January 31, 2011 § 4 Comments
In real life I look like the above picture. Really, truly, I do. It’s because I cook so much..whisking gives you humongo biceps, walking from the stove to the fridge is aerobic, fermenting sourdough starter can be anaerobic (hah!), and opening jars gives you buff…wrists… that last one is probably a bit of a stretch, but anyways, point is that cooking is FUN! NOT A CHORE! and here is a guide on how to make cooking fun if it is a bit of a drag for you.
1) Always use spoons/spatulas/whisks as microphones! Don’t forget to add in your best air guitar.
2) When cooking with wine, one glass for the pot, one for you!
3) Cook-cer-cise! Run everywhere! Every time you are waiting for something, so 20 squats and then Downward Dog! Lift really heavy objects more times than is actually useful!
4) Last of all, make vegan challah.“Why is making challah fun?,” a young padawan might ask. There are three scientific reasons that you might not be able to grasp the scientific-ness of, but 1) challah is fun to say. challahhhh. challaaaaahhhhhh. 2) vegan challah is made of yams and yam is fun to say. yam yam yam yam. yammm. yamyam. Don’t you want to tell me to stop YAMmering? 3) if you make this in front of a Jewish girl, like I did, you can watch her face turn to disgust and dread and look like you just sacrilegiously stabbed her entire culture.
But really vegan challah is so tasty and fluffy and delicious and bouncy and fragrant and makes such great French toast that you will never ever miss egg bread again.
makes 1 braided loaf | prep time: 15 minutes | rising time: 3 hours | baking time: 30 minutes
This vegan challah bread uses a yam for its beautiful orange color, which makes the bread turn out a lovely sunshine yellow. Be sure to use bread flour or add in an extra 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten so that your bread is extra fluffy! Leftovers make the best French toast I have ever had except for the time in high school when I didn’t care about my health/heart attacks and I made French toast from croissants.
– 1 really really small yam (so small, you probably can’t find one that small, just eat 3 bites of your small yam and use the rest)
– 1 cup water
– 1/2 tsp coarse salt
– 3 tablespoons agave nectar
– 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
– 4 cups unbleached white flour, plus more for kneading/rolling
– 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
– 1/4 cup Earth balance/other vegan margarine
– poppy seeds
– soymilk for brushing
1. Peel and dice your yam. Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and squishy. Drain, then blend with the water, salt, and agave. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside to let them get happy and activated for the next five minutes.
2. In the meantime, measure out 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix with the vital wheat gluten. With a wooden spoon, beat in the wet ingredients into the dry, then beat in the Earth balance. You might have to add in sprinkles of more flour (up to 1/2 more cup) until it behaves and forms into a sticky but still workable lump (doesn’t stick to every appendage on you…)
3. Dump the ball out onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes. Punch it! Call it names! Be angry! RAWRR!
4. Let rise in an oiled bowl in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During this time, pet it and be nice to it.
5. On a floured surface, divide the risen dough into three equal balls, then roll into three equal ropes about 14 inches in length. Stick the ropes together at one end, then tightly until you get to the other end. Squash the ends to seal, then flip it under a little bit to seal it more. Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes – 1 hour.
6. Stick into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes! 20 minute into the process, paint it with soymilk and sprinkle on poppy seeds, then put it back into the raging hot oven to brown.