Fruit Harvest Sourdough

We had a raisin bread last week that was super good, so I thought that it couldn’t help but be even better with more fruit. And it is! This recipe makes 2 loaves, but you can separate before the second Rubaud kneading if you want to make one with the add-in and one without. I did one loaf with fruit and one with garlic cloves, rosemary, and chives this time!

35g starter
35g all purpose flour
35g whole wheat flour
70g room temperature water

804g bread flour
75g whole wheat flour
705g room temperature water
175g levain
18g sea salt

Add in (for 2 loaves)
3 TBSP sugar
1 ⅓ cup dried fruits (I used FruitOns All American Mix)

Early morning prepare the levain in a glass or plastic container. Cover lightly and set in a warm place (I use my oven with the heat off but the light on)

When the levain starts to get close to doubled, begin your autolyse by mixing the two flours and 660g of room temperature water. Fully incorporate the water and flour. Allow to sit for 90 minutes near your starter (same warm place).

Add the levain and 20g of water and mix. Rubaud (or slap and fold) knead for 5 minutes. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and the last 25g of water plus your add ins. Rubaud knead for 5 minutes, then rest for 15.

Stretch and fold 3 times at 15 minute intervals, then 3 times at 30 min intervals.

Set your dough aside to finish the bulk rise for about 2 hours. When it’s done it should be showing signs of fermentation and the top should look a little jiggly. Divide (if you haven’t previously) into two pieces and reshape. Rest 30 minutes and final shape and the place in a floured or cloth-lined batard/basket/bowl.

Place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, heat the oven to 500* with your dutch oven inside (or 450 if you are using a clay or stone baker). Take the bread from the fridge, tip out onto a piece of parchment, score, and place in your dutch oven. Bake 20 minutes with the lid on at 500* and then another 30 with the lid off at 450* (or 25 with lid on and 30 with lid off if you are starting at the lower temp).

This video shows the basic process.

This one shows Rubaud kneading.

Vitamixing it Up with Breakfast Smoothies


I finally got my Vitamix. I’ve been yearning for one for a long long time. Now I have Glenda, the good blendah. And that means breakfast smoothies all the time. Woot.

IMG_1264I’m gradually working out my smoothie making process. Right now, every weekend, I make several bags of fruit, seasonings, and protein powder and sock them into the freezer. Then, in the morning, I just have to grab some greens, blend them into soy milk (I do that first because I do not like chunks of greens in my smoothies), throw in a bag of frozen fruit, and voila! The funniest part for me is, while green juice made me a little gaggy at first – not the taste but the idea of drinking something green – green smoothies don’t at all.

Some favorite mixes right now are:
– Strawberry, banana, peanut butter, kale
– Strawberry, pineapple, protein powder, spinach
IMG_1364– Blueberry, strawberry, banana, protein powder, kale
– Blackberry (except I don’t love the seeds), blueberry, strawberry, protein powder, kale
– Apple, cinnamon, banana, protein powder, spinach

Yum! If you are a smoothie lover, what are your favorite mixes?

Feeding the New Vegan

The transition from a vegetarian diet or an omnivore diet to a vegan diet can be a challenge, not only for the person making the change, but for anyone who might be cooking for him/her. Because the choice to become a vegetarian or vegan can sometimes occur during the teen years, parents can find themselves in a position of needing to cook for a diet that they don’t fully embrace and worrying about nutrition in that diet. As I have previously posted, it’s not as complicated as it might sound to find food for a vegan.   For the person in the kitchen, a good way to start thinking about meal planning for a vegan diet is to break it down into manageable bits.

For each individual “cooked” meal (so, I’m assuming this is mostly dinner, but it might sometimes be breakfast or lunch), try to fit in the following:

1. A grain – Grains tend to be a primary source of vegan food.  This can include basics like pasta, bread, and rice.  For diets that are high in bread, pasta, and rice, it is recommended to work toward including more whole grain pasta/bread and more brown rice, rather than always selecting white items.  Grains can also include things like couscous, wheatberries, cornmeal, bulgar wheat, quinoa (not really a grain, but works like one),

2. A protein – Vegan protein does not mean that you have to cook with tofu every day, though it can.  Tofu is very versatile and can be added to many food items with very little impact on flavor.  New tofu eaters may find it more palatable if it is more “dry.”  This can be accomplished by using a tofu press or by freezing a block of extra firm tofu and then thawing in a colander before use.  Tempeh is another easy way to fit protein in.  Tempeh comes in prepared blocks.  They can be chopped and added to other items, sliced and fried (we love it with bbq sauce), or eaten right out of the package.  Soy burgers (Boca is a popular brand) are quite popular with new vegans and have a taste quite similar to a burger.  But, you don’t even have to head into soy to get protein in.  Nuts and beans are also high in protein.  Kidney beans (mmm, nachos), pinto beans (yum, burritos), black beans (oooh, black beans and rice), garbanzo beans (mmm, hummus), navy beans (yum… soup) are easy to fit into diet and most cooks have a good variety of recipes that are bean based.  Nuts can be added to recipes or used as a base item.  A peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread gets in protein and a good grain!

3. 2 vegetables/fruits – If a new vegan doesn’t like fruits and vegetables, it is going to present a challenge, because they are pretty important in any sound diet.  But, veganism doesn’t mean fruits and veggies have to be eaten plain and raw.  Vegan “butter” is easy enough to find.   Olive oil makes a nice addition to many cooked veggies.  Fruits can be eaten plain, cooked into recipes, or blended into smoothies.

Over the course of a day, try to add in some calcium and iron (which can often be folded into the three above).  Calcium can be found in many soy products (including soy milk), vitamin fortified juices, and dark leafy greens.  It’s not a bad idea to add a calcium/magnesium supplement to the vegan diet.  Similarly, iron can be found in unexpected places.  Soybeans, quinoa, spinach, molasses, white beans, and lentils are among some of the non-meat sources of iron.  There are also vegan iron supplements available in most places that sell vitamins, and a little supplementation may ease concerns about iron sufficiency for the vegan and the cook. For smaller meals, you don’t have to hit grains, protein, and fruits/veggies, but across the course of the day, try to work on getting a total of 6 or more servings of veggies/fruit, 6 or more of grains, and 2 of the protein category, along with any supplements.

While cooking for a new vegan may require a little more planning, so that you avoid a constant diet of salad and peanut butter sandwiches, it’s really not as hard as it can sound at first.  Attention to the dietary needs of a vegan isn’t that different than attention to the dietary needs of omnivores, and, in a household where cooking has been relatively auto-pilot, having a vegan in the house may actually result in everyone having a better diet.

Happy cooking!