Friday, March 04, 2022


My New Year's resolution for the year 2000 was to learn how to make a loaf of bread. I was truly, truly determined to do so, despite seeing no actual way of teaching myself at the time that I sat down, and wrote it in my diary.
But I wanted it, and by sheer determination and a healthy dose of spite, I did it.
The loaf itself was slightly on the bland side because I might have forgotten to add the salt, but it was mine, and it was a beautiful achievement. And from time to time, I like to look back on that moment and remind myself how wonderful it is to present yourself with new goals, even if they seem slightly out of reach in the moment.
Since then, I have made countless breads. Large loaves and small, dinner rolls, ornate breads, crescent rolls, and everything in between. To me, each of them was just as beautiful as the first one.
The achievement aspect is of a slightly lesser impact now, but my love for working with dough has never been greater.
With that in mind, this little loaf is one of my favourites when it comes to breakfast breads. Just divine with any sort of jam or vegan cream cheese, or even some dandelion honey and a few chopped pistachios or walnuts. Its bright flavour truly shines through, and it is perfect even for French toast the next day.
Whether you enjoy your toast on the crunchy side with good vegan butter, lightly toasted with a spoonful of jam, or even some tangy forest fruit and a spot of vegan double cream, this loaf will be a wonderful choice.

350 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
30 grams granulated sugar
150 millilitres water
50 millilitres fresh orange juice
30 millilitres vegetable oil
25 grams fresh yeast
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
few drops of vegan orange food colouring, optional

Bring the water and sugar to a rolling boil over high heat, remove it from the stove, and let it cool down slightly. Once cool, pour it into a large bowl, pour in the orange juice and the oil, and crumble in the fresh yeast. Mix well so the yeast dissolves, and then let it stand until bubbly and fragrant, about 10 minutes. When the yeast is ready, add in the vanilla and the orange zest, and mix well.
Sift in half of the flour and the salt, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Sift in the rest of the flour, and proceed to knead with your hands, either in the bowl or on the work surface, for 3-5 minutes more, until the dough is smooth and elastic. If desired, take a piece of the dough, add in the food colouring, and knead it through. Place the dough or dough pieces into a large bowl, cover it, and let it rest and rise for about an hour.
Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to about 5 millimetres in thickness. If you added food colouring, roll out both pieces of dough thinly, and stack them together. Slice the dough into two pieces, and stack again. Divide the dough into three equal strips, and roll each one into a tight roll. Gently dampen the free edge with some cold water, so the rolls hold together.
Make a simple plait out of them; tuck the ends underneath it, if necessary, and place it into a small loaf tin (9x18 cm) lined with baking parchment. Cover the top with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes. Once risen, generously mist the dough with cold water, and bake it in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 25-30 minutes, until baked through and nicely browned. Let it cool down to room temperature, and serve. Yields one small loaf.