Gramma’s Onion Bread

When I was in junior high, one of my favourite sandwiches was cheddar and dill pickles on onion bread. Yes, it was odorous, but also delicious! These days I prefer my onion bread sliced thick and toasted with plenty of margarine. Or just sliced hot out of the oven – the loaf in the picture here was still warm when I ate my first slice – yum!

Onion Bread (1 of 2)

This recipe is altered from one my Gramma made to be used in a bread machine. If you want to use it in your bread machine, reduce the yeast to 2 tsp and add it in last, according to the directions in your machine’s manual.

Gramma’s Onion Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp very warm water
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tsp rapid baker’s yeast
  • 1 packet of onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp melted margarine or butter
  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Combine warm water with sugar and baker’s yeast in your mixing bowl.
  2. Allow to sit at room temperature until fully dissolved and bubbly, about 10 minutes
  3. Stir in onion soup mix, milk, nutritional yeast, and melted margarine.
  4. Let mixture sit 5 minutes to allow the soup mix to rehydrate.
  5. Stir in 3/4 of the flour into the liquid mixture.
  6. Start mixing the dough with the hook of your machine, or vigorously with a wooden spoon.
  7. Gradually add in all of the flour.
    Dough should be soft and stretchy – not too sticky, but not too dry, either. Add more flour if needed.
  8. Knead for about 10 minutes until silky smooth.
  9. Place the ball of dough into clean, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.
  11. Punch down dough, knead on the counter with a small amount of flour about five times, and return to the oiled bowl.
  12. Rise for another hour or so.
  13. Roll out the dough on a floured counter into a 12×16-inch rectangle, and roll up the long end to make a 12-inch long cylinder.
  14. Pinch seam closed and orient at bottom of loaf. Pinch each end of the roll and tuck under. Place in the loaf pan, and cover with a damp towel.
  15. Heat oven to 400F.
  16. Meanwhile, let loaf rise until the top of dough rises about 1 inch higher than the top of the pan, 10-30 minutes.
  17. Slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife and immediately place in oven.
    Optional: toss a few ice cubes on the floor of the oven to steam it up and give the loaf a nice crust.
  18. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 375F.
  19. Bake for 30 or so more minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with a fingernail.

Onion Bread sliced

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Cheezy Vegan Biscuits

When I was a kid, cheese biscuits were the best. Mom would make them to do with soup or stew, and I loved toasting the leftovers to have with apple jelly. We don’t keep cheese in the house for me to make them with, so I had to fiddle around until I found something with the spirit of cheese biscuits without actually containing any cheddar.

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Nutritional Yeast is something that many vegans use to give foods a cheese-ish flavour. It has a musky, umami, slightly bitter taste by itself, but is fantastic added to other savoury foods – I use it in homemade seitan, and in a few salad dressings and sauces. Buy a little of it in the bulk section of your local health food/organic store and see if you like it!

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Cheezy Vegan Biscuits

Makes 6-9 biscuits, depending on size. Doubles easily.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • generous pinch garlic powder
  • 40g (2  Tbsp+ 2tsp) shortening (For an even richer biscuit, use a hard margarine like Earth Balance)

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and lemon juice until the milk curdles. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour and other dry ingredients.
  4. Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until the bits of shortening are the size of peas (not too fine!)
  5. Pour in the sour milk and stir with a spatula until combined.
  6. Tun the dough onto a floured surface (it will be sticky at first) and knead about four times.
  7. Pat into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into squares, or use a cutter to make shapes. You will get 6 medium biscuits, or 9-10 smaller biscuits.
  8. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until risen and golden on top.
  9. Serve hot with margarine or jam!

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Bread

I was chatting with a friend today about bread. I love bread so much: its smell, the outer crust covering a soft and fluffy or firm and chewy texture on the inside, the colour transformation, the way it tastes hot with margarine or cold with jam or balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

I think if I were only allowed to have one type of baked goods in my life, it would be bread. I am indifferent about store-bought bread; I can take two weeks or more to eat through a loaf of grocery store light rye (our ususal purchase). However, I will consume half a batch of homemade buns or focaccia or French bread in a sitting.

I want to be a good baker, especially a good bread maker. Back when all I could make were vegetarian cookies, muffins and quick breads, baking leavened bread and pastry seemed to be the ultimate skills to master. I think I am a good bread maker – I can whip up bread or buns on a whim, and take a few small liberties in choosing ingredients. However, I now want to master the art of break making.

I can make/ have made the following:

  • Super-quick white and/or whole wheat bread
  • Fast white bread
  • Multigrain bread
  • North American style (fast) rye bread
  • Cinnamon buns
  • Pizza dough
  • Lavash
  • Naan
  • Focaccia
  • Moravian Black Bread (from Sundays at the Moosewood Café)
  • Yeast starter-based French bread (but it was too tough)
  • Buns of various types of dough above

I want to make the following:

  • Better French bread
  • Sourdough
  • Authentic rye
  • Pumpernickel
  • Gluten-free bread
  • Bagels
  • Crackers
  • Pitas
  • Swedish tea ring
  • Raisin bread
  • Boston steamed bread
  • Fan Tams

The only items I’ve included in this list are leavened breads; I feel quite comfortable with my skills in making cornbread, pancakes, muffins, scones, etc., and honestly I don’t crave them nearly as often.

As an aside, the other skill, pastry, is about par with my level in bread making. Stay tuned for a post documenting my attempts at puff pastry!

For those of you who are looking to start making bread, it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. I let my Kitchen Aid take care of all of the kneading, and follow the same recipe exactly as the book says a few times until I’ve got it down pat!