Friday, November 30, 2007

veganmofo: we hardly knew ye!

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)
  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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).

  4. Carefully place a small pan on the shelf, below the oven baking rack, and fill it with hot water.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!



urban vegan said...

Thanks for the recipe...perfect for these chilly days.

And heck--every month is Vegan MoFo for us.

Candi said...

Oh that looks good! Could it all be made in a bread machine? (Yeah, I'm lazy!)

Great job on the month of blogging!!!!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Oooh, I may have to make that (without caraway seeds though). I just bought rye flour to use with my sourdough starter. I have it out on the table now for sourdough pancakes in the morning! yum.

SusanV said...

I can't believe it's over! It's been great hearing from you every day--and from all the other MoFo's that I've managed to visit. Now I just have to get some sourdough starter!

Eve Love said...

Vegan MoFo Rocks!

aTxVegn said...

Bazu, you were the BEST mofo-er of all, with each post being informative and provocative. I enjoyed every one so much!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to miss your daily posts! It's been fun reading your updates. Your bread looks lovely.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you enjoyed blogging this past month--I know I loved reading a new post every day! I will miss it, but I will look forward to all of your clever, thought provoking posts, beautiful photos, and delicious recipes!


laura jesser said...

I love whole wheat sourdough bread. I must needs get my hands on some sourdough starter, because this loaf looks too good to pass by!!!

Wow, you have really outdone yourself this month! Awesome! I've kind of missed blogging this month, but I really needed to take a break. I'm going to have a wonderful time catching up on your blog now, though!

VeggieGirl said...

VeganMoFo has definitely been a fun journey to follow - just goes to show how inspiring, creative, and talented people are in the blogging world; and how delicious vegan food really is!

speaking of delicious, that whole-wheat-sourdough bread recipe sounds incredible!

Unilove said...

Great work on posting and keeping your commitment! Knowing it was hard was one thing; knowing that you still put in efforts to make each post worthwhile made it even better...


Potato said...

Thanks for all your great Vegan MoFo posts!

maybepigscanfly said...

I have so enjoyed reading your daily MOFO posts. I was so sad to have to stop posting right at the end of the month. I think my favorite VEGANMOFO post of yours has to be when you told us you were drunk. That was too funny!

Is it possible to feed sourdough started with whole grain flour? Or does that just not work. That loaf sure does look yummy!

Anonymous said...

This loaf looks wonderful. I love that crust! Thanks for posting! I too am sad to see VeganMoFo end. Having daily posts from you was a real treat.

the little one said...

I'm with all the other commenters here - thanks bazu for a great month. Hope you keep up the regular posts (realizing that daily is a lot to ask for)!

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

yr bread looks so delicious and chewy.

Vegan_Noodle said...

I have fallen way behind... no posts in a week! I think I got a litle bunred out by vegan mofo. But I love that you kept up with it, such a role model!!
And mmmm, that bread looks so tasty.

Ashasarala said...

And I enjoyed all 30 of your posts! You truly are an entertaining, personable writer and, of course, an inspiring fellow chef!

I still need to try my sourdough starter, but I'm scared. I tend to fail when it comes to trying a new food skill. But what the heck. We'll see what happens. Any tips would be appreciated!

Mihl said...

I loved every single of your great veganMoFo posts! I will definitely try the apple muffins and the sourdough bread. You took such a great picture that I wanna bite right into it, NOW.
I always use store bought starters for sourdough bread. The ones you can find here are made from rye "Schrot", (looks like steel cut oats). The starter has a very strong taste and is usually used for strong whole wheat rye breads. Anyway, I think I will try to make your bread and report back soon:)

Mihl said...

"Then brush your sourdough bread loaves with the baste mixture."

What is the baste mixture? I think you didn't mention it before or at least I can't find it.

bazu said...

Hi Mihl,

Thanks for catching that! The baste mixture is mentioned earlier in the page I linked to, but he doesn't clarify what it is in this recipe- it is 1 teaspoon cornstarch brought to a boil with 1 cup water, then cooled to room temperature. It really gives the bread a shiny, crusty finish- better than eggwash!

I'll edit in the post right now.

Liz² said...

I loved reading your mofo posts, bazu! and that bread looks amazing, I might give it a try using a poolish instead of a sourdough starter, mostly because I really have to try those flavours together, proper ingredients or no! :p

Mihl said...

Bazu, thank you! The bread is already in the making now.

Jackie said...

I got totally side tracked in November spending little time online due all the summer events. Hopefully this month can settle down and read everyones VeganMoFo posts.
How you all managed I don't know as I find I sometimes battle for things to write these days.