Today is my regular baking day, a decadent weekly ritual. I press some dark roast to sip and pull out my favorite old kitchen tools: my vintage McCoy bread bowl (inherited from my mother-in-law) and my Rosti melamine mixing spoon. It is just a lovely experience to grind my spices fresh and to feel the grainy warmth of flour and meal as I mix dry ingredients with my hands. I always feel connected to the familial spirits who mixed bread in this bowl in decades past.
I make Dana’s bread. Dana is my brother-in-law, and a true renaissance man. He is an expert “learner”, constantly starting new projects from scratch and persisting until he has completed a ___________ (add in just about anything: a boat, a suit of armor, a full-size castle, a bread recipe). He developed this recipe when he started hand-grinding red wheat. I love it because it is a healthy no-yeast recipe that can be made without oil or dairy. It uses flax meal and water in place of eggs. You can also adapt the recipe to make gingerbread or banana bread or anything you dream up. This bread is a staple for my no-fat vegan lifestyle. My family never gets tired of the many flavored forms it can take!
Dana’s Bread (basic recipe)
3 Cups 100% whole wheat flour
1 Cup white flour
2 Cups flax meal (ground from flaxseed)
1 ½ C brown sugar (light pack)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt (optional)
2 Cups water
2. Mix with your hands until the lumps of sugar are fully integrated with the flour and meal
4. Put the batter into a non-stick angel food cake pan with a removable bottom.
6. Run a knife around the outer side of the bread to loosen it from the pan. Using a towel to protect you from the hot pan, pop the outer pan off of the bread, leaving the loaf seated on the bottom of the pan. Run the knife around the inner hole to help bread come out easily. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and keep on the counter or in the fridge.
To dry ingredients: add 1 tsp. each cloves, cinnamon, ginger
To wet ingredients: add ¼ C molasses and 1 C applesauce
Bake an extra 5-10 minutes
To dry ingredients: add 1 tsp. cinnamon and ½ tsp. nutmeg or cloves and 1 C raisins
To wet ingredients: add 4 ripe mashed bananas
To dry ingredients: add any one or combination of nuts and/or dried fruit – cranberries, cherries, chopped apricots/figs/dates, raisins, etc.