Oh my gosh - can you believe VeganMoFo is over? Can you believe 30 days have gone by? I have to admit, I'm a little sad to see this challenge end- I've never blogged this frequently! I've learned that the more frequently I post, the more I enjoy blogging. It's also been interesting to note that the times when I blog most frequently are the times when I'm most productive in other areas of my life- I've gotten so much done this past month! I have also discovered lots of new blogs as a result of it, which has been a great thing.
This month, on our blogs, we've seen the best of what vegan food can be: delicious, inventive, comforting, time-saving, frugal, healthy, as well as what vegan food is on an everyday basis. We've eaten alone or with crowds, with friends or family, with fellow vegans or omnis, at home and on the road, decadently or ascetically, experimentally or reliably. It's been wonderful- there is no shortage of information on the internet should anyone ever go looking for it. Recipes, tips, warnings, shortcuts, recommendations... oh my.
For the final VeganMoFo post, I decided to do something quick and simple: a recipe for an onion-dill-rye sourdough bread. Vivacious Vegan asked me if I was having any luck baking whole grain sourdoughs, and the answer is yes! So far, I've baked multi-grain rolls, rye breads, and spelt breads. The difference when using whole grain is that the bread can take a lot longer to rise, so budget extra time. Also, I've accepted that my sourdough breads can't be 100% whole grain, since the starter gets fed with white flour. Often, the proportion is about 60 - 70% whole grains, 30 - 40% white flour. This is just fine with me, because it's the best of both worlds- the texture, crumb, and body of white flour, off-set by the flavor, fiber, and nutrition of grains. (The more I bake, honestly, the more I respect white flour)
So here's the recipe: (adapted from the Yankee Grocery)
2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1 cup sourdough starter batter at room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
4 cups rye flour, unsifted
2 Tablespoons light molasses
2 teaspoons plain or iodized salt
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
2 Tablespoons dried dill
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon baking soda
Hot water as required (see step #4)
- In a large glass or ceramic bowl, combine water, starter batter and 4 cups of the flour. Cover with clear plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place (85 degrees F) for 8 to 12 hours.
- Stir in the rye flour, molasses, salt, caraway seeds, dill, onion flakes and baking soda, to form a very stiff dough. Knead until smooth. (Add more flour if you need it) Cover and let rise in a warm place until the mixture is doubled in size, about (2 to 2 1/2 hours).
- Punch down and divide in half. Knead gently until smooth. Shape each half into loaf or round, Cover loaves lightly; let rise again in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled in size, about (1 to 1-1/2 hours).
- Carefully place a small pan on the shelf, below the oven baking rack, and fill it with hot water.
- Place your sourdough rye bread loaves on the baking rack, close the oven door and bake in a preheated (400 degree F) oven for 10 minutes. Then brush your sourdough bread loaves with the baste mixture. (edit 12/3: the baste mixture is 1 teaspoon cornstarch brought to a boil with 1 cup water, then cooled to room temperature. Thanks, Mihl, for catching the omission!) Close the oven door and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes more until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and place on a cooling rack until cooled down to room temperature. Now for the hardest part of all in this baking recipe. Allow your loaf to cool completely (about 2 hours) before cutting into it. A loaf of sourdough bread is not fully flavored until it is fully cool. Also, bread is much easier to slice when cool.
Because our house has been so cold lately, I heat the oven for about 1-2 minutes, let it cool down a bit, and store my dough in there, covered with plastic wrap, for its first rise. I sometimes let this first sponge sit for up to 12 hours (overnight). I haven't gotten sick of sourdough yet- I hope to try more recipes soon!
To all my readers and fellow VeganMoFo-ers, thanks for this journey! I've fallen a bit behind on visiting all of your blogs, but I promise to catch up this weekend- I've missed you all!