Tag Archives: bread flour

Vegan no-hamburger buns


I admit sometimes life gets in the way of writing recipes, in fact, all the time.  I cook so much more than I write, and I often forget to take pictures (at the annoyance of my boyfriend). Sometimes I just want to eat and forget about taking any photos.  But today I have a bit of time so here it goes:

Chez Panisse is closed, at least until April 1st, but probably longer.  There was an all staff meeting this week where we discussed the cleaning that needed to be done etc.  The city of Berkeley said they would turn around permits in no time and approve a new design for the facade.

I am part of the clean up crew, and I found myself handed a toothbrush and some non toxic cleaner to scrub the corners of the room. It was nice to see everyone in normal clothes, and to talk to people who normally are working upstairs or waiting tables.  The family gets stronger when events like the fire happen, and I am grateful to be apart of such a weird and wonderful family.  I will keep you all posted on the comings of Chez, but in the meantime here are some interior photos.

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I love burgers, who doesn’t?  It seems to be ingrained in our American consciousness.  I do miss the days of in-n-out burgers, even the grilled cheese is incredible in its own right!  Sometimes I just crave a burger.  I must admit I have never made hamburger buns before, I always had Brendon run to the store when I was creating a beet burger, cauliflower burger, etc.  Today I was determined to create a burger bun without dairy or egg and eat it too!

This recipe I adapted from Holy Cow one of the best vegan blogs in this world. Check it out her writing and recipes are ones that generations of new plant eaters will crave.

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Whole Wheat No-Hamburger Buns:

Makes 6 buns

Time 4 hours largely unattended- longer if refrigerated

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup All Purpose (or bread flour for a denser bun!)

1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 c warmed water

2 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1. Combine a half cup of warmed water with the active dry yeast and sugar. Stir and then let sit for 10-15 min or until the top begins to foam. If this reaction doesn’t happen your yeast is dead so either don’t continue or run to the store!

2. Meanwhile sift the flours, vital wheat gluten, and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse a few times to incorporate the ingredients together. When the yeast is activated dump it into the bowl along with the vegetable oil and turn on the food processor.  Through the top tube pour in the rest of the water till it becomes a homogenous ball of dough that has picked up the rest of the dough from the sides of the bowl. The sides of the bowl should be cleaned by the dough ball and should not be a sticky wet mess.  If this is the case add a quarter cup of flour.  You may need to add a bit more flour or water depending on the dough.  The ball should be sticky but should not readily stick to your hands.

3. Fold dough into a rough ball and set into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let this rise for 2 hours, or put it in the fridge and let it rise for 4 or more hours.

4. After 2 hours punch the dough down and separate into 6 equal size pieces, a scale works great, and that way you can make sure they are cooking evenly!  Shape the equal size pieces into buns by folding the dough down underneath itself.  Then place each piece on a pre floured baking sheet several inches apart pressing with your fingers to flatten the tops of the rolls slightly.  Cover with a floured towel and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees fahrenheit.

5. After an hour place them in the oven creating steam. Then set a timer for 22-25 minutes. Take them out and brush them with olive oil sprinkling with sesame seeds and poppy seeds and then let them cool on a wire rack.


In other news, my dear friend alice of Smokin’ Tofu has been nominated for UK VegFests awards for best blogger so check her website out and vote! Congrats Alice!

Sandwich Loaf with Flax and Chia Seeds


When it is cold, rainy, and I have the day off, nothing more reminds me of English mornings and fresh bread!  One of my distinct memories of England is that breakfast is toast, it may or may not have beans on it, but I always ate toast. One of my first interactions with fresh bread was when I stayed with my friend Alice of Smokin’ Tofu in London. Each time I went over I had a different fresh loaf of bread, from whole wheat to tomato basil.  I was smitten with fresh bread and because it was all around me I never desired much to make it myself. It was a year later once I was back in America after reading the 40 ingredient list of store bought bread that I began to become interested in making my own. Bread became an obsession of mine after I lived at my friend Natalie’s house a couple years ago.  Her father baked fresh bread, and I had tasted nothing like it before.  Once I moved out I set about creating the perfect sandwich bread…unfortunately that did not happen right away.  I received brick after brick after brick of hard dense dough…it tasted all right if you put it in the toaster, but it was nothing like her fathers.

After a year of baking bread, both the delicious, and inedible mistakes I have forged a relationship with yeast.  Yeast is the most important part of the bread even though it is such a small piece of the overall dough.  That is why it is so important to check to make sure your yeast is alive!  Bread flour is an important part of baking bread because it has more gluten in the flour, and allows a better raise.  For first time bread bakers remember to follow a recipe, but understand that there is no perfect recipe for bread.  Depending on your climate you may need more water or less water, it changes from one bag of flour to the next.  This is because one shipment may have gone through the dessert, and another over the mountains. Some in plains, trains…ok I think you get the picture.  The important part to remember is that water is the variable that changes, everything else will stay the same in your kitchen!

Now on to some delicious bread with a touch of whole wheat.

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Sandwich Bread:

Yields 1 loaf

Time: 3-4 hours largely unattended


16 oz of bread flour or about 3 cups

5 oz of whole wheat flour or about 1 cup

about 1 cup warm water

1 cup warm soy milk

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp vegetable shortening


1/8 cup golden flax seeds

1/8 cup chia seeds

1 large handful of chopped walnuts

1. Combine a 1/2 cup warm (too hot of water will kill the yeast, and too cold of water won’t activate it.  Think bathwater that you have been sitting in for a bit too long) water with the yeast. Stir until combined and wait until bubbles begin to form and the mixture froths a little.  If there is no bubbling after 10 min, scratch the project and go buy new yeast.  If it activates and there are bubbles continue with the bread making process.

2. In a food processor with the dough blade attached add the flour and seeds, reserve the nuts.  Pulse a few times to incorporate the flour and seeds.  Add the yeast, turn on the motor and take the feeding tube out from the top to create an opening. Add the warm soy milk first and then add the reserved 1/2 cup water slowly until the dough forms into a ball and picks up all of the loose flour. Then add the salt and walnuts and process until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.  Open the top of the processor and make sure the dough is pliable, if hard turn on for another 30 seconds.

3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a oiled bowl to let raise. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 90 minutes.

4. The dough should be double in size after 90 minutes.  I don’t know about you but I find it easier to follow instruction if I can visually watch. Click here for a simple way to shape a bread loaf. Follow her instructions, but because this recipe makes one loaf you don’t need to cut the dough in half. Place the dough in a greased 2 lb loaf tin and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 425 with a oven proof dutch oven or pan on a lower shelf. Set loaf aside to rise for 1 hour or until it domes a bit above the top of the tin.

5. When the dough is ready, score the top with a serrated knife and brush with olive oil. Then place it in the oven and wearing an oven mitt, pour a cup of boiling hot water into the dutch oven. This will create steam that you want to keep in the oven so quickly close the oven door. Turn the temperature down to 375 and bake for 50 minutes.

Let cool for 20 minutes and enjoy!