“My relationship with Easter is more in the cooking sector, because I like everything to be green, to have herbs. Baking is mainly flatbread or hot rolls for me, that’s all, because I don’t have any boarders at all,” says Petra. In addition to working at the school, she herself tries to keep the permaculture garden alive which, if the season is successful, is also able to cover the consumption for the lessons. Wild herbs and first salads or even radishes can be used for pesto, salads, spreads, quiche and risotto.
But before Petra took up cooking, especially vegan, her main passion was confectionery. After going vegan, she discovered that with a little effort, almost anything could be adjusted to a shape that wouldn’t offend even omnivores. And even a lamb and a donut, which is rarely missing from Czech tables, may not be a problem.
But none of them are Petra’s favorite candy. “Carrot cake! With white chocolate cream. I like corpus with a little cream to keep the balance, I don’t need drier things like classic lamb. I like dried fruit, juiciness, which is why the carrot cake or the hot cross buns, which contain a lot of dried fruit.”
Hot cross buns are actually the English equivalent of mini buns, but they are a mixture of spices somewhat similar to gingerbread and contain a truly enormous amount of fruit. It is often still loaded in brandy, so the hot cross buns last a very long time supple.
If you want to get into a lamb, according to Petra, her plant-based version is no problem – you don’t even have to whip up vegan snow, which behaves a bit unpredictably in poured batters. “Any snow substitute, whether it’s potato protein or aquafab, ie chickpea infusion, doesn’t like heat. I used to fight it and try the lamb as it should be – but then the “whites” begin to bubble, so they also bubble in the oven and the dough begins to fall. It’s a useless job for me, life is too short for that,‘ smiled Petra.
All you have to do is stick with the tried and true baking powder and most importantly, taste the batter well, as the eggs add flavor too. “Put a lot of lemon on the muffin batter – bark from two to three, to make it intense, to make it more fluid. And that is enough.“
For the flatbread, he recommends reaching for a good smooth flour, testing the yeast, letting the yeast out, and working the fat in portions when the dough is well kneaded. Thanks to this, it is softer and more fluffy.
Mazanec according to Petra
330 g plain flour
165 g lukewarm vegetable milk + a little more depending on absorbency
60 g caster sugar
20g fresh yeast (it’s easy to halve if you don’t like the strong yeast taste, but it takes about 2x longer) / 7g dry yeast
70 g softened vegetable butter (Alsan Bio, Naturli)
1/3 teaspoon of salt
zest of a lemon
1 sachet of quality vanilla sugar (DM)
a handful of raisins and chopped almonds
boil 1:1 water with sugar
Put the flour in a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Add milk, add sugar and yeast and mix with a small amount of flour to make a batter, like pancakes. Let rise in a warm place. If necessary, mix flour (for example 50 g) and liquid (also 50 g) with yeast on the side, and if nothing happens even after 20-30 minutes of heat and does not triple in volume, you must opt for a new cube. It’s nice to know this sooner than when you already have all the expensive ingredients in your batter, so there’s no baking sadness! Then add the finished yeast to the flour.
Then add vanilla sugar, butter, salt and lemon zest and make a paste with well-activated gluten. Finally, work with the raisins and chopped almonds. Let rise for about an hour.
Make a bun with the risen dough and place it on a greased baking sheet. Leave to rise until the dough has almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. You can cut the fermented sandwich bread crosswise on top, then knead it with a mixture of vegetable milk and maple syrup (about 1:1) and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Put in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 160 degrees. Bake for about 40 minutes (time is for guidance only).
Coat the hot flatbread with a broth of sugar to make it shine.
Listen to the full interview with Petra Stahlova at Easter in a vegan way.