Sunday, September 29, 2013

Orphan Bread

You probably know someone who is a vegan. We used to call them vegetarians, but then vegetarians divided up that world and some were ovo-lacto vegetarians, meaning they could have eggs and milk, some were non-meat eating vegetarians, so they could have fish, too, and then the strict vegetarians who don't consume meat, poultry, fish, eggs or milk decided to call themselves vegans to make sure that it was clear.

There is a lot to be said for eating that way, but it is not an easy diet. The same is true for Paleo eaters, although they can't eat half (or more) of what vegans eat and they do tend to eat a lot of meat. If you find that either works for you, then go for it. If you are Paleo, this bread probably isn't for you.

I recently spoke with my older sister and she is a vegan. Her description of how to know if something is OK to eat is it can't have a mother. I doubt that it can have a father, either. This bread qualifies, so I'm calling it Orphan Bread.

This bread is based on a recipe from Soups and Breads - The Irish Kitchen by Nuala Cullen, but I increased the Irish whole meal flour and decreased the bread flour for added texture, flavor and fiber, plus I took out the walnuts and put in pecans. For one thing, the walnuts tend to tint the bread pink. Pecans don't do that and are delicious, too. The apricots are the same and they go really well with pecans.

To keep it an orphan bread, the milk was replaced with almond milk. It is a really wonderful, full flavored bread and lovely toasted. In keeping with the vegan theme, don't use butter on the toast, but top it instead with a nut butter or apricot jam...or both. I admit it, I added a bit of butter to the toasted piece, but then one feels so sorry for an orphan.

Apricot and Pecan Orphan Bread
Based on a recipe in the cook book Soups and Breads - The Irish Kitchen by Nuala Cullen
Makes one loaf

75 g finely chopped dried apricots
75 g roughly chopped pecans
405 g strong white flour (bread flour)
120 g coarse brown flour (I used King Arthur Irish Whole Meal)
one packet instant dried yeast
325 ml/12 fl oz/1 ½ cups liquid with 2/3 water and 1/3 almond milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almond milk
additional 1 tablespoon finely chopped pecans for topping

In a large mixing bowl mix together the flours, apricots, nuts, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast and water or water mixture and let stand 10 minutes for the yeast to 'bloom'. Add the olive oil and stir.

With dough hook in place and mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry mixture until the dough is soft and cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead with the machine for 3-4 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead 2-3 minutes until dough is satiny.

Oil the mixing bowl, put in the dough, turn to coat with oil, cover with plastic wrap/clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Knock the air out of the dough and knead briefly before turning out onto a floured surface. Shape as desired. I did a three strand braid. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Brush some almond milk over the risen loaf and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped pecans.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and tap underneath. If a hollow sound results, the bread is cooked. If not, bake a little longer and test again. You could also shape the dough in two loaves and bake them in two 8 x 4 loaf pans.

This is the kind of bread recipe that you can play around with, substituting different dry fruits for the apricots, different nuts for the pecans. Have fun with it!


  1. Sounds like a delicious bread but the name sounds lost and lonely and makes me want to give it a hug! I understand where you are coming from though, its a good way to check

  2. Interesting way to come up with a name for your recipe!
    Love all the whole grains and you got just a gorgeous loaf.

  3. Anonymous3:05 AM

    Hi my daughter-in-law is a vegeterian, no eggs and meat, its very common in Indians,but she has never mentioned "parents" to me! The Orphan Bread looks good, another must-try. Thanks for sharing
    Mrs Singh, Malaysi