Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Friday, January 30, 2009

Soaking Whole Wheat Flour and 100% Whole Wheat Bread

From www.thenourishinggourmet.com:

Why I soak my whole grains

Most all of us know the nutritional advantages of whole grain food verses refined flours. Whole grains retain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are vital to our well being. But what if I were to tell you that in all whole grains there are enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion and other natural substances that blocks you from absorbing all of those great minerals and vitamins?

Grains, that are not soaked, equal poor digestive worth, and blocked vitamins and minerals

Unfortunately, it’s true. But there is a solution!

It’s only been in more recent years that we have disregarded traditional methods of sprouting, soaking, and fermenting grains. Not understanding the importance, we slowly forgot these methods of preparation. But we now know better …

Phosphorus in the bran of whole grains is tied up in a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion. Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking, and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestive process in our own kitchens. Many people who are allergic to grains will tolerate them well when they are prepared according to these procedures. Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, Pg 25

Soaked grains equal better digestive worth and make vitamins and minerals available to absorb

For those who have had digestive trouble when eating whole grains, this could be part of the answer for you. For the rest of us, it will help make sure we don’t develop digestive issues and insure that we are able to fully utilize all of those vitamins and minerals we eat whole grains to get!

How do you do it?

It’s quite simple. You can soak grains like rice, millet, quinoa, wheat, 12 to 24 hours at room temperature in some water with 1-2 tablespoons of whey, lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir (this gives it an acidic medium which helps neutralize anti-nutrients). You can then rinse the grains to remove any acidic taste to them, and then cook in fresh water.

Back to me now...here's why I soak my grains. I got the mill for my 40th birthday. Many of my friends had been touting the great results and health benefits of freshly milled flour. However, my little boys would have diarrhea as well as chaff in their diapers after eating the bread. I was perplexed. Did my kids have a wheat allergy? I did a TON of research. My friends Erin and Julie turned me on to a book called _Nourishing Traditions_ , which I read while doing more research. It was this website that had really caught my attention. Then I found more and more about this and am really wondering why it is our society buys the "whole grain" hype when the "whole grain" hype is bad for you.

Ignorance is bliss, as Joseph Campbell says. Lest you think I only looked at one side of the phytic acid debate, I didn't. There is some good in phytic acid in that it can lower cholesterol levels and add in moderating depression because it myo0 Inositol, a B vitamin. Inositol is also available in MANY other foods and can be taken as a supplement. Note to those with depression - if you also suffer from ADD/ADHD, just know that high levels of Inositol can exacerbate your ADD/ADHD symptoms. However, I went to the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition to find that phytic acid does indeed inhibit mineral absoption. There are articles on both sides of the debate of soaking versus not soaking. All I can tell you is that my littlest started gaining weight AND the diarrhea went away for both boys after I started soaking.

On top of the problem with the wheat, my husband was reacting to the large quantities of yeast I needed to give proper rise to the loaves of bread. When I made bread from white flour and 1/2 a package of yeast or less, he didn't react. When I needed a package of yeast per loaf, it put him over the edge. So, it was my search for bread recipes requiring less yeast the led me to _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_.

So - here is my dilemma. I am having a hard time getting the hydration right when I try to soak my bread AND use the ABI5MAD method. I get great tasting bread that somewhat resembles a horta (sorry for the Star Trek reference).

This is James T. Kirk confronting the mother horta....

So, first the whole wheat recipe from ABI5MAD. Then, my pictures of my soaking process and the changes I've made to the recipe.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

From _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_

Makes three 1 1/2 lb loaves.

1 1/2 c. lukewarm water

1 1/2 c. lukewarm milk

1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 c. honey

5 Tbsp. neutral tasting oil

6 2/3 c. whole wheat flour

  1. Mix the yeast, salt, honey and oil with milk and water in a 5 qt. bowl.
  2. Mix in remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon or a stand mixer with a dough hook.
  3. Cover, not airtight and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough collapses; approximately 2-3 hours.
  4. The dough can be used after initial rise, although it is easier to handle when it is cold. Refrigerate in a lidded, not airtight container and use over the next 5 days.
  5. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3" non-stick loaf pan. Using wet hands, scoop out a cantaloupe sized handful of dough. Quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.
  6. Drop the loaf into the prepared pan. It should be slightly more than 1/2 full.
  7. Allow the dough to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flour the top of the loaf and slash.
  8. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a broiler pan on the bottom rack. IF you aren't using a stone, just preheat 5 minutes.
  9. Place the loaf on the rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the door. Bake 50-60 minutes or until deeply browned and firm.
  10. Allow to cook before slicing.

Soaking Whole Wheat Flour

Here are my pictures. I used 6 2/3 cups of freshly milled whole wheat flour, 3 cups warm water with an added 3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (to make acidulated water - needed to break down the phytic acid). When mixed, it resembles play dough in consistency. I cover it with plastic wrap, then the lid and allow it to sit 20-24 hours on the counter. You can go as little as 7, but I still see problems in the little boys' diapers with 7 hours. I go at least 20 hours.


From _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_

Makes three 1 1/2 lb loaves.


3 c. lukewarm water

3 Tbsp. cider vinegar

6 2/3 c. whole wheat flour

Stir until completely mixed. Cover with plastic wrap then a wet towel or air tight lid. Allow to sit in warm place for 7-24 hours. Then add:

1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

1/4 c. lukewarm water

1/2 c. honey

5 Tbsp. melted butter

1/4 c. vital wheat gluten

  1. You will need to mix this with your hands or a dough hook on a stand mixer.
  2. Cover, not airtight and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough collapses; approximately 2-3 hours.
  3. The dough can be used after initial rise, although it is easier to handle when it is cold. Refrigerate in a lidded, not airtight container and use over the next 5 days.
  4. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3" non-stick loaf pan. Using wet hands, scoop out a cantaloupe sized handful of dough. Quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.
  5. Drop the loaf into the prepared pan. It should be slightly more than 1/2 full.
  6. Allow the dough to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flour the top of the loaf and slash.
  7. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a broiler pan on the bottom rack. IF you aren't using a stone, just preheat 5 minutes.
  8. Place the loaf on the rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the door. Bake 50-60 minutes or until deeply browned and firm.
  9. Allow to cook before slicing.
ED. NOTE: You should really still soak commercially purchased whole wheat flour to increase it's digestibility.

Milling Wheat

I use Hard Red Spring Wheat. Hard wheat is suitable for bread, soft wheat is for pastry flour. Hard wheat has more protein content and more easily forms gluten, the stringy protein needed to catch the gas released by the activated yeast. Red Spring wheat is red wheat that has been planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. There is also white wheat which is genetically altered to produce a lighter flour.

The picture above shows my bucket of wheat berries. I buy 50lbs at a time and store the berries in a food grade bucket with a "gamma seal lid" that keeps out the oxygen. I filled the hopper of the Nutrimill FULL (about 11 - 12 cups of wheat berries). The third picture is my Nutrimill settings. Below you can see the hopper is almost empty. The last picture is the flour. It's soft and very smooth.

A couple of notes about freshly milled flour:
  • Because it has ALL the wheat parts, it is prone to oxidation and spoilage, so it needs to be stored in the freezer.
  • You can adjust the coarseness of the flour by adjusting the Nutrimill's controls.
  • 11-12 cups of wheat berries yields about 18-20 cups of flour. With the recipes found in _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_, each batch calls for about 6 1/2 cups of flour. So one milling would make about 3 buckets (each yielding three 1 1/2 lb loaves) full of 100% whole wheat bread.
In the next post, I'll be covering how I soak the flour along with some references why I feel it is an essential step. Many, many bread makers I know, even the professionals skip this step. I, personally feel you make no nutritional gains by using whole wheat without soaking it first, especially freshly milled wheat because of the phytic acid. More on that later (I promise I won't be on the soap box for long).

Milling Popcorn for Cornmeal

The bread technique I'm using requires cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking to the peel and baking stone. Here I have taken some regular popcorn and run it through the Nutrimill. It took about 1 minute. As you can see, it's a nice texture and beautiful yellow color. If you prefer white cornmeal, you can substitute white popcorn.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Look at what Julie did!!!!!

Aren't they beautiful? She made the boule using the master recipe (see Welcome to my blog) and the her beautiful cinnamon rolls out of the brioche dough. Yummy! I want to crawl into the screen and eat them!

We are talking about making these recipes more healthy. I must say, I am struggling trying to find a way to combine this method with soaking my flour. My next post will include details of my whole wheat escapades. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Do you think it's -2 degrees in New Orleans?

Of course not, but here in the frigid north we are still enjoying beignets. I went to New Orleans when I was about 10. We went to Cafe' du Mond for these delicious little fritters and I've never forgotten them. My mom would occasionally pull out the box of beignet mix at home. Even though they were from a box, they were still WONDERFUL. I had to walk away before I ate more than my fair share.

I used the Challah recipe from _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_. You can use the Brioche dough, also. I found the brioche a little over the edge with 8 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of butter (remember that is for 4 loaves). This only have 4 eggs and 1/2 cup of butter (for 4 loaves). Little Princess helped me mix up the dough last night before bed. I WAS going to make cinnamon rolls this morning. However, the dough was too sticky last night and they take an hour to rise. Everyone was hungry. These were ready in 30 minutes. The kids had yogurt and oatmeal while they waited, lest you think I only serve them doughnuts.

I need to go have something a little more nutritional now along with my cafe' au lait.

I'll be milling flour and cornmeal today. I'll post pictures of the process for those who don't have a home mill.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Breadmaking Class

Note added: You do not have to bring me a meal to learn to bake bread...sorry if that was implied! I just know some of you will be here and I'm offering to make it more convenient to you since you'll already be here!

Don't think that I, being told to slow down and put my feet up, would give up teaching. Of course, we're still homeschooling, but here's what I'm offering - a 20 minute class on how to make this bread I've been RAVING about lately. Seriously.

The Boss has okayed it. In fact, I know some of you plan to bring me a meal. Let me thank you by sending you home with bread, dough and instructions. I'm going to be desperate for friendly contact in the next couple of months and while I'm not on FULL bed rest, I would like to show you how to do this and I've done the curriculum plan.

It would only take me 20 minutes. Bring your kids because mine will be lonely. You will leave with a bucket of dough and a loaf of bread. Here's what we'll do:

  • We'll take your hot loaf out that will go home with you.
  • We'll mix up your bucket.
  • We'll form a loaf for my family's dinner AND I'll show you how to slip a loaf into the oven that has already been rising (which will stay here and be bread for my family as well).

I get two loaves out of the deal and you'll go home with one loaf cooked and enough dough for 4 more loaves ready to go. You have to bring your own bucket, though (or large container that will hold 5 Qts.) I will help you with the master dough, which uses white flour. The whole wheat is more complicated and I will probably take a short hiatus from making wheat bread, especially if I go on full bed rest.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

Here they are are. They are delicious. We made 24, but only needed about 14 (10 for the girls plus 4 more for lingering parents and siblings). So, we tried a few for breakfast. Little Man, Testy Tiger and Little Princess actually opted out after finding there were, GASP, dried fruit in them! Even though I put Grandma's Secret Butter Cream Frosting on them, they abstained.

The inside texture was lovely. I tried to capture it with my cell phone camera, but it didn't turn out well at all. So you'll just have to trust me.

Here's the recipe. I have to go panic clean. Hope you get to make these someday. I still have some dough left that will probably get frozen for the first Friday in Lent or Good Friday.

No Knead Hot Cross Bun Recipe

Adapted from the Panettone recipe from _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_

Makes 18 rolls (Can be doubled or cut in half)

In a 5 Qt. ice cream bucket or other large bowl combine:

¾ c. hot water

2 tsp. yeast

1 ½ tsp. salt

¼ c. honey

1 stick butter, melted and cooled

4 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

Mix well. Add:

1 c. dried fruit (raisins and currants are traditional – we used dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries)

3 ¼ c. all purpose flour measured by the scoop and level method

Stir into wet ingredients until flour is just combined. Allow to sit on counter, lightly covered with lid until doubled. Then, place in the refrigerator until ready to use. This recipe is best used when the dough is cold.

When ready to use, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle flour over top of dough and form into one nice ball, not by kneading, but by pulling and stretching the dough down to the bottom. Place on a floured work surface. Divide dough in half and cut each half again into thirds (6 pieces now). Divide each third into three pieces (to make 18 pieces). With floured hands, form into ball, again pulling and stretching the dough to the bottom. Place on a buttered or greased cookie sheet about 1” apart. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Allow to rise for at least 40 minutes, and up to 1 hour and 40 minutes. It's best if the buns don't feel cold to the touch anymore. It took 1 hour and 40 minutes at my house. Take off the plastic and using a serrated (one with teeth) knife, make two slices in the bun, forming a cross. Mix an egg white with 1 Tbsp. water using a fork. Brush egg wash over the buns. Place in oven and bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Before serving, fill in the cross with this icing:

Glaze (you can use this one or your favorite butter cream recipe)
1 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp milk

Put in a zip loc bag and snip a very small piece off the corner. This will make it easier to drizzle the icing over the buns.

Hot cross buns are typically eaten on Good Friday and during Lent

Stories abound about the origins of the Hot Cross Bun. Yet, the common thread throughout is the symbolism of the "cross" of icing which adorns the bun itself.

Some say that the origin of Hot Cross Buns dates back to the 12th century, when an Angelican monk was said to have placed the sign of the cross on the buns, to honor Good Friday, a Christian holiday also known as the Day of the Cross. Supposedly, this pastry was the only thing permitted to enter the mouths of the faithful on this holy day.

P.S. If you are in the Catholic Traditions Book Club you will get this recipe in the class packet.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ugly, delicious bread...

It's the kind that when you start to cut it, you can hear the crust crackling beneath the knife. Sturdy enough to not squash under the pressure of the blade, yet chewy on the inside with lots of holes in which the butter can collect. I am having a hard time making a pretty boule' loaf. Honestly? My family could care less. For this recipe go to my Welcome to my blog post.

Update on Wheat Bread and what we're making next

My wheat bread turned out tasting good, but it wasn't that great looking. I forgot to "cloak" the dough. That's really covering it in flour so the bread rises better. However, after a week in the fridge, it had developed a very strong yeasty, sourdough-like flavor. I do need to work on the hydration level, though. I do believe it was too wet a dough. That is, of course, because I didn't follow the recipe as written. I've made hundreds of loaves of bread (yes, really), so I took a chance. The next batch will follow the recipe a bit more. Stay tuned. If I have time, I will include the recipe later today.

Today, Little Woman and I are making hot cross buns for her Catholic Traditions Book Club. There is no recipe in the book for them, so we're adapting the panettone recipe, omitting the lemon extract and lemon zest, and adding cinnamon and nutmeg with dried berries. A little non-traditional, but I'm sure good.

I'm busy here trying to read the book _Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day_ from which all the bread recipes here are derived. I'm again, escaping the reality of my life. Books and cooking...all escapes. I really want to grasp the science behind this on things like: when to cloak the bread and when not (for pizza and flat breads you don't so it doesn't rise as much), adjusting the hydration based on the protein content of the flour, knowing how to adjust the recipes using soaked and freshly milled whole wheat, how to adjust baking time, oven temperatures for portion size (we're not a 1 lb loaf of bread family), when to add vital wheat gluten and if this dough needs absorbic acid. Eventually, I'd like to try sprouted grain bread, but I'm not there yet.

I'll post pictures of the buns...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One big snack treat we only have once in a while...

I was looking through my recipes on my computer and thought I'd include this:

Safe to eat - Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Yield: 12 servings

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Cream butter, and sugars together.
2. Blend in milk and vanilla.
3. Add flour and salt and mix well.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 210kcal; Protein 2g (4%); Total Fat 9g (14%)(Sat. 5g (27%)); Chol. 11mg (4%); Carb. 30g (10%); Fiber 2g (6%); Sugars 19g; Calcium 18mg (2%); Iron 1mg (7%)

I know...This is dessert and if you are pregnant and if you have sworn off eating anything with raw eggs, this is surely delightful, but certainly not something you should often. However, now that I look at the Nutritional Facts from my software, this is NOT that much worse than the Bisquick Muffins. So, what the heck. On Fat Tuesday, I might let the kids have this for breakfast instead. Or maybe not. You'll just have to tune in and see...

My quick Bisquick muffins

As you can see, people here can't wait for the muffins. Really. I mean, at least let me take a picture. This was not staged. I didn't say, "Hey, it would be really cute if you were taking a muffin off the plate." Tinkerdoodle helped himself when he found his mom busy.

This is a not so bad recipe. I say that as it is made with Bisquick, so it's really quick. I've done my best to make them better for you nutritionally by a few add ins:
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yield: 14 servings of 1 muffin

1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin - (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 c. coconut milk
2 Tbsp. chia seed meal mixed with 4 Tbsp. water
2 1/3 c. Bisquick
3/4 c. bittersweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with papers or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together chia seed mixture, sugar, pumpkin and coconut milk until smooth. Fold in Bisquick, flaxseed meal and chocolate chips. Scoop by ice cream scoop (1/4 cup) amounts into prepared muffin pan. Bake 15 minutes. Cool slightly, if the little people will wait.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 200kcal; Protein 3g (6%); Total Fat 10g (15%)(Sat. 6g (29%)); Chol. 16mg (5%); Carb. 25g (8%); Fiber 1g (5%); Sugars 13g; Calcium 44mg (4%); Iron 2mg (8%)

A pan of these often does not make it through the day. They are breakfast with yogurt or a glass of milk (for those that can have dairy) along with fruit. They are tea time snack and often dessert after dinner (if there are any left).

I'll be making bread tonight. I owe a friend a loaf or two for saving ice cream buckets for me. I also have a planning meeting here, so we're having bread as our snack. I want to try out making a wheat stalk loaf. I'll take pictures and comment tomorrow. Until then!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

For Julie - Chocolate Chip Muffins

I promised this recipe to Julie weeks ago. I hate to admit it, but I use a Bisquick version more often than this one. But when I have milled fresh soft whole wheat, I'll make these.
Here it is:

Chocolate Chip Muffins
from: The Glycemic Revolution Life Plan with my modifications

2 c. sifted whole wheat pastry flour that has soaked overnight in 1 c. buttermilk, covered with plastic wrap
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/3 c. dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 c. chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil or spray 12 muffin tray. Mix together all ingredients. Spoon by scant 1/4 c. full into muffin tray. Bake 25 minute or until cooked through.

Gumdrop Roses on Red Velvet Cupcakes

Little Woman had a Little Flowers meeting here today. 9:30. Now, that wouldn't have been a problem IF I had gotten to bed before 2:00AM and remembered to switch on the alarm (I set it, but forgot to turn it on). I woke up a 7:51AM in a panic. Breakfast to make...Children to feed and dress...Husband to wake (that can be the hardest on some days.)

Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

Good thing I put these in the fridge to rise overnight. I am not one for too much busy work. I used the last 3 lbs of dough to make 12 TEXAS sized cinnamon rolls. Yes, I know. Portion control ... NOT. I cut them in half to serve. I used a texas muffin pan, well greased. After rolling out the dough in 2 batches, I put 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon on each batch of dough. I rolled, sealed and cut each into 6 pieces. They slept in the fridge overnight.

I raced downstairs and I put on a pot of water to boil eggs and turned on the oven to 375 degrees and ran to get dressed. By the time I was dressed, the water was boiling and the oven hot. I put the eggs in to boil and slipped the pans into the oven for 20 minutes (a mite too long, based on the dark exterior).

Breakfast was served before 8:25. Now, not everyone was present and accounted for, but we got Husband out the door with 4 of the kids to other activities and the other Little Flowers started to arrive. This was the last of my brioche dough, by the way. Too rich for everyday. I will save it for special occasions. I just had to try it though. The next batch will be bagels.

Thank you Tegwin for the buckets. A loaf of bread will be coming your way.

Little Flowers Meeting

Our virtue was "Love of Neighbor", the color red and the flower was rose. Hence the special snack. The cake was a mix (sorry Grandma). The frosting was home made (leftovers were GREAT on the cinnamon rolls) and dairy free. The roses? Spice drops (six for the flower, two for the leaves) rolled flat with a rolling pin between wax paper. Roll one flattened drop into a tight roll. Add the rest around the outside, overlapping the petals. The girls could do it without a problem. You can too. Roll out the green for leaves and stretch the ends gently for a pointed leaf. They stick together without any help. Place on top of the frosted cupcakes and voila' - a beautiful snack (or birthday treat).

I'll keep you posted on how the bagels come out as I did change the recipe by using barley malt instead of sugar. Brugger's Bagels uses barley malt, and we LOVE their bagels at our house, but they are just too pricey (unless you go on Wednesdays or buy the leftover ones).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Beef, it's what' for dinner!

Beef Broccoli Stir-Fry

Category: Main dishes
Yield: 5 servings of 1 1/2 cups
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Source: La Choy web site plus my own enhancements

2 tablespoons vegetable oil - divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package (14 ounces) frozen broccoli florets
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 can (8 ounces) sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1 pound boneless beef sirloin - cut across grain into 2 x 1/2-inch strips
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet or wok over high heat. Cook and stir onion, mushrooms, broccoli, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts 4 minutes or until crisp and tender. Remove from skillet; set aside.

2. Pour remaining 1 tablespoon oil into skillet. Cook and stir beef about 2 minutes or until browned. Add garlic and stir for another 30 seconds. Add veggies back to skillet.

3. Whisk together soy sauce and brown sugar in small bowl. Add to skillet. Stir together cornstarch and water until smooth; add to skillet. Cook until heated through and sauce thickens.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 286kcal; Protein 24g (47%); Total Fat 10g (16%)(Sat. 2g (10%)); Chol. 55mg (18%); Carb. 26g (9%); Fiber 3g (13%); Sugars 11g; Calcium 37mg (4%); Iron 3mg (19%)

Exported from Shop'NCook Home 3.4.3 (http://www.shopncook.com)

Of course, you could leave out the mushrooms (Little Woman's wish), but who in their right mind would? Enjoy!

Recipes owed...

I owe Beth, Mom and Julie recipes, so I thought I'd direct them here.

For my older (but littler) sister Beth and my mom:

Ginger Vinaigrette Dressing

Category: Sauces & dressings
Yield: 12 servings of 2 Tbsp.

1/4 c. water
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. honey - (or equivalent amount of agave nectar)
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh ginger - (I used the stuff in a tube - sorry! I was in a hurry)
2 tsp. stone ground mustard

Add all ingredients to the blender except the oil. MIx well, then slowly add the oil to emulsify. I did add 1/4 tsp. of Guar Gum to hold the emulsification. I did not have to shake the dressing even a week after mixing.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 68kcal; Protein 0g (1%); Total Fat 5g (7%)(Sat. 0g (2%)); Chol. 0mg (0%); Carb. 6g (2%); Fiber 0g (0%); Sugars 6g; Calcium 3mg (0%); Iron 0mg (1%)

Exported from Shop'NCook Home 3.4.3 (http://www.shopncook.com)

For Julie (This is the way I made it when your daughter babysat - more like bread pudding than French Toast, if you ask me!):

Non-Dairy Baked French Toast

Category: Breakfast
Yield: 12 servings

1 (16-ounce) loaf French bread
8 eggs
2 (15-ounce) cans coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the bread into 1 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer in a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until blended. Whisk in the milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar and vanilla.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Dot with the butter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with maple syrup.

May be prepared 1 day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Bake, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes. The recipe may be divided into 2 equal portions and each portion baked in a quiche dish or 2-quart baking dish for 20 to 25 minutes.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 326kcal; Protein 9g (18%); Total Fat 21g (33%)(Sat. 16g (79%)); Chol. 146mg (49%); Carb. 26g (9%); Fiber 1g (4%); Sugars 5g; Calcium 59mg (6%); Iron 4mg (21%)

Exported from Shop'NCook Home 3.4.3 (http://www.shopncook.com)

For Julie, also:

Corn, Bean and Bulgar Salad

Category: Salad|Side dishes
Yield: 8 servings

1/2 c. bulgar
1 1/4 c. boiling water
2 cans corn
1 can kidney beans - (rinsed) * this is excellent with cannelloni, or black beans, too!
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup green onion
1/3 cup red pepper
1 T sugar
3 T lime juice
3 T cilantro
¼ t. salt
2 T oil
¼ t. hot pepper sauce

Pour boiling water over bulgar and wait 25 minutes. Drain. Add corn, beans, celery, onions and pepper. Combine sugar, lime juice, cilantro, salt, oil and hot pepper sauce in separate container. Stir or shake until emulsified. Pour over salad. Chill.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 218kcal; Protein 9g (18%); Total Fat 5g (8%)(Sat. 1g (3%)); Chol. 0mg (0%); Carb. 39g (13%); Fiber 10g (40%); Sugars 5g; Calcium 51mg (5%); Iron 3mg (17%)

Exported from Shop'NCook Home 3.4.3 (http://www.shopncook.com)

For Julie, also:

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Category: Side dishes
Yield: 12 servings of 1/2 cup each
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes - peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.
3. Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 97kcal; Protein 1g (3%); Total Fat 2g (3%)(Sat. 1g (6%)); Chol. 5mg (2%); Carb. 19g (6%); Fiber 3g (11%); Sugars 4g; Calcium 29mg (3%); Iron 1mg (3%)

Exported from Shop'NCook Home 3.4.3 (http://www.shopncook.com)

For Julie, too:

Marinated Flank Steak

Category: Meat
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 lb beef flank steak
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 clove garlic

Put all ingredients in a 1 gallon zip lock bag. I stick it in the freezer for later use OR will marinate for at least one hour.

Either grill or broil for about 7 minutes on each side. Let rest for 5 minutes, covered with foil so the juices settle down. The grain will be obvious (running length-wise). Slice against the grain on the oblique (at a diagonal).

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 487kcal; Protein 33g (65%); Total Fat 38g (58%)(Sat. 6g (32%)); Chol. 52mg (17%); Carb. 2g (1%); Fiber 0g (1%); Sugars 1g; Calcium 46mg (5%); Iron 3mg (16%)

Exported from Shop'NCook Home 3.4.3 (http://www.shopncook.com)

Julie, I still owe you the Low Glycemic Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe. A friend borrowed the cookbook and hasn't returned it yet (I won't name said friend here to avoid embarrassment.)

Homer Simpson would be proud!

It's bitterly cold here in Minnesota. My husband left for work this morning in -21 below zero weather. Thankfully there is not much of a wind. God bless "Warm Hands" hand warmers. He grabbed a pack on the way out the door with breakfast.

What was for breakfast you might ask? Doughnuts, made fresh from Brioche dough. OMG. I tell you. I've been told because of some of the "risk factors" of my pregnancy I am only supposed to gain 30 lbs. This is so not fair for two reasons. 1) I usually gain 40-60 lbs 2) She told me at my 20 week appointment when I had already gained 18 lbs! Not fair, not fair, not fair. Okay - I'm done having a little fit. I did have a couple of doughnuts. I can not eat doughnuts unless the are warm and right out of the cooker. It has to do with being hypnotized to loose weight back in 1994. I will spare you the image that comes to mind eating a cold doughnut. But, warm was a totally different story.

Back to the recipe. Remember the pictures yesterday? One was of my brioche dough. Literally all I had to do was get up, pour the oil in the pan and insert the thermometer. Turn on the oil and roll out the dough. My shapes were not very good because I do not own a round biscuit cutter. I have a scalloped shape round cutter in two sizes, so that is what I used. The dough sat on the pan for 15-20 minutes and then went into the 360 degree oil for just a few minutes. Then, after draining on paper towel for a minute, I rolled them in sugar. Just a note - you really need to flour everything well as this is an ooey, gooey dough.

Brioche dough (makes about 4 loaves)

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

8 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup honey (this is my all time favorite!)

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast, salt, eggs honey and melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour, using a spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours.

The dough can be used as soon as it is chilled. This dough is way too sticky to use after the initial rise, but once it is chilled it is very easy to handle. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. After that you can freeze the dough.

Little Princess is not awake yet, so the plate full in the picture is for her. Sleeping Beauty was not that lucky! My Testy Tiger helped me cut out the doughnuts, proving that even a 3 year old can do this. Tinkerdoodle (the almost 2 year old) moseyed a stool close to the counter and ate, and ate and ate. Maybe I finally found something to put some meat on his bones (or fat?) Little Man and Little Woman have eaten their share and there are still a few left that will be gone before 9:30, I'm sure.

Report on the whole wheat bread - I baked the bread at 450 degrees in a stone bread pan. I made the mistake of putting the bread pan on a heated baking stone. Unfortunately, the bottom of the bread did not cook as quickly as the top. It was rather dark on top, but light on the bottom. However, the reports form the food critics was that it was delicious. I'm making baguettes out of it tonight for a friend who was kind enough to offer ice cream buckets. We'll see if they are photogenic enough to include here. The pan of bread was not (and it's mostly gone anyway).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Here's a video of the authors of the book making a basic loaf.

Cookies for breakfast?

This is what we had for breakfast this morning...not bad, nutritionally and really yummy. Looking at the standard box of cereal, this has less sugar, more dietary fiber and less calories than a small bowl. (NOTE: for one kid, these were not quite sweet enough, so next time I might actually up the sugar a LITTLE. Also, 2/5 of my children want these plain, so I add the chocolate chips after I've made about a dozen, then add 2/3 c. chocolate chips.) Excuse the really seasoned stoneware. All my stoneware is really well used and very dark from use.

Oatmeal Flaxseed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 34 servings of 1 Cookie

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons sunbutter (you can use peanut butter)
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2-4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
3. Beat butter, sunbutter, and brown sugar well.
4. Add eggs and mix well.
5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
6. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
7. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
8. Stir in oats and chips.
9. Scoop onto baking sheet using a large sized Pampered Chef scoop (less than an ice cream scoop). Press down to flatten. They do not spread.
10. Bake for 12 minutes.
11. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 152kcal; Protein 3g (7%); Total Fat 7g (10%)(Sat. 3g (16%)); Chol. 20mg (7%); Carb. 20g (7%); Fiber 2g (6%); Sugars 9g; Calcium 15mg (1%); Iron 1mg (6%)

What the dough should look like...

It's wet, sticky, ooey, gooey. I have a hard time with the sticky stuff, but you put enough flour on it and you're fine, really. Here's my brioche dough, just mixed. This is my first batch of brioche which will be used for either doughnuts or sweet rolls. I will also make a classic loaf as well.

Here is what my 100% whole wheat dough looks like when fully risen and a peek at the inside. It has lots of "gas" that we don't want to destroy with kneading or lots of handling. I also soak my freshly milled whole wheat flour in acidulated water (water with acid). I have lots of friends baking with freshly milled flour out there. That's where I got the idea to do it. However, there are some health issues involved. Whole grains have phytic acid in the germ, husk, and whole grain. Phytic acid acts like a magnet in your digestive tract and grabs minerals like calcium, zinc and magnesium. It also can cause intestinal distress. My two little boys were having chronic diarrhea when I used freshly milled flour. Now that I soak it, it is no longer a problem. Also, I'm osteopenic and I would rather keep all the calcium I ingest, thank you very much! By soaking the whole grains in acidulated water, an enzymatic process takes place that breaks down most of the phytic acid and the enzymatic process actually makes the bread more nutritional. I recommend the book Nourishing Traditions and this website for more information. I thank my friends Erin and Julie for the help in finding a solution to this problem!

If you are wondering what brought me to this, here's the deal. My hubby seems to be reacting to yeast, so I went on a hunt for a recipe that doesn't use too much yeast. It's hard to rise whole wheat dough without a lot of yeast. This recipe has approximately 1/3 - 1/2 a tsp of yeast per loaf which is significantly lower than my normal 1 Tbsp per loaf. This is my first batch of 100% whole wheat and I will bake up some bread for dinner tonight. I broke my own rules and already altered the recipe because their recipe assumed you don't soak your grains.

Just a side note...the pictures are not great because they are taken with my cell phone camera. We have a great camera, but what is required to get the pictures off and to my computer requires much more work than my cell phone. Sorry for my laziness.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

I'm a homeschool mom - with 5 kids (pregnant with 6). We have a variety of food allergies in our family, so not much here is made from a package. One thing large families need to survive is bread. I love to bake bread. I will be blogging here about bread baking, cooking with allergies and sometimes just about life in general.

Before I go much farther, I must give credit where credit is due. Much of what I'm blogging about comes from this web site:
Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

I love to bake. It's my escape from the real world of home schooling, keeping my very busy house running and the outcome of my escape is usually pretty good.

If you think I'm doing this blog for you, you are mistaken. I am keeping my blog to record recipes I use, along with changes and remarks because I'm better at keeping them on line than anywhere in my house where paper or even a journal is up for grabs as a new marker board.

The impetus for this blog was really the discovery of a bread making method that is totally unconventional. It's from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Wow, what a concept! I'm on my third loaf today. Did I mention we have 5 very hungry kids and a pregnant momma?

I've taken some pictures of the baguettes (loaves 2 and 3). The first loaf was devoured before dinner. Bear with me as I figure more of this out...bread is a weird science, but, hey, Science was my favorite subject in school!

Here are the basic recipe rules:
2) Store prepared dough in fridge for up to 14 days, but don't wash the container before adding another batch...it improves the flavor, really.
3) You need a few tools: a baking stone, pizza peel, and 5 Qt. container (hence my plea for empty ice cream buckets).
4) Try the recipe the way it's written once before making modifications! This is not your usual bread recipe, so give it a chance. The key to this working is high hydration (very wet, sticky dough). Don't over flour it!
5) Keep the bread covered loosely in the fridge (not air tight).
6) Don't over work the dough (SEE # 1).

These are my very quick instructions on which I will elaborate as time permits:

Boule (Round ball of bread)

3 c. luke warm water 100-105 degrees

1 ½ Tbsp yeast

1 ½ Tbsp kosher salt

6 ½ c. all purpose flour

Add yeast and salt to water in a large bowl or Kitchen Aid mixer bowl. Add flour using dough hook until just incorporated. Transfer to a plastic 5qt bowl with a lid loosely covering the bowl. Let it rise at room temperature until it collapses on itself (approximately 2 hours). Put in fridge.

To bake:

Sprinkle pizza peel with cornmeal or whole wheat flour. Sprinkle surface of the dough with flour and pull off a grape fruit sized portion (about 1 lb) and cut with a serrated knife. Stretch and round the dough by pulling down to bottom in quarter turns. You need to do this as quickly and as gingerly as possible or you will deflate the dough. (NOTE: I can now shape a baguette in about 20 seconds, it just takes time to get used to the sticky dough). Allow dough to rest 40 minutes. About 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the middle rack and a empty broiler pan on the rack below. Before putting into the oven, brush surface with flour and slash dough with 1/4' cuts with a serrated knife.

Quickly jerk dough onto baking stone and add 1 cup hot tap water to broiler pan. Bake 30 minutes or until dark golden brown.

Dough is good in fridge for 2 weeks.

For a baguette, use whole wheat flour on peel and only bake for 20 minutes.

I'll add more tomorrow. Right now the freshly milled, whole wheat dough needs to be mixed before bed time.

Until tomorrow!