spelt flour

round challah for Rosh Hashana (vegan)

15th September 2020

Round challahs are traditionally baked for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, to symbolize the continuity of life – and on Rosh Hashana, we dip challah and apples in honey to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. For this reason, Rosh Hashana challahs are often sweeter than those served the rest of the year. Some add more sugar than they normally do to the dough, other add raisins, or sprinkle cinnamon and sugar.

May this coming year be filled with sweet blessings and may it bring you closer to your own inner HAPPINESS.

round challah for Rosh Hashana

Preparation – 2½ hours

Baking time -35 minutes

Makes 1 large round challah

The recipe uses a mixer with a dough hook, but you can easily use your hands. 

ingredients 

2 Tbsp/20g flaxseed

1 cup/230g warm milk or almond milk

6 Tbsp/60g olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

1¼ cups/150g whole spelt flour

2¼ cups/350g white flour

¼ cup/40g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

preparation 

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, whisk together the flaxseeds with warm almond milk, oil and yeast. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed until the mixture foams, about 5 – 6 minutes.

2.  Measure out the flour, sugar and salt, whisk together and add to the yeast and milk mixture, turn the machine onto the lowest setting and knead on medium speed for about 5 – 10 minutes.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if too dry, add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

3.  Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled in size.  The longer it sits the better the bread.

4.  Take out the dough, knead a little with the heel of your hands and work it into a ball.

plaiting the dough

5.  Divide the dough into four equal pieces, approximately 214g each.  Using your palms, and starting from the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope approx 23-inches or 60-cm long.  Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.

6.  Place two strands parallel to one another in a vertical manner. Weave one strand horizontally through the two vertical strands, placing it on top of the left-hand strand and underneath the right-hand strand. Do the same with the remaining strand, but weave it underneath the left-hand strand and on top of the right-hand strand. The strands should sit snug to each other, with no space in between, looking like a large plus sign. (Refer to the photos below and watch this video, it is more difficult to explain than it is to do.)

7.  Starting from the bottom of your plus sign, take the left-hand strand and cross it over the right one. Moving counter-clockwise, do the same for the remaining strands.

8. Now switch directions. Look at the very first strand you crossed at the bottom of your loaf (it should now be horizontal instead of vertical). Take what is now that strand’s right-hand neighbour and cross it over going clockwise. Do that with the remaining strands.

9. Keep switching directions until you have run out of dough to plait. You may have to stretch it a little to weave it all together.

10. Pinch the remaining dough together and tuck them under the loaf so it looks nice and neat. Transfer the braided loaf to the baking tray, brush with oil and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.

11.  Cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1½ hours.

12.  About 15 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 180C/350F.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow the challah to fully cool down before cutting into it.

Shana Tova!

Update:

Here’s another way to make a round challah. Watch this video with very easy instructions. Divide the dough into three pieces and roll each strand into 65cm long and proceed.

fig almond orange swirl cookies (vegan)

19th March 2017

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This recipe was quite a journey.  After many attempts and too many references to mention, I persevered, as there seemed too much scrumptious potential in these cookies to give up. It felt like I was conjuring up a kind of magic, from the transformation of ingredients to the finished result – even more so due to the many attempts to get here.  I am now satisfied to share it with you.

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In Ayurveda, sultanas are considered kingly of all the fruits, figs are considered precious and the winter citrus adds colour and zest to the last of these dark and rainy days.

Figs, whether fresh or dried, are an incredibly healthy treat and have favourable levels of calcium, contain iron, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6.  They also have high fibre content, keeping us feeling fuller for longer and have a helpful laxative effect.  When buying any dried fruit, look for organic and sulphite-free.

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fig almond orange swirl cookies

Makes approximately 18 cookies.

Recipe inspired by here and here.

Not overly sweet, the luscious fig filling is deeply flavourful and the pastry is light and buttery. 

The filling could be replaced with any dried fruit of choice – dates would work nicely.  I used 1 cup whole almonds which I ground in a blender – blanched almonds would give a much more visually pronounced contrast between the filling and the dough.  I wanted to achieve a lighter cookie, so I used white spelt flour, but it can be replaced with whole spelt or for a gluten-free version, rice flour. 

I call this a dough but just to clarify it doesn’t handle like a normal dough – it is very fragile and easily crumbles this is why it is recommended to work between two pieces of baking paper – the end results are delicious and are worth all the fiddliness.

for the dough 

1½ cups/130g almond meal (1 cup whole almonds ground in a blender)

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

tsp fine rock salt

¼ cup/60ml olive oil

2 heaped Tbsp brown sugar/coconut sugar

¼ cup/60ml freshly squeezed orange juice

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

for the fig paste 

9 medium/180g dried soft figs

½ packed cup/80g dried sultanas/raisins

orange zest of 1 orange

½ tsp cinnamon powder

¼ cup/60ml fresh orange juice

sesame seeds for garnishing

preparation 

1.  Set the oven to 180C/360F.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

prepare the dough 

2.  Place in a medium bowl the almond meal, flour and salt, then whisk together. Set aside.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk the oil and sugar for 1 minute, then add the fresh orange juice, baking powder and baking soda – whisk until combined, it will billow up and turn into the most gorgeous, soft, golden colour.

3.  Slowly add to the flour and almond meal mixture, then gently combine.  The dough should be quite moist and soft. Cover and refrigerate while making the fig paste.

prepare the fig paste 

4.  Remove and discard the hard stems from the figs, chop in half, then place into a food processor, along with the sultanas, and orange zest, process until the figs are nicely broken up.

5.  Add cinnamon powder and pour in the orange juice – process until it forms a thick, sticky paste and starts to come to together.  Cover and set aside.

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to assemble 

6.  Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a piece of baking paper.  Place another piece of baking paper on top and roll out the dough into a rectangle just under ¼-inch thickness, approximately 15-x 9-inches. (It is fine for the dough to be longer than 15-inches but makes sure it is no wider than 9 – 10 inches.)  To make a neat rectangle, trim off any excess dough around the sides and press it into the corners which need more shaping.

7.  Spoon the fig filling over the dough and spread evenly, making sure it comes all the way to the edges.

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8.  Use the baking paper to gently roll the long side of the dough around the filling, so that it forms a neat log. Leave the seam side down as the weight of the roll seals the edge.

9.  Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and use the outer edges of the baking paper to help press the seeds into the top of the roll and the sides, pressing any seeds which have fallen down.  The contrast between the dough and fig paste will be more pronounced after baking.

10. Place the log in the freezer for 20 minutes – this will make it firmer for easier cutting.

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11.  With a sharp knife, slice into 2 cm thick pieces, wiping the knife after each cut. If wanting more of a perfectly round shape, rotate the roll after several cuts, then give them a gentle squeeze to reshape them into rounds on the tray.

12.  Carefully transfer them to the baking tray, laying them flat, with the spiral of the fig paste facing up.

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13.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through baking and bake until golden in colour, remove from the oven.  Delicious eaten warm, or later that same day, or the next.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

red quinoa seeded spelt bread

4th January 2015

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goodness is – the fruit of the spirit, the state or quality of being good, virtue, kindly feeling; kindness; generosity, the excellence of quality, the best part of anything; essence; strength, a euphemism for God.

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tel-aviv – jaffa

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red quinoa seeded spelt bread

Makes 1 medium round loaf/sandwich loaf.

Feel free to play with different flours.  I recommend using half white and the rest a combination of whole-spelt and/or whole-wheat, sometimes with half a cup of rye, barley or kamut flour.  I make this bread weekly, sliced thinly and toasted eaten with hummus, drizzled with olive oil or spread with avocado. I bake it in a bread loaf, other times as a free-form round loaf.  I love the dramatic addition of the of red quinoa which gives it a silky texture and nutty flavour.

quinoa 

¼ cup red quinoa

½ cup water

bread 

¾ cup water

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup linseed/flax (If you are not adding linseed it is very important to lessen the water by ¼ cup, as the linseed soak up a lot of the moisture.)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp molasses/maple syrup

1¼ tsp salt

1½ cups white spelt flour

1½ cups whole-spelt flour

1 tsp dried yeast

sunflower seeds, caraway and black sesame for the outside

preparation 

1.  Cook the quinoa, covered until the water had evaporated – set aside and allow to cool.  (I like to slightly undercook it by simmering gently with the lid off until the water has evaporated and then allowing it to sit covered until cool.)

2.  Prepare the dough, in the bowl of a standing mixer, add water, seeds, nuts, oil and sweetener.  On top of this add the flour, salt and yeast.  Do not mix. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then fit the mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix on low for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

3.  Add the cooked quinoa and mix until well combined.  If it looks too wet add 2 Tbsp more flour but keep in mind it should be sticky.

4.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with a tea towel  – allow to sit at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.

5.  Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and with oiled hands knead the dough by pushing it down and over itself for a few minutes.

6.  If you are baking this in a loaf pan, then stretch the dough to a rectangle 20 x 25cm.  Roll tightly as if you were rolling a swiss roll, close the seam well by pressing the edges together.  Otherwise, for a free-form round loaf shape the dough into a ball.

7.  Brush with oil/ghee, lightly sprinkle with caraway, black sesame and sunflower seeds – cover lightly with a tea towel and allow to rise near a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

8.  Half an hour before the bread has risen, place a rack or baking stone in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 210C/410F.

9.  When the bread and oven are ready, bake for 35 -40 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove and allow to cool on a rack.

If you are unsure whether the loaf has cooked through, turn the oven off and let it sit in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Once cooled, slice and enjoy with your favourite spread.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

banana cake

4th July 2010

Ever since, I tried the Rosemary and Olive Oil cake in one of Stacey’s recent posts, I have been searching for other quick, no-fuss cakes.  With Winter well and truly here this week, a pot of home brewed chai tea or freshly brewed coffee with a slice of cake is definitely one of those moments that nourishes the soul.  Well, as long as there is a bit of dark chocolate added.

My new food mission is to ensure that any treats, whether savoury or sweet, that enter my house, must be of all natural ingredients and ones that you would most likely find in your fridge or pantry.  Actually, I read an article recently on wholefood, and the suggestion was if a food item has ingredients that you would not find in your great-grandmother or great-great-grandmother’s pantry (depending on your generation), be wary.  Most bought biscuits have all manner of interesting ingredients that are definitely not natural or have been contorted away from its natural source.  Hydrogenated vegetable oil, vegetable oil (usually a saturated fat or palm oil which is highly refined), flavour and colour additives, are just to name a few.

In Jude Blereau’s Wholefood – 300 Recipes to Restore, Nourish, and Delight, a treasure in Stacey’s recipe collection that has now been added to my own, I discovered this banana cake.  Hand-mixed in one bowl, wet added to dry, cannot get much quicker than that.  Loaded with raisins, dates, walnuts and of course, banana, and a little spice, a comforting and nourishing food this is.  In  the Rosemary and Olive Oil cake, I loved the little pockets of melted and hard chocolate bits that appeared in each slice, so I had to add it to this one.  A personal preference, of course.  It will still measure up as a comfort food without.  And, as an added bonus, this is a no sugar cake (minus the dark chocolate), as the dried fruit provide its sweetness.  In fact, it is probably more a banana bread, than a cake. 

banana cake

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup whole wheat flour (wheat or spelt)

1 cup unbleached plain (all-purpose) flour (wheat or spelt)

2 1/2 tspns baking powder

1 tspn ground cinnamon

1/2 tspn mixed spice

1/2 cup golden raisins (or dark)

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1/2 cup fresh dates (or dried), pitted and roughly chopped

3 very ripe bananas, roughly mashed with a fork

1 – 2 bananas (extra), cut into small bits

5 tab unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup natural yoghurt

1/2 to 3/4 cup milk (dairy or soy)

100g dark chocolate (min. 70%), roughly chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350 F).  Lightly grease a 4 cup capacity loaf pan and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Place the whole wheat flour in a bowl and sift in the unbleached flour and baking powder.  Add the cinnamon, mixed spice, raisins, walnuts and dates and mix through so that the fruit is evenly distributed.  Add the mashed bananas and all other ingredients, except the chocolate, and mix gently through. (You may need to add an extra tab. or two of milk, so that the batter moves well over the spoon as you mix it.)  Add 2/3 of the chocolate and mix gently through.

Place into the loaf pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate over the top.  Drag a fork gently across top to cover chocolate bits.   Bake for 50 to 70 minutes, or until golden and cooked in the centre.  Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn onto a cake rack.

Goodness shared from Donna

tofu with a sweet tamari sauce

27th June 2009

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This is one of my favourite tofu dishes.  It was introduced to me by my dear friends and neighbours, Anna and Leon.  This dish is even better when you make your own tofu which involves the process of soaking, blending, and cooking soybeans and mixing them with a natural solidifier (nigari or lemon juice).

tofu with a sweet tamari sauce

ingredients 

1 block of TOFU, cut into 4cm squares

½ cup whole-spelt flour

1 Tbsp each white & black sesame seeds

peanut oil for frying

sauce

¼ cup tamari

4 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger

2 Tbsp mirin

2 – 4  Tbsp maple syrup

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preparation 

1.  Prepare the sauce, pour the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes -set aside.

2.  Prepare the tofu, combine the flour and sesame seeds together in a plastic bag. In stages, place the tofu into the bag and shake to evenly cover in flour mixture. Any leftover flour can be kept in the plastic bag and stored in the freezer to be used next time.

3.  Heat a deep skillet and just cover with a little oil.  Don’t use too much. When the oil is hot, add the tofu, leaving a space in between. This may have to be done in two stages. Turn over, and when golden, remove and place on a paper towel.

4.  When ready to serve, place tofu in a serving dish and pour over a little of the sauce. Leave the remainder to use as a side serving.

The sauce is delicious served with a mixture of mashed potato and sweet potato, a green salad and brown rice.

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Shared goodness from Stacey

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