Baking from Scratch: A Minimalist Approach to Rye Bread

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To be honest, we thought we’d be done with our Christmas shopping by now, but no, we still have a bunch of stuff to get.

We’re completely exhausted and we haven’t even started making the stuffing for the tofurkey yet.

I’m kidding. Obviously. Of course we’ve made the stuffing . What kind of self-respecting vegans do you think we are?

I am really joking. We’ve been to one mall in two and half months. It’s safe to say we’re suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Hence the silly Christmas shopping banter.

Baking From Scratch

I actually have been busy in the kitchen of late, which is one of the reasons why I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks. Well that and I’ve been lazy.

Sis. And she calls herself a blogger.

I’m not sure if y’all know, but I used to be a cook way back when. I spent my days in the kitchen whipping up delicious, mostly healthy lunches for 50-60 people at a time.

I think I must have been a Greek Mama in a previous life, because I absolutely loved that job. I was known as the sandwich queen due to the culinary genius I displayed when presented with a loaf of bread and an assortment of fillings.

Anyway, when I left the company my desire to make food left too. For a long time, the most I could muster was steaming vegetables. Then I discovered Minimalist Baker’s Month of Healthy, Simple Dinners and my old Greek Mama came out of retirement. Much to Sporty’s delight.

Rye Sourdough Bread

baking from scratch

Since arriving in Oudtshoorn it’s as if my Greek Mama has transformed herself into Greek Mama 2.0. Suddenly making a Thai curry isn’t good enough anymore. It’s still delicious, don’t get me wrong. I just wanted more of a challenge.

Also, there’s only one place in town that makes decent 100% rye bread and they don’t make it very often. All the other places say their rye bread is 100%, but when you start asking questions they admit to adding things like blackjack to enhance the colour.

Seriously. What’s a girl with a peanut butter toast addiction supposed to do?

This prompted me to have a go at making my own bread from scratch. My first attempt at making rye sourdough bread was a semi-success. By that I mean Sporty ate it. She’s German and she loves me. ‘Nuff said.

Making the starter was easy but time-consuming. It takes five days.

Five days! Wait, whaaaht!?

It bubbled and gave off a sour smell, just like they said it would. Winning.

But then I buggered up the bread by adding too little water. I didn’t read the recipe properly. (True story.)

My next attempt proved imminently more successful and even looked a bit like the recipe photo. Winning, again.

While easy enough to follow, the recipe is quite labour intensive. However, I still think I’ll have another go to see if I can perfect my efforts. I’ll keep you posted.

100% Buttermilk Rye Bread

baking from scratch

While I was waiting for the starter to mature I decided to make a loaf of 100% buttermilk rye bread. Because, why not right?

Vegan buttermilk is just almond milk with two tablespoons of lemon juice so I figured I’d give it a go. All things considered, it wasn’t too bad. Not the best, but definitely edible when slathered in a generous layer of peanut butter.

Vegan Apple Crisp

baking from scratch

Okay, so vegan apple crisp isn’t bread but I did make it from scratch. Which, to my mind, made it eligible for inclusion. I actually had no intention of making any kind of dessert, that is, until I noticed the rather sad looking bowl of apples on the kitchen counter.

We’ve been eating so much peanut butter toast that fruit has taken a back seat in our house. I mean, we still have banana and berries in our morning smoothies, but snacking on whole fruit has lost its appeal. Understandably. My rye bread experiments and the local health store’s handmade peanut butter make for a winning combo.

Fact is, that peanut butter is so damn good you could smear it on cucumber and it would taste good. (Just don’t tell Sporty, as she’s something of a cucumber aficionado.)

Anyhoo, yesterday afternoon I noticed the apples were a little on the soft side and since there’s no way we’d have been able to eat them it made sense for me to turn them into something mouthwatering.

With the help of Greek Mama 2.0 (and a healthy dollop of inspiration from Minimalist Baker) I succeeded in creating something rather delicious. We ate it for dessert last night and then polished the rest off this morning as a well-deserved second breakfast. (When you get up at 4:15am a reward is called for.)



If you enjoyed reading this post and would like something written for your own blog, website, newsletter or annual family missive, get in touch. Ang would be happy to help. Check out her Hire Me page for all the deets.

4 thoughts on “Baking from Scratch: A Minimalist Approach to Rye Bread

  1. Ha, peanut butter, cucumber and mayo (I know, I know) sandwiches were something I was introduced to as a kid by one of my aunts. I used to eat them fairly regularly. Hmm…..

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