Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck, y’all! First visit? Don’t worry, I’m a newcomer, too. Let’s hang together, okay? Strength in numbers!
I first learned of this very cool project over on the Vegan MoFo facebook page – and, not wanting the fun to end on October 31st, promptly signed up. I’m so glad I did, too, ’cause it gave me the opportunity to try two new recipes which might have otherwise been pushed to the back burner. That’s right, two! Because I love you double! Both of ‘em are breads – since that’s what I chose during registration – one sweet, the other savory. Something for everyone!
First up, the sweet stuff: Hot Cross Buns, recipe via Vegan Dad. Initially I was set to make these for Vegan MoFo (paired with Ida Maria’s “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”), but they got bumped in favor of Fried (and Baked!) Green Tomatoes and Paul Young at the last minute. Redemption, thy taste is sweet and sugary!
The husband was actually nice enough to make these for me, as a sort of down(re)payment on my October cooking marathon. It’s a long process, but not terribly complicated – there’s just a lot of waiting around. He mostly followed the recipe, but had to omit the currants since we couldn’t find any locally, and didn’t have the time to order them online.
On his first try, the mister was afraid that the dough didn’t rise enough, so he set it aside and made a second batch, this time with rapid rise instead of active dry yeast. Alas, both dough balls showed about the same amount of rise. Luckily, I think it was enough, because the rolls were super-tasty. Not light and fluffy, but a little on the dense side – in a good way, though. And the glaze and icing? Shut the front door!
According to the Wikipedia,
Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.
We replaced the cross with a “V,” so I’m not quite sure of the message my buns are sending. Perhaps you have to be a Level 5 Vegan before you can lay your lips on them? Whatever, I’ll settle for a jab at Mark Bittman. I’m not fussy.
But back to the first, “failed” batch of dough. The husband baked it as one large loaf, roughly following Vegan Dad’s instructions, and…it, too, was awesome! Reminiscent of a certain sugar loaf I love, but with sweetness throughout instead of concentrated in the center. Dazed and hungry from a nap, I didn’t think to snap a pic before I devoured half the loaf. I did get the leftovers, though!
Perfect when sliced thinly, then toasted with a bit of margarine and brown sugar. Ugh, I’m salivating at the thought of it.
And for the “savory” portion of this potluck: Pepperoni Pizza Bread! My aunt’s boyfriend always brought pizza bread to our Christmas/New Years celebrations, so I’ve come to associate it with family and friends and fun. Sneaking sips of wine and playing poker for pennies until 2AM. Stuffing your face until you’re about to pop, and then stuffing it some more. Surreptitiously changing into jammies when your jeans refuse to button. Good times.
I have to give some (read: most) of the credit to my husband for this bread as well, since he made it (albeit at my direction!). As per usual, he started with our go-to fluffy white pizza dough recipe. After the dough has risen, lay it out flat in a rectangular shape, add your toppings (pizza sauce, mozzarella Daiya, and Lightlife Pepperoni), roll into a circle-loaf-thingie, bake, and enjoy. It’s that easy!
Come to think of it, I’m gonna have to ask my mum why she never made us pizza bread. Since it was a once-a-year treat, I always assumed it was complicated and tedious and nearly impossible to make. But not so much! I mean, she was an accomplished pizzanista. What’s the deal?
Because I aim to please, there is a recipe under the jump!
Pepperoni Pizza Bread
…for a Fluffy White Pizza Crust
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F / 45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
…for the pizza bread
Mozzarella Daiya cheese (or the vegan cheese of your choice)
Lightlife Pepperoni slices
1. To prepare the dough: stir the water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and salt, as well as any extra spices or seasonings you might like (rosemary, anyone?). Stir in the flour until blended. Form the dough into a small ball and let rest in large bowl, covered loosely with a towel, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
2. When you’re ready to assemble and bake your pizza, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
3. Dust your work surface with a light coat of flour. Using a rectangular cutting board as a guide (we found 11×20″ to be a good size), roll and shape your dough into a rectangle. Next, add the toppings: sauce, pepperoni, and cheese.
4. Starting at one end, carefully roll the dough into a circle. When done, pinch each end of the bread and tuck it underneath the loaf. Do the same with the side seam: gently pinch it into the loaf, sealing it up as best you can. If possible, position the bread so that the seam rests on the bottom. The weight of the bread might help to keep it from popping open as it bakes. (You can see that our seam fell to the side and opened a little. That’s okay, it’s just as tasty!) If desired, dust the top of the bread with a little cooking spray or melted margarine and spices for an extra buttery taste.
4. Transfer the bread to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake on the center rack at 400F for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Cut with a bread knife. Enjoy warm!
See you next time?