Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill

Step by Step: 7 Grain Crepes

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

Talk about a dish that intimidates me! I’ve never made crepes because they make me nervous, but I do like to eat them. With this easy step-by-step guide from our test kitchen, I might just have to give them a go so I can enjoy crepes in the comfort of my own kitchen (and pjs). I love that this recipe uses one of our whole grain pancake mixes, making me feel just a little less guilty about the indulgence.

Crepes, like many of the other recipes we’ve been sharing lately, can be sweet or savory. Fill sweet crepes with jam, fresh fruit, nutella, almond butter or just a simple butter and powdered sugar combination. Fill savory crepes with combinations of sauteed mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese, scrambled eggs and crumbled bacon.  The possibilities are endless. For a gluten free version, try these Quinoa Flour Crepes.

7 Grain Crepes (step-by-step)

Contributed by:  Sarah House for Bob’s Red Mill

  •  ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Organic 7 Grain Pancake Mix
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk

Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.

Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill

Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill

Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill
Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat an 8 – 10-inch crepe pan or non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat.

­­­­­Lightly butter or oil the pan.

Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill
Using ¼ cup of batter per crepe, pour one serving into the hot pan and immediately begin to tilt the pan and swirl the batter to evenly coat the base.

Crepes-7
Let cook until set, about 1 – 2 minutes.  The edges should easily release, indicating the crepe is ready to flip.

Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill
Using a thin spatula, tongs, or carefully using your fingers, flip the crepe over and continue to cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill
Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill
Turn the cooked crepe out onto a rack to cool while preparing the remaining crepes (repeat steps 2 – 4) or keep warm in a 200°F oven.

Step By Step Crepes | Bob's Red Mill
Spread with filling(s) of your choice and roll or fold into a wedge to serve.

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Puff Pastry F

Step-by-Step Gluten Free Puff Pastry

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

When we developed our Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix, gluten free puff pastry was a distant ship on the horizon. We knew it was possible, but had to chart our course, if you will. You see, you can’t just go buy gluten free puff pastry dough. That hasn’t stopped us from wanting to work with one, though. Puff pastry is a fun and delicious ingredient full of many possibilities. Our recipe expert, Sarah House, worked diligently for months before she came up with this version using our gluten free pie crust mix. We’re not going to beat around the bush here, this is time consuming. It is not, however, hard. It just takes a little patience and commitment. We promise, it’s worth it. This pastry comes out flaky, light and oh-so-buttery. Simply use the pastry as called for in your favorite recipes and create fanciful gluten free desserts and decadent appetizers.

Step By Step Gluten Free Puff Pastry | Bob's Red Mill

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

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

Prep Time: 60 minutes | Rest Time:  20 hours | Yield: approx. 36 oz

Ingredients

1. Cube 4 oz of cold butter and place in a large bowl with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix.

2. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until the mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal.

Puff Pastry Step 2
3. Add ice water as needed until the mixture forms a consistent and well-hydrated dough.

4. Form dough into a rectangle and wrap well in plastic wrap.  Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Puff Pastry Step 4

5. Meanwhile, shape the remaining 8 oz of butter into a wide, flat rectangle (about 5×8-inches).

Puff Pastry Step 5

6. Wrap in parchment paper, then tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

7. Remove dough and butter block from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature until butter is just soft enough that a fingertip can make a dent in it with moderate pressure.

8. Roll the unwrapped dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper to a square twice the size of the butter block.

Puff Pastry Step 8

9. Remove the top layer of plastic or parchment from the dough and unwrap the butter block.  Place the butter block in the center of the dough square.

Puff Pastry Step 9

10. Fold the top and bottom edges of the dough over the butter, then fold in the sides.

Puff Pastry Step 1011. Place the butter-filled dough in between two clean pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper.

Puff Pastry Step 11

12. Roll the dough into a long rectangle about 10 x 16-inches.

13. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Using the bottom layer of plastic wrap or parchment to assist in moving the dough, fold the bottom third of the dough up towards the center.

Puff Pastry Step 13

14. Fold the top third of the dough down to meet the bottom of the first fold.  This is one complete “fold.”

Puff Pastry Step 1415. Roll the dough into a long rectangle about 10 x 16-inches.  Repeat a second fold, wrap the dough securely in plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours.  Two folds have now been completed.  Repeat the double-folds three more times for a total of 8 folds, making sure to chill for at least 4 hours between each double-fold.

Puff Pastry Step 1516. The gluten free puff pastry is now ready to use.  Follow a specific recipe’s instructions for precise shaping and baking instructions.

Puff Pastry Step 16

 

 

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Jars of Grain F

Storing Whole Grains

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

If you asked Bob how to store whole grains, he’d tell you to buy an extra fridge. Put it next to your regular fridge and fill it with all of your whole grains. Most of us don’t have the ability to add an extra fridge into our lives. Even if someone gave me a free fridge and offered to pay the increase in my electrical bill, I couldn’t fit an second fridge into my kitchen. Excepting those who are able to have a fridge or freezer with spare room, the rest of us are stuck scratching our heads and hoping our grains will be fine. Here’s a rundown on where to store whole grains. I hope it will give you some insight and inspiration for your own kitchen and maybe frees up a little room in your freezer.

Whole Grain Storage | Bob's Red Mill

Whole grains are best kept in the fridge or freezer to prevent rancidity. True. They are. BUT, this is more important when a grain has been broken up in some way- be it milled into flour, cracked into cereal or flaked like oatmeal. Whole grains themselves (brown rice, wheat berries, quinoa, etc.) are more shelf stable that we think. Some of these grains can last many years without going rancid. That’s how nature made them. Most whole grains that have been broken up in some way will last up to two years, sometimes longer, without spoiling.

Here is a quick breakdown of where to store products.

  • Whole Grains (wheat berries, brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc) used once a month: room temp
  • Whole Grains used less than once a month: freezer
  • Dried Beans: room temp
  • Flour, Cereals, Cracked Grains used once a week: room temp
  • Flour, Cereals, Cracked Grains used less than once a month: fridge or freezer
  • Baking Mixes: room temp or fridge, do not freeze
  • Refined Grains, Flours and Cereals (white flour, white rice, etc): room temp
  • Items that should always be kept in the fridge or freezer: 
    • Almond Meal
    • Hazelnut Meal
    • Coconut Flour
    • Wheat Germ
    • Rice Bran
    • Flaxseed Meal (whole seeds are fine at room temp)
    • Hemp Seeds
    • Active Dry Yeast (do not freeze)

I recommend airtight containers for everything, but at the very least use airtight containers for things left at room temperature. Bugs love whole grains and nothing keeps a bug out quite like a mason jar. Plus, mason jars filled with whole grains and beans are very pretty and make a lovely addition to your decor. You can make your own labels like we did with the display above, or cut out labels from our bag and adhere them to your jars. At my house, I have these labels (below) that include basic cooking instructions. While I might have the recipe down pat, others in my house do not and I want to eliminate the “I didn’t know how to cook it” excuse, if you know what I mean.

quinoa

I hope this has been helpful. Do you have any insights from your kitchen on how to best store grains?

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Brownies1

Getting Enough Dietary Fiber on Your Low Carb Diet + Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies

by Carolyn Ketchum in Gluten Free, Health, Recipes

There are a great many misconceptions about low carb diets, and one of them is that they must be very low in dietary fiber. We all know fiber is good for us. It fills us up, keeps us regular, slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, and may contribute to heart and colon health. It’s pretty important stuff. Since low carb diets eschew many commonly accepted sources of fiber, such as whole grains and legumes, many people believe low carb diets to also be low fiber diets. And if they are low in fiber, it logically follows that they can’t possibly be good for us, right? Wrong. Don’t mind me if I just gently blow a few holes in that idea.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

First, let’s consider the best source of dietary fiber. It is not, as many people believe, whole grains and legumes but vegetables and fruits that give us the bulk of our daily fiber intake. Or at least it should be. It goes without saying that any healthy diet should include a variety of vegetables and fruit every day. We’re all supposed to be getting our 7 to 9 servings or more per day and that holds just as true on a low carb diet as it does on any other. And thankfully, the vast majority of vegetables, and some fruits as well, are both low in carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber. No matter what diet you follow, if you’re skimping on these foods, you’re cheating yourself of the best sources of fiber and other nutrients.

You might also be surprised to find that many of the low carb alternatives to whole grains have just as much as much or more fiber than their conventional counterparts. Nut meals typically contain 3 or 4 g per serving, which is as much fiber as a serving of whole wheat flour. Coconut flour varies between 5 and 10 g of fiber per serving, depending on the brand, and almost all of the carbohydrates in flax and chia seeds are from dietary fiber. Many low carb recipes also substitute veggies like cauliflower and zucchini for rice and pasta, increasing the fiber and nutrients of many dishes even further.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free| Bob's Red Mill

A great part of the confusion surrounding low carb diets comes from the misperception that they are high protein diets. They aren’t, or at least they shouldn’t be. Done correctly, a low carb diet should be low in carbs (obviously!) and high in fat, with moderate amounts of protein. I know the high fat part scares many people, but science is increasingly coming out in favor of the idea that fats, even saturated fats, are not the enemy. Admittedly, it’s still a bit of a hard sell, and with low carb diets being so misunderstood, they are easy to vilify. I get that; it was a hard sell for me too at first.

I recently read an article about two men, identical twins, who decided to put low carb versus low fat to the test. For a period of one month, one twin ate low carb and the other ate low fat. In the end, the twin on the low carb diet lost more weight, but says he felt sluggish, his breath stank and he was constipated. Well no wonder, since his version of low carb consisted solely of meat, fish, eggs and cheese. He didn’t do a low carb diet, he did a NO carb diet, eating zero fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds for a whole month. There was nary a gram of dietary fiber to be seen and I don’t know anyone who would advocate this kind of extreme dieting. Naturally, the article gained traction on many news outlets across the globe. Is it any wonder that with this kind of press, low carb diets are so misunderstood?

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

One more thing that should convince you how important fiber-rich foods are if you’re going low carb is that they count against your overall carb count. Fiber is indigestible and is not absorbed into the bloodstream. It has no effect on blood glucose levels and many countries don’t even consider it a carbohydrate in their nutritional labeling. The US lists it as a carbohydrate, however, and most low carb diets suggest calculating “net carbs” by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate. Bingo. Right there, you just ate less carbs than you thought you did.

I advocate eating a variety of fiber-rich foods on a low carb diet, as they will help you feel full, healthy and energized. With so many great sources of fiber available, there is simply no need to limit yourself to meat, fish, eggs and cheese. And why would you want to? You can enjoy an amazing variety of foods without blowing your low carb goals. And you’ll be much happier and more likely to stick with it.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies

  • ¾ cup Chia Seed Meal (about ½ cup whole seeds – I grind them in my coffee grinder)
  • ¾ cup Swerve Sweetener or other Erythritol
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 3 oz Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 4 large Eggs
  • ¼ cup strongly brewed Coffee
  • 2 oz Dark Chocolate Chunks (70 to 90% cacao)

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 9 square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, with some overhanging the sides for easy release. Grease parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together chia seed meal, sweetener, baking soda and salt.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate together, whisking until smooth.

Whisk in eggs (mixture may seize), then whisk in coffee. Stir in chia seed mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 15 to 16 minutes for a fudgier consistency or 18 to 20 for a cakier consistency.

Remove and let cool completely in pan.

Remove brownies from pan by grasping the overhanging parchment and lifting carefully. Cut into 16 squares.

Carolyn Ketchum | All Day I Dream About FoodCarolyn Ketchum is the writer, photographer and almond flour wizard behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low carb and gluten-free food blog. Her mission is to prove to the world that special diets need not be boring or restrictive and that healthy dishes can be just as good, or better, than their sugar and gluten-filled counterparts. It’s astonishing what you can do with a bag of almond flour, a stick of butter, and a willingness to experiment. Follow her on FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus and Pinterest for inspiring ideas for the low carb, gluten free lifestyle.

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Oatmeal

No-Mess Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats or Hot Cereal

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

Steel Cut Oats are wonderful ways to start your day, but they take time. With steel cut oats, you’re looking at 10 to 20 minutes on the stove top. It’s very hard to fit that into a busy morning, but we have good news! You can make steel cut oats while you sleep using your slow cooker and wake up to deliciously creamy breakfast. Honestly, I haven’t had oatmeal that was this creamy. There is something to be said for waking up and having breakfast ready for the whole family without having to lift a finger.

There are posts all over the internet for making slow cooker oatmeal, but no one mentions what a horrible mess it is to clean up! Maybe it’s a given than slow cookers make for a lot of clean up, but I was blissfully unaware of the mess that awaited after I tried my first batch.

Get Your Goat | Bob's Red Mill

It wasn’t a total nightmare and a good soak worked wonders, but I wanted to see if anything could be done to prevent the sticky mess. I am not interested in the slow cooker liners, though I am sure they work great. I read tips about using a water bath method (which looks like a great solution) and different ways to grease the crock pot. I tried a few different methods and this is what worked for me. This worked with oatmeal and with hot cereal. Slow cookers vary wildly in their settings and temperatures, so I am including two options below- the tried and true method and the no-mess method I devised for my particular slow cooker. My slow cooker has a warm setting for holding foods and it works perfectly (with no mess) if you start with boiling water and let it sit overnight. If you don’t have that setting (low is not the same setting), use the tried and true method and enjoy the creamiest oats you’ve ever had.

A note about using steel cut oats versus regular rolled oats or hot cereal. I tried these methods with our granular hot cereals (10 Grain, 7 Grain, Mighty Tasty, etc) and they work just fine using the same proportions of water to cereal. I did not try using a rolled oatmeal and cannot vouch that this will work the same way. 

Old School | Bob's Red Mill

No-Mess Method

  • 1 cup Steel Cut Oats or granular hot cereal of your choice
  • 4 cups boiling Water*
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)
  • Coconut Oil or Cooking Spray

Coat slow cooker bowl with coconut oil or cooking spray (butter will likely work, but I did not try it). Add 1 cup of oats or cereal of your choice, salt and 4 cups of boiling water. Set slow cooker to warm and allow to cook for 7-8 hours. When done, stir and top with your choice of toppings.

Tried and True Method

  • 1 cup Steel Cut Oats  or granular hot cereal of your choice
  • 4 cups Water*
  • Coconut Oil or Cooking Spray
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)

Coat slow cooker bowl with coconut oil or cooking spray (butter will likely work, but I did not try it). Add 1 cup of oats or cereal of your choice, 4 cups of water and salt. Set slow cooker to low and allow to cook for 7 hours. When done, stir and top with your choice of toppings.

*If you prefer, you can replace some of the water with milk. For the No-Mess method, do not boil the milk, but warm it until almost boiling.

Here are some fabulous recipes for creative slow cooker oatmeal:

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apple pie 1

Step-by-Step Pie Crust Guide (GF)

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

We’ve promised that our new Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix is really easy-as-pie and we’re going to prove it! Follow these step-by-step instructions for a perfect pie crust to hold your favorite filling. If this guide is not enough, check out this video for even more instruction. Got a question? Leave it in the comments and we’ll get back to you right away.

Step-by-Step Basic Instructions for Pie Crust

Step 1

Pour 1 bag gluten free pie crust mix into food processor or a bowl. Add 12 tbsp cold butter and 8 tbsp cold shortening, cut into pieces. (If you don’t have butter and shortening, use 20 tbsp of either.)  If using a food processor, pulse 10 times, 1 second per pulse, and then pour mixture into a bowl. If not using a food processor, cut in butter and shortening using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (1) Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (2)

Step 2

Sprinkle mixture with 6 tbsp ice water and mix until dough just comes together. Add up to 2 tbsp more water if needed.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (3) Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (4)

 Step 3

Divide dough in half; press and flatten into discs.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (5) Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (6)

Step 4

Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (7)

Step 5

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (8)Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (9)

Step 6

Remove top layer of plastic wrap.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (10)

Invert and press dough into a 9-inch pie pan.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (11) Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (12)

Remove plastic wrap.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (13)

Step 7a 

For single crust pies: Trim and flute edges. Add filling to pie shell.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (14)

Step 7b

For double crust pies: add filling to pie shell.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (15)

Roll second crust as instructed above. Remove top layer of plastic wrap; invert dough over filled crust. Remove plastic wrap.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (16)

Trim edges, press together and flute.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (17)Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (18)

Cut small slits in top crust.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (19)

Brush top crust lightly with milk or egg and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar (optional).

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (20)

Step 8

Bake according to your pie recipe’s directions. If not baking both crusts, save the extra dough by wrapping in plastic wrap, sealing in a plastic bag and storing in freezer. The day before using the dough, move it to the refrigerator. Remove from bag but keep keep it wrapped in plastic while defrosting.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide | Bob's Red Mill

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Homemade Corn Tortillas

Homemade Tortillas

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with homemade tortillas. These are ridiculously easy and absolutely worth it! The recipe is pretty simple- just corn flour, salt and water. For a step-by-step visual recipe, visit America’s Test Kitchen or watch the video below (thank you, YouTube.) Use these for tacos or simply serve the fresh tortillas with salsa and guacamole. ­Salud!

Homemade Corn Tortillas | Bob's Red Mill

Corn Tortillas

Directions

Step 1

Mix salt into the masa harina corn flour. Slowly pour the water into the dough to get a good consistency. The dough should be firm and springy when touched, not dry or sticky. Let rest for about an hour, covered.

Step 2

Preheat a griddle or flat surface. Divide the dough into 2 inch balls. Press dough between two pieces of waxed paper, or flatten according to a tortilla press directions. Place flatten dough on a hot griddle or flat surface and cook until the top of the tortilla starts to look cooked, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and heat for a few seconds.

Makes 12 – 6 inch tortillas.

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Coconut Flour

A Little More About Coconut Flour {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

What in Bob’s Red Mill Is Coconut Flour?

Do you ever hear some people talk about different kinds of flour, new seeds, or see a word on a menu that you have no idea what it really is? Sometimes when I walk into the “natural foods” section of the grocery store, I see things that look pretty cool, but sometimes just keep walking because I’m not sure what they are or how I’m supposed to use them. I just wonder “What in the world is that? And how am I supposed to use it?” When I heard about coconut flour, that was exactly how I felt, except for this time, with Bob’s help, I have done some research, experimented with some recipes, and feel like I know a little more about coconut flour. Hopefully I can share what I’ve learned with you so that you can add it to your shopping list and add a little healthy touch of coconut to your family’s diet instead of walking on by.Coconut Flour

What is coconut flour?

Coconut flour is a soft, flour like product made from the pulp of a coconut. It’s actually a by-product made during the coconut milk making process. When making coconut milk, you have to soak coconut meat. That pulp is then dried out and ground into this powdery flour.

What are the health benefits of coconut flour?

Many people look to coconut flour to help create gluten free baked goods. Gluten free is definitely a great reason to use coconut flour, but that’s not all it has to offer. Coconut flour is also extremely high in fiber with almost double the amount found in wheat bran. In just 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, there are 5 grams of fiber (20% of the recommended daily value) and 8 grams of carbs. Mayo Clinic says a diet with plenty of fiber can help keep you regular, help maintain weight, and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

How do you cook with coconut flour?

Cooking with coconut flour can be a little tricky. I have had a couple of recipes completely bomb. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s a super easy way to add nutrients and fiber to a ton of dishes. There are two things to keep in mind when working with coconut flour. Since it is so high in fiber, it requires a ton more moisture. There is also no equal substitution when working with coconut flour. You can usually substitute about 20% of the flour in a recipe for coconut flour and add at least 20% more liquid. My personal experience also says that when working with baked goods, you should also add about 3-5 eggs for every cup of coconut flour you are using. You can also add a tablespoon or two of coconut flour to sauces and gravies. It is a little clumpy so take your time when adding it in. Coconut flour has a naturally sweet flavor that can really add a nice little something extra to dishes.

Honestly, when you’re beginning to bring coconut flour into your cooking, stick to already established recipes. Once you start to get a little more comfortable, you can begin to experiment. I speak from experience… botched recipes can be costly and a little disheartening. Practice with some great recipes online first. You can even check out my first great coconut flour recipe success: Whole Wheat Coconut Blueberry Muffins.

Resources for More on Coconut Flour

-          Mayo Clinic article on benefits of high fiber diet

-          Nourished Kitchen: A great blog with tips on baking with coconut flour

-          Livestrong article on the benefits of coconut flour

-          Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour facts

-          Bob’s Red Mill Hangout on Google+: Tips for Baking with Coconut Flour

About Ashley – Ashley is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend working to navigate through the mysterious world of Mommyia. Read more about her adventures at Momicles and follow her @Momicles2010.

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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!

About The Author
Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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flour

Baking with Coconut Flour: Google Plus Hangout

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Whole Grains 101

Join us on March 27th at 12 pm (EST) for a chat about baking with coconut flour. Jeanette Chen, of Jeanette’s Healthy Living, will be discussing the ins and outs of this unique flour with several top food bloggers and our very own Sarah House. Come join the fun and ask questions (we’re also giving away some fun prizes)!

RSVP and get event info here.

If you’re not on Google Plus, it’s very easy to sign up- all you need is a Google account. If you can’t make it, we’ll post the complete hangout video after the chat.

About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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