Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (Vegan and No-Knead!)

It's official.

I've decided I'm going to make everything at home that I can.

Bread. Tortillas. Beans. Peanut butter. Almond milk. Non-dairy cheese and yogurt even.

I always hate when I go to buy some bread or tortillas and have a hard time finding a loaf that doesn't have 20+ ingredients. Or that I have to be careful to thoroughly rinse my beans to rid them of their metal taste and excess salt. Or that, unless I live by Trader Joe's, it's hard to find natural peanut butter that only contains peanuts and doesn't cost a fortune. You'd think less ingredients would equal less expensive.

I've always wanted to do this, but always thought it would be really time consuming. Lately, however, I've been realizing that once Brett and I move overseas we won't necessarily have access to certain things like non-dairy milk, whole wheat bread or non-exported peanut butter.

I might as well start learning and practicing now!

The crazy thing is that since Brett and I got home from Texas on Sunday night I've already made a loaf of whole wheat bread, 6 whole wheat tortillas for wraps, a big pot 'o black beans and vegan cheese. And it was easy!

Sure the bread required a few hours of rising time and the black beans had to soak over night, but I was able to go on with normal life during those waiting periods.

And the best thing is: I know exactly what was put in my loaf of bread. Five ingredients.

And the tortillas? Four ingredients.

Love it.

I know you're probably thinking, "Faith, homemade bread and tortillas are easy to make. Everyone does that!"

I know. But it's a big step for me and soon I'll have some staple, go-to recipes for all of these basics. It's the vegan cheese and yogurt that will be the challenging foods, but I'm ready to learn!

Okay, now onto the bread. This recipe I found at the Vegan Baker. It only requires five ingredients, one of which is water, and you don't have to knead it. The total time it takes to make is about five hours, but much of that time is spent letting the dough rest in a warm place to rise. Seriously, this bread is so easy and Brett and I love it!

2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

To make this bread you start by whisking together the warm water, agave and yeast. Then you let it sit for 10 minutes until the yeast starts to activate and the mixture becomes foamy.

In a separate bowl you whisk together the whole wheat flour and the salt. Then you pour in the wet ingredients and mix vigorously for one minute with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.
Place a plastic bag over the bowl (or pot!) and let it sit in a warm place for about 
1.5 hours until it doubles in size.

After 1.5 hours, use your wooden spoon to mix it again for about 30 seconds. Recover the bowl and let it rise again for another 1.5 hours or until double in size. 

For one last time, mix the dough for about 30 seconds to de-gas it. Then place the dough in a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spread the dough out so that it fills the whole pan.

Let the dough rise again for about 40 minutes until it is about 80-90% of the size it will be when baked.

If the dough gets a little out of control, use your hands to stretch the dough from the perimeters across to the other side of the pan. Do this all the way around.

Then bake the bread at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees half way through.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Slice and enjoy!

If you know you're going to go through the entire loaf in about a week, it should keep stored in a air tight bag in a cool place. Otherwise slice the entire loaf and store it in the freezer!

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