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!

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!

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.