Monday, January 28, 2019

Einkorn Wheat-the Most Ancient Grain

Einkorn wheat is higher in protein, phosphorus, potassium and beta carotene than modern wheat and, while lower in gluten forming potential, produced this melt-in-your mouth Challah bread.  Called "little spelt" in Italy and "little farro" in Germany, farmers in Washington state are now bringing back this drought tolerant wheat. 

This 100% whole wheat bread dough has less rise potential than those made with modern wheat and because there's less gluten, won't hold its' shape as well, so I used a rounded bread pan to produce the breads.  The recipe is based on one in Sue Becker's book with more flour than the modern wheat version.

Einkorn Challah

(2 medium loaves, about 8 servings each)

Heat milk and water to 125 F.
1/2 cup skim milk
3/4 cup water

In bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place, mix 1 cup flour, sugar and yeast.
1 cup einkorn wheat flour
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
Slowly add warm milk-water mixture to bowl.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl down midway.

Add 1/2 cup flour, eggs, salt and olive oil to bowl.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl down midway.
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup einkorn wheat flour

Turn mixer to low speed.  Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, kneading for 8-10 minutes until dough starts to form a ball.
3 1/2 cups einkorn wheat flour
Turn dough into greased bowl.  Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

Punch dough down.  Divide in half.  Turn 1/2 of dough out onto floured surface.  Dough will be very sticky.  Divide into 3 pieces and form each piece into a rope, about 10 inches long.  Roll in more flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking.  Braid 3 ropes together to form a loaf.  I moved the ropes into the greased bread pan for easier formation.

Repeat with remaining dough to form a second loaf.

Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
Brush each loaf with egg wash.
Egg Wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon water 
Sprinkle with seeds of choice.  (Mine has sesame and chia seeds).
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.



Sunday, January 20, 2019

Oat Flour Cake, Berries & Cream

Many of Alice Medrich's Flavor Flour Cakes are one layer sponge cakes, cut into halves or thirds for layers.  The ingredient list is quite small:  oat flour, eggs, sugar, salt and buttery stick.  I cut the sugar and salt in half.  I'm a real fan of desserts with fruit and who doesn't like strawberries? 

Oat Flour Cake with Berries & Cream

(Serves 8)

Line bottom of 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt buttery stick. 
3 tablespoon buttery stick

In a separate bowl, mix sugar into oat flour.
1 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon sugar

In bowl of electric mixer with whisk in place, beat eggs, sugar and salt at medium speed for 4 minutes.
4 eggs
4 tablespoon 1 teaspoon sugar
Dash of salt

Remove the bowl from the mixer.  Sift 1/3 of the flour into the eggs.  Fold with rubber spatula until almost blended.  Repeat with 1/2 the flour, then the remaining flour.  

Scrape 1/4 the batter into the hot butter. Fold until completely blended.

Add the buttery batter to the remaining batter and fold just until blended.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. 

Bake at 350 30 minutes.  Place pan on cooling rack.  
While still warm, run spatula around sides of pan, pressing against the outside.  
Remove sides of pan.  Turn cake layer over to remove parchment paper, then turn to right-side up.

Strawberries and Cream

Blend strawberries and sugar in mini food processor.
1/4 cup fresh strawberries
2 teaspoon sugar
Strain to remove excess liquid.

Slice cooled cake layer into 2 layers using serrated knife.
Spread blended strawberries on top of bottom layer.

Whip cream with extract and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer.
1 cup cream
2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Spread 2/3 of whipped cream over strawberry coated layer.
Top with sliced strawberries.
1 cup sliced strawberries.

Top with 2nd layer of cake.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Slice in 8 servings.
Top with remaining whipped cream and strawberry garnish.

Store leftovers in refrigerator.



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Polenta Parmigiana Cookies-A Real Treat!

Though not a consumer of much added sugar-I love my whole grains and a little sweetness every day.  These shortbread type cookies are made with roasted whole cornmeal.  The aroma of the flour alone is "to die for"!  This recipe originated in Food Network Magazine

Polenta Parmigiana Cookies

(40 Cookies)

Mix cornmeal, flours, pepper, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. 
3/4 cup whole roasted cornmeal
1/4 cup spelt or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

In bowl of electric mixer, beat together buttery stick and sugar.
1 buttery stick 
1/3 cup sugar

Beat in finely grated cheese and egg.
1/2 cup grated Parmigiana cheese
5 tablespoon beaten egg

Mix in flour until dough comes together.

With hands, form dough into a ball.  Divide dough in half.  Press each piece into a log with square sides, approximately 7 inches long and 1 inch wide.  Wrap each piece in plastic wrap.  Place in freezer for 45 minutes.

Remove 1 piece at a time from freezer.  Cut into slices, about 1/4 inch thick. 
In a small bowl, mix together sugar and pepper.
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Dip 1 side of each slice into sugar-pepper mixture.  Arrange squares sugar side up on parchment line baking sheet about 1 inch apart.  Bake at 350 F for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan on cooling rack.

Each of these cookies have less than 1 teaspoon of added sugar.  That's 4 grams.  The American Heart Association recommends that women limit their added sugar intake to 24 grams or less per day. 



Monday, January 14, 2019

100% Spelt Bread-100% Delicious!

Most sources recommend using only 25-50% spelt flour in bread and muffin recipes.  This recipe from Sue Becker uses only spelt flour in baking yeast bread.  Only the total amount of flour changes, increasing the total by 25-33%.  The resulting loaf was soft, with no tunnels.  I reduced the kneading time slightly.  The dough rose nicely and browned perfectly when baked.

Spelt Bread

(1 8 X 4 inch loaf pan-14 slices)

Mix 1 cup spelt flour and dry yeast in bowl of electric mixer.  Dissolve honey in warm water.  Slowly add to bowl of mixer.  With dough hook in place, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, stirring down sides of bowl.
1 cup freshly ground spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
3/4 cup 125F water
3 tablespoon honey

Add 1/2 cup spelt flour, egg, oil and salt.  Beat at medium speed 2 more minutes, stirring down sides of bowl.
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 egg
3 tablespoon 2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Reduce speed to low.  Slowly add additional flour, kneading after each addition for about 6 minutes.
1 1/2 cup spelt flour

Place dough in bowl greased with olive oil spray.  Turn to coat.  Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down.  Turn into greased loaf pan while shaping dough into the loaf.  Cover and let rise until almost double, about 45 minutes.

Bake in 350F oven 25 minutes. 




Saturday, January 12, 2019

Book Review: Party Cookbook

The Southern Living Party Cookbook is a remake of their 1972 Party Cookbook.  This one is subtitled "A Modern Guide to Gathering".  Author Elizabeth Heiskell includes the entire planning process, from menu and drinks to invitations, table settings, recipes and thank you notes.  There are beautiful full page photos of table settings, with the full view and close-ups.  The contents include coffees, cookouts, brunches and celebrations.  All include gorgeous invitations, menu cards or place cards. Suggestions I want to remember: 
  • Hostess gifts.  My favorite is a "breakfast nibble" to help with the morning after.  
  • Party rules:  There are "no return" on dishes.  If you take an item in a dish, don't expect to get it back.  
  • Know your guests food intolerances.  There is "no dish to die for".
  • Write charming thank you notes.  Don't be afraid to go over the top.

Recipes I tested include the two pictured above:  Beef Bourguignon and Potatoes Dauphinoise.  I added additional vegetables to the beef entree.  My potatoes were made with skim milk instead of whole.  I haven't purchased Swiss Cheeses for a while, and many of the recipes in this book are made with that-but I like the taste of Swiss Cheese, with less sodium and fat than most other cheeses.

My version of the Squash and Swiss Cheese Casserole included added vegetables and a little Ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt. It was delicious out of the oven and reheated the next day.

These Cheese Tomato Tartlets were absolutely delicious.  I made the dough (using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all purpose flour) one morning, refrigerated, cutout, filled and baked that evening.  The dough recipe made twice as much as the printed yield, though my version of the pastry was probably thinner.

I also tried the Swiss Fondue, which was not quite as "modern" to us seniors.  

It's winter here, so my Pasta Salad with Chicken became the hot version and the Tomato Relish and Marinated Vegetables will have to wait for warmer weather.

This book probably would have been more useful to me in my catering days.  The recipes are for 12-24 and I rarely prepare for that many these days.  There are many adult drink recipes-which all sound good-though I doubt I ever have a need for those.  

The recipes often include processed foods for the breads, like hot roll mix, Bisquick and hush puppy mix.  I'd make my own and include whole grains.  While there are some vegetables, they are often presented as garnishes and centerpieces.  Many recipes involve lots of preparation, like the heirloom herbed tomatoes (these look wonderful) where the cherry tomatoes are blanched and peeled. 

I love the quote that concludes the book:  "A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.  Just remember there's more than one way to tell it" 

Thank you Meredith Publishing for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of an enjoyable read and eating experience!