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HELP! There's a VEGAN Coming For Dinner!

 

Today, I Got Stoned

Posted 3/18/2014

Thanks to my fabulous FB friend Darlene Nadeau, creator of the beautiful silk belly dance veils at http://shiboriborealis.com/, I got stoned today, and the house still smells fabulous. Before you get too excited, I’m not talking about pot - I’ve been baking bread!

I was raised to believe that in a kitchen, the fewer gizmos and gadgets you have the better. My Great Auntie Nellie (I recommend everyone should have one of those when growing up) taught me how to make potato bread rolls by hand, and her weapon of choice in the kitchen was a sturdy wooden spoon. She instilled in me a love of hot, steaming bread fresh from the oven which has stayed with me throughout my life.

When my kids were small, I confess that I owned a bread maker. I didn’t have the time to knead dough for 10 minutes in order to make sticky cinnamon buns for an after school treat, nor could I be bothered to mix the ingredients for home-made naan bread by hand. I thought that my bread maker and I had built a good relationship over the years, but after my kids left home it sadly decided to terminate our friendship. In the middle of kneading a batch of wholewheat bread it hurled itself off the countertop, unplugging itself from the wall as it flew through the air, and smashed onto the floor on the far side of the kitchen. The dough (which suffered the indignity of being coated in cat hairs from the kitchen floor) survived mostly intact, but the bread maker was beyond repair. And so began my journey back into the world of hand-made bread.

Last year I bought a copy of a book called “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day”, available on Amazon, mainly because it contained gluten free recipes which I thought might be useful for my son. Sadly I wasn’t able to use them because they were loaded with eggs (I’m vegan, and he has an egg intolerance anyway), but it did have great ideas for how to make bread without kneading. This idea isn’t a new one - in 1923 my Great Auntie Nellie AuntieNelliewas making “quick breads” using pretty much the same technique - but the authors of this book have popularised it. My arthritic hands were very pleased with this idea, and I adapted one of their recipes so that Alan has a constant supply of healthy, tasty vegan bread for his breakfast every day. However, all was not rosy. I used the recommended steam-in-the-oven method to bake the bread, and it always turned out too moist to toast well. Maybe if I bought a better toaster.......but that’s not going to happen. And that’s where Darlene comes into the picture. She regularly posts pictures of beautiful loaves of bread on Facebook, and I wanted to know why hers looked so much nicer than mine. The answer, it turns out, is to get stoned.

One shopping trip later - thank you “Grace in the Kitchen” for your 40% off sale on just what I needed - and after numerous batches of dough, my entire house smells FABULOUS! The stones really do make a difference - the bread is much more evenly cooked than before. I don't think I'll ever embrace the idea of no-knead bread 100% (watch out for a 3-dayTuscan bread recipe sometime soon), but I'm definitely an oven stone convert. The big question now is, what shall I make for dinner? Root vegetable and lentil stew with maple oat baguette? Chick pea curry with naan bread? Carrot and lentil soup with ciabbata loaf? Or maybe a mushroom pate on toasted seed bread? Oh, the choices I have to make!!!!!

Karen :)

Bread