Towards a Gluten-free Vegan Bread Loaf

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Kamut and Chickpea Fluor Vegan Loaf, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Imagine the smell of freshly baked bread spreading throughout your kitchen, and beyond… Cozy, sweet, homey, friendly and welcoming – the smell of freshly baked bread sends all those signals to our senses and more.

But, bread making and baking has always seemed too complicated and too impractical to me, especially since you can get an almost-freshly-baked loaf at any large supermarket these days. And if you live in Europe, small, local bakeries are likely on every street corner, offering really delightful breads made in small batches and very often available right out the oven.

Now, freshly baked gluten-free breads are far less widely available. And if you are looking for gluten-free and vegan breads, freshly baked or otherwise, you may be completely out of store-bought options because almost all gluten-free breads use either eggs or egg whites to give the bread structure in absence of gluten.

I’ve been tinkering with gluten-free baking a bit, and it’s generally forgiving if you are going for cookies, muffins, brownies, or pizza. But, making anything that needs to rise, and stay up, has been a challenge.

Enter bread machine! I recently purchased a basic bread machine model that offers couple of bread settings and loaf size and crust options, and have now used it to get very close to achieving the impossible, a loaf of 100% gluten-free vegan bread.

I’m not there yet but I think I’m getting closer. My most recent experiment used sprouted kamut (khorasan) flour, which is a wheat variety and therefore not gluten-free. But, khorasan flour seems to be easier to digest, especially when sprouted, and therefore better for people who are trying to avoid and/or minimize gluten for reasons other than allergy, celiac or intolerance. I’ve combined khorasan flour with chickpea flour, which is a gluten-free option, a mix of starches (corn and tapioca), and some flax meal. I also added some xantham gum into my dry ingredients as well as some baking powder. This baking powder is in addition to yeast and it helps the bread rise – gluten-free and low-gluten breads need all the help they can get! I meant mixed all the dry ingredients together before adding them to the bread machine.

Regarding the order of the ingredients, you must follow your bread machine instructions. Mine start with the liquids and end with instant rise yeast that is not supposed to touch the liquids directly, so it always added last into the dry ingredients.

If you have an option to select gluten-free setting, I recommend you use it. If not, you may want to play around with the timing a bit. Gluten-free breads tend to work best when they are allowed to rise only once, so you may want pick an express cycle or do a more manual prep if your machine does not have a gluten-free program. Here, I used French bread setting, 2 lbs (1 kg) loaf size, and medium crust on the basic Oster model.

The result is a very hearty loaf, with a good amount of chew, and a very nice nutty earthiness to it. You can enjoy it as is, with a salad, or with a quick jam, or homemade Nutella. The crunch and the aroma of freshly baked bread can’t be beat!!!

Vegan Kamut and Chickpea Flour Bread Loaf

What you’ll need:

1/4 cup oil, canola

1 3/8 cup (300 ml) water

2 cups khorasan flour, sprouted

3/4 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup corn starch

1/2 cup tapioca starch

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flax meal

1 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons quick-rise active yeast

What you’ll do:

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  1. Add water and oil into your bread machine pan.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl mix all dry ingredients except the yeast. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
  3. Using your finger make a small hole in your dry ingredients and add yeast to it.
  4. Close your bread machine, pick the appropriate cycle keeping in mind that this amount of ingredients is supposed to yield a 2 lbs (1 kg) loaf, and that you should preferably go with a gluten-free bread setting. If unavailable, you can use Express setting if the baking step is at least 40-50 minutes long. If none of this is what your bread machine offers in terms of options, go with the most basic program. You may need to re-adjust so approach this with an open and experimental mind. Remember: your perfect loaf is within your reach!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo

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Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

One of my recent impulse buys was Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. This chorizo is vegan, as well as smokey and  very spicy so a little goes a long way. I enjoyed it as a topping for an otherwise simple tomato and lettuce sandwich, but I also wanted to experiment a bit and see what else I can use soy chorizo for.

Chorizo and beans usually make for an excellent combination, but I wanted something more adventures than a pot of chili. I decided to mix several types of beans, to diversify the texture of the soup I was building, and in addition to soy chorizo use leeks to expand the range of flavors. The three different types of beans I used are small white beans, black-eyed peas, and dark kidney beans, and I used a canned variety of all three because cooking beans from scratch is not my idea of fun. One thing to keep in mind when using canned vegetables is to rinse them well before use to remove excess salt.

The time I saved on beans, I used to deal with leeks. For those of you who are new to leek, it belongs to the onion family and shares a lot of similarities when it comes to flavor with spring onions (scallions) and spring garlic, which unfortunately is not often found in large supermarket chains. Although I do enjoy leek flavor, I don’t really cook with it often mostly because it does need extensive washing to ensure that all the traces of dirt are removed. The method I use to deal with this is something I’ve seen on Food Network, where you slice the leek and submerge the slices in water. You need to leave chopped leek in for few minutes to let the sediment and dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl, then scoop, rinse and dry the leek slices. They are now ready to go!

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Cleaning Leeks, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo

What you’ll need:

2 leeks

1 15.5 oz (439g) can small white beans

1 15.5 oz (439g) can black-eyed peas

1 15.5 oz (439g) can dark kidney beans

1/2 soy chorizo

32 oz (907 g) vegetable cooking stock

3 bay leaves

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Slice leeks across into thin rounds, then separate each round into individual circles. Fill a large bowl with water and submerge leek circles in it. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Using a skimmer spoon to remove the leek without disturbing the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the bowl. Give leek one more rinse, then pat dry with the cloth towel.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large pot with the cooking spray and turn the heat on to medium high. Add leek and let caramelize for 5 minutes or so.
  3. Add soy chorizo and stir to mix. If you are using Trader Joe’s brand please make sure that you remove the casing as this is not edible. Break the chorizo to small pieces and brown leek and chorizo mix for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add well-rinsed beans to the pot and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, mixing frequently.
  5. Add vegetable stock and bay leaves to the post. Bring the soup to boil, then decrease the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve the soup with some toast, corn chips or freshly baked bread. If you are feeling very decadent, you can top this soup with some Cashew Cream, or vegan shredded cheese of your choice. Some lime juice would work well, too!

Note for those using Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo: I used only half of Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, which added just enough flavor and spiciness to this soup as far as I am concerned. If you prefer more kick, go ahead and use the whole thing. If you are more on a cautious side, save the other half and transform it into my Vegan Mexican Lasagna. 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017