Yes. I am well aware that “carbs are the enemy!” and all that.
(Not my enemies- I learned to pick my battles- I have 3 kids, and if there’s one thing you learn in life with children- at all ages – is to preserve your energy for the right war. And don’t you worry- it shall come. even the “loveliest kids” have issues with their parents- at least that’s what I tell myself. )
In my opinion, (yes, my opinion, you are entitled to your own opinion, you always are-here on this blog and generally in life. go for it, you have the power, you own it. ) There is NO Other valid way to get through winter than to eat soups and stews. all. the time.
The options are limitless, and always, always, always- start with making vegetable soup.
Naturally- said stew cannot be eaten alone, or it will feel unwhole- you and the stew both know that something is missing- and that something is a slice of warm wholewheat bread, with some (vegan!) butter melting on it.
So the thing is- if you really want to nail this “home-made style”- you need to conquer the sourdough monster.
If you are thinking: “come on! what are you talking about! ” -then clearly you’ve never tried to make sourdough bread before.
Either that- Or you are an artisanal baker -in which case I BOW IN RESPECT.
Because baking sourdough bread starts with taming the sourdough starter monster. this is a beast that sits in your kitchen and eats a mixture of flour and water, all. night. long-
For about 10 days in a row. then keeps on eating and eating- yet sometimes (yours truly happened to fall prey to this monster)- the starter doesn’t live up to its name, and does not start anything. rather it ends. the story you made up in your head of baking your own sourdough loaf.
Turns out there’s a way to go behind this monster’s back, and here is the method:
***I baked mine in a dutch oven -I had one sitting on a shelf for many years (15? ) and never used it to cook because it’s not non-stick -meaning everything sticks to the bottom of the pot, not exactly the best way to spend an afternoon- trying to scrape remnants of bean stew off a pot.
The benefits of the dutch oven are the even heating and humidity that are kept within the pot since the lid is on the whole time. (oven proof- check yours out before baking, otherwise-well).
For 1 loaf of bread- you mix in a bowl- 1 cup of all-purpose flour -or half all purpose half spelt- or- just spelt flour like I did- and 1 cup of warm but not boiling water, with——-0.5 (half) a tsp of yeast!
The yeast makes all the difference and after mixing the batter for 2 minutes- no sugar or salt or oil or anything- just wrap the bowl with a bag and leave it to ferment overnight. (at least 8 hours).
In the morning- put the bubbly flour mixture in the K mixer- whichever K you have- the Kenwood or the Kitchen-aid, I have the Kenwood but online reviews are 50-50 between the 2-
Add 2+2/3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of warm water, 1 tbsp of salt, and 1 tbsp of yeast. yes- yeast again. mix for 7-8 minutes, then coat with a little olive oil -on parchment paper- and let it rise in the dutch oven or bowl, for about an hour. covered with the lid.
After an hour- heat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius (428 Fahrenheit), put an oven tray or something with 2 cups of boiling water in the oven- to make sure the atmosphere is humid at first-and bake for 10 minutes with the boiling water next to your bread, after 10 minutes take the boiling water out of the oven, and keep baking the bread for 30 more minutes.
That’s it- take it out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, then cut and freeze! don’t wait for too long or the bread will dry out.
When you freeze your bread- put each slice separately in the container with the previous parchment paper acting as a buffer zone.
The reason for this is that apparently, baked goods like to stick together in hard times, which is commendable but also a nuisance when all you want is a slice of bread next to your stew.
Now- go eat your stew +fresh sourdough bread with vegan butter.
Sometimes life just smiles at you.