Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beer Bread

I went to a vegan potluck a couple of weeks ago and a friend brought homemade bread made with beer. I'd heard about this recipe before and the idea of making bread (with no kneading!) with beer for the yeast is appealing to me. We saw this friend again earlier this week and had some variation on the recipe and I'm convinced I need to try making my own. I figured it might be fun to have a few other people come along for the ride. What say you all?

Sadly, this recipe excludes anyone gluten-free, but I hope you retaliate by posting an awesome new recipe suggestion next.

I'm sure you could also use dealcoholized beer as well...

Beer bread
2 cups of some kind of flour (multigrain, rye, whatever)
1 cup of all-purpose flour (unbleached preferably)
1 can of beer (of the standard 355 ml variety)
¼ cup water
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. sugar (I’ve mostly been using brown)
1 tsp. salt

Mix it together, throw it in bread pan and a 375°F oven for 55 minutes or so and you’re done. The fun part comes when you start playing around with the theme: adding figs and walnuts, raisins and ground cloves, y’know, experimenting. Before you know it, you’ll be saying “I’m quite happy with that maple glaze, but it might go well with some sprinkled oats”.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Soft Pretzels

I made these this weekend and thought I'd share. They were amazing!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Almond pancakes - a flop

I was very excited to try these this morning. I've been baking with almond meal for several years now, adding it to existing recipes in place of some of the regular flour. I love the flavor and I like the combination of nuts and lemon, so this seemed perfect. Plus I have a former student who is on the Ketogenic diet to prevent seizures and was hopeful of finding a good recipe to recommend.

I used Trader Joe's almond meal, Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo flour, and some plain almond milk instead of soy.

It was easy to mix up the batter, although it was quite a small amount. I heated up my cast iron pan and used a high heat safflower spray.

The first batch almost burned on the first side while waiting for the bubbles and fell apart when I tried to flip them.

The second batch fared better on a lower heat and looked great when I was done although they were very flat.

Unfortunately, although they were cooked perfectly on the outside, they were completely uncooked on the inside. I even put a lid over them while I cooked the second side.

After another 15 minutes in the pan with the lid on and the heat off, the inside cooked. But they were really not pancakes any more. More like slightly soft crackers. The flavor was good but the texture was just all wrong.

I thought that perhaps they needed more time to rise before cooking, as I usually wait a bit longer before cooking my regular pancakes but the time between the two batches was long enough and it only made a small difference.

Something tells me this recipe should have eggs instead of flaxseeds and that it would fare much better in a non-vegan version.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Grain-Free Lemony Almond Pancakes...
They sounded like a great idea, didn't they? I'm so sorry if y'all had misadventures, I know I did.

No pics by the way--can't find the camera-downloader cable...but my process looked mostly like mishka's. Actually, the whole process was a lot like mishka's -- we must be pancake twins!

I followed the recipe closely, except instead of grinding whole almonds, I used about 1/2 C+ of almond meal left over from making raw almond milk--this was the whole reason for me wanting to try this recipe, actually. I ground up the flax seeds in my spice grinder and learned to my surprise that 1/4 C whole flax seeds makes more than 1/4 C of ground flax seeds, which is counterintuitive to me, but oh well. I was a little surprised at how little batter the recipe made, so after I ladled out the first two pancakes I thinned out the batter (just like mishka did!). The first two pancakes turned out really thick, like the picture from Jacki's blog, but maybe a little uncooked in the center--the batter was so thick that I wasn't able to see any bubbling. The last six pancakes were variable -- I had a couple that didn't want to flip at all and wound up all crinkly on my spatula, even though they were dry around the edges and bubbly. I hate when that happens!

I had decided to use my non-stick electric griddle because it lets me set a fixed temperature -- I set it at 350F, so I don't think the variability is due to pan temperature. The electric griddle works great for regular flour pancakes.

But all these trials and tribulations could be forgiven if the end product were fabulous, but we found them to be gummy and though we enjoyed the first bite and enjoyed the lemoni-ness, we couldn't really taste the nuttiness very much. We ate two each and didn't feel like eating any more. We wound up composting the rest.

I think that there was way too much flax meal for the recipe. In my experience, flax is used as an egg replacer in a lot of vegan baking, so using 1/4 C in this recipe is like using 6 eggs (or something) for 8 pancakes!

Long live the cook-a-long! On to the next one!

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Adventures in pancakes

Pancakes. I love them. And I suck at cooking them. Each time I suggest having pancakes, the boy gets an excited look in his eye, always expecting the tasty, light, fluffy kind of pancakes that people who know what they're doing make. One day he'll learn.

I think the problem is with my cast iron pan. Or, more correctly, my handling of the cast iron pan, which I usually heat too high too quickly, then end up burning the batter. As a result, I've become a little shy of making pancakes. But, hoping to overcome my short-comings this afternoon, we turned up the Boney M and forged ahead.

Substitutions I made: homemade almond milk instead of soy and maple syrup instead of agave.

Almonds and flax

The boy and lemon

Lemon zest and juice approval

blended stuffs

I accidentally messed up the second step in the mixing process, and didn't let the first mixture sit for 2 minutes before adding the rest of the stuff. Instead, I just threw all the ingredients in after blending the nuts and seeds.

The first pancake is always a flop

The first pancake is always a flop.

Possibly the best one

The last pancake is always perfect. Ish.

The boy's plate

We ate them with veggie bacon strips.

I made the mistake of trying the uncooked batter, forgetting that besan tastes awful raw. It's amazing how much tastier it gets after being cooked.

About 2 ladlesful in, I noticed how thick the batter had become, so I added more milk to thin it out. Maybe the flax seeds were to blame? I also kept these fairly small, but I really don't know how the author was able to get 8-10 pancakes. We got 5. I quite enjoyed the lemony flavour and I ate mine without syrup (partly because they were good without, and partly because we'd run out). The texture was a bit grainy – I probably should have blended the nuts a bit more – but they were delicious. I would like to give these another shot and they'll be added to my Pancake Perfection experiment.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Grain-Free Lemony Almond Pancakes

OK everyone, I thought these looked really good when I saw them on Ricki's blog, Diet, Dessert and Dogs. I make my own almond milk and my first thought was that this would be a great way to use up the almond meal that is left over afterwards, so that is what I'm going to try. Also, I have a good friend who is gluten-free, so I kind of want to learn to make some good things so I can spoil her when she comes to visit.

Pancakes are usually breakfast food, but I know at least one person who eats 'em for dinner, so don't feel temporally constrained by the recipe type. Also, don't feel constrained by traditional cooking utensils, either -- I myself can't decide whether these merit breaking out the electric guaranteed non-stick griddle or whether I should go with the wonderful Le Creuset 'Cruiser' skillet. Another decision to make: big, medium, or small??

The recipe is here: Grain Free Lemony Almond Pancakes

I plan on making these babies over the weekend and will post an update!

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Vegan Cook-a-long 2009?

Is anyone interested in getting this started back up again?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rhubarb Crisp

We made the yummy Rhubarb Crisp last night - it was so good that we then had it for breakfast this morning.

Ellie's right - you will need to add some sugar to the fruit - we made the full recipe and added about 1/3 cup.

Here's the recipe from my old Betty Crocker book...

I was surprised that Rhubarb is not listed with the other options at the bottom of the recipe...