Cover Crops: Better Soil in a Month

Cover crops or green manures have improved soil for thousands of years. We look at what one month of growth provides in an average raised bed.

Dark Molasses-Oatmeal Bread

This yummy loaf is a little darker than regular oatmeal bread, due to the molasses, which also gives it some sweetness. Once again, I’m using home ground hard red wheat flour, which gives an indescribable flavor. No flour mill? No problem, just substitute regular whole wheat flour and all purpose white, respectively. The blend of whole wheat and white flour makes a lighter loaf than if made from 100% whole wheat.

Baking Sandwich Breads (and Pizza Crust) Using a Pre-Fermented Starter

European breads are frequently made with an overnight starter, called “Poolish” or “Biga”. A super-easy way of developing dough I learned from Peter Reinhart (author of The Bread Bakers Apprentice) has helped me to quickly put together some delicious, full-flavored sandwich breads. Here’s how.

Simple Whole-Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is my go-to recipe for making our weekly bread. It provides consistent, crusty results, uses only three (ish) ingredients, and takes about 40 minutes of active time. It’s also 100 percent whole-wheat/whole grain, which is the rule for bread in our house. Don’t be put off by the 7 hours of time required — most of that is passive time while you wait for your bread to rise.

Make the Best Oatmeal Cookies

My favorite, best cookie recipe just happens to actually be pretty healthy and a good choice for after-school snacks. I used to keep a tin in my office, available to anyone who hadn’t had time for lunch. They have enough protein, iron and whole grain to make them guilt-free. This recipe makes about 60 two-inch cookies that freeze well.

DIY Wheat Thresher

Reader Jenna Winkeller of Gilbert, Ariz., wrote to us about a homemade device that can make small-scale wheat cultivation far more efficient: a DIY wheat thresher crafted from just a bucket, drill and chain. Check out a video of it in action, and get instructions for assembling your own version of this wallet-friendly, timesaving tool.

The Emergence of Perennial Wheat

Interest in breeding a perennial version of wheat is once again on the rise. That would help reduce soil erosion, maintain soil cover, and cut back on fossil-fuel and chemical inputs.

Take a Tour of The Ozarks Mountain and Mill Country

Take a tour of the mills and mountains of the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas, home to some of the finest remaining historic gristmills that still exist in the U.S.A. Based on the popular Historic Ozarks Mills book created by award-winning photographer Mike McArthy. Hydropower's energy-producing capacity is getting well-deserved attention these days, and these old mills provide inspiration.

Back to the Old Grind(er)

One of our family treasures is an old iron mill. We had an opportunity to get the old mill out this fall and grind some beautiful wheat that we had been gifted with.

Help! I'm Allergic to Bread

The development of gluten intolerance persuaded me to investigate the possibility of an heirloom wheat flour that might not cause the gluten reaction of wheat-based products.

Summer of Turkeys

Recap of 2010 growing season in Northwest Pennsylvania