Hearty, Healthy, Easy, and Cheap German-Style Bread

When I was in university, I was lucky enough to study abroad in Vienna, Austria.  My memories of that wonderful city are still quite strong, but what I remembered most vividly were the many bakeries (Bäckerei in German; a word I have never forgotten). On a student budget, I subsisted almost completely off those little corner shops and the hearty breads they would churn out daily for mere cents.

While I now have a love for baking bread myself, I didn’t understand the magic that made those Austrian and German loaves so special.  That is, until I discovered a recipe online that seemed to fit the bill.  I altered the quantities to fit my tastes and my loaf pan, but it really did turn out beautifully.  Not to mention, this loaf is cheap and easy to make … just one rising and no special shaping or forming of the loaf – just mix it up, roughly form, let rise, and bake!

Hearty Dairy-Free German Style Whole Grain Bread

I ran out of spelt flour, so I used mostly whole wheat flour (I had just over 1 cup of spelt flour).  I hope to try the spelt version, since I love the nutty flavor of spelt, but I can vouch that the whole wheat version is delicious too! Keep in mind, this is not a fluffy Wonder-bread type recipe. This is a dense, savory, one-slice-will-do-ya kind of bread.  Just the way I like it!

Serve slices of this hearty, crusty bread topped with jam, honey, nut butter, or along side a nice hot bowl of soup. Speaking of soup, my Rich and Creamy Potato Miso Soup (with no dairy!) is up for vote at No Croutons Required.  If you would be so kind as to pop over and give it your vote, I would be so appreciative!  The only thing I have ever one was a Skid Row CD off the radio when I was 13. I would really like to trump that memory with a new one for obvious reasons.

Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Wholesome German-Style Bread

Summary: Adapted from Recipezaar

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 3-1/2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (just over 1 ½ .25 oz packages will do)
  • 5-1/4 Cups Whole Wheat or Whole Spelt Flour
  • 2-1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons White or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Seeds (I use 1/3 cup each of sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in about 1/2 cup of the water (no need to be exact, you will be adding the rest of the water shortly).
  2. Let that rest for a few minutes while you grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  3. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl. Add all remaining ingredients (rest of the water, vinegar, and seeds), and mix until a relatively smooth dough is formed. Mine was still a touch sticky, but still able to be handled and formed without completely sticking to my fingers.
  4. Form the dough into a loaf shape that will fit end to end in your pan. I just sort of shape it, and then roll it a few times on the counter to make it look a little nicer and be the right length.
  5. Lightly cover the loaf with saran wrap or a tea towel, and let it rise in a relatively warm, draft-free place, for about an hour to an hour and a half. It should double in size and fill out the pan nicely.
  6. Preheat your oven to 480ºF (250ºC). Bake the loaf for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 390ºF (200ºC), and bake it for another 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the loaf from the pan (it should pop right out), and knock on the bottom. If it genuinely sounds hollow, then it is done. If you think it needs a little more time, pop it back in the oven and bake it for longer as needed. My loaf was done after the initial hour, but you may need another 10-20 minutes, depending on moisture and such.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s) + 60 minutes for rising time

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Diet type: Vegan

Number of servings (yield): 12

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.

 

German-Style Hearty Dairy-Free Whole Wheat / Spelt Bread

Want some more bread-making motivation?  You can win a copy of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day over at The Adventures of Kitchen Girl. But you must enter by March 3rd!

Homemade Hamburger Buns in a Jiffy

Ever have one of those times when a hamburger or veggie burger sounds so good (say, for example, right before watching a Super Bowl game), but you don’t happen to have any buns on hand?  Problem solved. These hamburger buns are insanely fast to whip up, because they do not require any rising time (just a few minutes of rest) …

No Rise Wheat Hamburger Buns

I followed the original recipe pretty closely, but now that I am comfortable with it, I have plans to experiment further, perhaps reducing the sugar, trialing it with other flours, going sans egg for a vegan option, etc.  But, in the meantime, I wanted to share it with you as it is just so darn helpful!

Speedy Wheat Hamburger Buns
Adapted from Recipezaar

This recipe is dairy-free (no milk, lactose, or casein), peanut-free, tree nut-free, and soy-free. You can substitute 1 Ener-G egg for a good egg-free and vegan option too (thanks Carolsue!) or you can use a “flax egg” as Melissa did here at Vegan Cooks.

2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Warm Water (I used just 1 cup, and they still turned out nicely)
1/3 Cup Oil (I used grapeseed)
1/4 Cup Sugar (your choice)
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups All-Purpose or White Bread Flour
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the oil and sugar, and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.

Add the egg, salt, white flour, and 1 1/2 cups of the wheat flour, combining until it forms a soft dough.  Add the additional 1/4 cup of wheat flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands (if you need a little more, that is okay too). Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes or so.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, shape each into a thick disc, and place them on baking sheets about 3 inches apart.

No Rise Wheat Hamburger Buns

Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Lightly cover the balls of dough and let them rest for about 10 minutes (or longer if you wish).

Pop them in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Yields 8 buns

No Rise Wheat Hamburger Buns

And the Organic HappyBaby Winners are …

Dan and Stephanie!  Congratulations, I will email you both so that you can receive your HappyBaby Free Product Coupons.  For everyone else who wants to get their hands on some organic baby food, HappyBaby products (frozen meals, dry cereals, finger foods, etc.) are available at natural food stores (Whole Foods of course) and select varieties are also available on Amazon.

Now, I realize this giveaway was quite specific, but have no fear … there are some new giveaways on the horizon, which are adult-friendly too! Plus, Ricki over at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs has a chocolate and baked goodies giveaway going on now … but hurry, today is the last day for entry!

Ah yes, and I think there may just be a recipe looming on the horizon for … well, you will just have to check back to see!

Mini Mushroom-Parsley Patties

Never one to pass up a good deal, I snatched up an 8-ounce package of button mushrooms that was on for half price yesterday.  It was expiring that day, but at $.86 how could I pass it up!  Though the outsides of the mushrooms were beginning to show their age, the insides were surprisingly firm and white. Still, I thought it would be best to use them immediately while they still had a good amount of life, so I started thinking up mushroom-intensive side dishes to go with our main entrée that night. 

The only thing I could think of off hand was a sautéed mushroom dish I like to make that has a good amount of spice and flavor … but, something new would be better.  It was then that I remembered my desire to make mushroom veggie burgers.  While I didn’t need whole burgers, what about some mini-mushroom patties? …

Mushroom-Parsley Patties

My husband really liked these with our evening entree, though I preferred them the next day (served with poached eggs), after the flavors had some time to sink in.  When preparing, you will find that this makes more of a batter than a firm burger-like consistency, so they should definitely be made on the stove top, lest you risk dropping the entire batch through the slats of your grill!

Mini Mushroom-Parsley Patties

  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1 Teaspoon Medium to High Heat Oil, divided (I used peanut, but another refined oil or avocado oil should work well)
  • 1/3 Cup Minced Onion (¼ of a large one)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 8 ounces Button or Cremini Mushrooms, Finely Diced
  • ½ Cup Nuts or Seeds, Ground (I ground 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds and 1/4 up of almonds together in my spice grinder. I do think almonds or cashews will go best for the flavor combination, but seeds help to keep the cost down and the nutrition up!  Oh yes, and grind only until they reach a coarse powder consistency, before it begins to clump (not a problem with seeds))
  • Scant 1/2 Cup Flour of Choice (I ground just under 1/2 cup of oats in my spice grinder to acheive a flour, but any flour (including gluten-free) should work)
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • ¾ -1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • 2 Medium Eggs, lightly beaten (since this was a very moist batter, I think 1 large or extra-large egg would work fine if that is the size you have on hand)

In a large fry pan, heat the 1 teaspoon of oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.  Place the onions and garlic in a medium-sized bowl, along with the remaining ingredients.  Stir until everything is well combined. 

Returning to your fry pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  You want it hot, but not too hot, so be careful.  If you can handle the batter, feel free to shape it into nice round 2 to 3 inch patties.  If not, simply drop large spoonfuls of the batter onto the fry pan, flattening them to create patties with the back of your spatula.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through.

Yields about a dozen small patties

Sugar-Free, Guilt-Free Banana Bread

The Breakfast-Worthy Banana Bread recipe is now viewable in a new post for you to trial!

With a couple of over-ripe bananas beckoning from the counter, I knew it was time to take some baking action.  Luckily, blogging buddy Ricki reminded me of the “Breakfast-Worthy Banana Bread” in Go Dairy Free. Though I was a banana shy of a full loaf, the recipe could easily be halved to make 2 mini loaves! (The original recipe will make 4 mini loaves or 1 9×5-inch loaf) 

About a year ago, I found myself a bit lost when faced with yet another mound of darkening bananas. With piles of cookies and sugary treats lingering in our house, a sweet banana loaf was the last thing we needed.  But then, I began to wonder what a quick bread would turn out like with no sugar at all.  After all, aren’t overripe bananas sweet enough on their own?  As it turns out, the bananas add just a hint of sweetness to the bread making it perfect to enjoy with jam in the morning, or any time of day really … and best of all, it is virtually guilt-free … no added sugars AND made with whole grain flour (the one pictured below is 100% spelt)!

Of course, you can add a pinch of stevia or some sugar if you please, but I recommend just a tablespoon or two, and certainly no more than 1/4 cup for the whole recipe.  It isn’t intended to be a dessert, but rather a nutricious quick bread that you can enjoy anytime of day, topped with jam, honey, or your favorite spread.

So, for those of you who have my book, the mini loaves seem to take 22-24 minutes at 350º to bake to perfection. I was out of vanilla extract (I know, and I call myself a baker!), so I subbed in almond extract (about 3/4 teaspoon), topped each little loaf with a generous tablespoon of sliced almonds, and slathered my first slice with … I am a bit predictable aren’t I? … almond butter!

Mini Sugar-Free, Spelt Banana Bread Loaf

Whether you use my recipe, or prefer to tinker with your own banana bread recipe, try cutting way back on the sugar for banana bread that isn’t made for gifting, but rather for a quick, tasty, and healthy breakfast or snack!