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’.

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.

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!

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire


Tangerine’s Kitchen is hosting this month’s Bread Baking Day, and the theme is Multigrain Breads. It’s been so long since I’ve participated in & BBD – Nearly a year! Here I am again, with a most delicious Multigrain loaf, appropriately called Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire, from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

This is the bread that almost wasn’t : A lovely, lazy Saturday afternoon and a beautifully shaped boule was proofing in the kitchen, when I heard my daughter crying in her bedroom. A nightmare had woken her up mid-nap so I calmed her down and I snuggled her…and fell asleep! When we woke up 2.5 hours later I found my boule looking more like a multigrain crêpe than anything else!

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire (Vegan)

Determined not to give up I formed a loaf and put it in a bread pan, hoping for the best… and let me tell you, it was indeed the best! The best bread I’ve made to date! I find myself saying that more and more frequently…I might be getting the hang of this bread baking thing, or The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is just brilliant. Or both.

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire (Vegan)

I used amaranth, oats, millet, wheat germ and brown rice, and I also subbed 1 cup Whole Wheat flour for bread flour. The crunchy, slightly-sweet crust and the moist, dense crumb made this an excellent bread for morning toast or sandwiches.

As always, thanks to Zorra for keeping the breads baking around the world! And be sure to check out Susan’s weekly Yeast Spotting for more beautiful baked goodness!

If I can’t join your club I’ll start my own! Or baking “apprentice” style…

Andama Bread

Andama Bread

I noticed a new baking group forming, and it really caught my eye. This group, spear-headed by Pinch My Salt, is going to bake their way through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. When I first saw Natalia post about the group I thought, “How cool! I want to join!” but after a quick glance at my “to-do” list I shook my head and said, “Yeah, because I need one more obligation to add to the list.” and brushed it off like a crumb from my lap.

It was but a few days later I found myself looking at my copy of Apprentice, wondering what I would like to bake…I mean, I’ve already made a few things from it, but I’ve spent the past 9 months doing so much testing for up-coming and newly-published cookbooks, it hasn’t gotten much attention. I’m not complaining mind you, it just wasn’t a priority.


papa bread & mama bread

Needless to say, I had second thoughts, but by the time I got my tail over to sign up the “club” was closed to new members. Well, hump! I don’t need no stinking club to bake my way through Apprentice, so there!

This Andama bread was probably the best tasting bread I’ve baked to date. I’m still such a newbie when it comes to yeasted breads…but I’m starting to feel more like I have a tiny idea of what I’m doing. If you’re wondering about the different sizes, well, one of my pans is silicone and breads always poof out like that. Whatevah.

I have Natalie of Gluten A Go-go to thank for introducing me to Reinhart and his books. We were trying to think of a Daring Bakers challenge last summer and she mentioned his name. Since I was on holiday in the U.S. I decided to check out his books, and found myself sitting on the floor of the local bookshoppe devouring Apprentice with my eyes. As a novice baker, this looked like holy scripture sent from the gods to guide me through the valley of dead yeast.

I’ve submitted my lovely loaves to Yeast Spotting, your weekly rendez-vous for baked goodness, brought to you by the talented and kind Susan at Wild Yeast.