Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Warning: this recipe is not as accessible as some of my other baking recipes and will require a bit of experience and time to pull off. The recipe is similar to the brioche recipe I posted last week in that it uses mashed potatoes in lieu of eggs, and in that you need to work a fair amount of fat into the dough. A stand mixer is key to getting this done efficiently. The other key ingredient is sourdough starter/barm which will give your final loaves a spectacular taste and texture. I like to make a firmer barm because it holds up in the fridge for longer--my barm is 12 oz of flour, 5-6 oz water, 4 oz old barm. If your barm is wetter you might have to add more flour to the final dough. I like to make two smaller loaves because they are easier to bake consistently. The recipe is veganized from Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Makes 2 loaves
- 7 oz barm
- 8 oz lukewarm soy milk
- 4.5 oz all purpose flour

Fruit Mix
- 6 oz golden raisins
- 3 oz currants
- 3 oz dried cranberries
- 4 oz alcohol (rum, brandy, whiskey)
- 1 tbsp lemon extract
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Method, Day One:
1. Cut up the barm and place in the warm soy milk for 5 mins to soften. Add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
2. Cover the bowl and let rise until bubbly--about 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight.
3. Mix together all of the fruit mix ingredients in a bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. Stir occasionally to coat the fruit.

Final Dough
- the sponge from Day 1
- 13.5 oz all purpose flour
- 1.5 oz sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 2 oz mashed potato (i.e. potato that has been boiled in its skin, cooled, skinned, and mashed)
- 1 oz water
- 2 oz soy milk
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 4 oz vegan butter, at room temperature
- 5 oz sliced almonds
- soy milk for brushing

Method, Day Two:
1. Remove sponge from the fridge and let warm up for an hour.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.
3. Blend together potato, water, soy milk, and turmeric with an immersion mixer (I do it in a glass 4 cup measuring cup). Heat to room temperature in the microwave.
4. Add sponge and potato mixture to the flour. Use the dough hook to bring everything together into a dough. Let rest for 5 mins.
5. With the dough hook on med-lo speed, add in the vegan butter 1/4 at a time making sure the previous addition is incorporated before adding them next. This will take around 10 mins. The dough should be very soft and shiny.
6. With the speed still on med-lo, add the fruit mixture with any remaining liquid, and the almonds. Knead until well incorporated. The final dough will be very soft.
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Using floured hands, Stretch and fold the dough about six times. If the dough is too wet to work with, gently knead in flour before stretching and folding again. Resist adding too much flour--the dough will be very tacky but not sticky. It will firm up as it rises.
8. Shape into a ball and place in a large well-oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 2 hours.
9. Prepare two 8 inch round pans. Cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom. Cut a 3" strip of parchment to make a collar on the inside of the pan. Hold it in place with a a piece of tape on the outside or a staple (like you see in this picture, but not so high).
10. Divide the dough into two, and shape into balls. Gently press into the prepared pans. The dough does not need to touch the sides but it should mostly fill the pan.
11. Brush the loaves with soy milk, then mist with oil. Cover the pans and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. The trick here is to make sure you wait for a good rise or the loaves will split in the over from rising too quickly. The dough should have just about doubled.
12. Preheat the oven to 325 with the rack in the bottom third of the oven.
13. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the loaves reach 185 in the middle.
14. Remove the bread from the paper and pans and let fully cool before serving.