Monday, July 29, 2019

Vegan Dad Bakery


I know its been pretty silent on this page for a while, but that's because I have been busy with a small side project--the Vegan Dad Bakery! It's not a real bakery, per se, but I supply various breads and desserts for our local vegan restaurant, The North Star Diner. It's been a ton of fun helping craft the weekly special and providing long lost treats for all the vegans out there--like Boston Cream donuts! So check me out on Instagram and see what I am up to in the kitchen. I will post recipes when I can. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Brioche Bagels


I recently saw brioche bagels at the grocery store and, quite frankly, they looked terrible. I was pretty sure I could make a vegan version that was so much better than whatever Loblaws was peddling. I was right! These are tender and absolutely delicious toasted with jam, or as a sandwich. They are the perfect addition to any brunch or lunch. The recipe is a Reinhart adaptation and mashup. You can also make two 1 lb sandwich loaves if that is more your thing. 

INGREDIENTS
Makes 8 large bagels
Sponge
- 2.25 oz bread flour
- 8 g instant yeast
- 4 fl oz lukewarm plain soy milk

Dough
- 2 oz cooked sweet potato
- 4.5 fl oz plain soy milk (cold), or aquafaba*
- 14.75 oz bread flour
- 1 oz sugar
- 1.25 tsp (10 g) salt (or generous .25 tsp (4 g) if using salted butter)
- 4 oz vegan butter, at room temperature**

Poaching Liquid
- enough water the fill your pot about 1.5" high
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp brown sugar

* I did not find any difference between soy milk or aquafaba in a blind taste test.
**You need a butter that will firm up when cold. I used home-made and Melt with great results.

METHOD
1. Whisk together the sponge ingredients in a stand mixer bowl until smooth. Cover and let rise for 45 mins.
2. Blend together sweet potato and milk (or aquafaba) with an immersion blender in a small container (I use a pyrex 1 cup liquid measuring cup) until very smooth. Whisk into the sponge.
3. Add the flour, sugar, and salt, Use the dough hook to bring the ingredients together into a rough dough. Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Let rest for 5 mins.
4. With the dough hook running on medium speed, add the vegan butter about 2 tbsp at a time, waiting for it to be incorporated into the dough before adding more. The dough will start out tough but will soften as it takes on more fat.
5. Once the butter is incorporated, knead the dough for 5-7 mins, or until smooth. 
6. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 60 mins. 
7. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. 
8. Line a large baking sheet with lightly oiled parchment paper.
9. Pinch though the centre of the ball with your thumb and forefinger, then shape into a ring. (I find this method best because the final bagel is delicate and this allows it to withstand the poaching process without breaking apart). 
10. Place the shaped dough rings on the prepared sheet, mist with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and immediately refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight. The bagels will have risen and firmed up in the cold.
11. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Get the poaching liquid simmering in a large pot. 
12. Add as many bagels as will comfortably fit in your pot (usually four), top side down (they should float). Poach for no more than 30 seconds, then flip over. Poach for no more than 30 seconds more, then transfer back to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.
13. Bake for 8 mins, then rotate the pan. If the bottoms of the bagels are browning too much, you can at this time place the baking sheet on top of an empty baking sheet to insulate the bottom. Bake for another 6-8 mins until golden. 
14. Let cool and serve!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Rice Pudding

For some reason I had a craving for rice pudding. It's probably because every day reveals another disaster from the conservative government here in Ontario and it's driving me to seek all the comfort foods. This pudding tastes great warm or cold, and if you are not a big fan of raisins just leave them out. The cashews work double duty by providing creaminess and helping the pudding thicken as it cooks. This makes a lot of pudding, so if you are not feeding a family with four very hungry kids like I am, make a half recipe in a smaller pot.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 8-10
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups white jasmine rice, rinsed

- 3 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy), divided
- 1/3 cup cashews (soaked in water for a few hours if your blender isn't that strong)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp turmeric

- 1 1/2 cups raisins
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
- 3 tbsp margarine
- 1 tsp vanilla extract


METHOD
1. Get the water boiling in a large pot. Add rice, bring to boiling, then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 20 mins. The water should be all absorbed and the rice partially cooked (i.e. soft but still a but chewy).
2. While the rice is cooking, blend together 1 1/2 cups of the non-dairy milk with the cashews until very smooth. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of non-dairy milk, the sugar, and turmeric. Blend until smooth.
3. When the rice is done, add the milk/cashew mixture to the pot and mix well. Bring to bubbling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook for  about 10 mins, stirring constantly, reducing the heat as needed to keep the pudding from spluttering. The mixture will become very thick, creamy, and consistent, and the rice will complete cooking though still maintain some bite. 
4. Add the raisins and cinnamon. Stir in the final 1 1/2 cups of non-dairy milk to return the mixture to a pudding consistency. You can stir more in later as the pudding cools, if needed. 
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the margarine. Then stir in the vanilla. 
6. Cool to desired temperature and serve. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Crispy Treats

I'm pretty pleased with myself for perfecting this recipe. Turns out, it's a lot harder making the classic Rice Krispie treat than you'd think. Previous versions were too wet and thus sogged the cereal, or the sugar re-crystallized and the whole thing fell apart. But these! These have the perfect blend of crispness, sweetness, and chewiness that defines this childhood classic. These freeze and thaw very well should you need to make them ahead for a holiday party.  

INGREDIENTS
Marshmallow
- 3/4 cup salt-free chickpea aquafaba
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tbsp agar powder

Crispy Squares
- 1/3 cup margarine
- marshmallow from above
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 cups crisp rice cereal

METHOD
Make the Marshmallow:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it.
1. Place the aquafaba in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup. Pour into a mixing bowl (of a stand mixer if you have one) and let cool to room temperature. Place the bowl in the fridge to speed this up if you'd like.
2. When aquafaba is cooled, sprinkle in the xanthan gum. Whisk to stiff peaks with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Whisk in vanilla extract until incorporated.
3. Add sugar, water, corn syrup, and agar powder to a small sauce pan. Bring to bubbling over med/med lo heat, stirring constantly to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to firm ball temperature: 245 to 250 F (use a candy thermometer). Be patient. The temperature will rise, then plateau, then rise again. Resist the urge to crank the temperature up.
4. Once the sugar mixture has reached firm ball, whisk it into the aquafaba by drizzling it down the side of the bowl with the mixer running (I like to use a hand mixer for this part for greater control). Once all of the sugar had been incorporated, keep whisking until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot (I like the stand mixer for this part).
5. Transfer the marshmallow to the prepared baking sheet and spread to about 1/2" depth. Let fully cool.
6. Once fully cool, lightly grease the top of the marshmallow. Cut into 2x2 squares and transfer to a cooling rack. Let dry at room temperature for at least 12 hours.

Make the Treats:
Lightly grease an 8x14 pan
1. Melt the margarine in a large pot over lo/med lo heat. Once melted, add the marshmallow pieces. Once again, be patient. Stir with a wooden spoon until all melted and smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Remove from heat, add in the cereal, and mix well.
2. Press the cereal mixture into the prepared pan with a silicon spatula. Allow to fully cool, then cut into squares. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Snowballs

This is a fairly familiar Christmas cookie--nuts, fat, and flour coated in icing sugar. Growing up we had something like them called Russian Tea Balls. I like this version because the almond flour makes for a more crisp and smooth cookie than the one of my childhood. These are flavoured to be reminiscent of eggnog, but you could leave the nutmeg out of you'd like. 

INGREDIENTS
Makes 48 cookies
- 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 cup margarine
- 1 tbsp rum
- 2 tsp rum extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

METHOD
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper
1. Whisk together almond flour, corn flour, nutmeg, and icing sugar. 
2. Add margarine and mix into a smooth paste with a wooden spoon. Add rum and extracts and mix well.
3. Add flour and mix with the wooden spoon into a ball of dough. 
4. Roll 2 tsp of dough into balls and place 1" apart on the baking sheets (2 dozen per sheet if they are big enough).
5. Refrigerate the balls of dough while you preheat to the oven to 350 degrees with the racks in the top and bottom third of the oven.
6. Whisk remaining icing sugar and nutmeg in a medium bowl. 
7. Bake for 20 mins, rotting the pans and switching racks after 10 mins. Cookies should be dry and firm and very slightly browned.
8. Let cool for 5 mins, then toss in batches in the icing sugar mixture. Let fully cool on a wire rack. If you are going to freeze these for later, do it now. 
9. Toss again in the icing sugar before serving.