Recipes, both original and favorite ones from other authors. Vegetarian with vegan-friendly (most of the time!) options.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dutch Oven Raisin Walnut Maple Bread

Guess I'd better get posting if I want to get this recipe up here! And it was a good one. But I think I'd suggest it only for folks who already bake bread, and therefore already know what to expect and the science of baking bread and all that. Otherwise it's likely to be a frustrating experience and then you'll never make bread. But if you're not daunted, and decide to go ahead, let me know how it turns out!

I made this one completely vegan, so that poor Hibi could eat something truly yummy (on the theory that it was, indeed, going to turn out truly yummy) and to prove that I'm not an all mean mom. I'm only somewhat mean, like tonight when I just whipped up batter for Chocolate Snaps, full of butter and eggs. Heh.

Campfire Bread

Okay, I didn't do any measuring, or very little. So I'm just gonna tell you how I made it. I have made the Deluxe Raisin Bread recipe from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book so many times I think I've internalized it. So, first I started about a cup of raisins, maybe a bit more, to cook in a couple of cups of water. As soon as it boiled I turned off the campstove and let them sit for a bit.

I poured warm water from the tap which at most campsites you wouldn't have, so you could heat it until it is *warm* but not hot. Anyway, about 1/2 cup warm water, then I stirred in two teaspoons of yeast (approximately). In a large bowl, I put a bunch of whole wheat flour, maybe 4 or 5 cups. Added 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, perhaps, and stirred.

I poured the water off the raisins into a measuring cup, or maybe a large yogurt container. I added some cold water and then stirred maple butter (but you could just as easily use regular maple syrup) in, I don't know, a couple or three spoonfuls. Hmm. I'm realizing that I don't think I used any oil. Well, that's interesting. Or maybe I did, but it would have been olive oil because that's the only kind I took camping. Maybe I did the first time and didn't the second and that's why it didn't turn out as well? Who knows.

I poured the water and the yeast mixtures into the flour and stirred, the usual Laurel's Kitchen way, making a batter with the stuff in the middle, then pulling more and more flour into the mix until it's all incorporated. I added some water because that's what it needed, but perhaps it'll need more flour for you. You want to end up with a nice, knead-able lump, but not too wet and not too much flour, either.

I never figured out a board for kneading on. I was thinking about washing the lid to one of my Rubbermaid containers really well, but it seems more trouble than it was worth. In the end I just kneaded it in the bowl, and it worked just fine. Just kind of a lazy way to spend a half hour or so, with friends walking by saying, "oh, what are you making???" So yeah, knead it for a while, until you can stretch out a piece into a paper-thin, or almost, sheet, without it tearing too much. Add the walnuts (or pecans), maybe about half a cup. I didn't even chop them, just broke them up with my fingers. And add the raisins. Knead in very well, then make the dough into a ball and then cover and let rise until a wet finger poked in one finger-joint deep makes a hole that doesn't return right away, probably about 1 1/2 hours, but outside in the cool air it can take much longer. If you don't need to, don't worry about warming the dough to rise--it'll have much better flavor if you leave it in the cool. If you need it to come out faster, go ahead and set it near the fire, but not too near!

When it's ready, wet your hands and push it down to expell all the air. Then pick up the mass and wrap the top part of the dough around to the other side, making a tight ball using all the top layer as a wrap around the ball. Let it rise again, about 45 minutes, and use the same test for doneness.

When it's done rising this time, put it in your dutch oven that's got a thin coat of shortening on it. Push it down to fit the bottom of the oven. Put the lid on and let it rise again, about 1/2 an hour. Toward the end of this rising time, take some maple syrup and brush it over the top of the bread. When it's done rising, bake in the methods I described for the apple pie below, using both bottom and top heat. Take care not to let it get too hot--the first time I made it, there was a huge log on the fire, that wasn't burning yet. I set my oven on the other side of that, and it shielded my oven from the intense heat. I think that's why it turned out so perfectly that time. Turn it often and check it often that it's not getting too much heat. When it is a nice, deep brown color and the edges have pulled from the sides somewhat, you can check to see if it's done. Take the oven away from the fire and tip it out onto a clean towel. Give it a thump on the bottom and if it sounds hollow, it's done!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds fantastic! You are so wonderful to make things vegan for your daughter as well, of course~