This post comes to us courtesy of Chi Dixon, blogger at Chi’s Food.
I realize I’m about to make a strange statement, but here it is anyway: this recipe is for vegan white bread. Yep, that’s right, VEGAN.
Now admittedly, not being vegan, I went and completely corrupted things by adding one of the most non-vegan ingredients ever — bacon. But in my defense, I have vegan friends who have admitted they’ve considered cheating on veganism with bacon . . . and c’mon, it’s bacon. If you’re an omnivore like me and you’re presented with a plate of bacon . . . well, let’s just say it takes a stronger person than I am to resist the siren call.
But back to the bread. I used to be intimidated by bread. Never mind my attempt to avoid carbs — the very thought of baking bread made me think I’d rather walk through a blizzard to buy a single slice than try to bake a loaf at home.
Needless to say, it took me a moment to get my head around this stunt.
So I did some research and looked at about a dozen different recipes, trying to learn the major tips and tricks and find a recipe I could deal with. And I cobbled the bits together.
To name a few: make sure the room is warm when the bread is rising, make it rise twice and use cooking spray instead of flour to keep the dough from sticking when you knead it. Plus, I had to find a way to make a loaf of bread without the KitchenAid stand mixer that I long for. The fact is, I live in New York, I have a New York kitchen, with New York kitchen counter space (read: NONE). I don’t have anywhere to put one of those sweet babies no matter how badly I want one. And I DO want one.
So I had to work this out manually, and it was so much easier than I thought! The result is a loaf of bread that’s dense and chewy but still fluffy with a slight salty sweetness and a heady yeast aroma. It’s hard not to eat the whole loaf at once . . . and that’s even before you add the porcine panacea that is double-smoked bacon . . .
1 packet active dry yeast (1 1/2 Tbs.)
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups bread flour
3 cups very warm water (I used hot water from the tap)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I actually used 1/4 cup, plus 1/4 cup wheat flour just because I had it around the house. And it made me feel like I was somehow making this bread healthier. Yes, I am aware I lie to myself.)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. salt (make that just 1 Tbs. if you’re making the bacon version)
5 additional cups of bread flour (possibly 4, but have 5 ready)
1/2 cup diced bacon (or more, more is OK, too) (I use Schaller and Weber double smoked because that’s what’s available to me, but there are some other spectacular shops out there that turn out heavenly bacon)
Nonstick cooking spray
|Let the dough rise to about double its size — it should take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the temperature of the room and the humidity. You’ll know it’s risen as far as it’s going to go by poking it; when it’s completely risen, the place you poke will remain indented.
Cook the bacon while you’re waiting for the dough to rise, drain on paper towels and set aside.
Even if you’re not vegan, or if bacon just isn’t your thing, you can replace the diced bacon with cheddar, Parmesan or Gruyère cheese, cinnamon sugar, Nutella or maybe blueberries? Be creative!
- Toast a couple of slices and serve them with avocado, lettuce and fresh tomatoes for a twist on a BLT.
- Cut thick slices and dip them in egg batter for unforgettable French toast.
- Top them with a dollop of Nutella for a savory-sweet snack.
About the author: Chi didn’t realize she could cook until she was well into her 20’s – then she discovered that it was one of the things she liked doing the most! As a top 100 contestant on MasterChef season 2, Chi discovered her hobby was more of a passion and has been exploring this passion since. Her objective is to de-mystify cooking and make it approachable and fun for anyone with the desire to set foot in the kitchen.