Sunday, January 24, 2010

French Bread

We finished our first batch of bread yesterday so I tried my hand at making another batch today, this time French Bread. I used the recipe that came in the instruction manual (yes, I read it!) but subbed the oil with apple sauce instead as Laloofah suggested.

It puffed up beautifully until the last hour when I checked it again and saw the middle had caved in. Oops! Where did I go wrong? Perhaps it was because I lifted the lid a few times to scrape the little bits stuck to the side and add more flour? In any case, the bottom still had some flour-y bits as you can see on the bottom.

It's still very edible though. The crust outside was hard and crunchy just like the french bread in the supermarkets so I was quite happy about that! I think next time I'll add more flour and limit the lid lifting to once or twice only.

My sprouts are growing very well (or at least I think they are). I started only yesterday and today I already see little sprout tails! How fun!

And since we've gotten our new juicer, we've been juicing everyday. I feel so healthy, LOL! Here's an orange/apple/strawberry/carrot concoction. You can see the different layers:

Lastly, my guinea pigs remind me this blog is called the VeganWheekers but the "Wheekers" part has been lacking lately so here is a recent pic of Bert enjoying some lap time:

Hope y'all had a great weekend!


  1. Hey, VW!

    As always, Bert is just adorable! Wheeks and kisses to him and Belle! Also, your juice looks beautiful and delicious, and your sprouts look great! :-)

    As for your latest bread machine dilemma, it's hard to say what might have caused the bread to cave. We've had that happen to us before (though not in a while), but I can't remember what we specifically did (if anything) to correct that. If you only lifted the lid during the knead cycle, it shouldn't be a problem. It's happened to us before when the bread rose too much and hit the top of the lid... that will make it "sink" like that. Your owner's manual should have trouble-shooting tips, but you might also find this helpful: Troubleshooting Machine Bread. And I recommend that you pick one bread recipe (preferably a fairly simple, straightforward one) and stick with it, tweaking it as needed until you get it just right, before moving on to other recipes. Bread machines are quirky and kitchen environments are different, so experimenting with the same recipe helps you get to know the particular quirks of yours more easily. The consistency will help you more easily figure out if it's an ingredient issue, humidity issue, measurement issue (or, perish the thought, bread machine quality issue), and make adjustments accordingly in other recipes. Also, if you make one loaf using the quick setting and another one using the regular (3+ hour setting), you may get different results.

    Since your machine seems to be having trouble mixing in the flour on the bottom, I'm wondering if you need to add more moisture, rather than more flour. But I can't see what your dough ball looks like, so it's hard to say. Also, our bread loaves come out with rounded tops, and I noticed your first one was flat. I don't know how rift's come out, maybe that varies with bread machines. You're adding the water to the bread pan first, right? And using room temperature bread machine yeast?

    By the way, I believe the oil in a bread recipe not only adds some moisture, but affects the crustiness of the crust. So the fact you subbed with applesauce (atta girl!) and got a nice crunchy French Bread crust is a great demonstration of how well applesauce works as an oil substitution in bread, and I bow to the genius who figured that out, because those two ingredients bear almost no similarity in my mind, other than being wet! :-)

    You may know this already, but isn't it fun that rift dedicated a post to you and your blog?! (I love it when she does that!) :-) And since she shared her recipe with you, I wanted to share our favorite one with you as well. So at the risk of posting the world's longest comment (well, probably not, but still...), here it is ~

    (BW's version of a recipe from our Regal Kitchen Pro Manual)

    Makes a 2-lb loaf

    Add to bread machine in the following order (all ingredients should be room temperature):

    Water - 11 ounces
    Sea Salt - 1 + 1/2 tsp
    Sugar - 2 + 1/2 TBSP (organic evaporated cane juice)
    Organic unsweetened applesauce - 1 + 1/2 TBSP
    Oatmeal (organic Thick-Cut rolled oats) - 1 cup
    (regular and "quick" rolled oats work too)
    Organic Bread Flour - 2 Cups
    Organic Whole Wheat Flour - 1 Cup
    Bread Machine Yeast - 2 tsp

    Bread Machine Setting "2" (I don't know if these are the same from brand to brand, but it's the one we use on ours).

    Good luck, and please keep letting us know how it goes! :-) xoxo

  2. Thanks, Laloofah and Rift for the recipes! And thanks for the blog dedication, Rift! I was looking for a way to comment on your blog but couldn't find it (I'm still not familiar with blog layouts apparently). I just wanted to thank you and hope you see it here. That and I love the recent picture of Boo. So cute! And I hope one day my bread will look like yours!

    Laloofah, yes, I was so excited to try new things that I didn't perfect the most basic recipe yet, LOL. Back to basics for me.

    The thing with the dough was that it seemed too wet and sticky; it was sticking to the side of the bucket when it was kneading. So I kept adding flour a little bit at a time so it'd be less sticky and also scraping the bits in the corner to add back into the main dough.

    I'll take a picture of the dough next time and maybe you guys can let me know if it's suppose to look like that, LOL! I'm not sure how wet or dry it's supposed to be (clueless at baking) so your comments would help me know if I'm going in the right direction.

    Thanks for your support, you guys! It's fun learning with you. :-)

  3. Hey, VW!

    Maybe you can join me in my grassroots campaign to convince rift to add comments to her blog! ;-)

    I can relate to your excitement to try new things, I'm the same way. Hence my impatience reading instruction manuals and my failure to learn the piano. ("Scales? Learn SCALES? I want to know how to play Mozart, not boring SCALES!" LOL)

    From your description, the dough does sound too wet. (Plus, too little flour or too much water can make the top dip or crater like yours did). The dough might stick to the sides of the pan a bit at first, but once it's kneaded enough to form that dough ball, it shouldn't be sticking to the sides anymore. It should roll around and may even make your bread pan rattle inside the machine. Here's a good photo of what your dough ball should look like near the end of the first knead cycle (if not sooner), but I'm pretty sure you'll know the right consistency when you see it, even if you've never seen it before. :-)

    You can always cut back a little on the water next time (our manual gives a range of water to use, like 9-11 ounces. As dry as it is here, we have to use the larger amount, but as much humidity as you have there, you should be able to get away with less). I'd try reducing the water by an ounce, and then watch the dough ball. You'll know if you need to add an additional tsp or two. Adding more flour will work if the dough ball's too wet, but given the trouble you're having getting the flour at the bottom of the pan to mix in, I'm not sure I'd add more flour to the recipe at the beginning.

    At least the bread tastes good, even when it doesn't turn out quite like we'd wanted or expected it to! (I wish I were there to help you eat your "experiments!") :-D

    You're welcome for the recipe! (I meant to mention that organic evaporated cane juice is the sweetener we prefer to use this recipe, but any vegan sweetener will do to activate the yeast).

    And hey, it's fun learning with you, too! :-)

  4. Oooh-oooh-oooh! Lookie what I just found!

    Bread Machine Recipes from

    A bunch of them are marked vegan (and I'm sure many of the vegetarian ones could be easily veganized). Thought you might want to stash it away for future bread-making adventures! :-)

  5. Oooh, thanks! I've definitely got it bookmarked! :-)