Real Food

Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.


4/15/2014

bread doughIf not now, when? Tomorrow? Next week? For months I had been wanting to invite my sister and niece over to bake pumpkin rolls. They had asked me weeks before Christmas to teach them and I was happy to oblige. Then days turned into weeks, which turned into months. The new year began and reality hit hard. Within a couple of months, I had attended a memorial service or visited a funeral home six times. A brother, two mentors, an aunt, a neighbor, and my daughter’s longtime boyfriend had all passed away within eight weeks. Their time and my time with them, had run out.

Make some memories you will never forget.

Slow Down to Enjoy

You see, time passes so quickly when we don’t slow down to enjoy it. It is measured by seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, etc. And it passes in its allotted….well, time. Realizing how precious time is and how precious people are, my sister and I selected a date. We rolled up our sleeves and we made pumpkin rolls. If you have ever made pumpkin rolls, you know they can be a little messy. So we made a little mess, but we also made memories. I sent them home with their pumpkin rolls and the only one who was disappointed was my husband because I didn’t save any for him. Because I am the Director of Happiness at Winn Sisters Farm, there were more pumpkin rolls baked the next day.

The lesson that I want to pass on to you is to share your time, but more importantly to share what you know. Most everyone knows that besides reading and writing, I LOVE TO BAKE. I also love to teach. Last summer at the middle school where I work, I taught my students how to bake bread. It was so much fun for me! They mixed, they kneaded, they waited, and then they partook of what I call heaven on earth, warm school-baked bread. They took their loaves home and shared them with their families. Hopefully, that lesson will stay with them for the rest of their lives. When one student came back to the school kitchen to check on his bread he exclaimed, “Ms. Carol, what happened to my bread?”. He had never seen risen dough and thought it was pretty amazing. I feel the same way each time I watch yeast doing its magic.

Basic Whole-Wheat Bread Recipe

bread bowl

The recipe we used at school is one of my favorites. It makes a basic whole wheat bread that is light and satisfying. The recipe makes two medium size loaves of bread and a small batch of cinnamon rolls.

5 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups of organic milk
3 tablespoons of honey
3 tablespoons of butter
3 cups of bread flour
3 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt

I dissolve 5 teaspoons of active dry yeast in 1 cup warm water (about 120 degrees) in my bread-baking bowl. My big, clay mixing bowl is perfect for my bread-making because it can be used for mixing and kneading the dough.

I scald 2 cups of organic milk and let it cool to lukewarm.

I then dissolve 3 tablespoons of honey and 3 tablespoons of butter in the milk. Yesterday I used coconut oil in place of the butter for a little diversion and it worked out very well. Either way works for me.

I then measure out 3 cups of bread flour and 3 cups of white whole wheat flour and mix them together in a separate bowl. I add 1 tablespoon salt into the flour mixture. You will need a couple more cups of flour, but I add it as I knead the dough.

After I see the yeast starting to do its magic, I add the milk mixture to the water/yeast mixture. Then it is time to slowly add the flour, 1 cup at a time and mixing as you go. This is where the extra two cups or so of flour will be used. After you have added the 6 cups of flour, add enough of the extra flour so that the mixture forms a nice workable dough, not too sticky.

Now, it is time to start the kneading. I knead my dough right in the bowl, but you can also use your pastry mat sprinkled lightly with flour. Place the dough on the mat, and using the heel of your hands, press the dough away from you and then fold it in half towards you and press again. Kneading will take about eight to ten minutes for your dough to become smooth and ready for it to rise. Place the dough in a bowl that has been lightly oiled on the bottom and sides. Cover with a pastry cloth. I use white linen cloths that are used specifically for my bread escapades.

Raising takes about an hour and then I punch the dough down. I divide the dough in two (for two large loaves) or three equal parts and place in buttered loaf pans and prepare into cinnamon rolls. The dough is then covered with the cloth again and the second rising begins. About an hour later they are placed in a 375 degree Fahrenheit pre-heated oven to bake for approximately 25 minutes. You may brush the tops of the loaves with butter before and after they bake, if you wish.

This bread takes about three hours from beginning to end. Isn’t there someone you would love to spend that time with? Just think of the coffee you could drink and the problems you could solve while you are waiting for that bread to rise, rise again, bake and possibly enjoy right out of the oven. Don’t you think, that now’s the time?



4/14/2014

Each season deserves its own brew at the end of the day. A warm Amber catches the autumn glow, dark Stout shields the cold of the winter, golden Maibock welcomes the spring, and crisp Pale Ale quenches summer thirst. The only thing more satisfying than a seasonal brew is toasting to your craftsmanship.

The art of brewing beer has been alluring ever since I discovered microbrew, and that all beer (thankfully) does not taste like Natural Light. The moment I met the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, I was in love. Deep, complex, on the verge of romantic, the creamy hazelnut intoxicated my senses. Could I craft a brew this richly rewarding?

I was completely intimidated. My friends had horror stories and stained kitchen ceilings to display their disasters in brewing. The equipment list alone caused eye glazing and attempting to decipher the ingredient list resulted in mental malfunction. To say the least, I quit too many times before I ever started.

After two successful rounds of making hard cider, I was ready to give brewing an actual chance.  By this point, I had collected most of the equipment and had a basic understanding of the science of the fermentation.  The final catalyst for brewing beer was purchasing Charlie Papazian’s book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, for my husband, Jordan. After reviewing the book (and then procrastinating a few more months), we finally crafted our first beer, Cascade Valley Ale. It was everything we hoped for—earthy, lightly hoppy, a refreshing mix of floral tones, a perfect balance of light and dark.  The only problem was the dilemma of wanting to share (aka flaunt) our brew, yet keeping enough in our personal reserves.

At this point, I want to interject an important statement: we are not master brewers!  We have broken the code to the entry level of brewing and want to help simplify the process for you.  Many rounds of beer could have been enjoyed in the time that we wasted on putting our thoughts to action. No more wasted time or beer!

A few simple purchases and steps will have you on your way to a beginner setup for brewing.  Good resources will make your life easier. How To Homebrew  is an excellent online resource.  My go-to guidebook has been The Complete Joy of Home Brewing, as mentioned above.  The book contains clear instructions for brewers of all levels, great recipes, and entertaining facts.   Below is Papazian’s suggested equipment list for beginners.

Basic Homebrewing Equipment

1 3-4 gallon pot (an enameled or stainless canning pot is best)
1 5-gallon or 6 ½- gallon glass carboy
1 5-10 gallon new plastic bucket or trash pail
1 6-foot length of 3/8” inside-diameter clear plastic hose
1 plastic hose clamp to fit 3/8” hose
1 fermentation lock
1 rubber stopper with hole to fit fermentation lock
1 3-foot length of 1 ¼” outside diameter, 1” inside diameter, clear plastic hose
1 large plastic funnel
1 thermometer
1 beer hydrometer
1 bottle washer (optional but recommended)
Lots of bottle caps
1 bottle capper
60 12-oz beer bottles (anything other than screw top bottles will do)
1 bottle Star Stan (for sanitization)

Are you still with me?  Don’t be frightened by the long list.  You can find all of the equipment that you will need at your local homebrew store or online.  Beer bottles do not need to be purchased new.  Friends are typically happy to help collect (for the right fee) or check in with your local bar for non-screw top or even flip-top bottles.  The initial investment for brewing is around $100.  Ingredients will run in the ballpark of $40.  Look at it as a lifetime investment and it’s pretty cheap in the end.

The next step is the fun part!  Find a recipe suited to your taste: pale ale, IPA, brown ale, stout, porter, Scottish ale, Irish red ale, wheat beer varieties, kolsch, lambic, pilsner, bock, doppelbock, helles, or any variety of lager.  According to Papazian, there are up to 35,000 different kinds of beer in the world!  On the flip side, beer is made from only 4 essential ingredients: water, fermentable sugars (traditionally malted barley), hops, and yeast.

As mentioned earlier, my prompting in choosing a recipe is based on the season of the year.  Since the weather is in between winter and spring here in Leavenworth, Washington, the batch we are currently brewing is the Cascadian Spring Snow Golden Lager, adapted from the recipe on pages 181-2 in The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, 3rd Ed.  Even though I found a recipe that caught my eye, I substituted ingredients to make it my own.  Beware, I am one of those people who can never follow the recipe as is.  I view it more as the skeletal framework for my creative endeavoring.  Don’t do as I do, do as I suggest.  And, I would suggest following the recipe precisely for your first brew.  Then if you want to be more risqué, experiment with the combination of hops, yeast, and malt flavors to create your own.  Here is my adapted recipe:

Cascadian Spring Snow Golden Lager Recipe

(Danger: recipe not tasted! Will report results soon.)

Ingredients

3.8 pounds Golden Light dry malt extract
1 ½ pounds Pilsen Light dry malt extract
½ ounce US Saaz hop pellet (boiling): 2.65 HBU
½ ounce Liberty hop pellets (boiling): 2.45 HBU
½ ounce Liberty hop pellets (finishing)
American Lager yeast|
¾ c corn sugar or 11/4 c dried malt extract (for bottling)

Let’s decode the ingredients. Malt extract (typically from barley) is the broken down sugar (maltose) from the grain that is needed to ferment the beer. As you become more advanced in your skills, you can start experimenting with the whole grain for more complex flavors. Hop pellets are whole hops mechanically processed by a hammer-mill, rated in percentage of Alpha units. Boiling hop pellets add bitterness to beer. Typically, the higher the percentage of Alpha, the more bitter the beer. However, the level of perceived bitterness will depend on the style of beer being brewed. For example, a darker beer may have the same amount of Alpha units as a paler beer, but the taste is more discreet. Finishing hop pellets, added in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking the wort, add floral aroma and taste to the beer. Yeast activates the fermentation process by converting the sugars from the malt extract into alcohol and carbon dioxide (making beer).  There are two main types of beer yeast, lager and ale, with many varieties under each type. Corn sugar is added before bottling to prime (carbonate) the beer. Corn sugar may be substituted with dry malt extract for the same result.

Are you imagining the taste of your own brew and motivated to finally give it a shot? Here’s your homework: Purchase or borrow the equipment, find a recipe, and gather the ingredients. If you are willing to share, post the recipe you will be trying!

In the next article, we will walk through the process of cooking the wort, fermentation, racking, and bottling.

Until then, cheers!


4/11/2014

violets

Violets are just about to bloom where I live. I love to see their pretty edible flowers along the shadier paths of local parks and gardens. I also love to see their purple blooms and heart-shaped leaves on my salad plate.

Despite the English idiom shrinking violet, there is nothing shy about this plant. As any gardener who has ever had to weed it out knows, violets self seed prolifically and have knobby roots that are a hassle to weed out. In other words, there really isn’t a sustainability issue with harvesting this pretty but tough little plant.

The violet that you’re most likely to encounter growing wild in much of North America is the Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia, V. papilionacea). It grows in partially shaded areas throughout our parks and in many backyards. All Viola species have edible leaves and flowers.

Although some Native American tribes used violet roots externally to relieve joint pain, taken internally they are a strong emetic (they’ll make you throw up). Not something you want to include in dinner! Stick to the leaves and flowers.

Violet Flowers

Wild violets produce two kinds of flowers. The showy ones that are so pretty on salads are usually purple with some white near the center, but sometimes they are mostly white. They are about 3/4-inch in diameter, grow on leafless stalks, and have 5 petals. The side petals have white hairs near their bases. Later in the summer the plants produce inconspicuous, self-pollinating, petal-less flowers that eventually become three parted capsules that eject the seeds.

You may notice that the violets you find blooming in North America don’t really have a smell. The English or Garden Violet, Viola odorata, is the fragrant one that is used to scent and flavor syrups, gums, candies, etc. As far as I know, it doesn't grow wild in the States.

Cultivated Viola species are one of the most common flowers included in those edible flower mixes you see at the farmers’ markets, and the wild ones have just as many uses. In addition to sprinkling them fresh on salads and using them as colorful garnishes, violets may be candied and made into syrup.

Violet Leaves

Heart-shaped violet leaves are a mild, tasty addition to salads. Unlike dandelion and other wild greens, violet leaves never get bitter. They grow in a rosette pattern, meaning all the leafstalks of each perennial plant emerge from the ground at one central point. There are small pointed teeth along the leaf margins.

There is another plant in that grows in similar habitats, and whose leaves look somewhat similar: garlic mustard. But garlic mustard smells like garlic, and violet leaves don’t really have a smell. The flowers are completely different. And once you get to know both plants you’ll notice that garlic mustard leaves have more yellow in their green, the teeth along the margins are rounder, and the veins are less pronounced on the underside of the leaf than violet’s.

Young violet leaves are partially curled up like a scroll. They unfurl their heart-shape as they get bigger. Fully open violet leaves can sometimes be a little stringy, especially later in summer. For salads, I like to use the tender, partly curled smaller leaves.

You can also cook violet leaves by steaming, boiling or stir-frying them, but keep in mind that when you do so they develop a mucilaginous texture. This is excellent for thickening soup, but otherwise I prefer the raw leaves.

Preserving Leaves

In addition to the decorative candies and the flower syrup I mentioned, dried violet leaves make a mild tea that is good for coughs, congestion, and soothing sore throats. This is an excellent use for the older leaves that are too tough for salad.

To dry them, bundle the stem ends of 8 – 12 violet leaves and secure them with a rubber band. Hang them somewhere away from direct light or heat. They should be crispy dry in a week. Remove the rubber band and transfer the dried leaves to a covered glass jar.

Always be 100% certain of your plant identification before eating any wild plant.

Leda Meredith teaches foraging and food preservation skills internationally. You can watch her foraging and food preservation videos, and find her food preservation recipes and tips. Her latest book is Northeast Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Beach Plums to Wineberries.



4/9/2014

sourdough starterBecause I am new to baking, I figured that it is like anything else that you are new at ... you learn the tricks-to-the-trade after you have pulled your hair out.  So I am helping out the new sourdough bakers with some tricks that I have learned from the experts here at Sourdoughs International.

1. A proofing box is a must. This is one of the very few ways to regulate your temperature correctly.  Sourdough like certain temperatures, especially when activating.  On my proofing box, I have pushed a thermometer through the box mid-way.  Then I can read the temperature from the outside without disturbing it.

2. Sourdough cultures will activate and bubble up, then bubble down. Sometimes we miss it and think that it is not activating correctly.  What you do is, clean off part of the inside of the jar, from the top down to the culture.  That way you know for sure if the culture is activating.

3. Jar size. I use a 1 quart (1 liter) wide mouthed canning jar.  The lid is just loosely placed on.  I also put a wipe board piece on top, so that I can see when the last time I fed it was and which culture it is.

4. Washing the culture. So many times cultures get washed when it is not needed.  If a culture needs washing you will know it.  The smell is very, very rank!  There will be no question in your mind that something is wrong.  The smell of each one of our sourdough cultures from Sourdough International smells different.  The smell may not seem normal but trust me it is.

5. When I heard of sourdough, all I could think of is I will have to stay home for the rest of my life to keep this culture going.  That is not the case.  If you are not going to be using your culture for an extended period of time, put it in the fridge.  It can stay there for several months without any attention.  Then when you need it, get it out and re activate it.  I do recommend re activating it every three months if you aren't using it.

6. Bread machine vs. oven. Like I said, I am new to this baking thing and one of the reasons is that I am not a patient person.  I use the bread machine and have found that it works pretty good.  I don't get the holes in the bread like you would if you bake it but the taste is well.  The crust is also softer than if you bake it.  You will get a perfect loaf of sourdough if you do it the right way, in the oven.

7. Big no to salt. Never add salt to your original starter.

8.  When a recipe calls for sugar, most bakers use white sugar. With sourdough many other sweeteners can be substituted, including brown sugar, corn syrups, and honey.

9. One of the major advantages of doing your own baking is your ability to adjust the recipes to your own health standards.  Wheat, rye, high-fiber grains, oats are a few examples.  Oil may be substituted for butter.  Did you know that a slice of most home-baked sourdough bread contains no cholesterol and less than 150 calories?

10. Another great hint when working with other flours is the ratio.  With rye bread especially. Rye bread: if you use 25 percent rye flour and 75 percent white flour the bread will be quicker rise and leaven.  If you use 50 percent rye flour and 50 percent white flour this is when you get the best taste.  If you use 75 percent rye flour and 25 percent white flour you will get a very intense taste.  Also, when you are using rye flour there is a really different smell.  You will think that you might need to wash it but it is just the unusual smell of the rye and it activates faster.  Whole wheat Ffour; whole wheat flour can be substituted for white flour in most recipes.

11. I have two different converting yeasted recipes to sourdough recipes. Substitute a cup of starter for each package of yeast and then subtract about 1/2 cup of water and 3/4 cup of flour from the recipe to compensate for the water and flour in the starter.  You’ll probably want to play with the ratio between the water and flour and adjust the amount of culture to get the results you want but this is a good starting place.  Or if it calls for 2 tsp yeast, replace it with 1/2 to 1 cup active sourdough starter.

My best advice when it comes to sourdough is to play with it, experiment with it, and try things.

Sourdoughs are amazing things.  Each has its own personality and traits.  I have to laugh at mine sometimes because they react so different to the same treatment.  I had 3 out at one time and working with them.  One took off like a race horse out of the gate (Sourdoughs International's Original San Francisco).  Quick activation.  Fast leavening.  Just wow.  One was average (Sourdoughs International's Giza).  Just took the suggested time and amount of flour and water.  Was happy to be going along at an average speed.  My third one was being slow and moody (Sourdoughs International's Yukon).  It was stubborn to activate.  It wanted more attention.  Didn’t rise as fast.  But it was well worth the wait.

Play with your culture.  Try new things.  Try different flours.  The seasons can affect sourdoughs.  Some like more flour and water than others.  You don’t need to be precise.  Just try and see what works best for you.  This is why I suggest that when you first activate your culture that you split it and keep a back-up, in case you do something that can’t be reversed (which I have done).

By trying and experimenting, you might come across that amazing bread that no one else has ever come up with.  That is the fun in baking with sourdough.  The possibilities are endless.



4/9/2014

eggs1

This morning, a friend of mine shared a link to this page on Facebook.  I was intrigued by the premise - baking eggs to 'hard boil' them.  Even though we only have 4 hens laying, we have a backlog of eggs in the refrigerator waiting to be used, and I can only serve quiche for dinner so many times before the family starts complaining.  So, I decided to give it a try.  I am always wary of the 'miracle' posts on Facebook and Pinterest, but I figured if this failed miserably, the worst case scenario would be to feed the mess back to the chickens and be done with it.

I preheated the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and placed the eggs in a mini-muffin tin (my friend recommended laying them on their sides so the yolk would stay centered).  Then I popped them in and baked for 30 minutes.

eggs2

As soon as the timer went off, I plunged them into an ice water bath for 10 minutes to stop the cooking process. 

I was pleasantly surprised when I peeled one.  Perfectly cooked.

I enlisted the help of my 8 year old taste-tester (did I mention I don't like plain eggs of any kind?), who pronounced them 'really good'.

These are perfect to pop into school (or work) lunches, and this easy method ensures success.  If you have an excess of eggs, give it a try!  If you have your own chickens, you may want to use older eggs as I have found fresh eggs harder to peel.

eggs4



4/8/2014

ChevreCake1

Made from creamy chevre (fresh goat cheese) instead of the typical cream cheese, this surprising cheesecake is sure to please cheese lovers and dessert lovers alike.

The tanginess of the goat cheese is balanced by the incomparable sweetness of honey. Earthy vanilla bean and refreshing orange zest round out the flavor profile, while a crumbly, homemade graham-cracker crust provides the prefect contrast in texture.

Cooking the cheesecake in a water bath at a moderate temperature and allowing a slow and gentle cool-down in a turned-off oven help prevent the dreaded surface crack that wrecks the top of so many otherwise glorious cheesecakes.

I like to top mine off with a mini-mound of dark chocolate chips, but chocolate sauce, cajeta, or macerated berries would also make delightful toppings.

Fresh Chevre Cheesecake Recipe

7 oz graham crackers, preferably homemade
2 tbsp melted butter (plus extra butter for the pan)
2 tbsp brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
10.5 oz fresh goat cheese, room temperature (set on the counter for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours)
1 tsp orange freshly grated zest (be sure to avoid the white pith)
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs, room temperature
Dark chocolate chips for serving, if desired

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 6-inch spring-form pan. Wrap the pan tightly in a double-layer of aluminum foil, pressing the foil into place just underneath the lip of the pan so that the foil does not extend to the inside. Make sure your top oven rack is positioned in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the graham crackers in a food processor and process or pulse into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and brown sugar and process just to combine.

Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom and 2 to 3 inches up the sides of the prepared pan. Set aside.

 ChevreCake4

Using an electric stand mixer for best results, beat the fresh goat cheese, along with the orange zest and vanilla-bean seeds, until smooth. Add the honey and beat until smooth.

ChevreCake2

Add one egg at a time, beating well to incorporate after each. Don’t worry if the mixture looks just a bit curdled—this is normal.

Pour the goat-cheese mixture into the prepared crust, and place the pan in the center of a tall-sided roasting pan large enough to accommodate it. Use a pitcher to carefully pour enough warm water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the foil-wrapped pan, making sure not to splash water into the cheesecake. 

ChevreCake5

Carefully place the roasting pan in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes. Turn off the oven, and allow the cheesecake to remain in the oven as it cools, about two hours.

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven, lift the spring-form pan out of its water bath, and place on a dry kitchen towel. Before transferring the cheesecake to the fridge to cool completely and store, place a dry paper towel over the top to absorb any excess steam that may be released and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Chill at least one hour or until ready to serve (up to 5 days).

ChevreCake6

A mound of dark chocolate chips on top makes an excellent and hassle-free complement to this sweet and tangy twist on cheesecake. 

ChevreCake3



4/7/2014

whole grain breadHappy Spring everyone, where Spring has sprung! We’re still waiting. Yet, Easter is less than a month away, and hopefully the Easter Bunny can pick his way amongst the snow banks. I do have a number of important items for you, as in the coming future, you will be treated to my brand new website. This one will be local to the region I live in (eastern Ontario), but maybe it will encourage some of you to visit me, online and hopefully in person. I’d love to meet you. Lots of new items “on the menu” with new classes with new experiences. Lots more photos too, and interviews with local restaurateurs, shop owners, farmers, etc. Stay tuned for further updates.

On to the bread: This is a real twist on whole grain breads, a most unusual (to me) and delicious one. You’d have to call it bread made with spent grains. Let me explain. I had another one of my food adventures again, and one never knows quite where we will end up. We had lunch in a gorgeous new restaurant in Perth, ON, which featured a locally brewed beer. Bob (the other half) was feeling a little down after a trip to the dentist, so once we got back to the car, I thought, why don’t I try and find this brewery, the Perth Brewing Co. I had sort of an idea where it was, and we were off. Naturally, we did find it without any difficulty, and upon entering, met a gentleman named Terry. He provided a number of samples of brews, which were all excellent. Of course, we had to buy some. He was also surprised to learn that I blogged for MOTHER. He then told me he used to love the magazine, fell out of sync with his subscription, and thought MOTHER had gone out of business. I was most pleased to inform him that not only are they still in business, but in something like they’re 44th year!

Baking Bread With Brewing Grains

Terry then had a little gleam in his eye, after I passed his sensory test (taste and smell, what flavours can you pick out?). I told him why: I’m a baker. Scents like caramel and vanilla are basic for me. With that, he mentioned something about spent grains, and took me in the back to get me a sample. These are grains that have been used in the brewing process, mostly barley, but he said about 20% wheat as well. I took them home, thinking, start with an oatmeal bread recipe as that is most closely allied with a quantity of whole grains going in the mix. I found a basic oatmeal bread recipe, but it no longer exists in its original form. No recipe ever does with me. I subbed in the grains for the oatmeal, did away completely with the honey, maple flavouring, and brown sugar, and put in maple syrup. Too much I thought, but it was in there. 

It kneaded quite nicely, and baked beautifully. It had a very nice crumb, light brown in colour, but fortunately, after the amount of syrup I put in there, wasn’t too sweet, go see the photo. It was just right, with the chewy grains giving a little bit of heartiness to it. The cinnamon in it was an excellent touch. All in all, I’d have to say this would be great bread for a ham sandwich or toasting. Or just plain. Butter is optional. It’s been served with soup and salad, or toasted for breakfast. It’s not heavy or dense at all. Incidentally, if you don’t have access to spent grains, go back to the oatmeal, or perhaps barley flakes. Can’t speak to the latter, as I haven’t tried that. I’ll leave that up to you.

'Spent' Grains Bread Recipe

So without further adieu, here is the recipe:

About 2½ cups boiling water
1 to 1 ½ cups spent grains
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon instant yeast (I didn’t have any, traditional worked fine.)
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour
3 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour (more or less)

The method for this bread is different, but worked really well. You will need a fairly large bowl, because everything is mixed in the bowl, and the recipe makes 2 loaves at a time. Put the grains in the bowl, and add the boiling water. Add the butter, syrup, salt, and cinnamon. Stir. Let cool until nicely warm, otherwise, if you add the yeast now, it will kill it. The little beasties like warm but not too hot. 

Once cool, add your whole-wheat flour, the all purpose flour, and the yeast. Stir well. When combined, turn out onto a floured board and knead 5-7 minutes, until it comes together and is smooth. Grease another bowl twice the size of the dough, put dough in, turn to grease the dough and cover. Plastic wrap works, but in an upcoming blog, I will tell you about these great silicone covers you can buy. Voila! No more need for plastic wrap. Let rise for about an hour, until doubled. Punch down, knead briefly, divide in half, and place in 2 greased loaf pans; I used 8X4’s, but I also used some large ones, 9X5’s, and they worked well too. Let rise until the dough is above the rim of the pans, about ½ “ (for large) or 1” (for small). Bake in a 350 F oven for about 35 or 40 minutes. You can insert an instant read thermometer to test for doneness; it should be about 190 F.  (A new trick I’ve learned, very foolproof way of determining doneness.) They should be nicely browned on the top, and sound hollow when tapped. Cool a few minutes before turning out. Makes 2 loaves. 

PS: The aroma in your kitchen will be overwhelmingly fantastic!












Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.