Do you remember when I announced my sandwich cookbook a couple of months ago? I made great progress on it. At last count, I have completed over thirty-five recipe with only minor rewriting needed and had a good start on writing the supporting material as well. I also have nearly a hundred and fifty items in my idea file.
Well, someone beat me to it. Two someones, actually, both published cookbook authors to boot. They announced that they are co-authoring a sandwich cookbook a month after I announced mine, but it seems that they have been working on it together for a while. They already have a publisher even, while I haven’t looked for one yet. I just don’t see how the market could support two vegan sandwich cookbooks coming out at the same time, so I am postponing mine.
I’m not giving up on writing a cook book, though, and I’m already at work on something new. It’s more of a general-purpose vegan cookbook with a twist to make it stand out from the crowd. As soon as I’ve done a bit more research and recipe experimentation and can narrow down my focus somewhat, I’ll announce the details. I’m a little bit relieved, actually, as I was getting nervous about writing a specialty cookbook when no one knows who I am. I was beginning to think that I should have started with something more general-purpose, which the new one I’m working on will be.
This is some bread I made for the book. You might have already seen the picture of it I posted for Black and White Wednesday. I was impressed with its light texture and how high it rose. I included it in a sandwich called The TLC, made from baked marinated tofu, lettuce and carrots, and finished off with agave dijonaise. I wanted the bread to have a neutral taste, so I used agave nectar and canola oil in it, as opposed to molasses and olive oil. This is good to make when you need bread that doesn’t dominate the flavor of your sandwich. It also made wonderful French toast.
2 cups white bread flour, divided
2 cups white wheat flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1-3/4 cups warm water (about 105 F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Measure flour and vital wheat gluten into a medium bowl and whisk together with a fork. Add water and yeast to a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with dough hooks. Scoop up about a cup and a half of the flour mixture and add it to the water and yeast. Set aside the remaining flour. Combine the water-yeast-flour mixture well with a fork, cover, and let stand for an hour or more. This sponge will bubble up and expand.
Add the olive oil, molasses and salt to the sponge and whisk in with a fork. Add the remaining flour a cup at a time. If you plan to knead by hand, use a large wooden spoon to work the flour into the dough. Then, turn the dough out into a large cutting board and knead for 10 minutes. If you are kneading with a stand mixer, start the mixer and let it run while you add the flour. You may need to stop the machine once or twice and work some of the flour into the dough with a spoon. Once the flour is incorporated, let the machine knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to an oiled, medium-sized bowl. (This can be the bowl that you measured the flour and wheat gluten into earlier.) Cover and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for an hour, until doubled in size.
Oil a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Shape dough to fit the pan. Cover and allow to rise again until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Heat oven to 350 F, and bake bread for about 30 minutes.
To test your bread for doneness, turn the loaf out of the pan and rap sharply on the bottom with your knuckles; your loaf should sound hollow. If it doesn’t make a sound, bake a little longer.
When bread has cooled, slice with a serrated knife as thinly as you can. You should be able to get about 14-15 slices.