Thursday, February 20, 2020

Entry 36: Foods of Thedas - Peasant Bread (The Masked Empire recipe)

Image Description: A cast iron pan filled with freshly baked whole wheat biscuits.

This entry fulfills a request made long ago by Ghil Dirthalen for Peasant Bread. Peasant Bread is described in The Masked Empire as a hearty bread eaten by elves, both Dalish and from alienages in Orlais.

For some context (without spoilers), the character's perspective is that of Michel de Chevin as he wanders through a Dalish camp: 

"The cooks prepared the midday meal, a stew of wild rabbit mixed with vegetables and spices, served alongside with what Michel recognized from thirty yards away as peasant bread. It was almost equal parts wheat, salt, and grease, and in lean winters, it was sometimes the only thing that could put meat on a peasant's bones."

To me that sounds a lot like biscuits.

Image Description: A small plate on a placemat with two whole wheat biscuits, one whole and one split in half. One half sits on top of the other.

Basic biscuits are quick, easy, and do not call for a lot of ingredients or kitchen tricks and pro-tips. And I can totally see why Thedas' elves make it. I had to take some liberties with creating a recipe though, as The Masked Empire does not provide anything beyond the above quoted text. So this recipe is a Skyhold's Kitchen original from yours truly! And this recipe is a deviation from my norm in that I did not use any magic kitchen tools outside of my oven. I have three blenders, two mixers, two ovens, two microwaves, a griddle, and an Instant Pot. And that's just the start of my whole kitchen tool inventory. For this recipe, I used far fewer tools and am happier for it. 

For this recipe, you need all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, shortening, cashew or soy milk, and apple cider vinegar. For the full recipe and instructions, see below.

Image Description: An arrangement of the above listed ingredients (I chose cashew milk).

First, add the apple cider vinegar to the non-dairy milk. Then sift dry ingredients together.

Image Description: A bowl of crumbly dry ingredients and shortening tilted over a counter for better light.

After sifting the dry ingredients together, cut the shortening into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. 

Image Description: A close up of soured cashew milk in a measuring glass over the bowl of crumbly dry ingredients.

Pour in the soured milk and mix together with your hands. Yes, this recipe is a messy one. I refused to use any of my half dozen wooden spoons, opting to go as basic as possible and just use my Maker-given hands. 

Image Description: A sticky mound of biscuit dough in a metal bowl.

Grease a spoon with shortening. Spoon and drop dough sloppily into a cast iron pan. 

Image Description: Seven pre-baked biscuits in a cast iron pan.

And bake in a 400℉ oven for 10-12 minutes. And done. Peasant Bread! It's that easy and it makes a lot of biscuits. 

Image Description: Seven post-baked biscuits in a cast iron pan with a R2-D2 oven mitt in the lower left corner.

They are so fluffy and delicious! 

Image Description: A fluffy Peasant Bread biscuit on a white tea towel. 

Add vegan butter, jam, or vegan gravy to make even more delicious!

Image Description: A split biscuit on a white plate, both halves are slathered in vegan butter and blueberry jam.

And that's it. Peasant bread. And now, this blog is on hiatus. This is the last recipe for the foreseeable future. I may make something special for Dragon Age Day 2020, I certainly don't want to rule out picking up the blog up when the next Dragon Age game is released, and I may even one day make that full Dalish lunch described above (but vegan), but I need to set this hobby aside for now. This has been a fun place, this blog of my imaginary Skyhold kitchen mage's recipes blurred with real life, and I'm grateful for your support! I hope you make and enjoy this recipe.

Peasant Bread

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Yields: 18-20 biscuits

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup cashew or soy milk + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400℉. Add apple cider vinegar to non-dairy milk and set aside for 10 minutes. Sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Then whisk in whole wheat flour. Cut shortening into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until mixture has a fine-crumb consistency. Add non-dairy soured milk and mix together until ingredients are combined and dough is sticky. Spoon and drop dough into a cast iron pan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottom edged are slightly brown. Biscuits can stay in pan after baking. Biscuits will remain fresh for 1 day uncovered, 2-3 covered. Enjoy promptly with vegan butter, jam, maple syrup, or a vegan gravy!

Dareth shiral and walk always in the Maker's light.

END NOTES: Thank you for reading! And special thanks to Ghil Dirthalen for the suggestion - I'm sorry I took so long to get this out for you. Ma serannas. Please check out Ghil Dirthalen's YouTube channel if you love Dragon Age video game lore, media tie-in reviews, and pure silliness. For more information on why Foods of Thedas is on hiatus, please see my January blog entry (Sera's Oatmeal Cookies Upgraded). I will remain active on social media under the Foods of Thedas handle on Instagram and Twitter but with less frequency. Thank you again for reading and being a part of this odd mix of vegan recipes and Dragon Age.

Sarah Marie (Essem),
Foods of Thedas, formerly Gourmet Vegan Thedas.


The Masked Empire, by Patrick Weekes,