Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Word about Wheat.....

Bags of wheat! Buckets of wheat! Barrels of wheat! Bushels of wheat! Stored in the forgotten corners of your basement or garage!

Yes, you all know what I'm talking about.

Your food storage.

So....what do you do with it? Years ago my mother set out to answer that exact question, in an attempt to both use our food storage and create an inexpensive alternative to the whole grain bread we buy. It began with a manual hand grinder and about a million and a half bread-making experiments. Now we have two grinders, manual and electric, and we make our own whole wheat, preservative-free bread, bagels, cookies, cinnamon rolls, etc.

First a word about the type of wheat. There are different types of wheat, the most common being red, closely followed by white. We have found that white wheat works best as a replacement for white flour and can work in pastries and desserts without much change in texture and flavor (just make sure it's ground very fine). Red wheat tends to make baked goods heavier, but can be remedied by adding an extra egg in place of some of the liquid in a recipe.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes to get you started.

Never-fail Whole Wheat Bread

  • 1 egg at room temp. plus enough 80 degree water to equal 1 cup and 2 tablespoons
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (preferably white wheat)

Use bread machine or mix eggs & water, oil, honey, yeast, and water in one bowl, and flour and salt in another bowl. Let yeast sit for 5 minutes. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix together. Knead and then let rest 1 hr. Knead a 2nd time and let rise 1/2 hr. Punch down and let rise 15 min. Punch down and let rise 45 min. Preheat oven to 350. Put loaf in oven and turn oven off for the first 20 minutes. Turn oven back on for the last 15 minutes to let brown.

Our Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tblsp. yeast
Let stand. Scald:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
Mix above ingredients into 3 cups of flour. Add:
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tblsp. shortening
Add 5-6 cups whole wheat flour until you have soft dough. Let rise ‘til double. Roll out on floured board; spread w/melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins. Roll up and cut into 2” slices. Place into pan and let rise until double. Bake at 325 degrees. Check at 30 minutes--keep checking until center rolls are done.

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. margarine
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 to 2 Tblsp. water
Honey-Whole Wheat Bagels

  • 1 cup water (75 to 85 degrees)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp yeast
For bread machine: (makes 6 bagels) place ingredients in bread pan in following order: water, honey, bread flour, wheat flour salt. Make small indentation in flour and add yeast to indentation, making sure yeast does not come in contact with liquid. Start bread machine--set on “bagel” or “dough” program.
By hand: double recipe if desired. Measure water into a bowl. Add yeast and dissolve. Add honey to water mixture and stir. In a separate container mix flour and salt, and then add to water mixture, saving 1 cup to flour board and knead with. Stir flour into water and then turn out onto floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover with a cloth and let rise until double.

to finish: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. Divide dough into equal pieces (6 for 1 recipe, 12 for double recipe) Roll into a ball and poke a hole in the middle. Roll and shape into a bagel shape. Place on baking sheet. Let rise 20 min. Fill a large pan 3’’ deep with water, add 1/4 cup sugar and bring to a boil. Gently lift bagel from baking sheet and gently submerge in water, cooking 30 seconds on each side. Remove bagel to paper towels and let drain, then place on baking sheet. Bake 20-25 min until bagels are lightly browned and surface is shiny; remove from baking sheet to wire rack to cool. Serve with Honey-Walnut spread.

Honey-Walnut Spread
Mix one 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (reg. or light), softened, with 1 1/2 Tbsp honey. Add 3 Tbsp. walnuts. Chill

Happy Baking!