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Archive for the ‘Wheat’ Category

This recipe is the Featherpuff Bread from the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. I would never have thought to put cottage cheese in a bread recipe, but Laurel just raved about how light this bread turns out, which makes it ideal for cinnamon rolls. The thing I like best about this recipe is that the high protein from the milk, eggs, and cottage cheese makes me feel satisfied, but not heavy. And the kids don’t have a sugar high either.

Cinnamon Caramel Rolls

In the picture, our cinnamon rolls almost look like chocolate sticky buns, but that’s just our natural sweetener, rapadura. It tastes quite good, but it does look rather dark.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Caramel Rolls Platter

If you already bake with hard white wheat flour, you may not be impressed with this, but do you see the cinnamon roll near the top of this picture that looks like white bread is showing through underneath the caramel topping? That, my friends, is 100% whole wheat flour from Prairie Gold Hard White Wheat. If you have access to it, you definitely want to use that kind of wheat flour for these rolls. It makes a BIG difference, especially if you mill it yourself.

We start the dough before bedtime on Friday night using the full amount of yeast. The dough rises in the fridge, and it’s ready to roll out into cinnamon rolls for a special Saturday family breakfast.

One trick to making these rolls light is to roll them up loosely – they need room to rise!

1 recipe makes 2 9×13 pans of cinnamon rolls.

For the Dough

1 1/2 c. cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. warm water (for the cottage cheese mixture)
2 t. yeast
1/2 c. warm water (for the yeast)
5 c. Prairie Gold white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T. cold butter plus a little more for the bowl

  • Warm the cottage cheese gently in a saucepan. Remove form heat and mix in the eggs, honey and water, taking care that the cottage cheese is not so warm that it cooks the eggs.
  • Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. (The water should be about skin temperature, or slightly warmer.)
  • Mix the flour and salt thoroughly, making a well in them and adding the cottage cheese mixture and the yeast mixture. Mix to make a dough, and test for consistency, adding more water or flour if needed. The dough should be very soft. If it’s sticky, add just enough flour to keep it from sticking to the counter – not too much or the dough will get too tough to rise properly.
  • Knead by hand for about 15 minutes, or by machine for 8 minutes, adding the butter in pieces halfway through the kneading. Then place it in a large buttered bowl and cover it with a towel. Let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.

For the Rolls

1 stick of butter, melted
3/4 c. Rapadura whole organic cane sugar
2 T. cinnamon

  • In the morning, take the dough out of the bowl and cut it into two pieces. Dust a surface with flour and shape each piece of dough into a rectangle. Roll them out into large rectangles that are about 3/8″ – 1/2″ thick.
  • Brush half of the stick of melted butter on each rectangle.
  • Stir together the Rapadura and cinnamon. Using a spoon, sprinkle a thin layer of the mixture over each piece of dough.
  • Roll the dough up somewhat loosely – jelly roll style – and pinch the end to seal. Set aside while you make the caramel topping.

For the Caramel

1/4 c. honey
3 T. water
6 T. soft butter
3/4 c. Rapadura
1 1/2 c. pecans (optional)

  • To make the caramel topping, mix together the honey, water, soft butter and Rapadura. Spread the mixture in the bottom of two 9″ x 13″ pans. If you’re using pecans, sprinkle them over the caramel.
Putting It All Together
  • To slice the cinnamon rolls, take a length of strong thread or fishing line and tie the ends to two pencils. Slide the thread under one of your long rolls and cross the two pencils, pulling to cut the roll. In this way, cut each roll into about 12 pieces. Place the rolls on top of the caramel mixture and let them rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until they’re very soft.
  • When they’re about double in size, place the rolls in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Bake them for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • To serve, remove the rolls from the pan using a metal spatula and place them, caramel side up, on your serving dish. They are best served hot out of the oven.
  • Makes about 24 rolls.

Cinnamon Caramel Roll

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Some muffin recipes call for milk to make up most of the liquid. And that’s fine for those recipes. But this one is all about flavor since the apples themselves make up almost all of the liquid. If you use freshly ground soft white wheat flour, the muffins turn out light and soft, and baked in preheated stoneware pans, they’re heavenly.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

Soft White Wheat Flour With Cinnamon and Rapadura

Ingredients

3 or 4 fresh apples, or you can substitute 2-3 cups of applesauce
1/3 c. melted butter
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. soft white wheat flour (use freshly ground flour if possible)
1/2 c. Rapadura (whole organic cane sugar)
1 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 c. chopped walnuts

Apple Muffins in Stoneware Pans

Directions

  • In a blender (or you can do this by hand), blend together the bananas, melted butter, egg, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, rapadura, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and chopped walnuts.
  • Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and spoon into buttered muffin cups.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Variation: Apple Blueberry Muffins
Prepare as above except use 2 c. of applesauce instead of the bananas, and 1 c. blueberries instead of the nuts.

Over-ripe Mutsu Apples

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Homemade Soaked Wheat Thins

I packed these crackers on a winter trip to the north woods of Wisconsin, and we ate them with organic raw cheese and homemade raw jerky from a grass-fed steer. The butter I used in the crackers was deep yellow, in fact, raw too until the crackers were baked. To me, it was the most nourishing travel meal imaginable, because at the time, I was reading a book (Cure Tooth Decay, by Ramiel Nagel) that explains how to remineralize your teeth and reverse tooth decay by eating traditional foods, especially high quality, organic, yellow butter, soaked or sprouted whole grains, raw cheese, and grass fed meats.

This recipe comes straight from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, but it’s not a cracker recipe in the book. It’s actually the recipe for Yogurt Dough, which is used to make crusts for empanadas and even pizza. In somebody’s real food blog – sorry, I can’t remember whose it was – I read that this recipe produces crackers that taste a lot like Wheat Thins. And it does! It’s a simple recipe too, and best if you actually take the time to soak the flour. I use yogurt sometimes, but most often, kefir is what I have in the fridge, and I think I like it’s flavor best in the crackers. You can use either.

Soaking the flour in this recipe makes the crackers easier to digest and the minerals more available to your body because the phytic acid will be broken down. It’s best to soak the flour for 8-12 hours. Much longer than that, and they may become too sour. (Of course, if your kitchen is cooler, you may be able to get away with a longer soak time.)

Soaked Cracker Dough

Ingredients:

1 cup plain, whole yogurt or kefir
1/2 pound butter, softened,
3 1/2 cups freshly ground soft white wheat flour, or, if you can’t mill it yourself, use pre-milled whole wheat pastry flour
2 t. fine sea salt, plus more to sprinkle on top
unbleached flour for rolling out the dough

 

Soaking the Flour

In the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, the recipe calls for creaming the butter and yogurt together, but I’ve never had any luck with that method. Instead, I’d suggest that you mix the yogurt with half of the flour and half of the salt in one bowl, and mix the butter with the other half of the flour and salt in another bowl. Once you have two separate balls of dough, one with yogurt and the other with butter, combine the two together. I do it this way, sometimes it produces a cracker with pretty marbling.

Cover the dough and leave it at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

Rolled Out Cracker Dough

Rolling Out the Crackers

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Use a pastry cloth if you have one. Otherwise, just sprinkle some unbleached flour on the counter to keep the cracker dough from sticking. Roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. It’s nice to sprinkle salt on at this point and give the dough one more light rolling to press the salt in a bit. Or you can sprinkle it on later.

Either with a pizza cutter or a knife, cut out your crackers. Prick with a fork. Transfer them to an ungreased metal cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, checking now and then to be sure they don’t burn. They’re done when they’re golden brown on the edges.

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers

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Recently, my children and I have rediscovered the satisfaction of making homemade noodles using our hand crank pasta maker.  This is truly a group activity in our house, and well worth all the effort.  Someone feeds the dough through while someone else cranks, and three others stand at the ready to cut the noodles or better yet, help lift the four-foot noodles out of the machine to dry on the counter.

It is totally possible to make noodles without a pasta maker, perhaps even preferable.  The noodles will be thicker since hand-rolling doesn’t produce nearly as thin a dough as a machine can, and consequently pleasantly chewy.

Right now, we’re using a mixture of half soft white wheat flour and half unbleached.  I fully intend to figure out a healthier alternative with 100% whole wheat, someday. (My attempts so far have resulted in a dough that tears and breaks before I can get it rolled out.)   But even if I never get around to it, these are certainly better for you than store-bought white spaghetti, and much tastier!

Mix the dough:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup eggs (about 4), lightly beaten

1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine the flours and salt in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and olive oil.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg mixture all at once.  Stir to combine as much as you can, then knead the rest in with your hands – it should be a pretty stiff dough, but still soft enough to squeeze without straining.

At this point, I divide the dough ball into halves and work with one at a time.  Place a damp towel or an inverted bowl over the second half of dough so that it doesn’t dry out.

To make the noodles without a pasta maker:

Generously flour your counter top.

Using a rolling pin, roll the noodle dough out into as thin a rectangle as possible.  Then, starting from one long end, roll the dough up jelly-roll style.  Slice the dough into 1/4 inch slices and unroll each noodle.  You can toss them into a pot of boiling water or soup right away or dry them to use later.

One good way to dry the noodles is to set a broomstick between two chair backs  and hang the noodles over the broomstick.  Another simple method is to lay them out on a counter, being careful to keep the noodles from touching each other too much or they’ll stick together.  Once they’re dry, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.  If you plan to store them longer than that, it’s best to put them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Here’s how to make the noodles in a pasta machine like mine:

Flatten the dough with your hands and lightly flour it on both sides.  Set the machine to the first (or widest) setting and push the dough through.  Most of the time, the dough rips quite a bit the first time through.  Just assemble it back together and put it through the first setting again.  After the second or third time through, your dough should start to resemble a sheet, even if it does have holes and tears in it.  Flour it on both sides again if it has gotten the least bit sticky, fold it, and put it through the first setting again.  Repeat this until you have a nice smooth sheet of dough.

Set the machine to the second setting; roll the dough through.  It is important to flour both sides of the dough whenever necessary to keep it from sticking to the rollers – they’re difficult to clean.

Roll the dough through the third, fourth, and fifth settings.   On my machine, this is as thin as we like our noodles to be. Keep narrowing the rollers until the dough is as thin as you like.

Move the crank over to the noodle cutter, and pass the dough through.  If you plan to dry your noodles, it’s easiest to make them very long.  Otherwise, cut them about 10 inches long as they come out of the cutter.

Toss directly into boiling water or soup, taking care not to let them stick together.

Makes enough for a very noodly pot of soup or a main dish for 6 people.

(Give me a little while and I’ll get some pictures posted.)

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