“E” is for Eating Bread

Lately soups, stews, and chilis have been dominating my weekly meal plans. I look forward to the chilly, rainy weather all year because it means cozy dinners and skies thick with clouds. I don’t meet too many people who share my love for gray days, but I do meet plenty of people who love a good bowl of soup served with homemade bread. My passion for baking isn’t just about satisfying my sweet tooth – a warm, crusty loaf of bread straight from the oven (and slathered with dip or vegan butter) can’t be beat on a cold night. Here are a few of my favorite homemade bread (and one magically delicious roll) recipes:

  1. Rye Bread
  2. Dangerously Seedy Potato Bread
  3. Thyme Flatbread
  4. Whole Wheat Bread
  5. Coconut Mango Rolls

Cheezy Almond Spi-Rolls

Aside from a lung-busting bike ride with Tim this morning, I’ve been in my jammies all day. Honestly, I can’t seem to find clothes that are as comfy as my jammies! Perhaps my future will include proper day pants made from flannel with an elastic waist?

To keep extra cozy, I decided to bake some rolls to pair with the monster batch of soup we made for dinner last night. When I asked Tim whether he wanted knotted pecan rolls or savory cheezy rolls, he responded with a firm, “I want savory rolls”. Done. The rolls are cheezy, garlicky, savory, and good for you. The recipe makes four spi-rolls (a tightly coiled roll versus a plain round bun), perfect for dunking into leftover soup.

Cheezy Almond Spi-Rolls

Ingredients for the rolls:

1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 1/4 cups whole grain spelt flour, plus more for kneading and shaping
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Ingredients for the topping:

1/3 cup toasted almonds
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), melted

Directions:

1. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together water, yeast, and agave nectar.  Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, nutritional yeast, and salt.
3. Stir milk, olive oil, and garlic into yeast mixture. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture.
4. Using your hands, combine all the ingredients together. On a floured surface, knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Add more flour if the dough becomes too sticky. Shape dough into a ball.
5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and leave to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
6. While the dough is rising, prepare the topping. Put the almonds and nutritional yeast in a spice grinder or food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Set aside.
7. When dough has risen, divide it into four equal pieces (about 3 ounces each). Roll each piece into a rope 12″ long. Shape the rope into a tight coil (so that it resembles a snail shell). Place spi-rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat.
8. Brush spi-rolls with melted Earth Balance and sprinkle with the cheezy topping (you will have extra topping – use it on popcorn, pasta, pizza, veggies, soup, whatever!). Put baking sheet in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour.
9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake spi-rolls for 8-10 minutes, or until golden on top. Mine were relatively flat, but that might be due to my cold apartment.

See you tomorrow!

Coconut Mango Rolls

Yesterday the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls wafted through my kitchen window. I don’t know where it came from, but it was a wonderful aroma. It made me crave a warm, drippy-glazed roll. Unfortunately, I was out of several ingredients required to make cinnamon rolls. What did I do? I improvised with the stock in my pantry and created Coconut Mango Rolls – a nice farewell to summer treat! These rolls are iced with melted white chocolate, which is a lovely complement to the mango and coconut.

Coconut Mango Rolls

For the dough:

1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut milk (room temperature)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup sucanat (or light brown sugar)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 cups light spelt flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

1/2 cup tightly packed, chopped dried mango (soaked in warm water to soften and drained)
1/2 cup coconut butter* (see note), softened
1/2 cup sucanat (or light brown sugar)
zest from one small lemon

For the icing:

1/3 cup vegan white chocolate chips
2-3 teaspoons melted coconut oil
1/4 cup toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

1. Line the bottom of a 9×13″ cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together water, yeast, and agave nectar. Set aside until frothy, about 5-10 minutes.

3. Add coconut milk, coconut oil, and sucanat. Stir to dissolve sucanat.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl), add the flours and salt. Pour in yeast mixture and knead with the dough hook (or your hands if you don’t have a stand mixer) until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

5. Lightly oil a large bowl (or use the same mixing bowl the dough is in) and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl, put in a warm, draft-free place, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume, about 1-1.5 hours.

6. Once risen, punch down the dough and let it rest for a few minutes.

7. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18″ rectangle. Spread the dough with the coconut butter. Sprinkle sucanat over the coconut butter. Sprinkle chopped mangoes and lemon zest on top of the sucanat. Roll the dough (tightly) into a log (I rolled from the short end, but either way will work just fine) and pinch the seams with your fingers to seal.

8. Slice dough into 10-12 pieces (depending on how fat you want your rolls to be). I found that using a long piece of dental floss is easiest for this task. Simply slide a piece under the log and bring the ends together at the top, criss-cross them, and cut through the dough. Repeat until you have desired number of rolls (10-12). Place rolls into your prepared pan.

9. Cover pan with a dish towel and allow the rolls to rise for about 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees during the last 20 minutes of rise time.

10. Place pan, uncovered, into the oven and bake for about 19 minutes. The rolls will be golden on top.

11. Once the rolls are out of the oven, combine the white chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Cook at half power until melted, stirring in 30 second intervals.

12. Drizzle the melted white chocolate over the rolls and sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top. Allow to cool slightly (it’s hard to wait long, but just don’t burn your mouth like I did!) before eating – these are best when served warm!!

*If you don’t have coconut butter and don’t want to spend a fortune on the Artisana brand, you can make your own! Put 2-3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes in your food processor and process until you have coconut butter (my machine takes about 8 minutes or so)! Make sure to stop your machine and scrape down the sides a few times to ensure a smoother coconut butter. This is much less expensive that store-bought coconut butter and tastes equally yummy.

“A” is for Almond-Orange Sweet Rolls

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Earlier this year I was busier than a bee testing recipe after recipe for Celine and Joni’s soon-to-be released cookbook, 500 Vegan Recipes. Several (I mean, MANY) of the recipes became repeat favorites and the following is one of them:

Almond-Orange Sweet Rolls

Almond-Orange Sweet Rolls

The recipe is actually called Almond Spelt Sweet Rolls, but I was out of spelt flour for this batch and subbed AP flour instead. You can find the recipe here, because Celine is a sweetie and posted some of the cookbook recipes on her website! The rolls are sweetened with agave, studded with raisins, and coated with crunchy raw sugar/orange zest mixture. The interior is soft, fluffy, and subtly sweet. They are the perfect rolls to have alongside a cup of tea or coffee. In fact, they are so delicious that I had to hide them from Tim because he was devouring them. We eventually had to play the Hot/Cold game because he desperately needed a sweet roll fix and he was getting increasingly moody. Make these and be extra happy.

Almond-Orange Sweet Roll 3