focaccia plated F

Rosemary and Sea Salt Gluten Free Focaccia {Giveaway}

by Cassidy Stockton in Contests, Gluten Free, Recipes

The Warm Kitchen: Gluten Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love from Amy Fothergill of The Family Chef is a wonderful resource for the gluten free cook. Full of wonderful recipes with detailed step-by-step instructions, The Warm Kitchen is perfect for a seasoned gluten free cook or a beginner. Start your day with Amy’s gorgeous cinnamon rolls, then try her Thai peanut noodle salad for lunch and enjoy her drool-worthy chicken pot pie for dinner, but don’t forget dessert- Amy’s banana cupcakes are just the ticket! Each recipe is accompanied by beautiful photos and many helpful hints and tips for recreating what you see on the page. Plus, she has substitutions for making each recipe free from dairy and eggs, as well!

Honestly, I’m incredibly intimidated by baking focaccia, but Amy’s instructions are so well done that I would feel comfortable taking on this recipe. All of her recipes are like this. Clearly written with good explanations of what to expect. Amy has a background in the culinary arts and teaches cooking classes, so she knows how to get her point across so that you can produce delicious dishes that everyone in your family will enjoy.

Amy was kind enough to provide us with a signed copy of The Warm Kitchen to giveaway. We are going to pair the book with a package of each of the flours you will need to make her flour blend- Brown Rice Flour, Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Potato Starch and Millet Flour. Follow the prompts below to enter. We’ll select a winner at random from all who enter by 11:59 pm on 8/8/14. If you just can’t wait and want to purchase the book now, Amy has generously offered us this link where you can purchase a signed copy of the book for just $25.

Gluten Free Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia from The Warm Kitchen | Bob's Red Mill

Rosemary and Sea Salt Gluten-Free Focaccia

by Amy Fothergill, recipe from The Warm Kitchen cookbook

This is one of my favorite recipes for a delicious focaccia that tastes like the real thing. It’s also naturally casein-free. Make sure to read through the recipe first; the method depends upon the type of yeast which is used. It’s not hard but you do have to allow time for rising.

I personally like to use my flour blend to make this recipe (see how to make the mix below). If you have a pre-made flour blend that includes xanthan gum, you might need to add between ½ – 1 teaspoon additional gum.

For more detailed information on how to make gluten-free yeast products like bread, focaccia, and pizza, take a look at The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.

Makes a 13″ × 9″ pan

Liquid Ingredients

  • 2 large Eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Apple Cider or White Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Honey or Agave Nectar

Regular Yeast Ingredients

  • 3⁄4 cup warm Water, heated to 105°F-115°F
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons regular Active Dry Yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar for proofing yeast

Quick Rising Yeast Ingredients (do not add these together)

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons Quick Rising Yeast (1 packet)
  • 3/4 cup hot Water, heated to 120°F-130°F

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups Amy’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
  • ½ cup Sorghum Flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Xanthan Gum
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Sea or Kosher Salt

Topping

  • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh Rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
  • Optional:  thinly sliced Red Onion (about ¼ of a medium onion)
  1. Heat the oven to 200°F to get the oven warm. Turn the oven off after 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the liquid ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Regular Yeast: To proof the yeast, place the warm water in a glass measuring cup. Add yeast and sugar; stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it’s foamy and fragrant. While the yeast proofs, add the dry ingredients to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (not the dough hook). Using a whisk, mix the dry ingredients in the bowl or mix with the paddle. Turn the stand mixer on and add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and give it a few twirls. Add the yeast and water mixture. Proceed to step 4.
    Quick Rising Yeast: Add the dry ingredients, including the quick rising yeast, to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (not the dough hook). Using a whisk, mix the dry ingredients in the bowl. Turn the stand mixer on and add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and give it a few twirls. Add the hot water. Proceed to step 4.
  4. Raise speed to medium and mix for 2-3 minutes. You want the dough to look like stiff cake batter. It should spread to the sides of the bowl of the mixer and will be very sticky.
  5. Grease a 13″ × 9″ pan with olive oil.
  6. With a greased scoop or spatula, place dough into the pan. With either oiled hands or a spatula, spread the dough so it’s even. With your fingertips, make indentations over the dough.
  7. Place in the warm oven for 60 minutes for regular yeast or 20 minutes for quick rising yeast then remove. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  8. After the focaccia has risen, brush the top with olive oil. Top with fresh or dried rosemary and sprinkle with salt. Optionally add red onion.
  9. Place the focaccia in the oven and bake for about 18-22 minutes or until top begins to brown.
  10. Cut into pieces and enjoy.

Amy’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend

This is the flour blend that will hopefully change your life. It’s easy to mix, versatile, and can be a substitute for flour in almost any recipe. For baking, I do suggest you use a gum such as xanthan or guar. These can be found in most health or natural food stores.

Mix together and keep in an air-tight container:

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Almond Meal Bread | Bob's Red Mill

Almond Meal Bread

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Recipes

How does one enjoy bread while on a low carb diet? That’s a question we have been striving to answer. Our solution? This lovely Almond Meal Bread. It may look like a loaf of banana bread, but I assure you it’s definitely not banana bread. It has a lovely whole grain texture and savory flavor, despite being made from almond and coconut flour, perfect for sandwiches, toast or straight-up snacking. Yes, it uses a lot of eggs. That’s one of the trade-offs for leaving out the gluten and the starch in this recipe. It’s a great recipe for those looking to reduce their carb intake or are following the paleo diet… or just have a bag of almond meal lying around needing to be put to good use. Enjoy!

Almond Meal Bread | Bob's Red Mill

Almond Meal Bread

Contributed by:  Sarah House for Bob’s Red Mill Test Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time:  35 – 45 minutes | Yield: 12 servings | Total Carbs per serving: 8g, Net Carbs: 4g

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line an 8×4- or 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with pan spray.

Step 2

Whip eggs until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, sift together Bob’s Red Mill Natural Almond Meal, Coconut Flour, baking powder and salt.

Step 3

While the eggs are still whipping, slowly stream in the melted and cooled coconut oil.  Fold in the dry ingredients.

Step 4

Scoop batter into the prepared pan and smooth top.

Step 5

Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 – 45 minutes.

Step 6

Let cool completely before removing from the baking pan.

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Whole Wheat Flax Beer Bread from Fitzala | Bob's Red Mill

Whole Wheat Beer Bread with Flax {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

Hello Bob’s Red Mill blog readers! I’m Jenni, the personal trainer behind Fitzala. Today I’ll be sharing a great recipe for a hearty snack. Beer bread doesn’t rank high on most people’s list for healthy snacks, but this one is delicious and good for you.

Most beer bread recipes are high in sugar and fat, which isn’t the best for your health. This recipe uses flaxseed meal to keep the bread moist and replace the not so healthy fats. Flaxseed is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Another great aspect of healthy fats is that they provide a high level of satiety, making you feel more satisfied after eating.

Normal whole wheat flour can give baked goods a grainy, dense or overwhelming “wheaty” taste. You can fix this and still get the whole grain nutrients by substituting whole wheat pastry flour. It lends the lighter texture that most white flour baked goods have without sacrificing the fiber, vitamins and minerals that whole wheat flour lends.

With these two power ingredients, this bread is nutritious, satiating and sticks with you while you go about your busy day. The hoppy beer taste is just a bonus!

If you’re wary about using beer, take comfort in knowing that 75% of the alcohol bakes out. There’s not enough left in it to give you buzz of any kind, though I wouldn’t recommend using it if you are allergic to alcohol. You can substitute soda or seltzer water for beer, but I can’t guarantee the results and the taste will definitely differ.

Whole Wheat Flax Beer Bread from Fitzala | Bob's Red Mill

Whole Wheat Beer Bread with Flax

Yield: 15 slices

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ½ cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup (sugar-free is fine too)
  • 1- 12 oz bottle/can of Beer

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare a bread pan with grease or parchment.

Place the flour, flax, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl and whisk to combine.

Beat together the egg and maple syrup in another bowl then mix in the beer.

Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry and mix until just combined.

Place the bread mixture in your greased pan and bake for 40 minutes or until done.

Jenni Kenyon from FitzalaJenni is an NASM certified personal trainer and loves helping women find balance in health and exercise. She and her husband live in Central Washington and spend as much time as possible outdoors. Find her on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or G+.

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Birdspotter Recipe of the Week | Bob's Red Mill

Bird Seed Bread

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles

For the second year, we’ve teamed up with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to bring bird lovers the ultimate birding photo contest. Each week we’re giving away prizes and sharing some of our favorite recipes, perfect for fueling a healthy, happy day of watching birds. Check back here each week for a great recipe, and don’t forget to vote on your favorites and enter your own photos in BirdSpotter!

This is an easy way to enjoy freshly baked whole grain bread. I’m a novice bread baker and I’ve made this recipe successfully time and again. If you really want a 100% whole grain bread, I recommend this one. As it is, this recipe bakes up beautifully full of seedy goodness, sure to make your feathered friends envious. Serve this with a hot bowl of soup or slice for sandwiches, either way, you are sure to enjoy it.

Birdseed Bread | Bob's Red Mill

Birdseed Bread

Directions

Bread Machine:

Add ingredients to bread machine in the order recommended by the bread machine manufacturer and select basic bread cycle. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.

By Hand:

Add honey, yeast and warm water to a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt and seeds. Once yeast mixture has proofed, add oil to liquid, then flour mixture. Mix well and turn out onto flat surface and start kneading, adding flour as needed. Knead for about 5-8 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise for 45 minutes, or until double. Punch down loaf and form dough into loaf. Place in an oiled loaf pan. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until double. Bake at 375°F for 40-45 minutes.

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Cheddar Apple Bread | Bob's Red Mill

Cheddar Apple Bread

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Recipes

Apples and sharp cheddar cheese are a delightful pairing in this easy quick bread. If you don’t have our apple pieces on hand, most other dried apples will do- just skip the soaking step. Definitely still include the milk, but you won’t need to rehdryate them. Our apple pieces are crisp and delightful right out of the bag, but need a little softening for baked goods.

True to its name, this quick bread would be wonderful served as part of your Thanksgiving spread or sliced for a mid-morning snack. This recipe claims to make 12 servings, but don’t count on that, we learned at the mill that those “12” servings will go fast. I like the idea of playing around with the cheese, too, maybe make a loaf with sharp cheddar and another with a tangy blue cheese. Yum!

Cheddar Apple Bread | Bob's Red Mill

Cheddar Apple Bread

Contributed by:  Sarah House for Bob’s Red Mill Test Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time:  40 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

Step 1

Combine apple pieces and warm milk and let soak until soft, about 10 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F and oil an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.

Step 3

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Whisk together apples, milk and eggs.  Fold in dry ingredients along with 1 cup (88g) of cheddar cheese.

Step 4

Pour batter into the prepared pan and top with remaining ¼ cup (22g) cheese.

Step 5

Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Step 6

Let cool 30 minutes before serving.

 

Makes 12 servings.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Spiced Carrot Amaranth Bread

Meatless Mondays: Spiced Carrot Amaranth Bread

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Meatless Mondays, Recipes, Whole Grains 101

Quick breads are so simple and so comforting. This recipe blends warm spices like cinnamon and cloves with carrots, pecans and amaranth for an unusual, yet familiar feeling treat. Serve this bread warm from the oven with a cup of tea and some honey butter, or freeze a loaf for a ready-to-go housewarming or hostess gift. However you opt to enjoy it, this bread is a true delight.

Spiced Carrot Amaranth Bread

Spiced Carrot Amaranth Bread

Recipe by Michelle Abendschan of Je Mange la Ville

Makes 10-12 servings

  • Non-stick Cooking Spray
  • ¾ cup packed Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Molasses
  • ¼ cup low fat Buttermilk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp powdered Ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground Cloves
  • 1/4 cup Amaranth
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ cup melted Coconut Oil
  • 1-3/4 cup grated Carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9X5-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside. In a stand mixer, mix the sugar, molasses, buttermilk, vanilla and eggs.

Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Stir in the amaranth and salt. Add the flour-amaranth and melted coconut oil. Add a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides, if needed. Mix until just combined. Stir in carrot and pecans.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread the top out evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan about 15 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Bread Starters: Sour

Bread Starters Part Three: Natural Cultures

by Sarah House in Featured Articles, Recipes

We’ve prefermented.  We’ve baked.  We understand the basic concepts of yeast fermentation!  Now, it’s time for the grand poobah – natural cultures.

Natural cultures have unlimited life (you can keep them alive for practically forever with proper feedings).  You need only flour and water.  The only yeast used is that which is found in the surrounding environment.  It takes about a week to grow a starter and after that, it’s good to go!

There are several names for starters: sourdough, sour, levain, mother, chef, seed, etc., but they are all essentially the same thing.  Hydration amounts may differ but growing, sustaining and using starters follow the same steps.  Below is a recipe for building Bob’s Red Mill Basic Loose Wheat Sour.

Bread Starters: Sour

Building Your Sour

_____ Day 1  

Unbleached White Flour         3 oz

Whole Wheat Flour                 1 oz

Water (85°F)                           4 oz

Mix until combined in a large bowl; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.  *Use a clean non-reactive metal or glass bowl.  Only use plastic if it is clean and free of other odors.

_____ Day 2

Mix well and scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours. *This should look bubbly and smell “ripe”.  Discard if there is ever mold in the sour.

_____ Day 3

Unbleached White Flour         3 oz

Whole Wheat Flour                 1 oz

Water (85°F)                           4 oz

Sour                                         4 oz

Discard remaining 4 oz of sour (or give out to friends so they can grow their own).  Add flours and water and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours. *There will be quite a bit of waste when building a sour.  Unfortunately, this is necessary so the sour does not get too large to easily maintain or use.

_____ Day 4

Unbleached White Flour         2.25oz

Whole Wheat Flour                 .75 oz

Water (85°F)                           3 oz

Sour                                         6 oz

Discard remaining 6 oz of sour.  Add flours and water and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

_____ Day 5

Unbleached White Flour         4.5 oz

Whole Wheat Flour                 1.5 oz

Water (55°F)                           6 oz

Sour                                         3 oz

Discard remaining 9 oz of sour.  Mix water and 3 oz sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours. *Cooler water is used from now on to slow down fermentation and build flavor and acidity.

_____ Day 6

Unbleached White Flour         4.5 oz

Whole Wheat Flour                 1.5 oz

Water (55°F)                           6 oz

Sour                                         3 oz

Discard remaining 12 oz of sour.  Mix water and 3 oz sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

_____ Day 7

Unbleached White Flour         4.5 oz

Whole Wheat Flour                 1.5 oz

Water (55°F)                           6 oz

Sour                                         3 oz

Discard remaining 12 oz of sour.  Mix water and 3 oz sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

It is now time to decide if you want to use your sour within 24 hours or if it will be time to begin maintenance and storage.  If you are going to store your sour for use at a later date, decide if you want to store it at room temperature with daily feedings or in the refrigerator with monthly feedings.

Maintaining Your Sour   *Feedings eliminate over-fermentation (which occurs when yeast consumes all available food leaving it unable to leaven).

At room temperature

_____ Day 8 and on…

Unbleached White Flour         1.5 parts

Whole Wheat Flour                 0.5 parts

Water (55°F)                           2 parts

Sour                                         1 part

Discard remaining sour as often as needed – always keep at least 8 oz of sour.  Mix water and sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit a room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

In the refrigerator

_____ Day 8 and then once a week every three weeks…

Unbleached White Flour         1.5 parts

Whole Wheat Flour                 0.5 parts

Water (55°F)                           2 parts

Sour                                         1 part

Discard remaining sour as often as needed – always keep at least 8 oz of sour.  Mix water and sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover loosely with a lid and store in the refrigerator.  Feed the same ratio every three weeks.

Now you’ve built your healthy starter and you know how to keep it alive with regular feedings.  But what’s the point of all this work if you never get to enjoy the fruits of your labors?  Let your starter reach its full potential.  Let’s bake some bread!

  You

Yeah!  Oh, wait, hold up.  This starter has been stored in my fridge for the last two weeks.

 Me

Ooooh, um….

You

Are you trying to tell me I can’t just whip up a loaf of bread?

Me

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

You

Me

You need to wake it up a bit.  Give it some energy so it can make a great loaf of bread.  You just need to plan ahead a little.

That’s right folks, using a natural culture starter requires some planning.  At least 24 hours if it’s stored at room temperature but, if you store your starter in the fridge, you need to give it four days to gain enough strength to leaven a loaf of bread.  Starters are easy to grow and maintain but if you are not so adept at planning, this aspect may be a drawback.

Using Your Sour  *Plan ahead!

If you are storing your sour at room temperature, make sure to feed it 18 – 24 hours before you plan to bake.  If you are storing your sour in the refrigerator, remove at least half the amount you will be using from the refrigerator four days before baking.  Let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours then begin feeding it for three days before baking.

From here on out, we’ll be referring to ratios and parts.  1 part sour will be the amount of sour you will be starting with (if you follow the instructions below, it will be half the amount you will need for the final bread recipe).  Let’s say your recipe call for 8 oz of starter.  Begin with 4 oz; that will equal 1 part.  Therefore, 2 parts water will be 8 oz, 0.5 parts whole wheat flour will be 2 oz and 1.5 parts unbleached white flour will be 6 oz.  Got it?

At room temperature

_____ 1 Day Before Baking

Unbleached White Flour         1.5 parts

Whole Wheat Flour                 0.5 parts

Water (55°F)                           2 parts

Sour                                         1 part

Remove at least half the amount of sour you will need.  In a large bowl, mix water and sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

In the refrigerator

_____ 4 Days Before Baking

Remove at least half the amount of sour you will need.  Place it in a large clean ceramic, glass or metal bowl.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

_____ 3 Days Before Baking

Unbleached White Flour         1.5 parts

Whole Wheat Flour                 0.5 parts

Water (55°F)                           2 parts

Sour                                         1 part

Mix water and sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

_____ 2 Days Before Baking

Unbleached White Flour         1.5 parts

Whole Wheat Flour                 0.5 parts

Water (55°F)                           2 parts

Sour                                         1 part

Mix water and sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

_____ 1 Day Before Baking

Unbleached White Flour         1.5 parts

Whole Wheat Flour                 0.5 parts

Water (55°F)                           2 parts

Sour                                         1 part

Mix water and sour until dissolved.  Add the flours and mix well; scrape down sides.  Cover with cheesecloth or a clean towel and let sit at room temperature for 18 – 24 hours.

Bread Starters: Sour

That’s what I call a sour!

Baking Day!

Measure the amount of sour you need and follow your recipe as directed.

See?  Refreshing your starter is relatively painless!  And now you have a luscious, fragrant, deeply-flavored loaf of bread.  Totally worth it.

Can I make a gluten free starter?  Yes, just use gluten free flours and remember to include binder gums in the final bread dough.

Can I change of the flavor of my starter?  Yes, beer, buttermilk, yogurt, and fruit juice all provide new and unique flavors.

Will my bread really be that much better using a starter?  Yes.  Go ahead, make a loaf with starter and one without.  You’ll see.  I dare you.

Oh, and if you’re going out of town for awhile, you can always take your starter to the Sourdough Hotel.

Happy Baking!

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English Muffins

Bread Starters Part Two: Biga and Poolish

by Sarah House in Featured Articles, Recipes, Whole Grains 101

I hope everyone was able to try out one of the preferments discussed in the previous post (pâte fermentée or a sponge).  What did you notice about your bread?  Was it taller? Stronger?  Nicer crumb?  Fabulous!  Let’s move on to some preferments that offer a bit more flavor along with the great structural boosts they’re known for.

First up:  biga.  Biga is a traditional Italian preferment that is often used with super soft, highly hydrated doughs like ciabatta and focaccia.  This preferment’s ratio of 2 parts flour to 1 part water make for a very stiff mixture that can be hard to mix by hand.  After the initial mix, a biga will look rather useless.  But, give it a few hours and it will soften and hydrate.  You’ll know your biga is ripe and ready when the dough is domed and just beginning to recede in the center.  The best thing about bigas:  they offer a lot of flavor and many qualities of sours without the time commitment.

Biga

Prepare 8 – 24 hours before baking.

  • Flour                30% of total flour from bread recipe
  • Water              equal weight as 15% of total flour
  • Yeast               .8 – 1% of total yeast from bread recipe

Biga

 Now it’s time for my favorite in the preferment family (shhh, don’t tell the others):  poolish.  Poolish was originally used in Poland (hence the name) and is such a great preferment that it is one of the most widely used in French bakeries.  That’s right, French boulangers ditched their very own pâte fermentée to use a Polish poolish.  Why is it so popular?  Yes, yes, you’ll get great rise, crust and structure but you’ll also get a fabulous moist crumb with chewy texture and amazing flavor.  Oh, the flavor!  Sweet and tangy and just about perfection.

Poolish is the most hydrated preferment (1 part flour to 1 part water) and looks almost soupy.  This high hydration content is what creates the winning crumb and chew.  Ripeness is indicated when the surface is covered with small bubbles.  If the poolish has risen and then begun to recede (called a “high water mark”) its leavening power is shot.  Do over. And if you’re wondering what to make using a poolish, try this Whole Wheat English Muffins recipe.  They were a huge hit here at Bob’s and I ate three of them in about 20 minutes.  Seriously.

Whole Wheat English Muffins

Poolish

Prepare 4 – 24 hours before baking.

  • Flour                30% of total flour from bread recipe
  • Water              equal weight as 30% total flour
  • Yeast               .08 – 1% of total yeast from bread recipe

 

Poolish

 A word about measurements

You may have noticed that, so far, all of the formulas are using percentages and reference weight.  Why is that?  Because measuring by weight is far more accurate than measuring by volume.  If you are serious about baking and want to produce consistently excellent products, use a scale.  Treat yourself.  And your eaters.  Baker’s scales for home cooks are incredibly affordable (Bob’s Red Mill sells this one).  And with the ability to measure in American Standard or metric, you can make delicious recipes from those crazy countries that don’t use our ounces and pounds (which is everyone).

Stay tuned….next week we’ll be pulling out the big guns:  naturally cultured sourdough starters.

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Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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flour

National Flour Month: Wheat Flour Primer {Giveaway}

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

March is National Flour Month and flour is something we get pretty excited about at Bob’s Red Mill. After all, we make a lot of different products, but flour is special. Not only do we use our millstones to grind it, but we take a whole grain and mill it into a whole grain flour. Nothing added, nothing removed. One pound of grain in, one pound of flour out. It’s pretty simple, but pretty amazing, too. In honor of National Flour Month, we’re doing a little series on the different types of flour that we offer. Each week, we’ll giveaway a set of flours to a lucky winner. This week, we’re starting with the different varieties of wheat flour that we produce. If wheat flour isn’t your thing, don’t worry, we’ll cover our other flours all in good time.

millstone

Wheat flour is probably the single most ubiquitous flour in the world. It is in nearly every packaged food and baked good you look at, even those things that you never think about being baked at all. It’s in those pretty breads at the bakery, the flour tortillas at your local Mexican restaurant, the boxes of pasta you just bought, it’s the backbone of couscous, the thickener in sauces, the breading on your fish, really and truly, as anyone with gluten intolerance can tell you, wheat flour is everywhere. In a perfect world, everything made with wheat would be made with whole wheat flour, but we all know that the world isn’t perfect and that beautiful, fluffy pastries are best achieved with white flour. So we make the best choices we can and practice a bit of moderation.

Whole Wheat Flour: Standard whole wheat flour is milled from high protein, hard red spring wheat. This flour has a minimum protein level of 13.5% and is excellent for bread baking and anywhere yeast is used as the leavening agent (think pizza, pretzels, etc). Because it is whole grain, baked goods using solely whole wheat flour will be a bit more dense. Use a combination of 50% whole wheat and 50% white flour to create a balanced texture and crumb in your baked good. Adding vital wheat gluten to your baked good will improve the elasticity and rise of your dough (use 1 Tbsp per cup of flour).

whole wheat flour unbleached white flour

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: Whole Wheat Pastry Flour is milled from soft white wheat and has a maximum protein content of 13%. This is an excellent choice for baked goods that use baking soda or baking powder as a leavening agent. The lower gluten content does not trap air bubbles as effectively as conventional whole wheat flour, which will not give yeast-risen baked goods the proper rise they need. Use this flour for pastries, cookies, cakes and quick breads.

Hard White Whole Wheat Flour: This special flour is one of our favorite products at Bob’s Red Mill. Milled from high protein, hard white wheat, this flour is the best of both worlds. Light in color, yet full of whole grain goodness, hard white whole wheat flour has a sweeter flavor than conventional whole wheat flour, appealing to those that find whole wheat baked goods to be slightly bitter. It is ideal for bread baking, but can be used for other baked goods. Like regular whole wheat flour, it will make baked goods more dense, so it can be used in combination with white flour to achieve a lighter texture.

Unbleached White Flour: This is not to be confused with All Purpose Flour. Standard unbleached white flour is milled from the same hard red spring wheat as whole wheat flour, but has the germ and bran stripped away to produce a white flour. It has a minimum protein level of 13% and is often referred to as bread flour. This flour is ideal for breads and yeast-risen baked goods, but can be used in place of all purpose flour for most recipes. Read more about white flour here where we go into bleaching, bromating, enriching and more.

Unbleached White Pastry Flour: The refined counterpart of whole wheat pastry flour, this flour is milled from soft white wheat with the bran and germ removed. This flour has a maximum protein content of 9%, making it both the lowest protein wheat flour we carry and the most ideal for fine cake and pastry baking.

Semolina Flour: Semolina flour is the quintessential flour for pasta making and is milled from durum wheat. It has a sandy texture and contains about 12% protein, making it great for bread baking and pizza crust.

Graham Flour: Graham flour is quite simply a coarsely ground whole wheat flour. Milled from hard red spring wheat, graham flour can be used in place of whole wheat flour, however it should only be used for about 20% of the flour in your recipe or you will end up with a very dense baked good. Graham flour can be substituted for Whole Meal Flour with little difference in the texture of the baked good. Graham flour is not made from ground up graham crackers as some people believe, but it can be used to make graham crackers.

Unbleached White Flour

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Giveaway

We’d like to give one lucky reader a set of our whole wheat flours- organic whole wheat flour, organic hard white whole wheat flour and organic whole wheat pastry flour. To enter, simply follow the directions in the app below. We’ll pick a winner at random from all who enter by 12:01 am on 03/13/13.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Muffins4

Whole Wheat English Muffins

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Recipes

As promised, here is our recipe for Whole Wheat English Muffins. I had to try these out for myself before I shared them so I knew exactly what you were getting yourself into if you attempt these. First off, this recipe takes a serious time commitment. Second, this recipe is painfully easy to put together. With a little bit of planning, you can have fresh, chewy English muffins for breakfast one day (if you get up really, really early) and everyone will be so impressed with your baking skills.

Here’s what you need to know- the time commitment is primarily a matter of rising time. These babies start with a poolish that ferments overnight, then allowed to come to room temp for at least 3 hours. Then the dough is mixed and needs to rise for 45 minutes. The dough is folded and rises again for 15 minutes, then shaped into muffins and left to rise for a final 15 minutes… so maybe you have these more like noon (like we did at our house) or for dinner. While they are something akin to heaven straight from the oven, these are phenomenal the next day and the day after that. We didn’t have any make it past that to attest to their quality. I think my husband ate 3 of these straight from the oven. Fresh, they don’t even need butter to be amazing (but it certainly doesn’t hurt).English Muffins Whole Wheat

I’d consider myself a novice bread baker. Sure, I’ve made basic breads and pizza dough, but I was incredibly intimidated by this recipe. My advice to you: don’t be. It was easy to follow and, even when I flubbed a step, the results were divine.

A dab of butter, a slathering of jam, a smooth layer of peanut butter, a fried egg with a bit of cheese… whatever you opt to top these with will be worth it, I promise.

[A note about equipment and measurements. If you have them, English muffin rings are handy. If you don't, a big biscuit cutter or even just a dough knife will work. The rings helped to make that perfect "English muffin" shape, but they really wouldn't make or break the recipe. We've included household measurements here as a courtesy, but, as I'm learning a baking scale is a kitchen essential for serious bakers. Not only does it improve the outcome of your recipe when you weigh your ingredients, it makes you feel like a real baker! Scales are pretty affordable. We sell a good one, but you can also find quite a selection on Amazon, as well.]

Whole Wheat English Muffins

Recipe by Sarah House

Yield twelve 3 ½ oz muffins

Poolish

  • 6 ¾ oz Water (110°F)
  • ¼ tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 6 ¾ oz (1 ½ cups + 3 Tbsp) Unbleached White Flour

Bread Dough

  • 14 oz Warm Water (110°)
  • 1 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 13 ½ oz Poolish (entire recipe from above)
  • 1 oz Unsalted Butter
  • 15 ¼ oz (3 cups + 3 Tbsp) Unbleached White Flour
  • 5 oz (1 cup) Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • Semolina Flour as needed

Poolish

  1. In a large, non-reactive metal or glass bowl (only use plastic if it is clean and free of odors), proof yeast in water until “milky”, about 5 minutes.
  1. Add the flour and stir until a smooth, elastic batter has formed.
  1. Scrape down the sides and cover with plastic wrap; let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  1. (Optional) For the most sourdough-like flavor, transfer to the refrigerator and chill 8 – 24 hours. Skip step 5 if you do not refrigerate your poolish.
  1. Remove poolish from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 3 – 4 hours.  It should have tripled in volume.  Use within 4 hours, before it begins to deflate.

Bread Dough

  1. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let sit until the yeast looks “milky”, about 5 minutes then add the poolish.
  1. Meanwhile, combine the flours in a bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles sand.
  1. Add the sugar, salt and flour mixture to the yeast and mix until a dough forms (about 4 minutes on low with a dough hook), scraping down the sides of the bowl often.  Continue mixing until a wet and tacky dough has formed (about 2 additional minutes at medium speed).
  1. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat all sides and cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel.  Let rise until an indentation remains when lightly pressed with a fingertip, about 45 – 60 minutes.
  1. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and fold it into thirds like a letter.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until an indentation remains when lightly pressed with a fingertip, about 15 minutes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F (use of a baking stone is useful but not necessary).  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  1. Uncover the dough and lightly dust both sides with semolina flour.  Gently roll or pat out the dough to about ½-inch thickness (take care not to deflate the dough too much).  Using English muffin rings or a pastry/pizza wheel, punch or cut to the desired shape (about 3-inches wide).
  1. Place the muffins on one prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rest for 15 minutes.
  1. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Taking care not to crowd the pan, cook the muffins in batches until both sides are browned.  Place cooked muffins on clean prepared baking sheet.
  1. Bake muffins until the internal temperature reads 205°F, about 6 – 8 minutes.
  1. Remove from the hot baking sheet and let cool on a rack before slicing.
About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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