makes two braided loaves
modified from Parsnip Parsimony
1.25 t active dry yeast
5 oz warm water (110ºF), divided
1 oz sugar, divided
1 t kosher salt
8 oz firm silken tofu
3/8 t soy lecithin granules
1.5 oz vegetable oil
pinch ground white pepper
17.8 oz AP flour, divided
.2 oz vital wheat gluten
pinch xanthan gum
pinch kosher salt
2 oz soy milk
poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cracked black pepper or other topping
Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine yeast with 4 ounces warm water and set aside in a warm place until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add .5 t sugar and 2 oz flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine; cover loosely with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap. Set aside to ferment 30 minutes or place in refrigerator/retarder overnight (bring to room temp before using).
Whisk together remaining flour with the vital wheat gluten; set aside.
Process remaining sugar, salt, tofu, lecithin, oil, pepper and turmeric in a food processor until very smooth, scraping down sides of bowl at least once. Stir the tofu mixture into the yeast mixture until smooth. Stir in three quarters of the flour mixture, adding the remaining 1 ounce water as needed to maintain proper moisture. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead to incorporate remaining flour mixture. Continue kneading until a smooth dough forms, about 10 minutes. Dough should spring back when gently pressed.
Round dough and place in a lightly oiled pan or bowl and cover with a moistened tea towel. Place pan in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 50 minutes.
Punch down, knead briefly and re-round dough; return to pan, cover and raise until doubled in bulk, an additional 50 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and punch down. Divide dough into either ten or six even pieces; make two braids, or either five or three pieces each. Place each on individual prepared sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or damp tea towel and let rise 40-50 minutes, until double in bulk.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF.
Whisk together xanthan gum, salt and soy milk. Brush over top of braids and sprinkle with topping of choice. Bake 40 minutes to an hour, until browned and internal temperature reaches 190ºF.
Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack before slicing or storing.