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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

Honey and Vegans

When I first switched to a vegan diet, I was really surprised to find that honey was excluded from the list of things that were ok to eat. Though I can see how vegans would consider honey to be an animal product, I don’t agree with eliminating completely from my diet. You can’t find a more natural sweetener!

My strong support of honey  comes from the fact that my dad is a beekeeper and has been on and off for a good portion of my life. When I was little, maybe around first or second grade, my dad was taking a beekeeping class and I went with him. I remember going down to the front of the class and being allowed to spin the honey out of the combs. It was really fun and clearly something that has stuck with me.

 

Currently, he has three hives which help pollinate is blueberries, apple trees, peach trees and big garden full of veggies. He also sometimes keeps them at local apple orchards.

The point is, I get to see how honey goes from comb to bottle and I know that the bees aren’t hurt in the process. At least not on a local beekeeper level. What would be the point? Beekeepers have to spend money for the bees and the equipment and often they do it as a hobby. Putting your bees in jeopardy would be financially unsound. Furthermore, there isn’t any unnatural manipulation going on. There are no chemicals or hormones involved in the process.

It is true that I don’t know how honey is produced commercially. The procedure could be less clean and natural. A lot of honey on the shelves in grocery stores is also coming from outside the states, such as China, which could have different food guidelines. But the chances are, there is a local bee keeper near you. Check out farmers markets near you, road side stands or orchards. I’ve seen beekeepers at all of them. There’s no reason to give up honey when you can get it from a good, reliable source. I know I certainly won’t. It’s all natural, organic AND you can support local beekeepers. What could be better then that?!

If I haven’t convinced you, no worries. Though I will still be using my Dad’s honey in my recipes, if you don’t feel comfortable using it, you can replace it with sugar, agave nectar or maple syrup.

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I had a little break down in the bread aisle last week. Don’t feel bad for me-It was due to Karma. About 2 years ago, my roommate and really good friend Melinda, told me about a breakdown she had in the bread aisle because she could not find a decent bread without high fructose corn syrup. I laughed at her and rolled my eyes.

I was not laughing last week.

Here’s the scoop: I’ve had it in my head since the beginning of October that I wanted to make apple butter (coming soon!). My thought was, ‘how delicious would apple butter be smothered on toast for breakfast? OH! On cinnamon toast for breakfast.’ After that I couldn’t get the thought out of my head. I simply had to have cinnamon bread with apple butter. So I began my search for cinnamon bread.

Not a simple feat. By the third store and after looking at more bread than I could count, I sort of felt like the teacher from Daria who sort of freaked out and got the one ginormous eye. Yeah…I felt like that. All the bread I was finding either  had A. high fructose corn syrup or other chemicals and/or B. raisins. I wanted my bread to be simple with ingredients that are not overly processed. I didn’t want to start my day by shoveling chemicals down my throat! And HFCS is a chemical. I don’t care that once upon a time it was corn. Its made in a frickin’ lab for Pete’s sake!

'WHY can't I get BREAD without frickin' CHEMICALS or RAISINS' yeah...that was me...

And don’t even get me started on raisins. I HATE them. Know the book Green Eggs and Ham? It’s basically 20 pages of this little kid talking about all the places he hates Green Eggs and Ham. That could be me…but with raisins (“I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere, I do not like any raisins, I do not like them, Sam-I-Am”). I know the book ends with him liking Green Eggs and Ham but that’s not the point…My point is, Raisins suck and finding a cinnamon bread without raisins AND high fructose corn syrup/other chemicals is damn near impossible.

Hence the break down. Melinda, feel free to laugh at me and roll your eyes. I deserve it.

So I decided to just make it. This is an attitude I (and my mom and her friend, Lu) often take with crafts and I take all the time with baked goods, like cakes and cookies, but bread? Bread is a whole nother ball field. I had never made bread before and prior to the beer pretzels I’ve never had much luck with yeast. My frustration overrode practicality, though. Bring on the bread making!!

I was so excited to make my first loaf of bread I literally took a picture at every step...I'll only subject you to a few

Thankfully, I just happen to have a bread machine lying around courtesy of my roommate, Bonnie’s, Grammie. Bread is surprisingly easy when you just dump it in a pan and let the bread maker do the work!

Raisin-less Cinnamon Honey Bread

adapted from Sunbeam’s Bread Recipes

1 1/4 c. water

2 TBS of Earth Balance vegan butter

3 1/4 c. bread flour

1/4 c. honey*

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon (I was a bit generous with my cinnamon. It may have been closer to 1 1/2 tsp)

1 packet of yeast

Place the ingredients in the bread boxes in the order they are given (except the yeast). Put all the liquid ingredients in and then all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the flour and place the yeast in the well. The yeast should NOT touch wet ingredients. (the directions told me this at least three times so yeah… don’t let your yeast touch the liquid layer). Snap the bucket in your bread maker. Set your machine for sweet dough and the desired color of your crust.

Voila!

This bread was Ah-Ma-Zing. It was super moist and springy and it tasted delicious as toast with almond butter and apple butter. AND it didn’t have raisins OR funky chemicals. Take that super market bread!

This is totally doable without a bread maker, especially if you have a kitchen aid stand mixer. I have a feeling, based on the research I did for this recipe, that you would follow the exact some procedure, except you would layer all the ingredients in the bowl of your mixer and then start it on low. When the dough is formed, you would let it rise for about an hour, punch it down, dump it out of the bowl, shape it on a greased pan, let rise for another hour or so and then bake it. I’ll try it next time this way and let you know how it works out.

OR! if you try it without a bread maker, let me know how it goes in the comments section!

*I know a lot of vegans do not consider honey to be a vegan product due to the fact that it is technically an animal product. I disagree. I’ll be updating the ‘Life’ page soon with my thoughts on Honey. For now, you can just sub in 1/4 cup of sugar, which is what the original recipe called for. I just didn’t want sugar in my bread. I felt honey was a bit more natural and a lot less processed.

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