Easy home-made bread and milk

Part 1 - Bread

Bread and milk have been considered essential staples of the everyday life for centuries.
With a French background and a German boyfriend, I certainly can’t deny that bread is a basis of both our culinary cultures. And we like to eat lots of it. However, we’re often frustrated that the bread we find in Australia is either very unhealthy (full of E### numbers) or very expensive (up to $8 for a 375g loaf, come on…). Plus it always comes with soft plastic packaging that doesn’t seem to be accepted in our yellow recyclables bins.

Of course, we thought about making our own bread. But the process usually requires a fridge to store the (sour)dough and let it raise overnight, as well as an oven to bake it in. So you can’t really make bread when, like us, you live in a car or a van. Or so we thought… and so we kept buying trying to make the best choice between taste, healthy nutrition, price tag and packaging without ever managing to satisfy all 4 elements at the same time.

Bread 1
The Green Stack
Bread 2
Pre-dinner at Cockle Creek, TAS

To every problem, there is a solution

Solution part 1: No fridge required

And then came the first part of the solution I needed: a recipe to make bread under an hour, no fridge required.
I came across it when we were house-sitting over winter and I was looking for a quick and easy bread recipe to be ready in time for dinner. By the way, you can click here to read how house-sitting and other tips allow us to save tons of money.
But back to our bread, here is the link to the original recipe: https://www.mymundaneandmiraculouslife.com/foodie-fridays-easy-peesy-french-bread/

Only 5 ingredients and 3 super easy steps, I was sold. Tobi and I largely follow a plant-based diet and so I easily replaced the honey with brown rice syrup. If you’re curious, feel free to check-out my article on vegan nutrition.
Instead of using just plain white flour, I also used a mix of ¼ buckwheat flour, ¼ white plain flour, and ½ baker’s bread mix. The latter contains different flours such as millet and quinoa. I also added extra linseeds (or flaxseeds), sunflower seeds, and a bit of olive oil.

– 1½ cups warm water
– 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or coconut sugar
– 1½ teaspoons salt
– 1 tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
– About 4 cups of your favourite flour mix

– Combine the water, brown rice syrup, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10 mins until bubbling / foaming forms on top.
– Next, add 1 cup of flour and mix with a spoon, then a 2nd one and mix again. Start kneading as you add the 3rd cup. Finally, add the last cup little by little and keep kneading until the dough sticks to itself, not your fingers.
– Form the dough into a loaf shape. Place it in the oven and start and set the temperature to 200°C. After 10 minutes or so, when your oven starts to heat-up, take the dough out and let it sit on your counter for another 10 minutes.
– After these 20 mins, cut slits in the top of the dough and bake for 16-20mins.

There was the result of my first bread: delicious, nutritious, quick, easy, zero-waste, no fridge required, and so much cheaper than any commercial bread. Hurrah !. 

Of course, you can give it the shape that you want. We now often make fresh bread rolls in the morning, and also like to change ingredients. For example, we made these rolls below with a mix of spelt, quinoa and wholemeal flour, and also added flax and sesame seeds.

Photos by Permaculture Journeys

From this point we stopped buying bread. As long as we house-sit, we have access to an oven. But we still needed to find a solution on what to do when we are on the road.

Solution Part 2 – No oven required

Some of the beautiful people we did house-sit for told us about this portable grill that they have. They use it in their caravan for cooking, grilling, roasting, frying and… baking ! 
It also contains support frames to fit a saucepan and fry pan, which is what we use the most when we cook on the road.
This grill may very well be the second part of the solution we need.

Source: https://www.barbequesgalore.com.au/ziggy-by-ziegler-brown-portable-grill-chilli-red

Recently, some of our friends also baked bread in an enamel casserole above a fire at a campsite and here is their result.

Liewerenz Photography

So here we are. Next time we’re on the road, we will definitely try to continue baking fresh bread.
Have you ever tried it yourself? How did you go?

Part 2 - Nut Milk

Making plant-based milk is the easiest thing in the world. Really.
There’s no comparison between the taste of a commercial milk and the one you make yourself. Plus, cost is comparable and you save the Tetrapak.

Here I made some almond milk and the process is pretty straightforward:
1. Soak 1 cup of almonds for a few hours (ideally overnight).
2. Rinse them thoroughly to remove the enzymes that they contain, and which inhibit digestion.
3. Put them in a blender with 500mL of fresh filtered water and blend.
4. Filter the milk out with a nut milk bag in a 1L container and squeeze the solid mass of almond meal as much as you can. More milk will come out of it.
5. Add more water and vanilla essence to taste (you can go up to 1L of milk for 1 cup of almonds). You can also use dates for a natural sweet taste if that’s your thing.
6. Enjoy !

Your milk will keep in the fridge for a few days. Alternatively, if you are on the road with no fridge, just make less of it as it may turn bad after a day or two depending on the temperatures. Or if you’ve got a bit of cold water or ice handy, you can use our insulated bottles 600mL or 1L volume, which will keep your milk cold for up to 36 hours.

Milk 1
Milk 2
Photos by Permaculture Journeys

Last good thing about making your own milk, is that you can use the almond meal to make an apple and berry crumble, a French king’s pie, or whatever sweet treat you fancy.

You can also make milk with many other nuts and seeds: Hazelnuts, cashew, macadamia, oats, etc.
Oat milk is probably the cheapest option. Just experiment and share your preferences !

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