Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Simply homemade

This is fougasse, a French bread that is a staple in the region of Provence. As is customary, I slashed this loaf to resemble an ear of wheat. It's cute, and it is so fun to hold a warm, homemade loaf of bread that is this artful! It's tasty too. (Recipe included at the end.)

Besides homemade bread, I have another homemade venture to share. Inspired by Dori's post about soy milk, Bob and I decided to purchase a soy milk maker. It wasn't a rash decision; we have been thinking about it for a while, and really it is ridiculous to pay the prices that commercial soy milk is sold for--even locally produced soy milk (which, here, I cannot find any local soy milk that is made with non-GMO soybeans). Here is the machine in action:

We ordered it from this site, and we have used it several times now. The soy milk it makes is very tasty, depending of course upon your inputs. We're still tinkering around to find that perfect recipe for our tastes, but as soon as I have it figured out I will share it with you.

Finally, here's something that's hardly homemade at all. Waaaay back in November, we found one of these in the frozen section of the health food store, and we bought it and saved it until now. It's a Tofurky.

We hadn't planned on buying one, but some vegetarians we met at a veg*n potluck were raving about them so when we saw it we just went for it. We didn't feel compelled to take it to Bob's family's house for Thanksgiving. So we kept it. Tonight, while I was studying, Bob got in the kitchen and roasted it, alongside some carrots and onion wedges and potatoes. He also lightly wilted some Swiss chard to go along with it and, at the last moment, we decided the Tofurky probably needed some gravy. In a pinch we used the mushroom gravy recipe on the Tofurky box. I'll include the recipe, in case you're interested.

We both were surprised at how good the Tofurky actually was. I thought it might be bland, but we really didn't think it was. The stuffing on the inside was perhaps a little bland. Oh well. The gravy was decent--as Bob put it, it served the purpose of gravy. It was very easy and quick to make, and so it served us very well tonight when we failed to plan ahead! The Swiss chard was delicious--it would be hard to mess that one up.

Apple Hemp Muffins from Vive Le Vegan! Dreena never misses a beat, does she? I love the flavor of hemp seeds. Another thing I appreciate about Dreena's recipes is her use of ground oats. Oats are a wonderful alternative to wheat flour, and they lend a soft texture to her baked goods. These are simply delicious!

Speaking of Dreena, guess what I got in the mail this week?

A lot of you probably know that I won her recent cookbook giveaway. A lot of you probably further know that I won her last giveaway as well. Sheesh! How does that happen to one person??? Anyway, just so you know, I definitely plan to BUY Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan when it hits the market--not even going to try and win a third freebie! But, thanks Dreena! I am definitely looking forward to hitting up this book some... probably this weekend, when I have some time to breathe.

Looking forward to catching up with you all!



1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup very warm water
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt

Mix the yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until foamy.

Sift flours and salt together and make a well in the center. Pour in the cup of water and then the foamy yeast mixture. Mix to a soft dough and gather into a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl and leave in warm place for an hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch down dough and knead for one minute. Press into a large oval, 2 centimeters thick and make several cuts on either side. Lay on a large floured baking tray (or I recommend a baking stone, for best results) and leave to rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 415 F.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until crisp. After 15 minutes of baking, spray the stone and the loaf with water to make the crust crispy.

I'm going to play with this recipe some more and try to get the proportion of whole wheat flour up--this is already a better ratio than the original recipe prescribed. Fun to make!


Mushroom Gravy

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup sliced onions
1-1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tablespoons oil
4 cups stock, vegetable bouillon, or soy milk (I used stock)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Lightly sauté the mushrooms and onions in the 1-1 1/2 tablespoons oil. In another pan combine the flour and remaining oil and whish over low heat for one minute. Whisk in the stock, soy sauce, and pepper. Cook until thickened. Stir in the mushrooms and onions.

I actually cut the oil by about half in the recipe, and it worked just fine.


bazu said...

I've thought about homemade soymilk (and even homemade tofu), but I think fortified soymilk and tofu are major sources of calcium, b12, etc. for me, and I wonder if I'd be missing out a lot if I made my own non-fortified one...? Have you done any research on this matter? I'd be really interested.

Oh, and your bread is gorgeous! I will have to make it- thanks so much for the recipe!

laura jesser said...

Bazu, I thought about that too. But looking into the other foods I eat, I really have no worries about vitamins and minerals. Especially calcium and vitamin B12, actually. I eat fortified breakfast cereals, yogurt, etc... and a lot of the foods I eat have calcium in them naturally, like almonds and leafy greens. And then there's always nutritional yeast too. But yeah, before I bought the machine I thought a lot about if I could get those things from other sources--it's definitely something to be aware of!

theONLYtania said...

It's so pretty! But my question is.. how do you go about eating a loaf that's shaped like that?! You can't very well slice it can you?

That's really interesting about the soymilk maker.. I thought about it for a minute or two until I saw the price tag.

I've been wanting to make some of the hemp things Dreena has in her books, but I never see any hemp stuff in the stores here.. you lucky multiple-contest-winner you!

laura jesser said...

Tania, I have just been slicing it up! The crispy crust is a little more difficult to slice through but it's so good! It's not great for sandwiches, but it makes good toast, and it's good to go with a bowl of soup to soak up all the juice. :)

Nikki said...

That bread looks wonderful. It looks professional! Kudos! :)

Veg-a-Nut said...

OH I am making your bread this weekend. Ilove that it has some ww flour in it. Thanks for sharing

bazu said...

Thanks for your reply, Laura! You are right that there are plenty of other sources for calcium and other nutrients... and I'm not even sure how much calcium I really need, since I think a lot of the information out there is dairy industry hype... hmmm, lots to think about!

Dori said...

Beautiful looking fougasse. Glad you are using your soymilk maker... yes, I think there is a learning curve one must go through until they find the way that is perfect for them.

One of my kids favorite is to add cocoa powder, vanilla, and sweetner when it is cool for chocolate milk.

Megan the Vegan said...

yeah - you are one lucky lady - 2 free Dreana cookbooks! I'm sure you'll put them to good use!

I just love that loaf of's so pretty.

aTxVegn said...

I love that you got a soymilk maker and I definitely want to hear all about it, esp. the winning recipe. I hate paying those high prices!

Your muffins and bread are just beautiful. I love to bake with oats.

funwithyourfood said...

the bread looks beautiful

I've pondered making my own milk before but am a little intimidated by it. Let me know the winning recipe! :)


Midwest Vegan said...

I've been thinking about getting a soymilk maker but I've heard mixed reviews about the taste. I'm interested to see how you end up liking it.

Your bread looks so pretty, very professional-looking.

Vivacious Vegan said...

Your loaf is very beautiful. Looks like something you'd pick up from a bakery.

I've been debating a soymilk maker for almost a year now. I can find organic, non-gmo soy milk but it's always sweetened to some degree. I'd like to make my own just to not have the extra sugar. I think Bryanna has some soy milk recipes where she uses a little brown rice to naturally sweeten/flavor it. You might want to check out her site.

Kati said...

A soymilk maker - very cool! I want to hear all about it as I've been considering getting one myself.

Your bread is very pretty, too!

Urban Vegan said...

La fougasse est belle!

I've been thinking about a soymilk maker--but organic soy milk here usually costs anywhere from $1.19-$1.50 a box, plus I don;t have much room in my kitchen. Keep us posted [yuk-yuk].

Pixie said...

Wow, that bread looks amazing. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I am definitely going to try it out. Those muffins also look so yummy. My husband and I debated about getting a Tofurky the other day at Whole Foods. I'm still not sure if we'll get it, but it's nice to see a way to serve it up if we decide to. Thanks for sharing.

Ruthie said...

Very pretty fougasse. :)

I have a soymilk maker but havent used it recently because I've been busy working and it is a little work to clean it after you're done (I am strongly adverse to doing dishes!) We really like adding a couple tablespoons of rolled oats to the soybeans before we make the milk. It comes out creamier. I agree with Crystal about the decrease in sugar.

I'm thinking I'm going to start making soymilk again, make two quarts in a row, and then mix it with a half gallon of Silk. That should make a gallon, taste more appealing, and last us about a week.

Thanks for your review of the Tofurky. My husband is dead-set against it (bad experience) and that tied with the price tag make it a no-go on my grocery list right now, but something I want to try in the future.

Glad to finally check out your blog!

Peace ~ Ruthie

Johanna3 said...

lucky lady !

i was thinking in get one, i really will use it to make almons, oatmeal or rice milk, like Ana dont do well with the soy milk, but i dont know if the taste will be great. let us know who you like it!

the cost of almond milk and such here is so high! $2.69-3.00 for the very little container !

beautiful bread! and food!

Gaia said...

Quelle superbe fougasse ! Il faudrait bien que j'en fasse une un jour ! :)

I have been thinking about the soymilk maker for about two years.
Can you make tofu with yours ?

laura jesser said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! We're still working on the "winning" soymilk recipe, but we have been pleased so far.

Gaia, the soymilk maker did not come with any tofu-making tools, but there was an option to buy them when I bought the machine. The recipe booklet that came with the machine had some pretty decent instructions on how to make tofu, and it's something I hope to try in the future!