BBA Pane Siciliano

Pane Siciliano anyone? Here are some very, very bad pictures of some most delicious bread. This is one of my favourite breads from the famed Bread Baker’s Apprentice, it always turns out so well! (Much better than my crappy point and shoot after sunset pictures!).

This is the kind of bread I’d never thought I could actually make in my pre-baking days.  I mean, this baby takes 3 days (if you include the pâte fermentée) to make, and that’s a whole lot of planning. However, it’s more than worth it. Trust me!

As is the case with most of the formulas in BBA, the Pane Siciliano is a snap to veganize : I just used rice syrup in lieu of the honey.

This bread has been YeastSpotted!

Delicious Savory Zucchini Bread (Vegan)

I grew up eating sweet zucchini breads and muffins, but never anything savory coming from the zucchini-infused bread basket. When dear Mihl of Seitan Is My Motor blogged her Savory Zucchini Bread recipe, I couldn’t wait for our heat-wave to break – I just had to try it! Mihl’s got the most delicious recipes on her blog, if you’ve never been you really ought to pay her a visit.

Zucchini Bread (Vegan)

Please don’t blame Mihl’s delicious (and super-easy to follow) recipe for the unsightly nature of this fabulous loaf. If it must be someone’s fault, it’s mine. Well, mine and Mother Nature’s who blessed us with extremely warm temperatures very early in the day.

Thinking I could “beat the heat” I mixed my dough early and let it rise while we prepared for the day. The second rise isn’t very long, and since I only had a few errands to run I thought we’d be safe…well… (if you’ve ever watched the television show I Love Lucy just imagine her saying “well…”) the errands ended up taking longer than planned (bien sûr) and the heat shot up faster than I’d planned, and we returned home to two very over-risen loaves.

Sigh.

But really, who cares? So it’s not as beautiful as I’d hoped (Guppy asked me if I could make it look like an escargot and I said pourquoi pas?). It does look like an escargot, one that had been crushed, perhaps? The important thing is the taste, and it was voted delicious by 3 out of 3 Fish (myself, Guppy and Monsieur). I was going to freeze one of the loaves, but I didn’t even have a chance, Monsieur F. digging into it, topping thick slices with the Raw Ranch Dressing I’d made. That’s ok. Just an excuse to go make more!

I’ll be submitting this lovely loaf to Yeast Spotting, your weekly dose of home-baked goodness over at Wild Yeast (thanks as usual, Susan!).

Dinos, Hedgehogs & Monsters! (It’s ok. They’re herbivores.)

Dino breads

Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Hedgehogs galore!

By now you know that we are crazy about dinosaurs here at the Fish household. We just love reading about them, playing with them, drawing them and now, well, eating them!

Happy Hedgehog
These are some fun little cinnamon & spelt rolls that were as fun to make as they were to eat. The possibilities for shaping them are only limited by your imagination (and by the heat in your kitchen…these were rising so fast I was having a tough time shaping/decorating them fast enough. It occurred to me afterwards I could have retarded them in the fridge while shaping…but hey, I’m still learning here!).

Hedgehogs & Monsters

These creations were 100% inspired by a talented foodblogger named Moira, who blogs at Tertulia de Sabores and makes me so regret I don’t speak Portuguese. However, thanks to her delicious photos, nothing is lost in translation! This amazing woman’s blog and her phenomenal Flickr photostream are more than eye-candy, they are a full-course meal! I can’t urge you enough to visit her photostream, if you’re a bread-baker (or eater), you’ll just love it!

Smiling Hedgehogs

Cinnamon & Sugar Dino-Rolls

(Sorry my metric friends, this one is in Imperial)

2 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup & 1 tsp. sugar, divided (you can use 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you’d like your bread to be.

2 Tablespoons yeast

1/4 cup warm water

6 cups spelt flour

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

Pumpkin seeds, raisins, sunflower seeds, etc. for decorating

Heat the non-dairy milk to scalding and pour it into a bowl with the oil and 1/4 cup sugar. Set aside to cool. Next proof your yeast by adding it, along with the teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of warm water to a large bowl. I know you don’t have to do this, but I’ve wasted time and ingredients when my yeast turned out to be anything but active, so I do. Let it set about 10 minutes or until it’s all bubbly.

When the milk has cooled (as in you can dip your finger into it without screaming), add it to the yeast mixture (because if it’s too hot you’ll kill the yeast, and that’s not cool), and add 2 cups of the flour. Stir this briskly for a few minutes, then let it sponge for about 10 minutes. It should have puffed up a bit. Now add the remaining 4 cups of flour, the salt and the cinnamon, and stir until it begins to form a ball/becomes really difficult to stir. You may need to adjust flour/water here, and that’s ok!

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes, until it’s tacky but not sticky. Divide your dough into 4 pieces, and then you can either simply shape them into rolls or have way more fun and make some animal shapes!

Now preheat your oven to 375°F and let your animals/rolls rise for about half an hour, then bake them for about 20 minutes. I found that some of the pumpkin seeds were pushed out as the dinos baked in the oven, so be sure and really get them in there – or be prepared to doctor them up a little when the come out of the oven!

Do be sure and drool over all the deliciousness found over at YeastSpotting, hosted this week by Macheesmo – thank you so much for hosting, Nick!

Lovely (Vegan) Brioche For Everyone!

I wanted to make something special for Monsieur Fish’s birthday (erm, last month…I’m a little behind in the posting department), and I thought the brioche from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice sounded pretty special, indeed.

Mini-Poor Man's Brioche (Vegan)

Reinhart’s book presents three versions : Rich Man’s Brioche, Middle Class Brioche, and Poor Man’s Brioche – what’s with all these men, anyway? Are they making the brioche? Given the obscene amount of non-dairy butter needed for the first two versions, I opted for the leaner poor folks variety*.

Poor Man's Brioche (Vegan)

Some might find me a bit silly, making brioche here in the patisserie capital of the world (meaning, France), but the thing is, I haven’t enjoyed brioche in years because it’s so not vegan! There is also something magical about hand-crafting goodies for the ones you love. Seems more special.

Vegan Brioche

This recipe was, once again, a pleasant experience and was as easy to veganize as the other Apprentice recipes I’ve made. I just subbed non-dairy butter and Ener-G egg replacer. My biggest problem was with the shaping…I wasn’t really sure of myself and took a bit too much time, which meant that everything was rising all over the place on me! It was a rather hot and humid day I suppose…

Vegan Brioche

I regretted not taking my time in shaping, because they were a little lop-sided out of the oven. The mini-brioches looked like little ladies in tutus, which Guppy thought was fun.

Vegan Poor Man's Brioche

The birthday boy was terribly impressed, despite their goofy appearance, and thought they were delicious! The brioche was indeed light, buttery and flaky – perfect for a lazy Saturday morning birthday breakfast.

Poor Man's Brioche

These little babies have been submitted to Yeast Spotting! Susan’s delicious weekly round-up of all that is rising on the blogosphere.

*The poor or peasants (as a ridiculous generalisation as it is) tended to live much longer and die of natural causes than the rich who’s fat-clogged arteries choked the life from them, bit by bit. Not suffering the diseases of the affluent : hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, obesity, etc. the “poor” of the previous centuries, though often lacking in basic medical care, were in much better over-all health than many of their peers from the haute bourgeoisie, specifically those in urban centres where animals and their secretions often were featured at the dinner table. Just sayin’.

Vegan Frangipan is as easy as pie. Or tart. Or positively scrumptious. Daring Baker’s Time, kids!

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Looking for the Sweet Freedom cookbook giveaway? You have until midnight Paris time today! Just leave a comment.

The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.

Bakewell Tart (Vegan)

I have 2 confessions to make :

Confession number one = I wasn’t very excited about this challenge.

There. I said it.

When I saw this month’s challenge recipe I found it rather uninspiring and even considered skipping out because I had a multitude of other baking obligations this month…Nearly 200 cookies for Guppy’s school (not at once), 36 savory scones for my school…I’ll stop here. I didn’t think this pudding tart thingy sounded very exciting, and just kept dragging my feet about the whole thing.

Confession number two = Sometimes I am SO wrong about things it’s funny.

My husband, Monsieur Fish, doesn’t read my blog, thankfully, so I can share with you and the monde entier that sometimes I just don’t have any idea what I am talking about (often times to myself, but I digress…).

Wednesday evening, in true last minute style, I thought I should maybe make this month’s challenge. I knew I had yet another work luncheon on Thursday, and my students had requested I bring something sweet. I shrugged my shoulders as I began setting up the kitchen and figured at least I could bring it to my students who just love to see how I transform desserts into Vegan yummies.

Yummy is rather an understatement here.

Blackwell Tart (Vegan)

I don’t know why, but as I printed out the original frangipan recipe from the forums, it dawned on me that I was about to veganize frangipan!! For many, this may seem like small potatoes, but here in France, frangipan shows up in many beloved patisseries that I’d never attempted before. Why, if I could successfully veganize frangipan, I could make a galette des rois this year. Ha!

Reading the Alternative Baking Forums I’d seen that many of my Baking possé had great success veganizing the frangipan using various strategies and ingredients. I decided to throw caution to the wind and follow the recipe as written and just swap in Ener-G egg replacer for the three eggs and to use non-dairy butter.

Oh yeah, can you get a whiff of the sweet smell of success here?

I also changed up the crust and used the Vegan Shortbread Crust from The Joy of Vegan Baking. This is a wonderful and versatile crust that I thought would work well. Rather than pre-baking the crust as per the recipe in JOVB, I put it in the freezer while preparing the frangipan, and then just followed the challenge recipe instructions.

I brought the tart to my French class and it disappeared before my very eyes. The class is made up of students from all over Europe and the world, none of them vegan. They all loved it and just couldn’t believe there were no eggs in the frangipan. Yippie! It was indeed delicious, and I’m really grateful to our hosts for proposing such a wonderful staple recipe to add to my repertoire. I for one know I’ll be making this one again.

Bakewell tartSorry about the wonky pic, we were eating outside and I had to hurry and snap a shot before the tart was all gone!

And because my work is so intertwined with my private life, I used homemade cherry and raspberry jam I’d received earlier in the week from students in my English classes. I love homemade gifts!

Homemade Raspberry Jam, I love you.

Vegan Frangipan

125g non-hydrogenated, non-dairy margerine, softened
125g powdered sugar
The equivalent of 3 Eggs (Ener-G worked perfectly here)
2.5ml almond extract
125g ground almonds
30g AP flour

Whip together the Ener-G and water with beaters, set aside. Cream margarine and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the Ener-G eggs. Beat well. The batter may appear to curdle or separate – it’s all good. Add the almond extract, almonds and flour and mix until well blended. Yum.

Do you like to play with your food? Visit The Daring Kitchen for wonderful food articles, sexy food p*rn and lovely portraits of the Daring Cooks and Bakers. Also, don’t forget to check out the other Daring Bakers and their tarts!

Mrs. K, Monsieur Fish Loves You! Sweet Freedom Saturday

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You still have time to get in on the big Sweet Freedom giveaway! Just leave a comment here before midnight Paris time for your chance! The two lucky winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 1st, in honor of Canada Day.

Mrs.K's Date Cake (Vegan)

This is Mrs. K’s Date Cake. Monsieur Fish also announced to me that this is his favourite thing ever that I’ve ever made. Ever. Monsieur F is a gourmand, and while he often says he just love this or that, this is indeed the first time I’ve ever seen him so passionate about a dessert.

So passionate in fact that when I left the kitchen for a moment…

missing cake

There were four more pieces missing! I had to hide the cake! So silly, I know. I’d much rather see him go crazy with this cake, however, than many of the less “healthy” versions out there.

This is indeed a decadent little snack cake, but it’s 100% natural and delicious.

Have you made anything yummy from Sweet Freedom this week ? Stay tuned next Saturday for another installment of “Sweet Freedom Saturdays”. We’ve also got a brand new Sweet Freedom Flickr Group – come join us! Other Sweet Freedom Saturday Deliciousness here in the Fishbowl : Raw Apricot Bars, Tomato Spice Cake, Carrot Snack Cake, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gingered Apple Muffins, Spiced Pumpkin Millet Pudding.

Rosemary Potato Bread or Potato Rosemary Bread or Really Delicious Bread

I often have a difficult time following directions.

There, I said it.

The official BBA (Bread Baker’s Apprentice) group is to work through Reinhart’s bread bible in order. Whatever.

First off, I’m not an official member. And Secondly, “I’d prefer not to.”*

Potato Rosemary Bread (Vegan)

I grew up just loving my mum’s potato rolls. I have the most vivid memories of coming home from school when perhaps 8 or 9 years old, and being greeted by the heavenly aroma of fresh potato rolls just out of the oven. My mother didn’t really bake all that much; she’s a great cook, and when she did bake it was always delicious, but I don’t have memories of her baking up a storm. That’s probably why when she did make bread or homemade rolls it was indeed a memorable treat.

Potato Rosemary Bread (Vegan)

My family eat mashed potatoes very often, but when planning dinner recently it occurred to me that I really wanted to give the Potato Rosemary Bread in BBA a try. As with most of the breads in BBA, this one is naturally vegan (and the non-vegan versions have been a “piece of brioche” to veganize).

This was also my first time baking using a biga, or pre-ferment starter. Didn’t I feel all pioneer womanesque? Oh, yes I did.

The bread was just a delight to make, and baked up just beautifully. It had a lovely, buttery taste and was disappearing so fast I decided to freeze the second loaf (which froze very well, and has also since disappeared). I’ll be submitting these lovely loaves to Susan’s Yeast Spotting, your weekly dose of beautiful breads and more.

I know many of you, my sweet and lovely readers, are Gluten-Free or try to bake GF as often as possible. I’m sorry I’m not much help, but I’d love to refer you to Natalie’s blog, Gluten A Go Go. She’s been running a series baking recipes from the Culinary Institute of America’s Baking & Pastry book Gluten-Free and the results have been extraordinary.

*While not a real fan of Melville (to the gasps and horror of the director of the English department at the University I taught at here in France) “Bartleby the Scriviner : A Story of Wall Street” is one of my preferred short stories.

Sweet Freedom Saturday : Tomato Spice Cake

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I’m so excited to have my real, live, tangible copy of Sweet Freedom! I’d been working from the PDF, which is great, but it’s nothing like being able to flip through the pages of a real book!

This week’s installment of SFS features the Tomato Spice Cake, which is just lovely!

Tomato Spice Cake (Vegan)

Ricki shares that this cake is a fresh spin on one of her Mother’s classic cakes. I remember when I was little the “tomato soup” cakes being rather popular at bake sales and socials. I also remember asking one of the women at the school tea why there was tomato soup in her cake, why didn’t she just use tomatoes? She told me I was impertinent. Hump.

I made this for Guppy’s Fun Friday after school quatre heures. She made me giggle because when she saw the finished cake sitting on the platter, just waiting for her to come home from school, she looked at me and said, “Mumma, you forgot the frosting!”. My oh my, I supposed I did. We’re not big frosting people here, but I did decide to just whip up a quickie-glaze for her. I must admit, it was yummy.

Quickie Vanilla Glaze (for Tomato Spice Cake)

Powdered Sugar (I didn’t measure this, I just poured some into a bowl, maybe a half a cup?

Apple Juice – A few tablespoons

VanillaExtract – 1.5 teaspoons

I just whisked it together with a fork and spread it over the cake. Guppy approved.

I think this would be a perfect cake for a brunch or for tea in the afternoon. It has a lovely spice cake flavour and a dense crumb making it perfect for dunking. I might even add chocolate chips next time I make this, you know, just to see how it would taste. We loved it (hence the lack of photos, when it goes fast, it’s more difficult to photograph!). I have so many recipes marked in Sweet Freedom, it’s not easy to chose which one will be next!

Have you made anything yummy from Sweet Freedom this week ? Stay tuned next Saturday for another installment of “Sweet Freedom Saturdays”. We’ve also got a brand new Sweet Freedom Flickr Group – come join us! Other Sweet Freedom Saturday Deliciousness here in the Fishbowl : Carrot Snack Cake, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Spiced Pumpkin Millet Pudding.

Sweet Freedom Saturday : Carrot Snack Cake & A Big Weekend!

Before I get into the Sweet Freedom Goodness, I would like to say thank you to more groovy 60-Day Project participants! Mille Mercis to Bianca of Vegan Crunk, Krys of Two Vegan Boys, Bex of How To Feed A Vegan and Basht of And So She Fell To Earth for the thoughtful gifts you sent to Mamafish! We’ve about reached the end of the project, and I can’t thank you participants enough. There may be one or two gifts still floating around out there, and if I forgot someone, please email me so that I may properly flog myself. I am frantically working on goodies for everyone, so please be patient – I haven’t forgotten you, just trying to get everything made.

Now for the real reason you’re here : Carrot Snack Cake! I like to try to make Guppy’s quatre heures (afternoon snack) on Friday a little special. In part to highlight the weekend, and also because Friday is the day I actually have time to make her an after-school treat!

Carrot Snack Cake (Vegan)

Knowing that there will be birthday cake (or fruit tart, not sure yet) for Monsieur Fish this evening (Joyeux Anniversaire Mon Amour), and goodies for La Fête des Mères (Mother’s Day) on Sunday, I wanted to keep it reasonable, yet delicious. Reasonably delicious? How about Deliciously reasonable.

I wish I could say I was reasonable, but I wasn’t, and I think I ate an unreasonable amount of this delicious snack cake. I’m also thrilled to report that Guppy loved it. Sadly, my daughter seems to shun any dessert or snack-food that is remotely healthy. This child will not eat raw desserts or cookies because she says they taste blek, which is confusing because she lives on raw fruit…anyway, she gobbled down two slices almost as fast as I did.

Carrot Snack Cake (Vegan)

Have you made anything yummy from Sweet Freedom this week ? Celine’s got a great review of Sweet Freedom up on her blog if you’d like to check it out. and Diann has some Maple Walnut Cookies to make your mouth water. Stay tuned next Saturday for another installment of “Sweet Freedom Saturdays”.

Vegan Christoposomos! Greek Celebration Bread from Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Christoposomos (Vegan) from Bread Baker's Apprentice.

My explorations into the formulas in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice continue with this festive little number, the Christoposomos, one of the Greek Celebration bread variations.

This was both exhilarating and challenging for me…nope, I never thought I’d qualify the craft of bread baking as exhilarating, but I’m learning to better appreciate all that I’d taken for granted as being easy or boring or plain in my youth, and yes, this is wild and crazy stuff! No dowdy submissive chica in the kitchen here, kids, just one punk rock veganfish listening to The Dead Milkmen and stripping the animal products from this delicious recipe.

Chopped Walnuts

All the recipes I’ve made so far from Apprentice have been very easily veganizable, and this was no exception. I used agave syrup to sub out the honey and Ener-G for the two large eggs.

About to knead in the walnuts...

I used coconut milk in this recipe because I wanted to be sure to add enough fat to the dough, and the results were just perfect. There was no lasting coconut flavour in the finished bread, but the coconut milk did lend a lovely buttery quality that was just perfect.

Christoposomos (vegan) about to go into the oven...

While this isn’t a recipe I will make often, I will indeed save this one for special occasions or for when we have guests for breakfast or brunch. It’s rather fancy and far more sophisticated than anything I’ve ever made bread-wise before, and I felt like a rock star yet again! Perhaps I’m just too easily amused?

I’d like to dedicate this Celebration Bread to Susan of Wild Yeast as she is celebrating the First Anniversary of Yeast Spotting this week! I think that is indeed reason to celebrate!