Anyone familiar with my blog or me personally knows that I am most definitely not a vegan. Although I don’t consume all that much meat, I cannot imagine my life without eggs and dairy. I am amazed by the leavening and emulsifying properties contained within one tiny little egg, and fascinated by all the different things that can be created from milk. So why am I—lover of all things butter and cheese—making vegan bread?
Well, this particular batch of bread was being turned into appetizers for a party where at least one vegan friend of mine would be in attendance. However, the decision to make vegan-friendly food stems from the frustration I felt in my vegetarian days—towards soup, in particular. Nine times out of ten, I’d grab what looked like a promising vegetarian soup from the grocery store shelf, only to scan the ingredients and see the words “CHICKEN STOCK.” And I’d mutter a string of curses at the soup can and shove it back where it came from. I would run into the same issue at restaurants as well. And though I [sort of] understood why many large companies wouldn’t bother taking the extra step to make veggie soups 100% vegetarian, I could not comprehend why small restaurants didn’t make such a simple substitution. They’re both liquid; they’re both salty. Why not use the one that more people will eat? And while thinking about non-egg leavening agents makes my head spin, alternative fats and liquid sweeteners—that’s really not that hard. And that is why this bread is vegan!
Whole Wheat Vegan Bread
(adapted from Allrecipes)
Note: This recipe makes a lot of bread. Three loaves! If you want to make less, just use one packet of yeast and divide all of the other ingredients by 3. Or make all three and freeze what you won’t use right away.
- 3 cups of warm water
- 2 packages (1 ½ tbsps) of active dry yeast
- ⅔ cup of agave, divided in half
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil (plus more, to brush on bread)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 5 cups of bread four
- 4+ cups of whole wheat flour
Mix together warm water, yeast, and half the agave. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until bubbly. Combine the yeast mixture and the 5 cups of bread flour in a large bowl, and mix with a fork until well-combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
Mix olive oil, salt, and remaining agave into the bubbly dough. Add 2 cups of whole wheat flour and mix until well-combined. Continue adding whole wheat flour until the dough can no longer be mixed with a fork/spoon. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface and knead, adding more whole wheat flour as needed, until a smooth dough forms. (I usually end up using somewhere between 4–5 cups.) Place dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rise for around an hour, or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough and divide into 3 equal portions. Knead each briefly, then form into loaves and place each in a well-oiled bread pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel, and allow to rise for approximately 40 minutes, or until the dough has risen an inch above the top of the pan.
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until bread begins to turn golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow bread to rest for about 10 minutes in the pans before removing.
This bread is great for many things! It’s a chewier bread, and it works well for sandwiches, toasting, etc. Personally, I prefer my vegan bread with a healthy dollop of butter. :) (Muwahaha!)