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Monday, June 24, 2013

SIMPLE BUT UMAMI-LACED BEAN BURGERS

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If you read my last post, and the one before, you'll know that I developed a wholewheat no-knead dough that can be kept refrigerated for weeks and with which you can make all sorts of flatbreads, pizza dough, and some fabulous hamburger buns that are not heavy -- in fact, as I wrote before, I don't like heavy buns and these were just light and tasty enough (with a slightly crispy bottom) to compliment the burger rather than dominate it."

While I was finishing the trials on that recipe, I decided to make a new homemade vegan burger-- one made from inexpensive, simple, healthful ingredients, and suitable for soy-free and gluten-free diets, too.  That meant, no gluten powder, TVP/TSP, xanthan or guar gum, etc. (though I have nothing against any of those ingredients!).

Well, who knew that it would take me 5 tries!  But it did-- I've been obsessed with these burgers for over a week!  (Good thing my husband likes burgers any ol' time.)  I got the basic ingredients pretty much nailed right at the beginning, but there was some fooling around with amounts and trying, then discarding, extra grains as an addition.  I wanted the burgers to not be too "squishy", as I find many bean burgers, and I wanted more flavor than most I've tasted.  

I concentrated on umami-carrying ingredients for the seasoning (umami is also called the "fifth flavor" and foods that contain umami compounds are powerful flavor enhancers-- read about it here and here) and finally found the combination that carried enough flavor for my taste.  Adding small amounts of  mushrooms, onions, soy sauce (or my Soy-Free Sauce), miso, nutritional yeast, tomato ketchup, wine and dark sesame oil contributes umami and synergizing umami for full flavor.

Play around with the herbs and spices, if you like!

The buns are made with my No-Knead 100% Whole Wheat Flatbread, Pizza and Bun Dough 


NOTE ON OATMEAL FOR GLUTEN-FREE COOKING: 

It is my understanding from gluten-free friends that GF oats/oatmeal are widely available now. One popular brand is Bob's Red Mill, which states:
“At last, oats that people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy, too! Available in three varieties--Rolled, Quick-Rolled and Steel Cut--and made from oats grown by our cooperative of over 200 farmers dedicated to growing only pure, high-grade oats. Each farm delivery is sampled hundreds of times and tested with an R5 ELISA gluten test to ensure the absence of gluten. Advanced color-sorting removes undetected impurities."

You can also order them online at http://www.glutenfreeoats.com/ and amazon.com carries several brands. Check your local health food store, too.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON THE ABOVE: A small segment of celiacs react to even pure, GF-certified oats. See my comments in the comment section of this post for more on that.

Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S SIMPLE UMAMI-LACED VEGAN BEAN BURGERS
Can be GF and/or Soy-Free
Yield:  8 Burgers
These are best made a day ahead of serving time, and can be frozen in a freezer container with pieces of cooking parchment between them.
Note: If you don’t have pinto beans, you can use Romano beans or small red beans (not kidney beans).

1 medium onion, minced       
4 oz mushrooms (cremini or button), chopped fine (1 cup chopped)
2 cups cooked or canned pinto beans, rinsed, drained and coarsely mashed
1 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats (old-fashioned oatmeal) (can be GF, see note above)     
8 oz grated raw potato, liquid squeezed out and discarded  
3 tablespoons dry red wine (can be non-alcoholic)    
3 tablespoons soy sauce OR Soy-Free Sauce (See recipe below)
(Note: DON’T use Bragg’s, please! It’s just as high in sodium as plain old soy sauce, but is not fermented, so it doesn't have the same umami qualities—read this article)    
3 tablespoons ketchup (organic is available)
1 tablespoon dark miso (can be chickpea [here or here] or azuki bean miso)     
1 tsp smoked paprika 
3/8 tsp fine sea salt      
1/2 tsp EACH dried basil, oregano, thyme, sage, and ground cumin           
            freshly ground black pepper to taste  
             
In a medium non-stick skillet (or cast iron or hard anodized) heat the sesame oil.  Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté over medium heat until the onions have softened.  Remove from heat. (Alternative: You can cook the mushrooms and onions in the sesame oil in a covered microwave-proof casserole for 4 minutes instead.)

Mix the softened onions and mushrooms in a large bowl with the mashed beans, oats, and squeezed grated potatoes. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the wine, soy sauce, ketchup, nutritional yeast, miso, paprika, salt, garlic granules, herbs and spices, and pepper.  Add to the mixture in the large bowl and stir together thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Divide the “batter” into 8 approximately 1/2-cup portions on 2 small parchment-lined baking sheets and pat down to patty shapes, not touching.  


Cover loosely with foil, not touching the tops of the patties, but sealed around the edges of the pans.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool thoroughly, then refrigerate until cold all the way through and firm.


Before serving, brown in a non-stick skillet (or cast iron or hard anodized), lightly oiled (dark sesame oil is good).  Cover and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the bottom is browned, flip over and brown the other side.  Serve as is with ketchup, gravy or other sauces, or on a bun with all the trimmings.



 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per burger):

175.3 calories; 12% calories from fat; 2.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 461.7mg sodium; 516.5mg potassium; 29.8g carbohydrates; 7.1g fiber; 3.1g sugar; 22.6g net carbs; 9.1g protein; 2.9 points.



BRYANNA’S SOY-FREE SAUCE (GF, SF ALTERNATIVE TO SOY SAUCE OR TAMARI)
Makes 1 3/4 cups

IMPORTANT: To replace some of the complex qualities that a good fermented soy sauce or tamari supplies, try adding wine, broth, and/or mushroom broth or concentrate to yourdish, in addition to using the soy sauce substitute that follows.

1 cup water, vegetarian broth, or mushroom soaking water
2 tablespoons Marmite or other yeast extract
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup hot water, vegetarian broth, or mushroom soaking liquid
2 tablespoons soy-free gravy browner(such as Kitchen Bouquet)

Dissolve the Marmite and salt in the first 1 cup of hot liquid. Mix in the remaining ingredients and store the mixture in a covered jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks.
 

Enjoy!



Thursday, June 13, 2013

FLATBREAD REVISITED-- *100%* WHOLEWHEAT THIS TIME, NO-KNEAD, & MAKES FAB BURGER BUNS, TOO

Best Blog Tips NOTICE: I have closed down my website at bryannaclarkgrogan.com and will be moving the informational pages I kept there to pages on this blog in the next week or two.  If there's a page you need right away, contact me via my contact page and  I'll send it to you. Thanks for your patience!

Cracker Bread
A week ago I posted a recipe that I had been working on for several weeks-- an almost-all-whole wheat (3/4) easy flatbread dough that could be made in the no-knead style and can be refrigerated and used whenever you need it.  It's a wonderful dough, but I really wanted a 100% whole wheat dough that didn't scream "whole wheat", if you know what I mean.  One with great flavor, versatility, and which could be used for crispy or soft flatbreads, puffy, flexible pita, really good pizza crust, and even soft rolls and burger buns-- a tall order.



So, I've been at it again and I'm really, really pleased with the results.  The pizza was great (and I am picky about pizza crust!), the pita puffed nicely, and the flatbreads were wonderful for wraps and even cracker bread.  We were particularly happy with the burger buns. I don't like heavy buns and these were just light and tasty enough (with a slightly crispy bottom) to compliment the burger rather than dominate it.


Burger with Carrot Fries
This is pretty much the same dough as the one I posted last week, except that I used all wholewheat flour, added some potato flakes (which always lighten up whole grain breads, it seems), and used the no-knead method exclusively.  This no-knead dough seemed to be easier to handle than the previous version.

I hope you'll try this dough (see all the photo ideas in the last post, too) and invent your own flatbreads, wraps and buns. 

Printable Recipe
BRYANNA’S EASY NO-KNEAD REFRIGERATED 100% WHOLE WHEAT NO-KNEAD FLATBREAD (& PIZZA, BUN) DOUGH (recipe can be doubled, etc.)
Yield: This recipe makes about 3 large pizzas; or 8 large wraps/flatbreads; or 12 pita or small flatbreads; or 11 hamburger buns; or 16 dinner rolls; or 22 cracker breads  

3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (you can use white whole wheat flour, if you have it)           
1/2 Tbs fine sea salt    
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons mashed potato flakes or 1 tablespoon potato flour or starch  
2 tsp organic sugar     
1 tsp instant or dry active yeast         
2 Tbs olive oil 

Mix together the flour and the salt in a medium bowl or dough-rising bucket—preferably with a lid—with a whisk.
            
In a smaller bowl, or a measuring pitcher, mix the water, potato flakes, sugar and yeast. Let stand for a couple of minutes.
            
NOTE: I know that you don’t have to do this with instant yeast, but Master Baker Peter Reinhart says (in his book “Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day”, pps 12-13): “...I’ve discovered that waking up the yeast in lukewarm water allows it to ferment more effectively during the cooldown phase in the refrigerator. It also makes it possible to put the dough in the refrigerator as soon as it’s mixed rather than having to wait for it to rise. The warmer dough and activated yeast have plenty of time to rise as the dough cools, so the dough is ready to use right from the refrigerator, without the wake-up time required in many of the recipes I’ve developed...Another benefit of this method is that it’s the same whether you use instant or active dry yeast...”
            
Add the oil to the yeast mixture and pour into the flour mix. With a wooden spoon or dough whisk, stir into a rough dough. If it’s a bit too hard to stir, just knead it very briefly in the bowl til it all comes together. Cover with the lid or place the bowl inside of a large food-safe plastic bag (use a twist-tie, but make sure the bag “poofs” up over the bowl a few inches) and let it rise on your kitchen counter until doubled in size.
            
Now, you can “knock it back”, as Brits say (poke it until it collapses), cover again as above and refrigerate for up to two weeks, or you can use it right away. (Tip: Refrigerated dough is easier to handle.) You can use some of it right away, and keep the remaining dough in the fridge for other uses—that’s the beauty of this recipe!
            
If you are using refrigerated dough, there is you don’t need to bring the dough to room temperature before shaping—another plus! But your oven or pan must be hot, or at least heating up while you shape the flatbreads. Flatbreads can rise for a few minutes, but pizza should immediately be topped and placed in a very hot oven (500-550ºF).
            
TIP: I generally shape flatbreads on a piece of baking parchment spread over the surface I’m using, or on a silicone mat. You can get away with less flour that way. Parchment is handy because, if your dough sticks to it just cut away the excess around your flatbread and bake it with the parchment attached! It will come away just fine after baking. I generally top pizza dough which is on parchment and then transfer the pizza (using a pizza peel) to the hot pan or stone in the oven, parchment and all!



BASIC FLATBREADS: NOTE: Even though this is a yeast dough, you can use thin flatbreads like a tortilla or sandwich wrap, or a stuffed bread.
            
Pinch or cut off 12 golf-ball-sized pieces of the dough for pita or flatbreads.
(For larger wraps or flatbreads, cut into 12 equal pieces; OR for very thin flatbread or cracker bread, cut into 22 pieces, approx. 1.5 or 1.6 oz. each.)
            
Roll them to less than 1/4” thick—they can be round, oval, or odd-shaped; it doesn’t matter! 
For cracker bread, roll as thin as possible without tearing-- an oval shape about 8-inches long is good for these. (See Pita and Pizza entries below for tips and resources re rolling out the dough.)
            
Now, you “bake” them in a hot skillet on the stovetop on at a time.
            
They cook very quickly, so it doesn’t take long. (I often quickly make 2, 3 or 4 for lunch or breakfast with my refrigerated dough and it takes only minutes once you’ve done it a few times.) Flip them over for a minute or two if you want both sides to be more crispy.

To cook on top of the stove, heat a heavy cast iron skillet or griddle or hard-anodized skillet (9-12”) over high heat until the pan is very hot. (You can turn on your stove fan or open a few windows!)


            
Flip one flatbread at a time onto the hot skillet and cook a minute or two, until it’s bubbling up and has brown spots on the bottom. Flip it over and cook until there are brown patches on the second side.
            
NOTE: You may have to turn the heat down on your stove, or adjust the heat as you go-- stoves vary. You don't want the breads to burn right away. After you've done a few, you'll know how to handle your stove next time!

Alternative  method (I prefer this method for thin cracker breads.): You can bake several at one time like pita in the oven, but prick the dough all over with a fork before baking so the dough doesn’t puff up so much. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.


Rolling out thin dough for cracker bread



            
If you are eating them right away, you can brush or spray each bread with a little olive oil (infused with garlic is yummy!) and sprinkle with any toppings you want (see text above). If they are not to be used right away and you want to keep them softened (for a wrap, perhaps), cool them in an open paper bag. 

If you want them crisp, cool on baking racks.
********

PITA:
See this post for shaping and baking: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2006/08/5-foods-you-have-to-eat-before-you-die.html  Important—don’t stretch pita dough, just roll it.
            
If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a cast iron skillet or griddle. If you have neither, heat baking sheets in the oven and use those. Cool the pita in an open paper bag so that they stay flexible.
*****


PIZZA:
I generally roll or pat the dough into an 8" circle (on a lightly-floured piece of baking parchment or silicone baking mat) and then use the weight of the dough to stretch it into a thinner, larger round by draping it over an over-turned mixing bowl. See this post for instructions and a photo, as well as baking instructions: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2006/0/vegan-pizza-night.html  Then I place the dough on baking parchment which is sitting right on the pizza peel for topping.
            
To stretch the dough , you drape the dough over an over-turned bowl and gently stretch it until it is the right size, using the weight of the dough stretch it. Work slowly so that you don’t tear the dough. If it does tear, by some chance, you can patch it and seal it again. The pizza does not have to be absolutely round! You can use a rolling pin instead, but Neapolitans are of the opinion that stretching the dough rather than rolling it makes a flatter and less chewy crust.
            
Here’s a post with instructions for using a cast iron skillet or griddle to make great pizza: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2011/10/cast-iron-skillet-pizza-perfect.html
******


BURGER BUNS:
Divide the dough into 11 equal pieces (about 3 oz. each). Fold down the sides of each pieces and pinch together on the bottom to make a ball. On floured parchment, use the palm of your hand (oil your hands first) to press each ball down flat. Now pick up the disc of dough and turn it, holding the edges, so that it stretches a bit. Lay it down again and press again.
            
What you are aiming for is a flat circle of dough about 4-inches across that is slightly concave in the middle. 

Rise the buns made from refrigerated dough for about an hour on baking sheets lined with parchment and sprinkled with cornmeal or sesame seeds. When doubled, brush gently with soy or nut milk. Bake at 350 to 400°F (depending on how soft or crisp you want the outside of the buns) for 15-25 minutes. Cool on racks.





NUTRITION FACTS:
Nutrition (for 1 of 12 pita or flatbread): 152.5 calories; 17% calories from fat; 3.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 285.3mg sodium; 164.0mg potassium; 28.4g carbohydrates; 4.7g fiber; 0.9g sugar; 23.8g net carbs; 5.3g protein; 2.5 points.

Nutrition (for 2 slices of one large pizza [cut into 6 ], crust only): 212.2 calories; 16% calories from fat; 4.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 379.8mg sodium; 224.9mg potassium; 39.8g carbohydrates; 6.6g fiber; 1.2g sugar; 33.2g net carbs; 7.5g protein; 3.8 points.

Nutrition (for 1 largish flatbread out of 8): 228.7 calories; 17% calories from fat; 4.4g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 428.0mg sodium; 246.0mg potassium; 42.7g carbohydrates; 7.0g fiber; 1.3g sugar; 35.6g net carbs; 8.0g protein; 4.1 points.

Nutrition (for 1 of 11 hamburger buns): 166.3 calories; 17% calories from fat; 3.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 311.2mg sodium; 178.9mg potassium; 31.0g carbohydrates; 5.1g fiber; 0.9g sugar; 25.9g net carbs; 5.8g protein; 2.8 points.

Nutrition (for 1 cracker bread or thin flatbread out of 22): 83.2 calories; 17% calories from fat; 1.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 155.6mg sodium; 89.5mg potassium; 15.5g carbohydrates; 2.6g fiber; 0.5g sugar; 13.0g net carbs; 2.9g protein; 1.3 points.

Enjoy!



Thursday, June 6, 2013

EASY REFRIGERATED WHOLE WHEAT FLATBREAD (& PIZZA) DOUGH, WITH NO-KNEAD VERSION (AND MY VEGAN RICOTTA RECIPES)

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Zatar Flatbread to accompany soup (I baked the flatbreads in a 500ºF oven (pricked the tops with a fork in a few places so that they wouldn't puff up like pita) until the bottoms were browning a bit, flipped them over, brushed with a little olive oil, and sprinkled with za'atar, then baked just until the edges started to brown a little. (See about za'atar here http://tinyurl.com/mh3pycg )

Finally, here is the post on the flatbread dough I've been working on for a few weeks.  I haven't exhausted all the possibilities, but enough to give you some ideas.  I was first inspired by the recipe in a great book called "River Cottage Veg Every Day".  (It's a vegetarian vegetable cookbook-- not vegan, but, as the author writes, if you're a vegan "you know what to do".)  Hugh's recipe is with white flour only, but I wanted a mostly-whole wheat one.  So, I revised the recipe, using advice from Cook's Illustrated magazine for making a light, tasty whole wheat pizza dough-- which is, basically, use a little unbleached white flour along with the whole wheat, add a tiny bit of sugar (to counteract a slight bitterness in the wheat), and a little bit more oil for a more flexible dough. (I'm going to try it with all whole wheat flour next.)

I've been using this dough quite a bit.  It's so easy to make and convenient and quick to make.  You can keep it in the refrigerated for a couple of weeks and just use what you need a bit at a time, if you like.  I've made flatbread wraps for my husband's on-the-road lunches several times and breakfast wraps, too; flatbreads topped with various things for accompanying soups and salads; pizza for a birthday dinner for six; and stuffed breads, too.  Here are some photos and notes, and then the recipe.  Have a ball experimenting with this-- everyone I've served my experiments to has been very impressed!
Pizza!
 Breakfast Wrap with Tofu/Cashew Ricotta and Peach Jam  (see recipe for the ricotta below, plus a recipe for Almond Ricotta and a link to Okara/Cashew Ricotta)
                          


My first version-- sauteed leek greens with daiya mozza-- yum! (I baked the flatbreads in a 500ºF oven (pricked the tops with a fork in a few places so that they wouldn't puff up like pita) until the bottoms were browning a bit, flipped them over, sprinkled with Daiya, then Za'atar, then a little olive oil, and baked until the Daiya melted. (see about za'atar here http://tinyurl.com/mh3pycg )

****************************************************************************

The following pics are a version of  stuffed Piadine (stuffed flatbreads from Romagna called  crescione).  The dough for these breads is usually unleavened or made with baking powder, but this recipe worked just as well.
Piadine stuffed with sauteed garlicky rapini and a smear of Tofu/Cashew Ricotta (see recipe for the ricotta below, plus a recipe for Almond Ricotta and a link to Okara/Cashew Ricotta)
Sauteed rapini with garlic and a little chile
Homemade Tofu/Cashew Ricotta (see recipe for the ricotta below, plus a recipe for Almond Ricotta and a link to Okara/Cashew Ricotta)
Stuffing the crescione: 
                                                         




You cook these just like the flatbread, but at a slightly lower heat.


Mmmmmm!
Sweet Crescioni-- with peach jam and chocolate!



                
                                                       THE RECIPE:
Zatar flatbread with Daiya mozza
Printable Recipe
BRYANNA’S EASY REFRIGERATED WHOLE WHEAT FLATBREAD (AND PIZZA) DOUGH, WITH NO-KNEAD VERSION (recipe can be doubled, etc.)
This recipe makes about 3 large pizzas, 8 largish wraps or flatbreads, or 12 smaller flatbreads, wraps or pita.  (You could even make simple rolls or breadsticks with this dough, but I haven’t tried that yet.)

**I include a no-knead version in this recipe, but I have been using the kneaded version lately because it’s easier to handle (it only needs 5 minutes kneading).  The no-knead version requires more flouring during shaping, and an experienced hand at rolling out well-hydrated dough.

NOTE: If you prefer to make this with only unbleached white flour (4 cups), you can omit the sugar and use only 1 tablespoon of oil.  See text above for more info.

3 cups whole wheat flour (you can use white whole wheat flour, if you have it)
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
PS: I plan to try this next time using 3/4 cup pureed cooked or canned white beans in place of 3/4 cup of the water—I’ll keep you posted!)
2 teaspoons organic sugar
1 teaspoon instant or dry active yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
FOR NO-KNEAD VERSION:  All the same; the only change is to use only 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour.

Mix together the 2 kinds of flour and the salt. (Mix in a medium bowl or dough-rising bucket—preferably with a lid—with a whisk, if using the No-Knead version or kneading by hand; or in the bowl of your stand mixer if kneading by machine.) 

In a smaller bowl, or a measuring pitcher, mix the water, sugar and yeast.  Let stand for a couple of minutes. 
NOTE: I know that you don’t have to do this with instant yeast, but Master Baker Peter Reinhart says (in his book “Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day”, pps 12-13): “...I’ve discovered that waking up the yeast in lukewarm water allows it to ferment more effectively during the cooldown phase in the refrigerator. It also makes it possible to put the dough in the refrigerator as soon as it’s mixed rather than having to wait for it to rise. The warmer dough and activated yeast have plenty of time to rise as the dough cools, so the dough is ready to use right from the refrigerator, without the wake-up time required in many of the recipes I’ve developed...Another benefit of this method is that it’s the same whether you use instant or active dry yeast...”

Add the oil to the yeast mixture and pour into the flour mix. With a wooden spoon or dough whisk, stir into a rough dough.  If using the No-Knead method, that’s all you have to do.  If you are kneading, either by hand or by machine, knead about 5 minutes. If using a machine, remove the dough from the machine bowl and place into a lightly-oiled medium-sized bowl or dough-rising bucket. Cover with the lid or place the bowl inside of a large food-safe plastic bag (use a twist-tie, but make sure the bag “poofs” up over the bowl a few inches) and let it rise on your kitchen counter until doubled in size.

The following pictures are of the No-Knead version:

 

 







Now, you can “knock it back”, as Brits say (poke it until it collapses), cover again as above and refrigerate for up to two weeks, or you can use it right away.  (Tip: Refrigerated dough is easier to handle if you use the No-Knead version.) You can use some of it right away, and keep the remaining dough in the fridge for other uses—that’s the beauty of this recipe!

If you are using refrigerated dough, there is you don’t need to bring the dough to room temperature before shaping—another plus!  But your oven or pan must be hot, or at least heating up while you shape the flatbreads. Flatbreads can rise for a few minutes, but pizza should immediately be topped and placed in a very hot oven (500-550ºF).

TIP: I generally shape flatbreads on a piece of baking parchment spread over the surface I’m using, or on a silicone mat. You can get away with less flour that way.  Parchment is handy because, if your dough sticks to it just cut away the excess around your flatbread and bake it with the parchment attached!  It will come away just fine after baking. I generally top pizza dough which is on parchment and then transfer the pizza (using a pizza peel) to the hot pan or stone in the oven, parchment and all!


BASIC FLATBREADS: NOTE: Even though this is a yeast dough, you can use thin flatbreads like a tortilla or sandwich wrap, or a stuffed bread (see Piadine photos above).

Pinch or cut off golf-ball-sized pieces of the dough (or larger, depending on the size of the flatbreads you want).  Roll them to less than 1/4” thick—they can be round, oval, or odd-shaped; it doesn’t matter! (See Pita and Pizza entries below for tips and resources re rolling out the dough.) Now, you “bake” them in a hot skillet on the stovetop on at a time. (I often quickly make 2, 3 or 4 for lunch or breakfast with my refrigerated dough and it takes only minutes once you’ve done it a few times.)



















To cook on top of the stove, heat a heavy cast iron skillet or griddle or hard-anodized skillet (9-12”) over high heat until the pan is very hot.  (You can turn on your stove fan or open a few windows!) 

Flip one flatbread at a time onto the hot skillet and cook a minute or two, until it’s bubbling up and has brown spots on the bottom.  Flip it over and cook until there are brown patches on the second side.  


NOTE: You may have to turn the heat down on your stove, or adjust the heat as you go-- stoves vary.  You don't want the breads to burn right away.   After you've done a few, you'll know how to handle your stove next time!

(Alternative  method: You can bake a bunch of them at one time like pita in the oven, but prick the dough all over with a fork before baking so the dough doesn’t puff up so much. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. )


If you are eating them right away, you can brush or spray each bread with a little olive oil (infused with garlic is yummy!) and sprinkle with any toppings you want (see text above).  If they are not to be used right away and you want to keep them softened (for a wrap, perhaps), cool them in an open paper bag. To keep them more crisp, cool on baking racks.


Nutrition Facts for 12 flatbreads or pitas: (This is about the same calories, etc. as 2 slices of bread.)
Nutrition (for 1 flatbread of 12): 163.2 calories; 15% calories from fat; 2.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 284.6mg sodium; 139.4mg potassium; 30.5g carbohydrates; 4.0g fiber; 0.9g sugar; 26.5g net carbs; 5.3g protein; 2.7 points.


Nutrition Facts for 8 largish flatbreads or wraps
Nutrition (for 1 largish flatbread out of 8): 244.8 calories; 15% calories from fat; 4.4g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 426.9mg sodium; 209.0mg potassium; 45.8g carbohydrates; 6.0g fiber; 1.3g sugar; 39.8g net carbs; 8.0g protein; 4.5 points.
                                                                 ********


PITA:  See this post for shaping and baking: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2006/08/5-foods-you-have-to-eat-before-you-die.html  If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a cast iron skillet or griddle.  If you have neither, heat baking sheets in the oven and use those. Cool the pita in an open paper bag so that they stay flexible.


Nutrition Facts for 12 pita: (This is about the same calories, etc. as 2 slices of bread.)
Nutrition (for 1 pita of 12): 163.2 calories; 15% calories from fat; 2.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 284.6mg sodium; 139.4mg potassium; 30.5g carbohydrates; 4.0g fiber; 0.9g sugar; 26.5g net carbs; 5.3g protein; 2.7 points.
                                                                 *****


PIZZA:  I generally roll or pat the dough into an 8" circle (on a lightly-floured piece of  baking parchment  or silicone baking mat) and then use the weight of the dough to stretch it into a thinner round by draping it over an over-turned mixing bowl.  Then I place the dough on baking parchment which is sitting right on the pizza peel (see paragraph directly above). 

See this post for instructions and a photo, as well as baking instructions: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2006/05/vegan-pizza-night.html  You drape the dough over an over-turned bowl and gently stretch it until it is the right size, using the weight of the dough stretch it. Work slowly so that you don’t tear the dough. If it does tear, by some chance, you can patch it and seal it again. The pizza does not have to be absolutely round! You can use a rolling pin instead, but Neapolitans are of the opinion that stretching the dough rather than rolling it makes a flatter and less chewy crust.

Here’s a post with instructions for using a cast iron skillet or griddle to make great pizza: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2011/10/cast-iron-skillet-pizza-perfect.html


Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (for 2 slices of one large pizza [cut into 6 ], crust only): 217.6 calories; 15% calories from fat; 3.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 379.5mg sodium; 185.8mg potassium; 40.7g carbohydrates; 5.3g fiber; 1.1g sugar; 35.4g net carbs; 7.1g protein; 3.9 points.

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MY VEGAN RICOTTA RECIPES:
(Both from my book “Nonna’s Italian Kitchen: Delicious Homestyle Vegan Cuisine(The Book Publishing Co., Summertown, TN, 2003) 
NOTE: If you make your own soymilk and/or tofu, or have access to fresh okara (the leftover soy pulp), you might like to try my recipe for Okara/Cashew Ricotta at this post.

Printable Copy



BRYANNA'S RICOTTA DI SOYA (TOFU RICOTTA)    
Makes 3 1/2 cups
This mixture is very similar to the creamy full-fat ricotta used in Italy, which bears little resemblance to the watery, grainy ricotta available to most North Americans.  It's so creamy that you can use it as a spread on bread, or a filling for crespelle (crepes), or even in desserts.
           
2 (12.3 oz.) boxes extra-firm SILKEN tofu, crumbled
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoonsraw cashew pieces, ground very fine in a coffee/spice mill or mini-chopper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
           
In a food processor, mix about 3 cups of the crumbled tofu, the ground cashews, the lemon juice and salt until they are VERY smooth.  Then crumble in the remaining tofu and process again.  The resulting mixture should be mostly smooth, but with a little graininess-- it doesn't have to be like cream cheese.
           
Scoop the "ricotta" into a plastic container and refrigerate.  It firms up when chilled.

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup): 126.6 calories; 51% calories from fat; 7.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 199.1mg sodium; 229.1mg potassium; 6.4g carbohydrates; 0.5g fiber; 1.7g sugar; 6.0g net carbs; 9.3g protein; 3.1 points.

 Cooking Tip
For a quick tofu ricotta to use in lasagne or other pasta dishes, you may prefer to use this simple mixture: Mash 1 lb. very fresh drained medium-firm tofu, reduced-fat if possible, with 6 T. soy, nut or rice milk and 1/2 tsp. salt. This makes 2 generous cups.


  
BRYANNA'S ALMOND “RICOTTA”
makes about 2 1/2 cups        Soy-Free
This is a tasty vegan "ricotta"-- the almond milk has a clean, mild taste.

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1 cup cold water
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons cornstarch (if you’re allergic to corn, you can use wheat starch, or use 6 tablespoons white rice flour), [organic cornstarch is available]
1 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place the hot water and almonds in a blender and blend until a very smooth "cream" results-- be patient! It cannot be grainy. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again well.

Pour the mixture into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir constantly over medium-high heat until it thickens and comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and cook 1 minute more, stirring.

MICROWAVE OPTION: Pour the mixture into a large microwave-safe bowl or beaker. Cook in microwave oven for 2 minutes at 100% power. Whisk. Microwave 1 to 2 minutes more, or until thickened.

Scrape the mixture into a container and let it come to room temperature. Beat it with a whisk or electric hand mixer. Cover and chill. When it is chilled and firm, mash and stir it with a fork, until it has some texture. Refrigerate. 

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup): 137.9 calories; 62% calories from fat; 10.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 194.7mg sodium; 107.6mg potassium; 10.0g carbohydrates; 1.6g fiber; 1.6g sugar; 8.4g net carbs; 3.2g protein; 3.3 points.

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Enjoy and have fun inventing your own variations!