Vegan Buttermilk Cinnamon Swirl Bread

>> Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I’m not always good at delivering my promised recipes as quickly as I want to. So, without further delay, here’s the vegan “buttermilk” cinnamon swirl bread I mentioned in yesterday’s Brown Rice Milk recipe. We’ve been eating this loaf toasted for breakfast for the last week. It’s almost gone now, so writing this post gives me a nice reminder to get going on my next one.

Enjoy!


“BUTTERMILK” CINNAMON SWIRL BREAD
Loosely based off this Cinnamon Raisin Bread recipe circa 2009

What you’ll need . . .

Bread mixture:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups rice milk or almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance (or other vegan buttery spread)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
Cinnamon mixture:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon water

Method . . .

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Set aside.
  2. Proof the yeast by placing the water, yeast, and brown sugar in a bowl and mixing. Let sit until frothy.
  3. On the stovetop, warm the Earth Balance over low heat and add the rice or almond milk. Mix in the maple syrup until everything is well incorporated and warm, not hot. If mixture gets warmer than wrist temperature, wait until it is cooler to add to yeast (heat can kill off the yeast).
  4. Combine the yeast mixture and warm milk mixture. Then add in the flour and start mixing with a spatula.
  5. Work to kneading with your hands, adding a bit more flour as necessary. Eventually turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and keep kneading for 5 or so more minutes. Dough should be moist, but not sticky.
  6. Place dough back in your bowl and cover with a wet tea towel or plastic wrap. Let sit until doubled in bulk, around 2 hours.



Baking:

  1. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F. Place a dutch oven inside on the middle rack to preheat as well.
  2. Roll dough into a large rectangle (maybe the length/width of a baking sheet?) that’s around 1/4 inch or less thick on a well floured work surface.
  3. Mix together the ingredients for the cinnamon filling, then spread evenly onto the dough and roll into a long snake-like shape. Elongate and stretch this shape so it’s long enough to twist and coil around itself like in the photo. Maybe two feet long? (Sorry for the question marks, it sort of just happened when I was baking it -- I totally winged this part!)
  4. Then form into a round and place in your preheated (covered) dutch oven and place in oven.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 425 and continue baking for another half hour to 45 minutes. Until crust is golden. 
  6. Remove and let cool before cutting (or the cinnamon mixture might spurt out).

Glorious homemade bread!


NOTES

  • There’s really no right or wrong way to twist and form your round. I just did what felt natural and wanted the most swirly action.
  • You’ll probably notice some leakage of cinnamon mixture at the bottom of your loaf. I had some, and at first I worried about it. Then it ended up being the most delicious part of the whole thing.
  • You can try this recipe with any type of milk or non-dairy substitute. Just beware that some slight modifications might be necessary with regard to flour. Just pay attention to the stickiness of your dough. It shouldn’t stick to your fingers. You might need more flour. (And alternatively, shouldn’t be too dry -- need more liquid). If you’re familiar with baking breads, I think you know the sweet spot.
  • This bread freezes famously well! Keeps you from eating the whole thing in two days (though I could have done that easily, too).


FREEZING

  • Wait to do all these steps until your loaf is completely cooled.
  • Slice your bread into medium slices. I say medium because too thin wasn’t working and I don’t think mega-thick slices of bread because they are hard to toast.
  • Lay out slices on cookie sheets and freeze for an hour or two. Then place slices in plastic zipper bags.
  • To defrost, I just put them in my toaster for a couple minutes.

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Homemade Brown Rice Milk

>> Monday, September 29, 2014

I grew up in a town geographically isolated from many food trends and dietary necessities. When I decided to go vegetarian at age 12, there were few options for me beyond frozen peas, a stray tub of tofu, and rice milk. So, yes. Before I started sipping Homemade Almond Milk or soy milk or other substitutes at all, I drank my share of sweet, shelf-stable rice milk.

Have you ever noticed how rice milk -- Rice Dream, for example -- as oil has an added ingredient? In fact, the mention is kind of weird, as it lists "Safflower Oil and/or Sunflower Oil and/or Canola Oil” -- I mean, which is it? I guess they add it for mouthfeel -- texture. And otherwise, the ingredients in rice milk aren’t anything to be wary of. Still, I like homemade best for price point and full control of ingredients.

So, I started making my own.


HOMEMADE BROWN RICE MILK
Once you get the hang, feel free to double the recipe.

What you’ll need . . .
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 4-5 cups water
Pssst: You don’t need to cook rice specifically for this recipe. Leftover Coconut Rice (minus all the extras) would be interesting! I’d just say make sure the rice isn’t old (signs of spoilage, mold, etc.) before blending. 

Method . . . 
  1. If you’re using rice that’s already cooked, make sure it’s cool then combine with the water and let sit for an hour to let the flavors mingle.
  2. If you’re making your rice fresh, you’ll want to remove it from heat and pour in the 4 cups of water (5 if you want a thinner milk) and let cool and sit for an hour or two. Do not skip this step -- otherwise, your milk will turn out quite goopy.
  3. Either way: Place the rice + water mixture in a VitaMix or Ninja Blender -- and pulse. 
  4. At this point, you can add in any extras like a splash of vanilla extract, maple syrup, and even cinnamon. I’ve even read of people pulsing in pitted dates for natural sweetness.
  5. Blend for around 3-5 minutes and then strain into Ball jars or another container using cheesecloth or a sieve. 
  6. Just FYI: My French Press Almond Milk trick DOES NOT work as well for the semi-solids in this rice milk recipe. 
  7. Use within 5-7 days. 
(I made a big batch!)


NOTES: 
  • Stephen likes this rice milk alone or on cereal -- no sweeteners or spices added.
  • I actually prefer using this milk in baking and save Homemade Almond Milk for drinking, etc.
  • Whatever you do, this milk is suitable for most sensitive tummies.
  • You can also make RAW Rice Milk. I just haven’t tried it yet.
  • I use the leftover rice bits in my veggie burgers, which I hope to share with you soon.
And tomorrow I’ll be back with my recipe for this delicious “buttermilk” cinnamon swirl bread made using this homemade brown rice milk! It turned out beautifully . . . and I have a huge stash of it in my freezer. Well, a dwindling stash, I should say.

Behold!


Oh, and if you want to see my diary from 1998, click over to Writing Chapter Three today!

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Weekend Things

>> Friday, September 26, 2014

Here we are again. Another failed marathon training season. I’ve mentioned several times that I simply fell behind on my training during our big move . . . a whole month behind. I tried catching up, but skipping ahead to higher mileage just isn’t smart for my IT-bands.

So, I kept slugging away at around 28-35 miles a week the last several months. My longest run was 17 miles at 9:00/mile, and I’ve now decided to 100% opt out of the race that’s in two weekends. Funny how solid training -- even my recent 5K PR-ing, etc. -- can seem like nothing if you’re not meeting your ultimate goal. Especially that stupid marathon distance.

Right now? I’m running because I love running.


Oh, and I started running in some new shoes recently (above + not sponsored). I still have a pair of Nike Flyknits that are -- in a word -- AWESOME for my weekly mileage. On those longer runs, I have wanted some more cushioning. I hadn’t run in Adidas since college, but this pair of their Response Boost shoes are pretty great so far. Lots of responsive (yup!) cushioning. I’ll try to write more about them once I wear them in a little more.

Read these:

#1: I like the humor in this Getting Out Of Debt post by Jesse at You Need a Budget.

#2: My friend Sue shared with me this great Halloween costume guide for girls by A Mighty Girl.

#3: Have you seen Leo DiCaprio’s talk at the UN Climate Summit? It’s a good one.

#4: Ada is obsessed with Piggy Paint -- a water-based, nontoxic nail polish for kids. Guess it goes with all her princess garb.

#5: Check out these 50 Best Food Blog Photos. It’s from 2012, but still fun!

#6: What 90s Halloween Costume Should You Rock? OK. I might not be dressing up this year, but I got Daria Morgendorffer. La la LA la la.

#7: A few deals!
Lately on Writing Chapter Three:
Elsewhere:
HAPPY FRIDAY!

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