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Seeded Wholemeal Loaf

There's something just beautiful about home made bread, the therapeutic kneading of it, watching it double in size as it proofs and then the wonderful freshly baked bread smell that fills the house as it's baking, not to mention the taste of still warm from the oven bread with some butter and jam on top. Even just thinking about it is making my mouth water! 

With the seasons changing and it getting colder everyday, the weather calls for more soups and stews, which of course you have to serve up with fresh bread. Before today I'd made bread a few times by hand and lots of times in a bread maker when I was growing up (which doesn't really count as 'making') but I always love the taste of home made bread that you just can't find in a shop bought loaf.


Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp dried active yeast (not instant)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 cups water (1/2 cup boiling, 1 cup cold)
  • 4 cups strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mixed seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup boiling water with 1 cup cold water, then add 1 tbsp sugar & 1 tbsp dried active yeast and whisk together. Wait 15 minutes until the yeast is bubbling, then whisk again and immediately add in 4 cups flour and 3/4 tsp salt.
  2.  Combine the mixture with a spoon or your hands and then transfer onto a clean work surface and knead for 5 minutes. Then add in the mixed seeds and knead until these are distributed evenly. 
  3. Put the dough in a greased bowl, place a tea towel over the top and leave in a warm/ draught free place for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead well for another 5 minutes, then form a round shape with the dough and place on a large greased baking tray, re-cover with the tea towel and leave for another 45 minutes. At this point, pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F.
  5. After the 45 minutes, score the top 3 times with a knife, brush the bread lightly with a tbsp of olive oil and then place on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. The bread slices best when cooled but if you can't resist eating it warm then it can be sliced slightly thicker after 5 minutes of being out of the oven and enjoyed with some vegan butter and jam!

It's also important to mention that I used dried active yeast in my recipe, so it takes 15 minutes to activate in warm water and is not the same thing as instant yeast which is ideal if you're using a bread maker as it does not need time to activate before using. One very important ingredient is the type of flour used, use a strong wholemeal bread flour, this means the gluten content is high, which gives the starchiness of the bread and gives it the desired texture. 

If you follow the recipe then you can't mess this bread up, however, as I've learnt, different ovens do differ slightly - or in my case a lot - from the temperature set so the baking time may vary from person to person, but mine took 16 minutes to bake at 230°C. You know it's done when its golden brown and crisp all over, if you tap on the bread with your knuckle it should sound hollow too, after it has cooled the crust will soften.


Wholemeal Banana & Raisin Bread

This next recipe is the result of procrastination from writing an essay for a uni assignment, probably not the best thing to do but baking is always fun, especially when it's this easy and gives such a tasty result! Looking through my blog I couldn't believe that there wasn't a banana bread recipe on here already, so here you are - wholemeal banana & raisin bread, squidgy, moist and lathered in crunchy peanut butter! Freshly baked banana bread surely beats writing an essay any day - I will start my assignment soon, I promise!


If I had it my way I would be cooking all day everyday and blogging about all of my experiments along the way, but my student loan doesn't agree with me on that one - the great thing about this recipe is that its made from kitchen basics so you'll most likely have all the ingredients to hand already. If not there are a few subs you can make; maple syrup for another liquid sweetener, cider vinegar for lemon juice, wholegrain flour for regular white flour and olive oil for melted butter or coconut oil - although if subbing in white flour you may need to add a little extra or the mixture could be too runny. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup + 1 tbsp
  • 1/3 cup olive oil + 1 tsp for greasing (sub: melted butter/coconut oil)
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (sub: lemon juice)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 2/3 cup wholemeal flour (sub: white flour)
  • 1/3 cup raisins (sub: other dried fruit/chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease the loaf tin with 1 tsp of oil.
  2. Mash the bananas and then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix together well, add the dry ingredients and combine.
  3. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and place into the oven for 45-50 minutes, test the cake by putting a skewer into the middle, if it comes off clean the cake is done.
  4. Transfer onto a cooling rack, prick a few holes on the top with a skewer and brush/spoon over 1 tbsp maple syrup.
  5. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy with your favourite nut butter and a cup of tea! 




This cake is really so easy to make - it can be measured out, mixed together and put in the oven in under 10 minutes and then simply left to bake. It can be enjoyed at any time of the day, even for breakfast; my slice is currently being enjoyed with a cup of tea whilst watching yet another crime show (which I am absolutely obsessed with) - relaxation is important too! 

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Cookingaddic These brownies are healthy though - with a few hidden ingredients and the use of substitutes for the usual butter and sugar & eggs, combined with the use of wholemeal flour; these brownies are actually good for you! I had some courgettes in the fridge that needed using up and I thought of the many times online I'd seen zucchini used in baking. I also found out that apple sauce (yes, you read that right) can be used in place of oil for a lower calorie alternative and I used chia seeds as the egg replacer.


The best thing about baking is the beautiful smell that fills the house, this recipe had a way of drawing my housemates to the kitchen and had them waiting by the oven, with facial expressions like it was Christmas when the timer finally went off. I mentioned that the brownies were healthy and did in fact contain vegetables, the response? "I don't care, they smell amazing", when you can convince students (without even trying) that vegan brownies containing vegetables are a great idea, you can definitely convince anyone!

After removing the brownies from the oven I then had to break the news that they needed to cool down slightly before I could cut into them and I also needed to take pictures first too. We compromised though, the edges are allowed to be consumed whilst photographing - to help the creative process of course!


Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup dairy free milk
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (2 small)
  • 50g dark chocolate (I used 70%)


Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a 8x8 baking tray with grease proof paper.
  2. In the large bowl add the ground chia seeds, water, milk, apple sauce, vanilla & maple syrup and stir together.
  3. In the medium bowl add the cocoa powder (sieve if needed), flour & baking powder & mix together. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet.
  4. Peel, the zucchini, grate and squeeze the water out and add to the brownie batter. Then roughly chop the chocolate and add half of this into the bowl, fold the zucchini & chocolate into the mix.
  5. Transfer the brownie mix into the baking tray, top with the rest of the chocolate and bake for 25 mins. 
  6. Remove the brownies from the oven when cooked through and leave to cool before cutting. Then serve up and enjoy! Cassidy
  7. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days after making.