February?!  February?!  How is this possible?   One month to finish a complete draft of my thesis, less than two months before I have to move (to a temporary location), a little over one month to my birthday (yay, that’s fun!)   But in spite of the books and papers and everything else piling up, you can expect to see me posting regularly because, hey, what’s better than procrastination?

In my vegetable husband from almost a month ago I received a cabbage.  Now, I’ve made cabbage curry before, but always with a red cabbage, and I knew that a cabbage can sit in the fridge for awhile, so I took my time figuring out what to do with it.  Obviously I could go the pan-Asian route (dumplings, stir-fry) or the eastern European route (perogis or, well, something) or the generic American route (boiled!  eww.), but I ended up deciding to make a Russian cabbage soup.  One of the blogs I love to read is Sassy Radish, and given that she is originally from Russia, the recipe screams authentic (I hope).  Except, of course, that I veganized it.  (smile)

And soup calls for bread, right?  That’s where Celine comes in (oh Celine, you are the best!).  I picked up a little over a cup of rye flour in the bulk section or our coop to play with, so naturally, when I saw Celine’s recipe for Sauerkraut Rye Bread I knew I had to make it.  Not being a big fan of rye, I had no idea how the flavor would turn out or if I would like it, but it was unbelievably delicious.  Not too rye-ish and not too sauerkraut-ish.  Just moist with a slight sweet tang.  And, per usual, I gobbled up the bread before I finished off the soup.  I’m such a carb whore… Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the bread, so you’ll have to use your imagination.  But just imagine a dark, sweet, tangy, moist bread sopping up a tangy tomato cabbage soup.  It’s the mm mm good Campbell’s was going for but failed to achieve.

Russian Cabbage Soup & Sauerkraut Rye Bread

adapted from Sassy Radish and Have Cake Will Travel

For the Russian Cabbage Soup:

1 tsp olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
3 cups chopped cabbage
4 cups “beef” or vegetable stock
4 cups water
12 oz sauerkraut
12 oz jar of stewed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
1/2 cup dried “beef” chunks (optional if gluten-free)
2 medium sized potatoes, diced
Salt/pepper for seasoning

In a large stockpot, saute the garlic on low for a minute and then add the cabbage. Cook the cabbage, stirring frequently, until slightly wilted.

Add the stock and the water and then everything else, but potatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 hours. Skim the fat and season with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes.

For the Sauerkraut Rye Bread:

1.5 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cups warm water
1 cup well-drained sauerkraut
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp vegan margarine, melted
2 T light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp sea salt
4 tsp vital wheat gluten
1 cup dark rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour

Proof the yeast in the water for 10 minutes or so, until the yeast becomes bubbly and foamy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauerkraut, molasses, suger, and salt.  Mix in the proofed yeast.

Add the wheat gluten, rye flour, and whole wheat flour and mix with a spoon until a dough forms.  Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead in the remaining bread flour.  You will need to knead for 5-10 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towl, and place in a warm corner of the kitchen for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and transfer it to an oiled loaf pan.  Cover again with the towl and place in a warm corner for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size again.

Once the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 350.

Bake the loaf at 350 for 45-1 hour.  You will know when the loaf is baked when you tap/knock your knuckles on the top of the loaf and it sounds hollow.

Allow to cool 15-20 minutes before you slice (the hardest part!).