Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Bread Queen

I love bread.  I also love productive workdays- air conditioning and internet included- and I love iced coffee and fresh fruit...but right now, I want to talk about bread.

Just call me the bread queen.  In my kitchen, rarely 2 days elapse before a fresh loaf of bread emerges from favorite new appliance- the BreadMan.  I think the BreadMan needs a name...but his name might have to be Overworked, and we wouldn't want to give him a complex or anything. 

I have already shared with you a few of my bread recipes, and while I have been keeping many of them under wraps recently (more trials are needed before they can be exposed) I have had a few outstanding successes that I'm ready to share with you. 

The Almond Holiday Bread uses plant-based milk to really bring this loaf to life.  Prior to this loaf I have only used water in my recipes, but I really loved how flavorful and fluffy this came out.  While I have been putting in a lot of time baking bread (I'm not so sure it can be called baking if you have a bread maker), I haven't exactly given my food photography as much attention.  So you'll just have to trust me when I tell you this loaf is light, fluffy, and flavorful.  The crumb was the perfect consistency for a dinner bread, or sandwich bread.  You are sure to enjoy this loaf!

Almond Holiday Bread

1/2 cup warm water
2/3 cup warmed Almond Milk (unsweetened original)
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 cups bread flour
1 1/3 cups King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Combine all ingredients in bread maker pan except almonds.  Program according to bread maker manual and hit start!  Easy, peasy!  When your bread maker beeps at you to put in your add-ins, add the almonds.  Once it begins to bake and is over 1/2 way through the process you can sprinkle a few more almonds on top. 
Recently I reached out to the fine folks at King Arthur Flour as well as Tropical Traditions because I am anxious to find a whole wheat flour that stands up to bread baking.  I have done a little research, and had contacted both companies to ask questions and inquire about their products.  King Arthur Flour graciously sent me a bag of their 100% Whole Wheat Flour as well as a bag of their White Whole Wheat Flour.  While I am not sure the difference, so far I really like both kinds.  Today I baked a loaf only using the White Whole Wheat Flour and it really did a nice job rising and the crumb is also excellent.  Tropical Traditions, however, isn't sampling their Whole Wheat Bread Flour but did offer to send me a bottle of their coconut oil.  Um, yes please!  You can look forward to many recipes using this nectar of the gods soon!

White Whole Wheat Italian Herb Bread

1 1/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/4 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast

Combine all ingredients in bread machine and let it do it's thing.  (All my bread recipes are for 1.5 lb loaf and most are on medium crust setting.)
I haven't photographed this loaf of bread yet, but that is a slice in the above photo, enjoyed with lunch with a shmear of crack sauce.  Seriously, that sauce is better than crack.  I had to contain myself when I felt the urge to drink it straight out of the container!  Don't worry, I will be bringing you a recipe soon!  It was such a hard decision to put sauce on this bread because the bread alone was amazingly delicious!  Of course that sauce is so amazing as well.  I decided half was just enough covered in sauce, and the other half I just enjoyed the flavor of the bread. 

Usually when I bake bread I use multiple different flours to get a desired texture.  I love how I can use just one type of flour (White Whole Wheat) and end up with such a decadent loaf.  This one would also be good to serve with butter and garlic as a side for dinner, or to use in sandwiches. 

The rest of lunch today included a new twist on my Chickenpea Salad.  Instead of the usual mayo and celery, I spiced it up with cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, basil, mustard, olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper.  It was a fresh take on the classic.

Tomato Basil Chickenpea Salad

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cucumber diced
1/2 tomato diced
1/2 cup onion diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In food processor, pulse chickpeas a few times until finely chopped.  Stir in cucumber, tomato, onion, basil and parsley.  Whisk together olive oil and red wine vinegar and stir into chickpea mix.  Salt and pepper to taste.

I served the salad over a bed of lettuce, but you could also eat it as a sandwich (the Italian loaf would be brilliant here) or in a wrap. 
I have a new vice.  It isn't necessarily bad...but I'm not sure it's necessarily good either:
Iced Coffee! 

I have been buying at least 1 or 2 of these a week since the heat set in.  Rather than continue to spend my hard earned cash at Starbucks, I decided to replicate this treat at home.  It is so simple I feel like an idiot ever spending money on it at a coffee shop.  All I did was brew a pot of decaf, let it cool and then stick it in the fridge overnight.  I poured ice into my glass, a splash of Almond Milk and then coffee to the rim.  A quick stir and I was ready to go.  It was exactly what my body wanted after another sweaty interval session at the gym with Marsha this morning! 

Along with my Iced Coffee I indulged in my first bowl of Overnight Oats this season. 

Butternut Squash and Apricot Overnight Oats

1/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup Almond Milk
1 tbsp Chia Seeds
1/2 cup cooked, pureed butternut squash
dash of nutmeg
dash of cinnamon
2 dried apricots, diced (to top)
1 tsp Sunflower Butter (to top)
1 tsp local honey (to top)

Combine all ingredients except toppings into bowl and whisk together.  Place in fridge overnight or for 2 or more hours.  When ready to eat, top with apricots, sunflower butter and honey.
And Enjoy!  Mmmm!  There will be many more of these in my near future! 

Coming soon...a Mac and Cheeze- vegan version- recipe that is amazing!


  1. A breadmaker would be so nice since it means no oven use:):) I love king Arthur flour! I am actually all out of it right now and im dying cause i cant bake anything:(

  2. That awesome Holiday bread you brought me makes excellent toast for a pairing with my coffee in the a.m.!!! Thanks so very much!

  3. Hello Bread Quees - Thank you for trying our WWW and Premium WW. They share the same nutritional values which is the great thing. White whole wheat contains the entire bran (where the fiber is) and germ (where the vitamins are) of the wheat -- just like traditional whole wheat -- making it as nutritious as regular whole wheat. The main difference between the two is flavor.

    White whole wheat is not bleached, it is ground from a variety of wheat called (somewhat confusingly) "white wheat", which naturally has a lighter colored bran. "White Wheat" is not a genetically modified organism (GMO) it was bred in the traditional way.

    Regular or Premium whole wheat is ground from a variety of wheat called "red wheat", which has a dark red bran. The same substance that colors the bran red also makes flour ground from "red wheat" taste a little bitter - which a lot of people don't like. "White wheat" both looks and tastes lighter, because it is naturally lacking this red pigment.

    Enjoy experimenting! Elisabeth from King Arthur Flour