Pizza Bread

I have recently acquired two kitchen appliances that I’m obsessed with: an automatic bread maker and a food dehydrator. As you know, I like to bake my own bread. While the bread maker actually takes longer from start to finish than it takes me to crank out a loaf manually, I like being able to dump in my ingredients, push Start, and forget about it. My bread maker came with a recipe book that has inspired many variations on my standard bread formula.

Today’s variation incorporates tomatoes that I dehydrated with my other favorite new appliance, my dehydrator. I asked for one for Christmas mainly to make my own dried fruit. Buying it premade often means signing up for excess added sugar, oil, or salt. I’m happy that I can now control those ingredients myself. The dehydrator also makes veggie chips, all-natural fruit rollups, and all kinds of other yumminess!

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Ok, back to the bread. I played around with my bread formula to come up with a loaf that incorporates all of the flavors of pizza without the cheese. This rendition incorporates a bit of nutritional yeast flakes (also found in my last post, nacho “cheese”) that really do add that much-sought-after cheesy flavor.

You’ll notice that I’ve included the directions for making the bread by hand, should you not own a bread maker. Otherwise, follow the instructors on your appliance. 🙂 Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: YEAST BREAD

Makes 1 standard size loaf

  • 3-4 cups of flour, plus more for dusting your workspace–> I’m using 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 ¾ cups bread flour, and ¼ cup nutritional yeast (nooch is not flour, but has a similar dry consistency).
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed –> I’m using hulled hemp seeds instead.
  • ½ tsp salt –> I’m using pink Himalayan sea salt.
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast
  • 1 tbsp oil –> I’m using some of the extra virgin olive oil that my sundried tomatoes are packed in.
  • 1 ¾ cups very warm water (hot, but touchable) –> My bread machine requires less water, so I’m using only 1 ¼ cups, but I would maintain this amount for a manual loaf.
  • Up to ½ cup specialty ingredients (optional) –> I’m using nearly ½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes + 1 tsp turbinado sugar, ½ tsp dried basil, and ½ tsp dried oregano.

Attach a dough hook to your stand mixer (you can make the bread entirely by hand, but it will be a little workout!). Thoroughly clean and dry your countertop and sprinkle with flour. Have any specialty ingredients of choice nearby to eventually knead into your bread dough. Lightly oil a large bowl and a loaf pan.

Combine 3 cups of flour (including nooch, in my case), salt, and yeast in the mixer on low. Add any additional spices or sweeteners, if using. Add the water and oil to the dry ingredients and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl before starting the mixer. Start on low speed and increase the speed as the dry ingredients become incorporated into the wet.

Add all of the flaxseed (hemp seeds in my case) and then, additional flour gradually until your dough forms a minimally sticky ball on high speed. I can tell that the dough is ready for kneading if it is still somewhat sticky to the touch, but does not stick to the mixing bowl itself when whipping around on a high speed.

Flour your hands, remove the dough, and place the dough onto your floured countertop. Knead the dough, adding small amounts of flour as necessary, until it makes a smooth ball. If you are adding ingredients like sundried tomatoes, stretch the dough open 3 times throughout the kneading process to sprinkle in ingredients before folding over the dough and kneading again. Knead for 5-7 minutes total and then place the ball into your oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

This is what my assembly looks like just before starting the bread machine:

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After 45 minutes, punch down the dough, reform into a loaf shape, and transfer it into your oiled loaf pan. Cover the dough and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In the time that it takes the oven to preheat, your dough will rise again and then be ready for baking. Bake for 35 minutes. The bread should come out of the loaf pan fairly easily and onto a wire rack to cool.

Need more pictures of the bread making process? Check out my original bread post!

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Nothin’ Like the Smell of Freshly Baked Bread!

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I love bread (who doesn’t?!) and I insist on the absolute best if I’m going to buy it premade. I’m talking whole grain, organic, all natural, no preservatives, and loaded with extras like seeds and nuts. When it comes to bread, high quality will cost you; my favorite pre-made bread is $7.00 a loaf. Between me, Travis, and Nolan, that bread could easily disappear in less than five days.

I’m a big proponent of DIY and prefer, when I have the time, to go the extra mile and make food items from scratch that I could easily buy in the store. Travis and I have made our own plant milk, pasta dough, extracts, beer, wine…and the list goes on! I had been making quick breads for years, but knew when the price of my favorite pre-made yeast bread went up again that I had to learn how to make it myself.

Making yeast bread, I found, it actually quite simple, but time-consuming. Thankfully, most of the time is spent waiting for the dough to rise, so I take the opportunity to do a short workout, clean the house, or do some more cooking during this time period. The best part? I can make my own bread, meeting all of the above criteria and loaded with extras, for about ONE THIRD of the price of my favorite $7.00 loaf!

Is yeast bread vegan? Yes, it is. It’s true that the yeast is “alive” when you go to make the bread, but it is a simple organism, incapable of pain, emotions, or thought, just like plants. At one point, the bananas on your counter and kale in your fridge were living, growing organisms as well. It is impossible to avoid eating something that was once living and any moral dilemma you may face with yeast certainly barely compares to that that you might experience with cows, pigs, birds, and fish. 🙂

Let’s talk a little bit about some of the ingredients I’m using today, pictured below.

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SPELT FLOUR: Although I am a fan of whole wheat flour, spelt flour is even richer in vitamins and minerals, and more flavorful.

PINK HIMALAYAN SEA SALT: HSS is naturally high in iodine, among over eighty other vitamins and minerals, including iron. It contains less sodium per serving than iodized white table salt. I don’t use a lot of salt in my cooking in general, but I’ve made this bread with and without and it just doesn’t taste the same without.

YEAST: I use rapid rise yeast. It does the same job as active dry, but faster.

GROUND FLAXSEED: Flaxseed is a super food high in Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber, and may even reduce the risk of major diseases like cancer and diabetes. NOTE: You must eat flaxseed ground in order to reap its nutritional benefits.

AVOCADO OIL: Avocado oil is high in vitamin E and potassium and contains more protein than any other fruit. It can lower blood pressure and increase absorption of carotenoids from other fruits and vegetables.

Like my other fresh formulas, I’m using what I have available on hand. You can substitute any flour or oil you have in your pantry. Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: YEAST BREAD

Makes 1 standard size loaf

  • 3-4 cups of flour, plus more for dusting your workspace –> I’m using 2 ½ cups spelt and filling in as necessary with whole wheat.
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • ½ tsp salt –> I’m using pink Himalayan sea salt.
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast
  • 1 tbsp oil –> I’m using avocado.
  • 1 ¾ cups very warm water (hot, but touchable)
  • Up to ½ cup specialty ingredients (optional) –> I’m using equal parts chia seeds, hemp seeds, and raw sunflower seeds.

Attach a dough hook to your stand mixer (you can make the bread entirely by hand, but it will be a little workout!).

DSC_1780 Thoroughly clean and dry your countertop and sprinkle with flour.

DSC_1784 Have any specialty ingredients of choice nearby to eventually knead into your bread dough. Lightly oil a large bowl and a loaf pan.

Combine 3 cups of flour, salt, and yeast in the mixer on low. Add any additional spices or sweeteners, if using. Add the water and oil to the dry ingredients and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl before starting the mixer. Start on low speed and increase the speed as the dry ingredients become incorporated into the wet.

Add all of the flaxseed and then, additional flour gradually until your dough forms a minimally sticky ball on high speed. I can tell that the dough is ready for kneading if it is still somewhat sticky to the touch, but does not stick to the mixing bowl itself when whipping around on a high speed.

DSC_1792 Flour your hands, remove the dough, and place the dough onto your floured countertop.

Knead the dough, adding small amounts of flour as necessary, until it makes a smooth ball. If you are adding ingredients like dried fruit or seeds, stretch the dough open 3 times throughout the kneading process to sprinkle in ingredients before folding over the dough and kneading again.

DSC_1793 Knead for 5-7 minutes total and then place the ball into your oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

DSC_1794 DSC_1795 After 45 minutes, punch down the dough, reform into a loaf shape, and transfer it into your oiled loaf pan.

DSC_1798 Cover the dough and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In the time that it takes the oven to preheat, your dough will rise again and then be ready for baking. Bake for 35 minutes. The bread should come out of the loaf pan fairly easily and onto a wire rack to cool.

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Start Your Day with Super Foods

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When contemplating what to post about this week, the decision was made for me when my husband, Travis, came home with a new Vitamix. If you read my post on dessert smoothies, you know that I’ve wanted one of these highly coveted, seemingly superhuman kitchen appliances for some time now. While my Ninja is a high performing blender, it fails to completely purée seeds and tougher fruits and veggies like blueberries and kale. Ready to make the switch, I knew that I needed to try making my super food smoothie before anything else to really put my Vitamix to the test.

First, a word about some of the ingredients. Below, I’ve pictured ginger root, hulled hemp seeds, and turmeric powder. I first learned about the wonders of ginger when I was pregnant. This refreshing and crisp root aids with nausea and digestion. Turmeric is another amazing root, but not having any on hand today, you can see that I’m using powdered turmeric instead. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and is great for your skin. (I use a handmade facial soap loaded with turmeric.) When it comes to including roots in your smoothies—fresh or ground—start small. Their flavors are assertive and it’s better to err on the side of caution and add more later.

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As mentioned in my bio, I am not a culinary or dietary professional, so I am always learning about food. My sister works for a vitamin company and serves as one of my primary sources, but I do other research, too. Thus, I’ve amended my super food smoothie formula to include hemp seeds. I’ve heard the buzzing about these seeds for some time now, but they aren’t as easy to find as seeds like chia and flax. After visiting Bob’s Red Mill in Portland (you have to go!), I finally got my hands on a bag of them.   Hemp seeds are one of the highest in protein of all seeds and nuts, and are packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

This smoothie is another breakfast (or lunch/dinner/snack) you can feel good about, and is easy to share with little ones, too. My son, Nolan, drinks one every day. Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: SUPER SMOOTHIE

Serves 2

  • 1 cup fresh fruit –> I’m using two small bananas.
  • 1 cup frozen fruit –> I’m using a combination of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.
  • 2 cups fresh vegetables –> I’m using a variety of baby kale leaves.
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs –> None today. I only have cilantro and it isn’t my preference in a smoothie. 🙂  I suggest parsley or mint if you have some on hand!
  • 2 tbsp fresh cut wheatgrass
  • 1/4 cup+ seeds (e.g. chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, etc.)
  • ½ inch turmeric root –> I’m using ½ tsp dried turmeric instead.
  • ¼ inch ginger root
  • Liquid* to achieve desired consistency (optional) –> I’m using approximately 6-7 oz of freshly squeezed orange juice.

*Most of the time, try to avoid using juice as it is lacking the fiber from the pulp, flesh, and skin necessary to assist the body in properly processing the sugars therein.  The occasional freshly squeezed juice, pack with as much pulp as possible, is fine.  Other options include unsweetened plant milk, water, or a moisture-packed fruit such as watermelon.  Depending on the quality of your blender and the types of produce you are including in your smoothie, you may not need to add liquid to the mix at all.

Place all items in a blender and blend until smooth. Consume immediately as some seeds, even when puréed, will continue to thicken the smoothie the longer that they sit in moisture.

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