Report back time!
Now, I must admit to being a pretty chronic procrastibaker. Anyone could easily think I was doing a baking apprenticeship, not a science degree. But it’s not all about avoiding study; I do find baking to be a really useful ‘self-care’ strategy. For those to whom this terminology is foreign, I basically turn to baking when I feel crap, or need a positive distraction. It is also a lot of fun.
So tonight I had set myself the challenge of attempting (and mastering) vegan cinnamon scrolls. I definitely attempted them, less so mastered them, but I feel confident that I could make these to sell (with a little practise). They are delicious, and that’s all there is to it really.
I used a slightly modified recipe from veganbaking.net, and though my timing was a bit rubbish, they turned out rather well. I omitted walnuts from the top, and chose an alternative to the recommended flax egg.
And so I come to my adventures with chia. Salvia hispanica or chia, is a type of sage native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. In recent times, it has been hailed as a superfood, though you may remember it from the days of Chia Pets. Hurrah! Luckily, we have now found a more useful application for chia. Basically, when mixed with water, chia takes on a gelatinous quality, making it perfect as a replacement for eggs in vegan baking. Traditionally, flax meal has been used for this purpose, but chia is just as good, and as I had a bag of chia and no flax – my adventures with the chia egg began.
‘Adventures’ is probably a bit far fetched – it was actually really straight forward. One tablespoon of chia ground in a mortar and pestle, mixed with 3 tablespoons of water.
I forgot to take a photo of my chia egg, but will remember for next time.
And so the result: a delicious, vegan distraction.
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon ground chia seeds (use white chia, not black – aesthetic reasons)
4 ½ cups plain flour
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup margarine, softened
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup walnuts chopped (optional – I left them out)
¼ cup raisins
2 cups icing sugar
dash soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Chia egg: In a small bowl whisk together the 3 Tablespoons water and the ground chia. Set aside and watch the magic happen.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the plain flour and the yeast.
In another medium mixing bowl add the water, sugar, margarine, salt and whisk until well incorporated.
Add the chia egg to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and whisk until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl containing the dry ingredients and stir to roughly combine.
Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and knead the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes. The dough should be firm and smooth, not sticky. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover and place in a warm place like on top of the stove for 1 hour. After 1 hour has passed, knead the dough for about 30 seconds and let it rest for 10 more minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 205C.
In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, margarine, maple syrup and cinnamon. Set aside.
Roll the dough into a flat 16 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread the margarine, sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly on top using the back of a spoon.
Carefully roll up the dough lengthwise so it’s 16 inches long. Cut it into 1 ½ inch sections with a sharp knife.
Place the rolls close together, cut side up in a lightly greased glass, ceramic or non-stick baking dish. This will ensure that the rolls don’t unravel during baking. Sprinkle the walnuts (optional) and raisins over them. Cover and let the buns rise for one more hour.
Prepare the vanilla icing by combining the icing sugar, vanilla essence and soy milk in a small bowl. Add just enough soy to achieve a slightly runny consistency.
Bake scrolls for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the dish halfway through the baking duration. Pour the icing on the warm rolls before serving. You may want to heat the icing up a little so it can easily be poured.
Recipe adapted from veganbaking.net.