There’s something special about making homemade bread. It’s not like cake, my first true love, where you whip up a batter—usually involving just a few steps—and stick it in the oven. With bread, you have to nurture the dough for hours; you have to be careful with it and play with it gently to get all of the right attributes, whatever those may be. And if you’re like me, you will probably mess up at some point and end up with a weird-looking, if delicious, little loaf.
I don’t recall the first time I made yeasted bread from scratch, but I do recall that one time I took a stab at French bread. It was a disaster, from start to finish. Silly little June, thinking she could open up the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook and end up creating a flawless replica of their famous baguette. My poolish didn’t ferment correctly; the dough was tough and difficult to shape; my loaves didn’t rise properly, if at all; and the three little demi-baguettes were about as hard as baseball bat, after all of that effort. Must’ve been my lack of a fancy steam oven.
|That, and a few other things. source|
Needless to say, my adventures in French bread-making were riddled with cursing and frustration. Not a good combination.
That sort of soured my ambition to make traditional European-style loaves, ones that used minimal ingredients and involved maximum effort. It’s ironic, how what seem to be the simplest breads are really the most complex.
On the other hand, I’ve always had success with enriched breads, like brioche and, as we saw a couple posts ago, braided breads. For some reason, these rich doughs just seem easier to handle and a bit more foolproof—maybe because anything with enough butter and sugar tastes good no matter what you do to it?
|Don't you frown at me like that.|
It seems that only recently I have been possessed to make lots and lots and lots of enriched breads—which is, of course, my favorite type of bread. This is incredibly bad timing. Because it is summer. And you aren’t supposed to bake in summer.
On a positive note, the heat is perfect for letting bread rise. No more sticking bread in the oven and hoping it doesn’t prematurely bake itself into a mass of doughy failure. So there’s that.
Today’s loaf is a vegan, tofu-infused variation on the mind-blowing chocolate peanut butter swirl bread I made just this April from Take a Megabite. And no, it’s not some cake-in-disguise quick bread—this is just good old-fashioned country white bread cloaked in an addictively delicious costume. You will find yourself eating it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. It will absorb every thought. Not a moment will go by that you don’t find yourself reaching towards the bread box, yearning for just another slice, just another mouthful.
|Fuck. Can't resist. Even uncooked bread.|
Okay. That was hyperbole. But this is pretty great stuff.
Since you are obviously now heads-over-heels in love with this recipe (as my fabulous food writing has persuaded you), what to do with the loaf once it is done? Especially if you opt to double the recipe and make two loaves. Because that is a dangerous amount of bread.
Never fear; I have some suggestions for you. Tried and true suggestions, that is. Here they are:
1. Toast. With peanut butter and melted chocolate. Preferably sandwiched together and pan-fried with coconut oil. Your arteries will hate you and your taste buds will thank you.
2. French toast, which is totally different because it involves dipping bread in a gooey, eggy mixture (here is a vegan recipe) and topping it with peanut butter faux-caramel (which is not optional, obviously).
3. Panini filled with caramelized bananas (which can be made with coconut oil). Certified fabulous.
4. Bagel-style; meaning lots of vegan cashew cream cheese on a thick slice of bread. Mmm, carbs.
5. Bread pudding. You only have to resort to that if you somehow let the bread go stale to the point of being otherwise inedible. I don’t know how that could possibly happen.
|Yeah, I can totally see all of those things happening.|
Anyway. Are you ready to make bread? I know I am. Even though I already finished making mine. I’m a step ahead of the game here.
Chocolate peanut butter swirl bread
Makes one loaf
Adapted from Take a Megabite
7 grams • active dry yeast • ¼ ounce
240 grams • water, heated to 105 to 115 degrees F • 1 cup
50 grams • sugar • ¼ cup
6 grams • salt • 1 teaspoon
62 grams • silken tofu, blended until smooth • ¼ cup
27 grams • vegetable oil • 2 tablespoons
375 to 406 grams • all-purpose flour • 3 to 3 ¼ cups
64 grams • peanut butter • ¼ cup
10 grams • cocoa powder • 2 tablespoons
4 grams • espresso powder • 1 teaspoon
42 grams • chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips • ¼ cup
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, tofu, vegetable oil, and 1 ½ cups flour. Beat with electric mixer for one minute at low speed and beat for another minute at medium speed, scraping bowl as needed.
Transfer half batter to a separate bowl. Add cocoa powder and espresso powder to one bowl and peanut butter to the other, and stir vigorously to combine. Add ¾ cup flour to each bowl and stir until you can’t anymore. Add chopped chocolate to the half with cocoa powder.
On a lightly floured surface, knead both doughs for 5 to 8 minutes until smooth and springy. Place each dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour and fifteen minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. It is ready when an impression remains when touched.
Grease one 9 x 5 inch bread pan and set aside. Uncover bowls of dough and press down on dough gently. Pat each half into a 9 x 7 inch rectangle. Place one half on top of the other and roll up from the long side, pinching to seal. Transfer to greased bread pan. Allow dough to rise in a warm place for about hour or until it doubles in size and is peaking over the top of the bread pans. About halfway through, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when flicked. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack as you futilely resist diving into it.
|This picture is making me sea sick.|
Whether or not you deem it necessarily to take oddly-angled photographs of slices of bread swathed in blue, it is totally worth the effort to make this bread. Nor is it nearly as hard as it seems. I mean, even I, Miss French-Bread-Is-The-Bane-Of-My-Existence, was able to make it without too much trouble. Even though it doesn’t really look like Take a Megabite’s bread. Which probably happened because I didn’t roll it up carefully enough.
But whatever. Tastes the same. Homemade bread is the best.
|Me devouring the above loaf. source|
Wouldn’t you agree?