Seven Delicious Home-Made Breads

by Gentle World on August 31, 2011

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Whenever the scent of freshly-baked bread emanates from our community kitchen, it reminds me that whole-grain breads are one of the most comforting pleasures of life…

Around here, a loaf of fresh bread can easily be devoured in a single day, especially when dinner includes a delicious soup or stew. We tend to rely on the efficiency of our bread machine to keep up with the high demand, but hand-made breads still make an occasional appearance on our dinner table.

Luckily, most of these recipes can be done in the bread machine; at least the hard work anyway. As long as your bread machine has a dough setting, you can do the kneading and rising using a machine, then remove the dough for baking… (Check out the italicized directions for more information on each recipe.)

We like to use pastry flour for all our breads, because it makes a beautiful, light loaf. You can use a coarser grain if you prefer (such as a bread flour, rather than one intended for pastry), but don’t be surprised if the loaf comes out denser than expected.

Whole spelt makes for a lower-gluten loaf, so we prefer it over wheat, since you can use the two interchangeably. (Spelt loaves do have a tendency to be a bit more crumbly than their wheat counterparts, and don’t always rise quite as well, because of the lower gluten content.)

Excited by the idea of fresh bread for dinner or lunch, but don’t have time for all that kneading and rising? Try out the Dinner Biscuits and Fluffy Dinner Cornbread. They are great recipes for quick dinner breads that can be made as easily as a batch of vegan cookies.

Eggless Challah Bread
yields 1 loaf

2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. unrefined dry sweetener (such as Rapadura)
2 1/2 tsp. powdered egg replacer mixed with 1 cup water
2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup organic oil such as sunflower
4 1/2 cups whole wheat (or spelt) pastry flour, sifted

Topping: 2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

To make dough with a bread maker, do so according to your machine’s directions. The water should go in first and the yeast last to keep it dry. Begin here at step 3.

1.  Dissolve yeast with sweetener in warm water (not hot) and let sit for at least 15 minutes in a warm place until yeast bubbles and is doubled in size.
2.  Mix egg replacer with water in a bowl and add risen yeast along with sea salt and oil. Add flour slowly to the wet mixture and mix together well. Place on a floured board and knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. Dough should be smooth and elastic yet not sticky. Cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, then punch down.
3.  Divide the dough into thirds making three equal ropes. Pinch together at one end and braid together. Pinch at the other end to secure the braid. Let rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Brush lightly with oil and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.
4.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 25 minutes until golden-brown.

Foccacia Bread
yields 1 large or 2 small loaves

Bread
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. unrefined dry sweetener (such as Rapadura)
3 Tbsp. organic oil such as sunflower
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 1/2 cups whole wheat (or spelt) pastry flour, sifted

Topping
4–5 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup chives (or onion), chopped
1/4 cup garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh rosemary
2 tomatoes, sliced or diced

To make dough with a bread maker, do so according to your machine’s directions. The water should go in first and the yeast last to keep it dry. Begin here at step 3.

1.  Dissolve yeast with sweetener in warm water (not hot) and let sit for at least 15 minutes in a warm place until yeast bubbles and is doubled in size.
2.  Combine yeast mixture with oil and salt. Slowly add the flour until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers but is still elastic and not dry. On a floured board, knead for 10 more minutes. Let dough rise for one hour in a draft-free, warm place (covered with a towel).
3.  Punch down dough and coat with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Let rise for another 30 minutes.
4.  Roll out flat onto one 16” x 20” oiled baking sheet or make two smaller loaves.
5.  Cover dough with remaining olive oil and sprinkle on the toppings.
6.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 30–35 minutes.

Easy Whole Wheat (or Spelt) Bread
yields 2 loaves

2 1/2 cups warm water
3–4 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
3 cups whole wheat (or spelt) pastry flour, sifted
1/4 cup organic oil such as sunflower
5–5 1/2 cups whole wheat (or spelt) pastry flour, sifted
1/4 cup organic soy milk
3 tsp. sea salt
3 tsp. herb seasoning (such as Herbamare)
2 Tbsp. powdered egg replacer (or arrowroot)
2 Tbsp. gluten flour (optional)

1.  Mix water, 1 Tbsp. molasses and yeast together in a large bowl. Wait a few minutes for bubbles to form. Add the 3 cups of flour and mix well. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place. Let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes, two hours, or up to a day.
2.  Pour in molasses, oil, soy milk, sea salt, herb seasoning, egg replacer and gluten flour. Mix. Begin adding remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. After the third cup, it begins to get dense. Begin kneading it in the bowl. It will be sticky; continue adding the rest of the flour. Knead for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
3.  Cut dough into two equal parts. Shape into loaves and place them into two 8 1/2” by 6” or 7” oiled bread pans. (or make approximately 24 rolls or one loaf and 12 rolls)
4.  Cover pans with a clean towel and set in a warm place until dough is doubled in size. This will take at least an hour.
5.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 30–40 minutes or until golden-brown and a paring knife comes out dry.

Glazed Rolls
yields 18 rolls

Dough
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/3 cup unrefined dry sweetener (such as Rapadura)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 1/2 cups whole wheat (or spelt) pastry flour, sifted
1/3 cup organic oil such as sunflower

Topping
1/2 cup organic oil such as sunflower
1/4 cup orange peel, grated
1/2 cup sweetener

To make dough with a bread maker, do so according to your machine’s directions. The water should go in first and the yeast last to keep it dry. Begin here at step 4.

1.  In a bowl, mix the yeast and one tablespoon sweetener with the warm water. Set aside for 15 minutes until doubled in size.
2.  In a large bowl, sift the salt and flour and mix. Add yeast mixture and oil. Mix well.
3.  Turn dough onto a well-floured board and knead for approximately 10 minutes until elastic and smooth, adding flour as needed. Dough should not be dry or sticky.
4.  Place in an oiled bowl and turn, covering the surface of the dough with oil. Cover and allow to rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.
5.  On a floured surface, divide and roll into two twelve inch ropes. Cut each rope into nine pieces.
6.  In a bowl, mix topping ingredients. Dip the pieces into the topping mixture, covering each piece well.
7.  Place on oiled (and floured) baking trays, spaced about half an inch apart. Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free place for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
8.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 20–30 minutes until golden-brown.

Whole Wheat Burger Buns
yields 8 buns

1/4 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. unrefined dry sweetener (such as Rapadura)
3–3 1/2 cups whole wheat (or spelt) pastry flour, sifted
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

1.  Dissolve yeast with sweetener in warm water (not hot) and let sit for at least 15 minutes in a warm place until yeast bubbles and is doubled in size.
2.  Mix in flour, water and salt. Dough will get stiff. Knead for 10 minutes on a floured board until dough is smooth and not sticky or dry.
3.  Oil a clean bowl. Place dough in bowl, cover with a damp towel and set in a warm place. Let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
4.  Press dough down. Divide into eight balls and flatten each into half inch thick rounds. Press sesame seeds on top.
5.  Lay a piece of wax paper, loosely, over the top of the rolls and let rise until doubled.
6.  Remove wax paper. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375° for 15–20 minutes. Slice when cooled.

Dinner Biscuits
yields 12 biscuits

2 cups whole wheat (or spelt) pastry flour, sifted
1 tsp. sea salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. powdered egg replacer & 2 Tbsp. warm water
2–3 Tbsp. unrefined dry sweetener (such as Rapadura)
1/4 cup organic oil such as sunflower
1 cup tofu milk (see below)

1.  Sift together all dry ingredients and mix well. In a large bowl, combine all liquid ingredients. Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir lightly. DO NOT OVER-MIX.
2.  Oil a muffin tin or baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 20–25 minutes.

Fluffy Dinner Cornbread
yields 1 large loaf or 2 small cakes

2 1/2 cups thick tofu milk (see below)
1/2 cup organic oil such as sunflower
1/4 tsp. tamari or substitute
1 cup dry unrefined dry sweetener (such as Rapadura)
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups whole wheat (or spelt) pastry flour
2 tsp. baking soda, sifted
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. herb seasoning (such as Herbamare)
chili powder, to taste (optional)

1.  In a blender, blend tofu milk, adding oil, tamari and sweetener.
2.  In a bowl, sift together the remaining ingredients.
3.  Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients. Mix well.
4.  Pour batter into a lightly oiled baking pan, filling half-way to leave room for rising.
5.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 30–40 minutes until toothpick comes out completely dry. Be sure to bake thoroughly. Allow to cool before cutting.

• Variation ~ Finely dice half an onion and half a green pepper and fold into the batter.

Tofu Milk

Tofu milk is a home-made alternative to soy milk or other non-dairy milk. It is used for baking only, as it contains no sweetener or flavoring, so it wouldn’t taste good by the glass or on cereal! It is easily made by blending tofu with water.

To prepare 2 1/2 – 3 cups:

  • Rinse and drain 8 oz. (one cup) of organic medium-firm tofu.
  • In a blender, blend tofu with one cup water. Purée until smooth.
  • Add one more cup of water and blend.

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