During my long stay in Utah I really missed bread. Not eating bread so much – it wasn’t hard to find excellent artisanal loaves – but baking it. As good as store-bought bread can be, there is nothing like making (and eating) your own. For one thing, I didn’t have the time or concentration needed, but the biggest thing holding me back was that my breads at high-altitude flopped. Instead of high and soft loaves with crunchy crusts, I ended up with lumpy bricks with unappealing interiors. It didn’t matter what methods I tried. So I just gave up and bought my bread at Harmon’s (oh, sweet, sweet Harmon’s, how I miss you).
Now that I’m back just a little bit above sea-level, my breads are behaving the way they should and I’m happy to be elbow-deep in dough once again. This is one of my favorite breads. If you don’t like sun-dried tomatoes or roasted garlic, leave them out or add in what you love.
A quick thank you to The Vegan Woman for selecting An Unrefined Vegan as a blog “to keep an eye out for.” It was really quite a terrific surprise to have appeared on their list (a total of 90 blogs) at all. You’ll see quite a few familiar blogs gracing this impressive list of plant-based lady bloggers. Congratulations to all!
- 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 cups "buttermilk" (nut milk + 1 tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp. walnut oil
- 2 tsp. salt
- ~4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), rehydrated in hot water, drained and chopped
- 1 head garlic, roasted and cloves squeezed out of skin
- In a food processor, process oats until coarsely chopped. Place oats in a medium-sized bowl and pour hot water over them and let sit for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and let sit until frothy. Add the buttermilk to the oat mixture and stir; then add in the agave nectar and walnut oil. Add this mixture to the yeast in the large bowl.
- Add the salt and about 3 cups of the all-purpose flour and all of the whole wheat pastry flour to the yeast mixture. Mix and knead until smooth - adding more flour as needed. When the dough is smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes), fold and knead in the walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.
- Place the dough in a large bowl that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Divide each half into three equal portions. Cover three of the pieces while you work with the other three. Roll each third into a rope that is about 14" in length. Place the ropes lengthwise on one half of the baking sheet. Pinch one end together and then braid the ropes, pinching the end to seal. Repeat this procedure with the other half of the dough. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.
- Spritz the dough with warm water and bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes. The top should be a deep brown and the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let loaves cool on wire racks before slicing.