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Herbed Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread

Herbed Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread

One of the hardest things about being gluten-free is the absence of bread, delicious bread. There are some decent gluten-free kinds available, though they tend to be far-and-few between and expensive. (Also, most isn’t vegan.) There isn’t much that is more alluring to a longtime wheat-avoider than bread - warm, comforting, filling bread. Recently, I got a craving for focaccia bread and it just wouldn’t quit. Focaccia bread is delicious but what I’ve always loved about it in addition to the taste is how much it sounds like farkakte, one of my favorite Yiddish words, meaning “shat upon,” (sorry, not very polite but Yiddish is a colorful, earthy language) typically used in an endearing but exasperated way, like, “Nate, put the farkakte leaf blower away and help me get the house ready! My mahjong club will be over any minute.” 

Anyway, I developed this recipe to sooth that craving and I have to say, I couldn’t be more pleased: not only did it turn out just how I wanted it to – soft, savory, rich and buttery – but now I think I’ve got sandwich bread, pizza dough and more implanted in the DNA of this combination of ingredients. Ah, sweet bread! This recipe takes a bit of time with the risings but it is easy to make and entirely worth it, making two loaves. Keep in mind that the mix-in herbs and extras I chose are totally suggestions and can be modified to your preferences. Please note that you will need a stand mixer for this recipe.


 

Herbed Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread
cup unsweetened, nondairy milk
(I used almond)
cup aquafaba
cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 packet active yeast
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 cups all-purpose, gluten-free flour
(I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
Additional mix-in options:
I used cup vegan parmesan, 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (tender but not oil-packed ones), 3 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives, 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Other options might be fresh basil or oregano, roasted bell pepper or nutritional yeast.

Gently heat the milk, aquafaba and water until lukewarm in a small pot. Whisk the olive oil and yeast into the pot and allow to sit until the surface is bubbly. Add the maple syrup and whisk again.

In the large bowl of a mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Add the yeast-milk mixture to the flour and stir until smooth. Allow it to sit, covered, for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, mix on high in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for three minutes. When done, stir in your mix-in options and cover; allow to sit 30 more minutes. Be aware that your batter will be more like cake batter than bread batter. This is to be expected at this stage with gluten-free baking.

Divide into two lightly oiled (bottoms AND sides) 8- or 9-inch round pans and smooth the top with a silicon scraper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and allow the dough to rise another 15 minutes.



Bake for 20 minutes.

Immediately turn out on a cooling rack. If it sticks, run a knife along the edges and knock on the bottom of the pan. Best, avoid this by oiling your pans.




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