There’s something so warm & cozy about hot soup and fresh, warm bread on a cold fall night. The sky turns gray, the wind is brisk, the leaves are yellow, and there’s no way you’re going outside tonight, am I right? So make some rich kale vegetable soup and cracked wheat bread instead!
Making homemade bread can take longer, but it’s definitely worth the wait. I started this meal by mixing my dough, featuring whole wheat flour, bulgur, raw pepitas, and flax seed.
The photo above is just before I kneaded (is that a word??) the dough. A few tips for bread making that I have learned:
The easiest (and fastest) way I have found to get dough to rise is by turning the oven on to 150F, and let it rise in there. I turn the oven off once it reaches 150F, let the dough sit in there, and every 30 minutes or so reheat the oven back to 150F.
Never trust a recipe when it comes to how long it will take for the dough to rise: the time it will take is very, very conditional on your cooking environment. It could take 60 minutes when it says 20, it could take 20 minutes when it says 60. Let it rise until it has risen as high as it should.
Finally, don’t worry about being perfect. The wonderful thing about homemade bread is that even if it’s not exactly perfect, even if it didn’t rise to the heavens, it’s still wonderfully delicious and ten times better than anything you could buy at a store.
While making the bread, I also prepared all the ingredients for the soup. I was most amazed by how beautiful the colors were together. Almost like a fall rainbow, if there is such a thing. The most laborious part of this recipe is chopping everything up, and if you don’t mind paying a little bit more, you can buy most of the ingredients pre-chopped at the grocery store.
- 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups 1/2-inch-cubed peeled butternut squash (between .85-1 lb of squash)
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- Pinch cayenne pepper; more to taste
- Sea salt
- approximately 1 quart lower-salt chicken broth
- 1 14.5-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cups lightly packed, coarsely chopped kale (I would suggest Lacinato kale)
- 1 cup lower-salt canned garbanzo beans
- Cracked black pepper
- Prepare all the ingredients. There is a lot of chopping involved!
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the carrots and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. You will notice they get softer and the onion becomes a bit translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the squash, allspice, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt and stir to combine.
- Add the broth (adding more or less to your own desires), tomatoes with their juice, and thyme.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the kale and the chickpeas and cook uncovered until the squash is tender and the kale has wilted, about 10 minutes more.
- Discard the thyme springs and then season to taste with more salt, cayenne, and cracked black peper.
- You can read more about the various types of kale here: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/popular-types-of-kale-and-their-health-benefits/
- I chose lacinato kale because it adds texture and isn't so bitter...but curly (or "regular") kale will work perfectly as well. :)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons warm water
- 1 cup and 3 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon molasses
- 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 of an egg (beaten, so you can pour about 3/4 of it in)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon flax seed
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon bulgur
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon pepitas
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup bread flour
- 1-1/3 cups bread flour
- In a small bowl, dissolve the 2 tsps yeast and 1/4 tsp sugar in 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons warm water.
- In a large bowl, mix remaining 1 cup and 3 tablespoons warm water, honey, molasses, oil, egg and lemon juice. Mix well. Add yeast mixture, which is probably a bit bubbly by now, and stir.
- Gradually add 2-1/3 cups whole wheat flour, mixing after each addition. Add the flax, bulgur, and pepitas, stir well, so the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Cover, and let stand for 20 minutes, until mixture is very light. Stir in salt and the rest of the flours until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- On a cutting board or clean surface, dump 1/3 cup bread flour and swirl into a circle. This will be your kneading surface.
- Dump the dough out of the bowl and onto the kneading surface. Knead 5 - 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball, place into a greased bowl, and cover.
- Place the bowl into the oven. Turn the oven to 150F. Once it reaches that temperature, turn it off. Let the dough rise until doubled. This took about 1 hour for me. About half way through, re-heat the oven to 150F, it will probably have lost some heat and have dropped to 130F or so.
- Take the bowl out of the oven, and literally punch down the dough in the middle. Split the dough in two equal pieces. You can either freeze one for another day, or make two loaves of bread. (I only made one loaf, and froze the other half.)
- Shape the chunk of dough into a rectangular shape as best you can, stretching it out and trying to keep it even. Once ready, place it in the bread pan and push it around so it's even and all the way to the egdges.
- Cover, and let it rise again. Repeat the steps with the oven. You want it to rise as high as possible, to the top of the bread pan and if you can, over the edges. This could take anywhere from 20 minutes - 1.5 hours (or more!).
- Once it's risen to your desired level, bake at 375 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, until the top is a darker golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool a bit in the pan. Once you remove it, use a serrated knife to cut it as desired.
- The best way to store homemade bread, in my opinion, is to freeze it. I never play games with the fridge or room temp! I just freeze it, and defrost it for a few minutes before I need it.
- If the measurements seem strange in the recipe, that's because I wanted to make 2 loaves of bread, not 10 zillion. :) If you double, triple, or quadruple the recipe, the measurements will probably appear more normal.
- Be creative with seeds and wheat! You can substitute whatever you want, whatever you have, or whichever health benefits you're looking to incorporate into your meal.
Maybe I should be, but I am not ashamed to admit that I have become slightly addicted to “melt.” I found it at Whole Foods one day, while searching for a butter alternative. I felt so guilty when making something healthy and then slathering it up with a slab of butter. I do not feel that way with melt. I feel like I can put as much on as I want!
If you have learned or already know that Melt Organic Spread is not as healthy as I think, PLEASE don’t tell me. Or tell me, but suggest an alternative because otherwise, I will be quite sad. :)
Yum. For me, everything was perfect about this meal. It even hydrated me. Sigh, so perfect. Thanks for reading, and let me know if you try this. You could make all sorts of delicious substitutions in either the soup or the bread, so I’d love to hear those too.
Happy Soup Making and Bread Baking!