Friday, September 27, 2013

Penultimate Polish Potato Bread, or A Lot of Alliteration from Hungry Herbivores Busily Baking Bread after Terrible Tofu Tragedy

So, I went to this new-to-me restaurant last night with some friends and was really excited about it because I had read online that it was "vegan friendly!" and they even had a Vegan Crispy Tofu Burger and Tofu Po' Boy listed in the on-line menu. All right!  Let's get this party started!

I assume the reference is to Topher Grace?  Is he even a vegetarian?  Well, I don't know, but it doesn't matter because this sandwich isn't either.

When I got to the restaurant, there was no Crispy Tofu Burger in sight on the menu any longer.  Okay, no prob.  I was really interested in the Tofu Po' Boy anyways.

"Is the Tofu Boy vegan?"

"Uh, let me think.  Well, if we left off the special sauce it might be, because that has mayonnaise in it."

"Okay, that sounds good.  I'd like to order that."

"Wait, let me ask the kitchen."


"Um, well, the slaw isn't vegan either so we'd have to leave that off.  And the barbecue sauce has Worcestershire sauce with anchovies in it.  And the bread has eggs."


I ended up with a tofu wrap with no dressing, and it was actually pretty tasty.  But it came with a side of fries that had obviously been sitting under a heat lamp for quite a while.  So, yeah.  NOT going there again.  Oh well.

So let's talk about something that is vegan and super delicious instead!  My husband, James, is of Polish descent.  His grandparents emigrated from Poland and somehow ended up in Kentucky.  James had a Polish college professor tell him once that our last name, Kolasa, means "maker of two-wheeled carts."  A noble profession!  In any case, every once in a while he gets on an "explore-my-Polish-heritage" kick, and we get to eat some tasty new foods.

One of our absolute favorites is Polish Potato Bread:

I stayed up until midnight cooking these bad boys for you people!
This bread is tender and moist from the potatoes, and it makes your whole house smell awesome as it bakes.  You can slice it up for sandwiches, or toast it, or just rip off fresh-out-of-the-oven warm chunks of bread and cram them into your gaping maw.  We love to take this on picnics and do just that!  If you make it with Yukon golds, it also will have a beautiful golden color.  So get busy baking!

Polish Potato Bread

½ cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1 ½ cups mashed potatoes
2 T. sugar
1 cup vegan milk, warmed slightly in microwave
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup warm water
4 1/2 tsp instant yeast
5 ½ cups all purpose flour
Olive oil for brushing
Sesame seeds

Mix vegan butter and mashed potatoes in large bowl.  Add sugar, salt, and warmed milk.  Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water and then add to milk/potato mixture.  Gradually add flour, stirring with wooden spoon.  Knead and let rise until doubled in bulk.  Punch down and let rise again.  Split into two balls.  Form each ball into a braided loaf and set in greased French-bread loaf pan or cookie sheet to rise again.  Brush loaves with olive oil.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake in preheated 400° oven for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350° and bake for another 25-30 minutes.  Cool before slicing.

Notes:  The olive oil will give it a nice brown color, but unfortunately it won't make the seeds stick.  (Obviously this is my veganized version of the original recipe.)  In any case, you might try boiling 1/2 cup water with a couple tablespoons of cornstarch, and then letting that mixture cool and using it to brush on top of the loaves prior to baking.  I think that'll hold the seeds on better. 

Bread rising, waiting to be brushed with olive oil.

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