I don't know why people get so scared about making bread. It is so easy, all you need is a little practice. I had a whole bag of pitted dates in the cupboard, and a bag of organic Australian pecans that were begging to be used. This was afternoon tea toast - not too sweet, perfect with a cup of tea. The lavender syrup is reminiscent of the floral tones of honey, but not as sweet. The Beloved gave it the thumbs up, so it must be good!
3 cups bakers flour
250ml warm water
250ml warm milk (soy, almond, rice, take your pick!)
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped pitted dates
½ cup chopped pecans
Put water, milk yeast, sugar oil and salt into a large bowl,and whisk. Leave aside in a warm place for about 5-10 minutes to let the yeast activate (you should see it bubbly at the top).
Put into an other bowl the flour, pecans, dates, and cinnamon. Make a well in the centre and add ¾ of your liquid mixture, slowly drawing in from around the sides. Keep going with the liquid, if it feels too dry add more water, if it is too sticky add more flour. It should be a nice soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes, it should become smooth and elastic. Place into a greased bowl, cover, and set aside. Leave in a warm place for about an hour and a half. ( If it’s really cold and I don’t have the fire on, I turn the oven on for 15 minutes to about 150C, turn off, leave the door open half way, and stick the bowl inside).
Punch down, and knead for a few minutes. Shape into an oblong, and put into a greased loaf tin. Allow to rise again until doubled in size (this can take anything form 45 minutes to two hours depending on how warm the room is. Put in 1a preheated oven at 180C for approximately 30 minutes, or when loaf is brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and then turn onto a rack.
For the syrup -
1 cup rice syrup
Approximately seven lavender heads, washed and dried*
*Don't use lavender from the florist, they have probably been sprayed! If you aren't lucky enough to have a lavender bush, or a nanna to steal some from, make sure if you buy some that they are unsprayed!
In a saucepan, gently bring to heat the syrup and lavender. turn off heat as it begins to bubble, and let it steep for several hours, or overnight. Remove flowers, and keep in a sealed jar.
Serve thick slices toasted with lots of vegan margarine and lashings of syrup.