I’m going to start this post by thanking 2 bloggers who have inspired me to take a stab at vegan baking. Somer of Vedged Out and recently featured on Forks over Knives and an Unrefined Vegan who has organized Virtual Vegan Potlucks have tickled my eyes, nose, mind and mouth in the best kind of way. They are two bloggers who seem to bake effortlessly. Vegan baking is certainly a nuanced thing but if any of you are experienced with baking gluten-free know that these recipes require lots and lots of eggs. So what’s a girl to do when she wants bread without gluten or eggs?
For baking bread today I’m using ground flax seeds. Flax is full of omega fatty acids and other important nutrients but practically speaking they’re also loaded with long chain polysaccharides that make it a great binding agent. With chicken eggs, protein forms the binding agent along with lots of cholesterol and recent studies bolster the claim that eggs are worse for your body than smoking. I don’t want that in my body so flax it is! Combine your ground flax seeds with water half an hour before baking (mix well) and you’ll notice the gelatinous texture that will help hold your bread together forming in your container. To start, we assembled the following ingredients
1 3/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (I’m using Bob’s Red Mill)
1/8 cup oats
1/8 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp agar agar or suitable vegan gelling agent
1/4 cup lightly packed coconut sugar
5 tbsp flax meal in 1/2 cup of water (mix well and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes)
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons almond milk or other vegan alternative
1 tbsp active dry yeast (no need to put it in water first, seriously)
First, Brent combined all the dry ingredients in a large bowl including the yeast.
In another bowl, I combined the vegan milk, oil and flax “eggs”. It looked kind of gross.
I added the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Beat the batter until smooth. This can be done with a stand or hand mixer, but I like to use my Brent for this; his muscles are amazing. The batter should be thick but not doughy.
I sprayed a non-stick pan with olive oil. Then I poured the batter into the bread pan and sprinkled the top of the batter with sunflower seeds and buckwheat groats. You can also sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
We set it aside to rise for about 50 minutes or until the batter was peeking above the rim of the pan.
We baked it in a 375°F pre-heated oven for 50 minutes; until a toothpick comes out clean. We let it cool for 15 minutes. Then we removed from the pan and cool thoroughly on a rack. A glass pan might be better for next time.
As a first effort to bake gluten-free and vegan in about a year and a half, I’m pleased. The texture of the bread was good, lightly crispy outside and fluffy inside. I have had problems in the past with vegan gluten-free breads being far too dense for my taste.
The taste was lightly sweet and nutty but nothing special. Next time I plan to add some nutritional yeast or carob and maca powder and Braag’s aminos to bring out more of the flavors in all those grains and seeds. Quinoa, flax, sunflower seeds, buckwheat groats, rice, sorghum, oats and almonds make for awesome bread.
This is Christie and Brent, signing off!