour.
7) Oil/Grease your baking tin/dish/tray with some of the oil you have.
8) Re-knead the flour with the rest of the oil and the dried fruits. Shape the dough to your preference, make some air holes/lines across it (generally 1/4 down the depth, not more than a 1/3) and leave for another half hour.
9) Before your dough is finished its second fermentation, pre-heat your oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7.
10) Put the bread in the upper part of the oven for 45min.
11) Remove from oven and from its tin/dish and gently put the bread on a rack/cool tray.
12) Tastes great freshly baked with vegan butter, or peanut butter with a layer of humous/hummus and cayenne pepper 😀 (Or you know, any topping of your choice 😉 ).