Vegan and Gluten-Free Crusty Olive Oil Sourdough Peasant Bread

About a month ago, I made a gluten-free bread recipe by Dan Lepard that sort of blew my mind. I’d never made gluten-free bread that rose so well -IT DOUBLED! I’d also been used to baking gluten-free bread dough that looked more like quick bread batter. This dough was sturdy! Shapeable! Dare I say: “fairly similar to gluten dough?” The secret to this bread lies in the psyllium husks and ground flax, both have rad “binding” abilities which gives the bread amazing structure like the gluten proteins in regular flour do.

The bread also had such a delicious crispy crust without tasting like cardboard. However, due to some unknown cause, my first attempt had a slightly gummy interior, I suspect I didn’t bake it long enough or that altitude played a role there. I sent my mom the recipe and she made the loaf on the same day with better success than I had. Regardless, we both agreed on one thing: we needed a sourdough version and a stronger flavor profile.

My loaf:

My mom’s loaf:

We both kept playing with the recipe and last week during spring break at her house, we had a break through.


Toasted and half eaten:

Over the process of the last year, my mom had converted her positively ancient sourdough starter into a gluten-free starter. We made a seeded sourdough version of the bread and the results were brilliant, full bodied and full flavored. However her crust didn’t brown very well and the bread still didn’t contain any whole grains. So, when I got home I resolved to improve on the recipe even further.

Raised in a proofing basket:

I tested and tested and then tested again until I had a crusty brown sourdough loaf that crunched like artisan bread, was decidedly not of the cardboard variety and had some whole grain flour in it.

Many thanks to Dan Lepard for his original recipe that my mom and I used as a springboard. Our collaborative adaptation on his bread is printed below with his permission.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Crusty Olive Oil Sourdough Peasant Bread

Makes 1 very large delicious loaf

Adapted from Dan Lepard’s wonderful Gluten-Free Bread recipe here



1- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a pizza stone or stoneware baking sheet in the oven and allow it to heat while the oven heats up. In a bread maker, stand mixer, or other kneading apparatus (maybe a big ol’ bowl if you’re going to be kneading with your hands) add the water, sugar, salt and yeast. Give the liquid a quick stir, then mix in the “proper” sourdough start or the “faker” sourdough start. In a separate large mixing bowl thoroughly whisk together the cornstarch, brown rice flour, psyllium husks and the ground golden flax seeds. Pour the flour mixture into the now bubbly yeast mixture. Immediately add the olive oil and mix well to make a smooth thick batter.

2- Knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is uniform and gluten bread dough like, then cover with a clean cloth and leave for 20-30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

3- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Sprinkle a small handful of cornmeal onto the paper. Place the dough on the cornmeal and carefully roll and shape the dough into a fat sausage, about the length of the tray, making sure the loaf is nicely and evenly covered with the cornmeal. Using a sharp serrated knife, make several diagonal slash marks across the top of the loaf. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes, or until nearly doubled again.

4- Carefully lift the loaf WITH parchment paper off the baking tray and transfer to the preheated clay baking sheet or pizza stone. Do not burn yourself! Bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until the loaf is a very deep golden-brown in color all over, indeed, it may even look slightly burnt. But I promise the crust will be super delicious. Brush with extra virgin olive oil (if desired, because it really makes it taste so good) and leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

p.s. Try not to eat the whole loaf by yourself at once: psyllium husks and flax seeds are necessary for the structure in this loaf, but they’re also known for their unparalleled ability to get the digestive system moving…

Mom’s French toast made with this bread:

To make your own gluten-free sourdough start, you can use the recipe below. To make my starter, I used 1 cup of “cup for cup gluten-free flour” with an equal amount of water. Then followed the rest of the ingredient list and directions in the link. I had brilliant results.


Truffled Macadamia Nut Brie

This recipe is an update to my

Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute

Method: blend the macadamia nuts, water, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, miso, tahini, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, ground white pepper, vegan butter and truffle oil (or use truffled salt) on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the tapioca flour and kappa carrageenan. Blend again for 20-30 seconds more. If mixture has any grittiness, pour through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove any bigger particles.

Pour mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, while stirring constantly for 9 minutes (please time it!) Pour mixture into a 2 cup round mold lined with plastic wrap (for easy removal). Cheese should start to set immediately. Let set for 1-2 hours at room temperature, remove from mold, put on a small plate and transfer to the fridge uncovered (this helps it form a crust). After 2-3 hours of refrigeration, cheese can be dusted with tapioca flour (if desired) for a more “brie like” appearance.

Brie can be served on a cheese board with an assortment of accruements or topped with a cranberry sauce and wrapped in puff pastry for a baked brie en croute (instructions here). It melts beautifully and can be served on sandwiches, pizza, etc.

Note: this recipe is very rich and has a bold macadamia nut flavor. Cashews can be used for a milder taste.

Dad’s Wild Rice, Cranberry and Pine Nut Stuffing

Dad’s Wild Rice, Cranberry and Pine Nut Stuffing

  • 10 cups cubed and dried vegan bread (can be gluten free)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 white or yellow onions chopped fine
  • 6 celery stalks cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice (instructions below)
  • 1 cup shelled pine nuts
  • 2 shots vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Method: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Boil wild rice with water according to package directions until tender (about 40 minutes). Sauté onions, mushrooms, celery and seasonings in the vegan butter. Sauté pine nuts separately in a little bit of vegan butter until golden brown. Mix all ingredients in a large pan adding vegetable broth as you stir it in. Test for consistency and add more broth if too dry. Fluff with a large fork. Bake on low heat for ½ for an hour or longer.

Makes 20 servings. Sure to please even the stuffing haters.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

FYI, these are cakey-soft-glorious pumpkin cookies, so if you’re looking for chewy-crispy type cookies, look elsewhere.


Method: preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, coconut oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, pumpkin spice blend, sea salt, baking soda and vanilla. Add the flour, stir until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Scoop cookies with a big cookie scoop onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If you have two cookie sheets you’ll get about 9 cookies per sheet or 18 cookies total. Bake for 14-17 minutes, alternating the sheets halfway through) if baking both at once) or until puffed and golden. Let cookies cool slightly before eating.

The Best Damn Vegan Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie.

The most popular recipe on my site is my “best vegan chocolate chip cookies” this recipe > that one.

The Best Damn Vegan Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream coconut oil, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and flax mixture until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour, combine until well mixed. Add chocolate chips. Stir until incorporated.

Transfer cookie dough to a 12 inch cast iron skillet, I use one made by Lodge. Press the dough with your hands to even and spread it out. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your desired level of gooey center (I did 22).

Note: Sometimes due to humidity, measuring methods, etc, you may need to make adjustments before baking. If cookie dough mixture seems too dry, add plant milk, one tablespoon at a time (you shouldn’t need more than 2 tablespoons) and mix until fully incorporated. If mixture is too wet, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until incorporated. Again, you shouldn’t need more than a couple tablespoons. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
Check out the rad gooey factor

Alternatively for ridiculously good “normal sized” cookies: Scoop out by rounded tablespoons (or this cookie scoop). Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Cookie slam for crinkled cookies. Makes 3 dozen or so cookies. Cool 5-10 minutes before eating.

Giant Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Knots with Fresh Sage

For the bread dough:
3/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup aquafaba
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon organic sugar
3 cups organic all purpose flour

For the pesto:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup drained (oil packed) sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Garnish: flaked sea salt, roughly chopped fresh sage (or your favorite green herb)

Make the dough: Combine hot water and aquafaba in a bowl. Add instant yeast, salt, sugar and stir to combine. Add flour and stir in until dough is shaggy. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Use oiled hands to turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Sprinkle with more flour and roll dough into a 12×18 inch rectangle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the pesto: Add the olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, minced garlic, slivered almonds, nutritional yeast and sea salt to a food processor. Pulse until almonds resemble Parmesan cheese crumbles.

Spread the pesto onto the rolled out dough, leaving a 1/2 inch space at the edges with no pesto.

With the 18 inch end of the rectangle, turn 1/3 of the dough over on top of itself towards the center, repeat with the other side, you should have 3 layers of dough. Seal the edges. (Method roughly borrowed from Seitan is my Motor)

Cut dough lengthwise into 6 fat long strips. Twist each strip until wound top to bottom, then begin wrapping it around your hand and pull the end bit through the center for a whimsical knot.

Place knots on a lightly oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with a wee bit of flaked salt.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the knots are golden and crispy.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly before sprinkling with fresh sage.


Print Fundraiser for Abraham McCowan

My brother Abraham McCowan was recently hospitalized for several days with severe pneumonia and other complications. Unfortunately, he doesn't have health insurance. To help offset some of his exorbitant medical expenses, rather than asking people to contribute to a crowdfunding effort, he and I are offering some of his most recent art work for sale.

Baby Owls 1, 2, and 3

Prior to his illness, Abe spent his summer working at the Wild Friends division of Best Friend's Animal Sanctuary (The world's largest no-kill animal shelter) as a member of their seasonal wildlife rehabilitation staff. The inspiration for these pieces comes from some of the magnificent owls in his care.

"Ghost Birds"

The 3 smaller pieces are linocuts of baby owls and are 5 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches. The price for one of these individual prints is $30 or order all 3 for $85.

The larger piece called "Ghost Birds" is a woodcut. This is a limited edition print. Its size is 22×30. Printed on Rives BFK. The price for this print is $300.

All pieces are hand printed and pulled originals. Prices include shipping and handling within the 48 contiguous states. For AK, HI and overseas shipping, charges will be increased to cover the postal rate.

Please email Somer McCowan at to order prints. 
When ordering, please specify:
1 Owl 1, 2, or 3 (pictured in numerical order)
2 All three owls
3 "Ghost Birds" (the larger print)
Please provide a shipping address, and I will reply with payment details, which can be made through Venmo, PayPal or through Square Cash.