One of our nephews was coming for a short visit, and they are vegan, so I went in search of something appropriate for dinner.
I found a recipe for Czech garlic soup that had been adapted to be vegan and, with just a minor tweak, it turned out that one of my fave French bread recipes would work, too.
Honey, you see, is not vegan, but maple syrup is, so I went to work, dragged out my trusty old bread machine, dug out my French bread baking pan, and got to work.
See… I used my bread machine to form and knead the dough, and to give it the first rise; then pulled it out of the machine to roll in cornmeal, shape into baguettes, and give a second rise before baking.
•1 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/3 cup water
•1-1/2 tbsp maple syrup
•3 cups flour
•1 tbsp sugar
•1/2 tsp salt
•2 tsp yeast
•Cornmeal (for rolling the bread out)
Following the instructions for your bread machine – mine is wet ingredients first, then dry on top – add all to the machine pan, close the lid, and select “dough.”
Note: however your bread machine tells you to add ingredients, try to keep the yeast and the salt separated until you start the machine cycle.
Once the machine has completed the mixing, kneading, and first rise – a bit over one hour for my machine, scatter some cornmeal on a board, remove the dough from the bread machine pan (it will be sticky) and divide in two.
Working with the cornmeal on the board, shape the two pieces of dough into loaves, then cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm spot for one hour while you heat your oven to 375º.
Note: I found this handy-dandy perforated French bread pan at Amazon that really does work a treat, but you could also arrange your loaves on a regular baking pan, mebbe lined with parchment paper.
Once the bread has risen, pop into the hot oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump lightly it with your knuckles.
Remove from the oven and enjoy.
Fresh, home made, tasty French bread, with hardly any fuss! What could be better?
Note: no bread machine? No problem! Here is a whole wheat version that you can make with a stand mixer.