Plant-Based Cinnamon Rolls: Recipe #243

These warm, gooey, plant-based cinnamon rolls disappeared very quickly at our house. Even better that they don’t have dairy or eggs to cause our bodies and our planet suffering. Hope you enjoy them! Thanks to Dana and John for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($3.50 for a pan of 9 rolls)

Dough:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.15
1 tbsp brown sugar – $0.03
1/4 cup hottest tap water – free
2 cups flour – $0.32
1 cup whole wheat flour – $0.16
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
3 tbsp + 3 tbsp + 2 tbsp Earth balance margarine – $1.24
1 cup vanilla soy milk – $0.37

Filling:
1/2 tbsp cinnamon – $0.09
1/4 cup brown sugar – $0.13

Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar – $0.88
1 tbsp soy milk – $0.02

Directions for Plant-Based Cinnamon Rolls

1. In a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, 1 tbsp sugar and hottest tap water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on top. In a large metal bowl, mix the flours and salt.

When the yeast is ready, add it to the flour mixture along with 3 tbsp softened margarine and 1 cup soy milk. Bring it together into a ball and knead it for a couple of minutes.

Cover with cling wrap and leave it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour to double in size.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a long rectangle-ish shape. Brush with 2 tbsp melted margarine, then sprinkle the cinnamon and 1/4 cup brown sugar evenly over the surface.

Roll it up tightly with the long side facing you, rolling it away from you to make a nice spiraled log. Slice it up into 9 pieces and put them into a greased 8″ glass baking dish.

Cover with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1/2 an hour.

3. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar with 1 tbsp soy milk. Bake the cinnamon rolls at 350F for 25 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes, then drizzle with the icing and cut them up to enjoy warm from the oven. So good!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Oatmeal Drop Scones: Recipe #232

Imagine a cross between porridge and pancakes, and you’ve got oatmeal drop scones! We added blueberries in for a bit of brunchy festiveness. You do have to soak the oats overnight, but other than that it’s quick to whip these up. Thanks to Paul Hollywood’s recipe for inspiration.

And thank YOU for being part of our delicious, planet-saving family!

Ingredients ($2 total for 2 dozen drop scones)

1-2/3 cups soy milk – $0.64
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.27
1-1/2 cups oats – $0.18
3/4 cup self-raising flour (or 3/4 cup white flour + 1 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt) – $0.12
1 tsp baking soda – $0.01
2 tbsp honey – $0.28
1 egg, beaten – $0.29
1/4 cup soy milk – $0.09
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine for greasing the griddle/frying pan – $0.15

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar and allow it to curdle at room temperature for 2-3 minutes. Next, stir in the oats, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight for the oats to soak in the buttermilk.

The next morning, add the flour and baking soda to the oat mixture and stir to combine. Add in the honey, egg, and soy milk, mixing well to combine. It should be a very thick and creamy consistency. You can add a bit more soy milk if it’s too dry. Then stir in any blueberries, chocolate chips, or other ingredients you’d like to flavor the batter (optional).

2. Heat a griddle to 350F or a pan to medium heat. Spread some of the margarine over the griddle, then drop scoops of batter all around the griddle, leaving some room between each scone. Flip after about 2-3 minutes (or when the edges look dry and the underside looks golden) to cook the other side for another 2 minutes or so. Remove from the griddle and keep hot in a gently warmed oven while you cook the remaining scones.

3. Serve the oatmeal drop scones hot with peanut butter and jam, butter and syrup, or enjoy them plain with your favorite morning beverage.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Crusty Two-Tier Artisan Bread: Recipe #227

One of our coronavirus quarantine projects has been learning to make artisan bread of many kinds. Here’s another beautiful and delicious experiment, inspired by Paul Hollywood’s classic cottage loaf recipe. For our version of this crusty two-tier artisan bread, we used coconut oil instead of lard. So good!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($3.50 for a large loaf)

1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/2 cup hottest tap water – free
4 tbsp coconut oil – $2.20
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup warm water – free
2 cups white flour – $0.32
2 cups whole wheat flour – $0.36
1 tbsp salt – $0.12

Directions for Crusty Two-Tier Artisan Bread

1. In a small non-metal bowl, gently mix the yeast, brown sugar, and hottest tap water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom, then add the coconut oil and warm water.

In a large metal bowl, stir together the flour and salt, then add in the yeast mixture and mix until it comes together into a nice soft ball of dough. Knead it by hand on a lightly floured board for 10 minutes to work out the gluten and make it smooth and elastic. Then put it back in the large, lightly oiled metal bowl. Rise in a warm place for about an hour to double in size.

Once it’s risen, knead the dough for 2 minutes more to knock the air out so it will rise upwards instead of flattening outwards.

The next instruction comes straight from Paul Hollywood’s expertise, since it’s a bit complicated to explain:

“Tear off one third of the dough and set aside. Shape the larger piece into a ball by first flattening the dough into a rough rectangle, then rolling it into a thick oblong. Turn the dough so that the longer edge is running away from you and flatten it slightly. Now fold in the two ends to the centre and press them down, so you end up with a chunky, squarish shape. Turn the dough over, so that the join is underneath. With your palms turned upwards, put your hands on each side, slightly under the dough. Move the cob around, tucking the dough neatly under itself as it turns. You are gently forcing the sides of the dough down and underneath, to create a smooth, taut top and a rough underside. Avoid using too much extra flour during shaping.

Place the ball of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat the rolling and shaping for the smaller piece of dough, then place the smaller ball on top of the larger ball. Flatten the top slightly. Dust your middle finger and forefinger with flour and push them through the centre of the loaf all the way to the bottom. Use a sharp knife to make 8 slashes in the surface of both the top and larger lower part of the loaf.”

When you’re done, it will look something like the photos below.

2. Gently cover the shaped dough with cling wrap and rise another 30-60 minutes in a warm place, just until it has doubled and the dough springs back when you poke it. Dust the risen loaf with flour.

3. Preheat the oven to 415F and put a large tray of water on a lower rack to heat up with the oven so it creates steam (this gives the bread a nice crunchy crust). When the oven is up to temperature, put the bread in on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Without opening the oven, turn the temperature down to 375F. Bake for 20-25 more minutes, until it’s crusty, golden brown, and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

Cool on a wire rack and enjoy your crusty two-tier artisan bread as a snack or an accompaniment to any meal!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Strawberry Coconut Bread Pudding: Recipe #225

I had never tasted bread pudding before this, and now it’s one of my new favorite treats. This strawberry coconut bread pudding is a plant-based version that uses coconut milk for extra creaminess. It was inspired by a recipe in Isa Does It, a loaf of homemade challah bread, and some extra strawberries we had in the fridge.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($7.50 for 9 servings in a 8×8″ pan)

6 cups cubed challah bread – $3
1 cup soy milk – $0.37
1 cup coconut milk – $1.49
3 tbsp cornstarch – $0.30
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26
2 tbsp lemon juice – $0.20
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20
2 cups sliced strawberries – $2.49

Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar – $0.88
1 tbsp soy milk – $0.02
1-2 tsp vanilla – $0.20
1 tbsp coconut oil – $0.55

Directions for Strawberry Coconut Bread Pudding

1. Cut up the bread and put it in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the soy milk, coconut milk, cornstarch, brown sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla, then pour this over the bread and mix to coat. Let it sit for 15 minutes to soak in and get all soft and moist. Then mix in the strawberries.

2. Press the mixture into an 8×8″ pan greased with a bit of margarine, then bake at 350F for 30 minutes. The top will be a nice golden brown.

3. In a small bowl, mix the icing sugar, soy milk, vanilla, and coconut oil, then drizzle over the pudding when it has cooled for a few minutes. Serve your strawberry coconut bread pudding warm, and savor each marvelous mouthful! 🙂

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Paqa’s Scottish Scones: Recipe #211

My mom used to make these for breakfast on weekends, but you could whip a batch up for a British tea time too. They’re delicate little Scottish scones that you break in half and load up with berries and whipped cream. Definitely best eaten when they’re warm. Each bite is like a dream.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($2 for about 18 scones)

2 cups flour – $0.32
1 tbsp baking powder – $0.03
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
1/2 cup cold margarine – $1.24
2/3 cup soy milk – $0.25

Directions for Scottish Scones

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Quickly cut the cold margarine in with a knife until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then stir in the soy milk quickly with a fork and mix until the dough follows the fork around the bowl.

2. On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and knead it quickly about 8-10 times, handling it gently. Pat the dough out to 1/2″ thickness and cut circles out with a 2″ round cutter or glass, using a straight-down-then-twist motion. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, setting them apart for crusty biscuits or close together with the sides touching for softer ones.

3. Bake at 450F for 12-15 minutes until they start to separate in the middle and are lightly golden. Serve hot from the oven with dairy-free whipped cream, your favorite berries, or just some jam or honey.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Japanese Milk Bread (Plant-Based): Recipe #209

The overnight rise in this recipe is totally worth the fluffy, soft texture for which Japanese milk bread is known. It’s an unusual, brioche-like bread recipe that starts with making a kind of roux, or thick flour paste, that gets mixed into the rest of the dough as you go. Then it gets finished off with a lovely maple glaze. It’s versatile enough to pair with any soup or stew you like, or to be toasted as part of a sumptuous breakfast. Thanks to Hannah for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($3 for 1 large loaf)

Flour paste:
1/4 cup flour – $0.04
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk – $0.25

Dough:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/3 cup hottest tap water – free
1/3 cup + 3 tbsp soy milk – $0.19
3 cups white + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (plus extra as needed) – $0.53
1/4 cup brown sugar – $0.13
1 tsp salt – $0.05
3 tbsp Miyoko’s vegan butter, softened – $1.31

Glaze:
1/2 tbsp maple syrup – $0.12
1 tbsp water – free

Directions for Japanese Milk Bread

1. Make the flour paste: in a small pan, mix the flour and soy milk together until smooth. Turn the heat onto medium-low and whisk continuously until you get a thick paste. Remove from heat and cover the surface of the paste with parchment paper, then cool to room temperature.

Next, in a small non-metal bowl, gently mix together the yeast, brown sugar, and hottest tap water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to form a thick foam, then stir in the soy milk.

In a large metal bowl, mix together the flours, brown sugar and salt. Add the cooled flour paste and yeast mixture, then stir it until it comes together into a ball of dough. Knead for 10 minutes by hand, adding small amounts of flour if it really sticks to your fingers. The dough will be nice and soft and elastic. Then add the vegan butter and knead for 10 more minutes to thoroughly incorporate the butter into the dough so it’s not oily.

Put the dough in large bowl, cover and leave it in the fridge overnight to rise and double in size.

2. The next day, punch the dough down to release the air, then divide it into 4 pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece out into an oval, then fold the oval in thirds to make a long rectangle (see picture below). Roll out the rectangle to seal the seam, then use your hands to roll it up from one end to make a stubby, tight spiral. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and put each spiral into the loaf pan with the seam at the bottom. They should be wedged in next to each other nicely. Cover and rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size again.

3. After the dough has risen, use a pastry brush to gently coat the top with the maple syrup and water mixture.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until it’s nice and dark golden on top, or until a thermometer inserted into the loaf measures over 200F. When it’s ready, remove the bread from the oven, cool it in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Pull the sections apart and slice to your desired thickness. Enjoy your Japanese milk bread warm or have it toasted the next day. Freeze any leftovers in a sealed container or bag for future eating!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Dutch Crunch Rolls: Recipe #202

Dutch crunch rolls are popular for sandwiches here in the San Francisco Bay Area. In Europe, it’s called Tiger Bread because of the striped pattern on top. It’s a soft bread on the inside with a crispy rice flour topping that bakes into a crunchy crust. Many thanks to Aparna for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($4.50 total for 6 large buns)

Dough :
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tbsp brown sugar – $0.03
1/4 cup hottest tap water – free
3 tsp coconut oil – $1.65
1 cup soy milk – $0.37
1/2 cup whole wheat flour – $0.09
2 1/2 cups white flour – $0.40
1 1/2 tsp salt – $0.03

Crunch topping:
3/4 cup rice flour – $0.24
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tbsp brown sugar – $0.03
1/2 cup hottest tap water – free
1 tbsp coconut oil – $0.55
1/2 tsp salt – $0.01

Directions for Dutch Crunch Rolls

1. Make the bread dough: in a small non-metal bowl, gently mix the yeast, brown sugar, and water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on top – this is how you know the yeast is active and ready to go.

In a large metal bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, 2 cups white flour, and salt. When the yeast is ready, add it to the flour mixture along with the coconut oil and soy milk. Stir until it comes together into a ball of dough, then knead with your hands for 10 minutes, adding in up to 1/2 cup more flour if it’s really sticking to your fingers. The dough should be nice and smooth and elastic.

Cover with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours to double in size.

2. Punch the risen dough down to remove the air, then cut it into 6 equal pieces. Shape them into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

While this is rising, in a separate bowl, mix all the crunch topping ingredients together and stir to combine. Let this sit to puff up a bit while the buns are rising.

3. Brush a thick layer of crunch topping over the top and sides of each bun. Let it rise, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, then bake at 375 for 25 minutes. The top of the buns will be a deep golden brown and there should be cracks on the surface.

Cool on a wire rack and enjoy these Dutch crunch rolls with your favorite sandwich fillings, like balsamic maple glazed tempeh.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Chocolate Almond Veggan Croissants: #199 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

I’ve been afraid of laminated pastry for a while. So many steps, and trips to the fridge, and what if the butter all leaks out into a mess? But Megan was brave enough to take up the challenge, and she made these amazingly flaky, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, AND dairy-free croissants with vegan butter and homemade marzipan. I would happily eat these anytime she wants to make them. Thanks to Food52 for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($9 total for 9 mini croissants)

Dough:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
2 tbsp brown sugar – $0.06
1/4 cup hottest tap water – free
2 cups flour – $0.32
1 tsp salt – $0.10
1 1/2 tbsp vegan butter, room temperature (we used Miyoko’s) – $0.66
1/4 cup cold soy milk – $0.09

Other bits:
10 tbsp (5 oz) cold vegan butter (Miyoko’s) – $4.37
Extra flour as needed for rolling pastry
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash – $0.29
1/2 cup chocolate chips – $0.50

Marzipan:
3/4 cup ground almonds – $0.95
9 tbsp powdered sugar – $0.99
1 1/2 tbsp water – free
1/2 tsp almond extract – $0.14
1/2 tsp vanilla extract – $0.14

Directions

1. Make and do the first lamination of the dough: In a small non-metal bowl, gently mix the yeast, brown sugar, and hottest tap water. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on top. In a large metal bowl, mix the flour and salt.

Add the yeast mixture, softened vegan butter, and soy milk to the flour mixture, and stir it together into a ball of dough. Knead with your hands for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Flatten the dough into a disk, put it on a lightly floured plate, cover with cling wrap and rest in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, slice the cold butter up into thin chunks, lay them out in a square between two pieces of parchment paper, and use a rolling pin to flatten it out into an even square of butter. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a floured board – it will be nice and smooth.

Put the butter square on top of the larger dough circle, and fold two opposite sides of the dough in towards the middle, then fold the other two edges in towards the middle, pinching along the way to make a nice seal and keep the butter tucked away well inside the dough.

2. Laminate away! Use a floured counter and flip the dough regularly. Gently and evenly roll out the folded up butter-in-dough into about an 8×12″ rectangle, or as big as you can get it without the butter squeezing out through the dough. Fold it over in thirds, cover, and store in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Repeat this rolling, folding, covering, and fridge-ing 2 more times, then on the last one leave it in the fridge overnight again.

3. The next morning (2 days after starting this recipe!), roll the dough out as thinly as you can on a clean and floured counter. Make long cuts at angles to create a thin triangle pattern (see photos below). Roll each croissant up from the long end to the pointy end, and tuck the pointy end underneath the croissant so it doesn’t pop up when it bakes.

Before you roll them up, you can add chocolate chips or homemade marzipan (made by mixing all the marzipan ingredients listed above together into a paste). Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let rise in a slightly warm place for 1 1/2 hours.

Brush the croissants with the beaten egg. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack or enjoying them hot from the oven.

They freeze well in a sealed container if you’re not going to eat them the same day. Enjoy the flaky, layered pastry goodness anytime you want a treat. Bon appetit!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Lemony Chicken with Homemade Pita and Tzatziki Salad: #198 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

June means summer is almost here, and the weather is good enough to fire up the barbecue. How about a tangy lemon garlic marinade and a bright cucumber mint salad to go with your freshly baked pita bread? Sounds good to me! You’re all invited for dinner. 🙂

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($23 total)

Chicken and marinade:
2 pounds organic chicken breast – $11.98
6 tbsp olive oil – $0.60
3 tbsp soy ginger sauce or teriyaki sauce – $0.46
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
2 tbsp cumin – $1.40
2 lemons, juiced – $0.40

Salad:
2 cucumbers, diced – $2.58
2 tomatoes, diced – $1.98
1/4 cup yogurt (unsweetened almond milk yogurt works great) – $0.31
5-7 leaves mint, chopped up – $0.96
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20
1/2 tsp garlic powder – $0.14
Salt and pepper to taste

Pita:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1 cup hottest tap water – free
1/4 cup whole wheat flour – $0.04
2 1/2 cups flour – $0.40
1 tsp salt – $0.05
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20

Directions

1. Arrange the chicken breasts in a glass dish and pour all the marinade ingredients over top. Turn the chicken breasts over a few times to coat evenly, then cover and let the chicken rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. Cover and let rest in the fridge until ready to serve.

2. Make the dough: in a small non-metal bowl, gently mix the yeast, brown sugar, and water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on top – this is how you know the yeast is active and ready to go.

Then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup of the white flour, and stir well. Let it sit uncovered in a warm place for about 15 minutes. It will get nice and frothy.

Add the rest of the flour, salt, and olive oil, and stir with a wooden spoon to bring it together into a ball of dough. Knead well for 5 minutes until the dough gets nice and smooth. Only add more flour if it gets so sticky that it won’t come off your fingers.

Put the dough in a large metal bowl, cover with cling wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it has doubled.

After it has risen, punch down the dough and divide it into 8 balls. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface, and cook it like a pancake on an un-greased frying pan over medium heat. When the first side has nice bubbles on it (2-3 minutes), flip the pita over with a spatula and cook the other side for 2-3 more minutes until it has nice brown spots all over it. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.

3. Store your pitas on a plate wrapped in a clean dish towel to keep them warm and fresh. Meanwhile, BBQ the chicken breasts at 350F, turning occasionally, until you can slice through them and there is no more pink inside.

Serve the pita with 1/2 chicken breast and a refreshing bowl of salad on the side. Feel free to dip the pita in the salad juices for an extra treat. Hope you enjoy this delicious, Greek-inspired dinner!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact (chicken)
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Korovai Fruit and Hazelnut Bread: #192 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Korovai is a braided, decorated fruit bread often served at Russian or Ukrainian weddings. This one is filled with raisins, orange peel, cranberries and hazelnuts. The entire bread is lovingly smothered in apricot jam after baking. We adapted the recipe from the Great British Bakeoff cookbook.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total)

Dough:
4 tsp active dry yeast – $1.60
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1 cup + 1 tbsp hottest tap water – free
7 tbsp softened margarine – $1.09
1 egg – $0.29
1 tbsp vanilla extract – $0.70
1 tbsp almond extract – $0.70
4 cups flour – $0.64
1 1/2 tsp salt – $0.08
1/4 cup apricot jam, warmed and stirred well – $0.64

Filling:
1/2 cup margarine – $1.24
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26
2 cups raisins – $2.00
1/2 cup dried cranberries – $0.96
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts – $1.75
1/2 cup chopped orange peel – free leftovers

Directions

1. Make the dough: in a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and water. Let it sit to form a thick foam for about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the 7 tbsp margarine, egg, vanilla and almond extracts. And in a larger metal bowl, mix the flour and salt.

Once the yeast has bloomed, add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to bring it into a ball of dough, then knead with your hands for about 5 minutes. Cover the dough in the large metal bowl with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled.

2. Make the filling and assemble the breads: In a medium bowl, cream the margarine and sugar, then add the dried fruit and hazelnuts.

When the dough has risen, split it into two balls, 1/3 and 2/3 of the mixture. Roll the larger ball out on a floured board to about 8×12 inches. Cover it evenly with 2/3 of the fruit and nut mixture, then roll it up tightly from the long side into a baguette shape. Cut this down the middle with a sharp knife, then twist the two halves around each other and join the ends together to make a braided circle. The fruit and nuts will end up around the outside.

Repeat with the smaller dough ball, rolling it out to about 6×9 inches and using the remaining 1/3 of the fruit and nut mixture. Cover and let the two braided rings rise in a warm place for 1 hour until about doubled in size.

3. Once the dough rings have risen, bake them at 425F for 10 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 more minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and smother in the warm apricot jam. Sprinkle with any remaining hazelnut bits. Place the smaller ring on top of the larger ring and cut into this delicious breakfast or teatime treat.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!