Baking Vegan Bread

My friend Emma from the charity Animal Balance asked me to do a post on vegan bread.  It’s actually very simple, I substituted the butter for sunflower oil and we’re done.  Vegan friendly.

I made sure there is a liberal amount of seeds on the top so she can get some protein and thought I would go with the addition of rye flour for extra flavour.

Rye breads have been around for thousands of years.  The Vikings used to make an unleavened variety with a hole in the middle which could be hung up for storage. This meant that the bread could last for years!

Rye is closely related to wheat but has much less gluten.  What gluten it does have traps air bubbles poorly so don’t expect so much of a rise.   If you make bread with only rye flour it is dense with very small air bubbles.

However, rye has more sugars than wheat, so rye dough ferments faster so watch the rise!

You can buy a variety of different types of rye flour.  Some are very pale as they have been refined and don’t include the bran or germ form the original kernel.  Others become darker and more packed with nutrients as more of the bran and germ is left in.

The added teaspoon of malt here gives a great depth but can be omitted if you don’t have it.

This is a really good example of how you can experiment with your bread once you have mastered the basic white bread technique.  The procedure here is the same, but with 20% of the wheat flour replaced with rye and hydration increased to 65%.  Once you get the basics right you can start experimenting for yourself with different flours and loaf shapes.

Ingredients

800g Strong baker’s flour

195g Rye flour

5g Malt

14g or 2 sachets of fast acting dried yeast

650ml water at room / blood temperature

18g salt

36g Caster sugar

30ml Sunflower oil
Seeds for topping

Utensils

Large mixing bowl

Electric mixer with dough hook

Electric weighing scales

2 large wicker bannetons

Baking tray

Cooling rack

Sieve your two flours together into the mixing bowl.  Add in the salt, sugar and dried yeast.

Add your oil to the water.

Make a well in the bottom and add in your water.  Reserve a little just to make sure you get the right consistency.  You should be able to collect all of the flour and liquid together into a complete shaggy mass with no extra flour left around the bowl.

Cover and let sit for at least 10 minutes for the moisture to absorb as much as possible before kneading.  Up to an hour if you can.

Now transfer the dough to the electric mixer, attach the dough hook and mix until you have a soft, elastic and pliable dough.  About 10 minutes.

When you are happy, return to a lightly oiled bowl and allow to double in size at room temperature.

Meanwhile, flour your bannetons well and throw in liberally your choice of seeds.  I’m using a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds here.

When the dough has doubled in size knock back and remove from the bowl.  Using your scales divide the dough into equal sizes according to how you are going to do your final prove.  This amount gave me two 815g loaves.

I shaped each into a ball by gently flattening the ball and then folding the edges to the middle.

I’m using large oblong shaped bannetons here so I then elongated the loaf to adjust to the shape of the basket.

N.B. If you don’t have bannetons then simply shape your loaves and leave to rise on your baking tray at this stage.

I then turned the dough into the floured and seeded banneton upside down as I will later turn it onto the baking tray back on to the under side.

Leave to prove for a second time until risen again.  This will be a shorter time than the first.

Pre heat your oven to 220 ° C conventional and place your baking tray in the oven.  If you are using a steam bath technique put you empty tray under to heat up as well.

The dough is ready when you press a finger gently to dent the dough and the dent remains.

Remove the baking tray from the oven and sprinkle with a little flour.

Now turn the dough onto your pre heated and floured tray, spray with water, sprinkle with more flour and then very lightly carve three lines in the top with a very sharp knife.

Return to the oven with a big spray of water into the oven or pour cold water onto your heated tray in the bottom of the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes on 220 ° C then turn your oven down to 200° C for a further 40 minutes.  A total of 50 minutes.

Don’t forget that ovens vary so take them out when they are done not simply at the end of the cooking time.  Bake the loaf not recipe!

Remember…

  • loaves coloured on the crust
  • feeling ‘light for the size’
  • sounding hollow when tapped.

Enjoy

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