"Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new."
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin, she was a fantastic sci-fi writer. I grew up reading her books. I also grew up with my mothers bread and I have tried to recreate it here. I also want to highlight the therapeutic, healing power of bread and the wonderful links between bread, baking, your home and those that you love. If you get into the 'habit' of baking you will enrich all parts of your life. Baking and happiness are symbiotic, the more you bake the better you feel and the better you feel the more wonderful your bread will taste and look. Who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread?
Have you ever baked bread with rice in it? This recipe has used ingredients that you can get 'loose'. Not packaged in any form of plastic, indeed most came from The Plastic Free Pantry. I have used our Vegan Bread Wrap at all stages of the baking process from proving to keeping the bread fresh. Some people use cling film others shower caps I find that the waxed eco wraps we make are amazing at this, and are not made from plastic and are reusable!
Firstly you'll want to activate the yeast. Mix the yeast with the warm water and leave for 30 minutes.
Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
Add the cooked rice and then the yeast mixture and mix together, by hand is better as you can really put your heart & soul into it. This is also the point in which you get the most benefit. It's good for your heart and muscles and even though it's only a little bit of exercise it all adds up!
You want to keep mixing until all the ingredients come together, the dough will start to become sticky. You may need to add more water at this stage, or indeed flour. But be very careful you don't add too much of either. Get a feel for the dough. As a rough estimate 10-15 minutes should be enough.
Cover the bowl with your Vegan Bread Wrap and allow it to prove.
The word to prove comes from the fact that bakers used to "prove" that the yeast was alive by watching the dough rise. Yeast acts with the sugars and 'burps' Co2 which creates the rise and the little air bubbles in the bread. If the dough rises then that's proof that the yeast is alive.
Proving should be done in two parts, the first about 30-60 minutes depending very much on the ambient room temperature. You should aim to see your dough double in size. Following this you should 'knock-back' the dough. That is knock the air out of it. In reality this means squashing it with your hands so that it is smaller than before.
You then need to place it back in the bowl and cover, to rise a second time. Again 30-60 minutes. After this you want to oil to bread tins, and divide your dough into two equal parts. Shape the dough into loaf shapes and plonk into the tins.
A third round of rising is done and you can make an excellent proving tent with the Vegan Bread Wrap supported with a wooden spoon in the middle covering the loaf tins. Preheat the oven now as hot as possible 200ºC+. Also place a small baking tray in the oven at the bottom with boiling water in. When the oven is nice and hot and your loaves have risen, place them in the ovenfor 20 minutes with enough room above for the bread to rise. Turn the oven down by 50ºC and turn loaves by 180º and bake for a further 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your bread, if you look at the photo above the loaf in the background was just turning and looks almost too baked. When they're done take them out carefully and pop on a cooling rack, out of their tins. Allow them to cool and hopefully hear the crust cracking as it cools down.