Hot Cereal 2

Hot Cereal: Thinking Outside the Bowl

by Sarah House in Whole Grains 101

Hot cereal is a great way to start your day, especially with the variety of styles available:  flakes, farinas, grits and meals.  The possibilities of whole grain goodness are almost endless.  But, have you ever thought about making something other than your usual hot pot of breakfast cereal for you and the family?  If not, then you should.  Hot cereals are so much more than just for breakfast.

Hot Cereal F

Our flakes and rolled cereals (think oats, barley, rye, spelt, triticale and wheat) are perfect candidates for home-made granolas, crisps, and cookies.  Try swapping out the usual rolled oats in your favorite fruit crisp topping or oatmeal cookie with barley or wheat.  If you want to take it a step further, try incorporating rolled flake cereals into biscuits or breads.  Since the cooking time (think “how long it takes for the flakes to hydrate and soften”) is relatively short for rolled flake cereals, they are great candidates for additions to quick cooking items like biscuits and scones and they work great mixed-in and sprinkled-on yeasted breads and rolls.  The texture and décor they provide when incorporated into a loaf of bread or sprinkled on the top of rolls is an excellent way to personalize a recipe.  I like to add up to ½ cup rolled flakes into my single loaf bread recipes.  As a topping décor, anywhere from 2 Tbsp to ¼ cup usually gets the job done.

bread w oats

If you are aiming for a muffin or bar with a more delicate and chewy texture, farinas, grits, and meals are what you are looking for.  The amount of liquid necessary to fully hydrate the cereal will vary depending on the particular grain (wheat, corn, rice, millet, buckwheat, and many, many blends) so make sure to take note of the liquid amounts recommended in the basic preparation instructions before making a final choice.  Adjust the liquids in your recipe accordingly (or try soaking and then draining the cereal before using) otherwise, you may find some crunchy bits in your baked goods!

Finely ground cereals like farinas, grits, and meals release more starch than flakes or larger grind cereals.  This extra starch will contribute to softer textures and increased chew and also works well as a binder.  Try using a starchy cereal like Brown Rice Farina in place of a panade in your next meatloaf or to help hold together a batch of veggie burgers.

When incorporating farinas, grits, and meals into baked breads, their small grind and subsequent starchiness can cause a significant effect on the crumb similar to flours.  Using this style of cereal to replace some flours as opposed to “in addition to” will produce a better loaf.  For satisfying texture and flavor, replace up to 20% of a recipe’s flour with cereal; anymore and you’ll be looking at a shorter, heavier, and dense loaf (which isn’t always a bad thing).

Now, let’s say you cooked a big pot of porridge for breakfast and there is still a fair amount left over in the pot.  Did you know…you can bake that leftover hot breakfast cereal into your next loaf of bread?  As if you were adding nuts or seeds to your bread dough, try adding some cooked flakes or granular cereals.  Start small, about ¼ cup per loaf.  Once you know what the outcome is, adjust the amount and type of cereal to your liking.  I won’t go into specifics here and instead direct you to the master artisan bakers at Tartine in San Francisco, in particular their book Tartine Book No. 3.  If you are serious about bread baking, this book and all their other bread books are a goldmine of information and creative inspiration.

If you are feeling totally overwhelmed by the myriad possibilities of incorporating cereals into your recipe repertoire, just step back and take a breather.  Cook up a pot of good old-fashioned hot cereal and choose one of our unique topping combos for any easy and impressive spruce-up.

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Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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Chia Seeds BRM

How-to Replace Eggs and Fat in Recipes with Flax and Chia

by Sarah House in Health, Recipes

When the calendar flips over to a new year, we are often driven to change things up for the better. Quit some things, start doing others, improve what we’re doing and do it better. More often than not, these changes often involve some tweak to the food you eat. Maybe it’s the excess of the holidays that drive us to want to eat healthier, but I think there is something about a new year that makes us want to be better than we were. A chance to start over.

If some major changes are underway for your diet (say you’re going vegan or cutting back on fat or cholesterol) seeds are an excellent substitute for many animal-based proteins commonly used in baking and can increase the nutritional value of your baked good. Simple, easy swaps for a healthier you.

Flax

Eggs are easily replaced with Flaxseed Meal or Chia Seeds, which is a great way to reduce cholesterol or transition towards a plant-based diet.  Use either of the substitutions below and, after they’ve had a chance to sit for 5 minutes, add the whole mixture just as you would the eggs in a recipe.  Just remember that seeds won’t provide leavening power like egg whites.  So, if your recipe is devoid of yeast or chemical leaven (baking powder or soda) or heavy on the eggs, try adding ¼ – ½ tsp of baking powder or soda to your recipe.

1 egg = 2 tsp Chia Seeds + ¼ cup water (let sit for 5 minutes)

1 egg = 1 Tbsp brown or golden Flaxseed Meal + 3 Tbsp water (let sit for 5 minutes)

If you are looking to cut back on fats, use the ratio of 3 parts Flaxseed Meal to replace 1 part fat.  Chia Seeds work, too, but in a slightly different ratio (explained below).  Now, you won’t want to replace ALL of the fat.  Fat is an important factor in flavor, mouthfeel, and helping you feel full.  You don’t want to eat three fat-free (but still sugary) cookies and feel unsatisfied when one cookie with at least half the fat would have done the trick!  So any time you plan on substituting fat, only sub half.

Chia seeds1 Tbsp fat = 3 Tbsp brown or golden Flaxseed Meal + 1 Tbsp Water (let sit for 5 minutes)

1 Tbsp fat = ½ tsp Chia Seeds + 1 Tbsp water (let sit for 15 minutes)

Yes, the volumes of these fat subs aren’t identical but the thickening abilities of the seeds even out with these amounts.  Substituting these seed mixtures for fat often causes baked goods to brown more rapidly and most success has been found with recipes which contain small amounts of fat such as muffins and pancakes.  You may want to experiment with reducing the baking temperature by 25°F and increasing the baking time.  If the crust starts to darken too fast, tent the top with tin foil.

One thing you don’t want to do is substitute BOTH the eggs and fat in a recipe with all seeds.  You will most definitely NOT end up with something close to what you were expecting.  Instead, use the seed swap for eggs and rely on other fat substitutes like applesauce or pureed banana, avocado or prunes.

If you’re happy with your egg and fat consumption, you can still incorporate seeds into your baked goods for some major health bonuses and some great new flavor and texture profiles!

Flaxseed Meal can replace 10 – 20% of the total flour in a recipe.  If you want more texture and opt for whole Flax Seeds, combine them with the liquid called for in the recipe and let the whole thing sit for 30 minutes first.  Baking with Flaxseed Meal can make the texture of an item chewier and sometimes a bit dry.  If you find that to be the case, add a bit of extra liquid next time.

Not only are Chia Seeds an excellent and more nutritious substitute for poppy seeds but they also act as a great food extender that lowers calories and doesn’t affect the flavor!  Use a ratio of one part chia seeds (you may grind them after measuring if you want) to nine parts water.  Let this mixture stand for 10 minutes and then use in your favorite soups, smoothies, dips or spreads.  The exact amount of gel to use depends on the specific recipe you are using so adjust to your liking.  This mixture keeps, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

Seeds are so much more than a last-minute garnish or muffin mix-in.  Alongside all the unique flavors and textures, Chia and Flax boost nutrition and spark tons of creativity in the kitchen.  Have fun!

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Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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5 {Easy} Ways to Add Flax to Your Diet

by Cassidy Stockton in Whole Grains 101

Flaxseed is considered to be a super food for two main reasons- it delivers quality plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and ground flaxseeds (as opposed to the oil) are a good source of dietary fiber. There are many other wonderful health properties that are attributed to flax, but we’re not doctors and you can read the claims elsewhere- like this great WebMD article. If you want to know more about flax, read our What is it? Wednesday post. I’m not really here today to tell why should include flax in your diet. No, I’m here to tell you just how easy it is to include flax. We’ll assume you already want to eat more flax.

5 {Easy} Ways to Add Flax to Your Diet | Bob's Red Mill
Here are five simple, easy and DELICIOUS ways to make sure you get a little more flax in your life.

1. Drink it down- version 1. Okay, this one might not be all that delicious, but I can tell you that it is a common practice in our office and you can see this method being used on any given day here because it’s easy and it gets the job done. Here’s what you do- pick your beverage of choice- we recommend water or juice and mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flax. Just mix it up and drink it down. Don’t let it sit too long or you’ll have a very thick drink. Yes, kind of unappealing, but if you just want to get it in, this is a quick and relatively painless way to do it.

2. Drink it down-version 2. This is my preferred method. Add flax to your smoothie. If you don’t have smoothies on the regular, it might be a fun way to mix up your breakfast routine. We put together 10 of our favorites in this post if you need some inspiration.

5 {Easy} Ways to Add Flax to Your Diet | Bob's Red Mill
3. Mix it with your oatmeal. Or any hot cereal really. Just add your flaxseed meal after you’re finished cooking. It adds a nutty flavor that won’t overpower the dish. If you like your hot cereals with sugar, you’ll probably never even notice the flax.

4. Add it to your baked goods. This is a great option for those of you who want to eat more flax, but don’t like the flavor and/or texture. Muffins (pictured below), quick breads, pancakes, brownies, cookies, bread- nearly anything can take a little flax without altering the flavor and texture of your baked good. To get started, I recommend following a tried and true recipe, like these Date and Apricot Muffins from Spiced or these Blueberry Banana Muffins from The Lemon Bowl. The only downside of eating flax this way is that you’re not guaranteed to get a full serving with each serving of the baked good. The upside is that you won’t notice the flax. Heck, your picky kid probably won’t notice the flax (although I’m convinced mine would notice if I breathe funny on his food). You can feel better about eating said baked good and know that you are getting the benefit of flaxseed. *You can also use flax to replace eggs. We’ll dive in deeper on this topic tomorrow.

5 {Easy} Ways to Add Flax to Your Diet | Bob's Red Mill

5. On Toast. This is a funny one that a customer recommended to me a long time ago and, once I tried it, I was hooked. It’s definitely my second favorite way to enjoy flax. Slather a piece of toast (although it could really work with any bread-like substance from muffins to pancakes), with honey, peanut butter, jam, whatever as long as it’s sweet and/or flavor masking, sprinkle flax on top, mix it in a little bit and chow down. A good multi-grain bread with peanut butter and honey is my go-to. The bread and the topping cover most of the flavor and texture.

That’s it. Five easy ways to get more flax in your diet. For recipes and inspiration, visit our recipe collection at bobsredmill.com or check out our Super Seeds board on Pinterest. Be sure to check back later in the week to find out how to use flax to replace eggs and fat in your baked goods.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Chocolate Chip Caramel Gooey Bars | Bob's Red Mill

Chocolate Chip Caramel Gooey Bars in a Jar

by Sarena Shasteen in Gluten Free, Recipes

I am a huge fan of giving homemade gifts for the holidays. It not only gives me the chance to share treats that I love, but also allows me the opportunity to personalize these gifts for whomever I’m giving them to. I like including a cute jar that can be used for other things with an easy to assemble recipe along with a platter to serve it on and a dish towel for a cute presentation. I try to come up with things I know work with the recipients decor or cooking personality. The recipe I’m sharing today is based on another family favorite around here. This is one of those recipes that I always get asked to bring to events and gatherings. I love how well it came together as a gift and it’s so easy to bake. The best part about these bars is that they are even better the second day. So, easy to make and they keep well, could you ask for more?

Chocolate Chip Caramel Gooey Bars | Bob's Red Mill

Now, about the bars…

Caramel, oatmeal, brown sugar and chocolate chips! Could you really go wrong? Not in this house! These Chocolate Chip Caramel Gooey Bars are layers of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with a rich dense caramel center. These bars are perfect treats for holiday gatherings since they bake up quickly, slice beautifully and will stay fresh for days (not that they will stick around that long).

Chocolate Chip Caramel Gooey Bars | Bob's Red Mill

Chocolate Chip Caramel Gooey Bars

Large Jar Ingredients

Small Jar Ingredients

Extra Ingredient

  • 1-1/2 cups cold Dairy Free Butter (EarthBalance)

To assemble the jars:

  • 1 – 10 cup jar
  • 1 – 2 cup jar

Combine 2 cups flour with baking soda and salt. Place in the large jar. Next layer the oats, then the brown sugar and then add the chocolate chips to the top.

In a bowl, combine the caramel sauce and the remaining 1/2 cup flour. Pour mixture into the small jar.

Chocolate Chip Caramel Gooey Bars | Bob's Red Mill

To Bake Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour mixture, oats, brown sugar chocolate chips.
  3. Cut in butter until crumbly. Set half aside for topping.
  4. Press the remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13 x 9 baking pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Drizzle caramel mixture over the top of the half baked layer. Spread mixture all over, but not to the edges.
  7. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
  8. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before cutting.

Sarena Shasteen: The Non Dairy QueenSarena Shasteen has been an avid health food and fitness enthusiast from an early age. She holds a degree in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta, a certification in Fitness Nutrition and is a certified Fitness Trainer from International Sport Science Association (ISSA). Becoming a Personal Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition has been a lifelong goal of hers. Sarena enjoys helping others reach their health goals by teaching them that health and fitness are not only achieved in the gym, but also through fun everyday activities. Now a food writer, recipe developer, personal chef,  Personal Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, she enjoys sharing with others that healthy living can be fun and delicious. Keep up with her at The Non Dairy Queen and on Facebook and Twitter.

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Sarena Shasteen Google: Sarena Shasteen
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Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Mix F

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Mix in a Jar (Low Carb)

by Carolyn Ketchum in Recipes

In this age of crazy consumerism, a handmade, homemade gift can set you apart from the store-bought crowd. Bonus points if your gift comes in cool, pretty and useful packaging. It may be ridiculously trendy to give things in Mason jars tied up with festive twine but that hardly detracts from the heartfelt nature of the gift. I love this trend and I am jumping on the bandwagon with a loud thud. Move over and make a little room for me, would you?

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Mix in a Jar | Bob's Red Mill

I love giving homemade baked goods during the holidays and I know they are always appreciated. But it can be tricky with the sort of gluten-free, sugar-free treats I like to make. In conventional goodies, sugar acts as something of a preservative, keeping them fresher for longer. Given the slightly more time-sensitive nature of some of my recipes, it can be better to give things as a mix and let the recipients have fun making them up on their own. Besides, then you can layer the ingredients prettily in a jar, tie them up with festive twine and feel like a homemade gift-giving rock star.

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Mix in a Jar | Bob's Red Mill

These chocolate hazelnut biscotti are a wonderful gift to give, either as a mix or fully baked. Made with Bob’s Red Mill hazelnut meal and whole dry roasted hazelnuts, they are naturally gluten-free and intensely chocolatey. They are healthy and wholesome but they don’t taste like it one little bit. Winning!

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Mix | Bob's Red Mill

All you have to do is grab a few quart-sized Mason jars, layer the ingredients, find a cute set of holiday printables for the labels and recipe cards and tie it all up with a pretty bow. I found that forming a cone with a large piece of paper was the easiest way to layer the ingredients with minimal mess. It also helped me pour the next ingredient in without disturbing the layer below it too much. And all your giftees need to do is add some oil and eggs and bake them up.

You may want to keep one of the mixes for yourself; these biscotti are that good. As long as you let them cool completely in the oven, they will crisp up nicely and are perfect for dunking in your morning coffee or afternoon tea. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Mix | Bob's Red Mill

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Mix 

In a medium bowl, whisk together hazelnut meal, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Pour about half of the mixture into the bottom of a quart-sized mason jar. This works best if you use a piece of paper to create a cone through which to pour the mixture. Remove the cone and shake the jar to even the layer out.

Next layer the cocoa powder through the cone. Even it out by gently shaking. Layer the sweetener in the same fashion, then the remaining hazelnut flour mixture. Finally layer the chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips.

Instructions for the recipe card:

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Mix
  • 6 tbsp melted butter or hazelnut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner. Transfer biscotti mix to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add butter or oil, egg and egg white and stir until dough comes together.
  2. Divide dough in half and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Shape into two low, flat rectangles about 4 inches by 8 inches. Bake 28 minutes or until slightly puffed and just set to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool 20 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 300F. Carefully cut into 1-inch slices and lay cut-side down on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes and then gently flip slices over. Turn off oven and let biscotti sit inside until oven is cool.

Makes 20 to 24 biscotti

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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Carolyn Ketchum Google: Carolyn Ketchum
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Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix-4

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix in a Jar

by Erin Clarke in Gluten Free, Recipes

Holiday shopping stresses me. I want my gifts to be more thoughtful than a gift card, but guaranteed to please the recipient.  After years of my sister privately asking me for gift receipts, I have finally found the holiday gift that’s a guaranteed hit: Homemade Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix in a Jar.

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix | Bob's Red Mill

A few things I love about Homemade Cookie Mix in a Jar for holiday giving:

  • It’s the right size
  • It’s the right color
  • It’s budget friendly, but still thoughtful
  • It can be easily customized to fit taste preferences and dietary needs

I originally set out to make regular (still fabulous) homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix, but then I became distracted by other tasty options winking at me in the pantry. The holidays are no time to be skimpy, so I loaded this homemade cookie mix with a combination of peanut butter, semi-sweet, and white chocolate chips.

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix in a Jar | Bob's Red Mill

You could also swap in chopped nuts, dried fruits, and even toasted coconut—just keep the total amount of mix-ins to 1 cup, or you’ll need a second jar.

This Homemade Triple Chip Cookie Mix can also be made completely gluten free. If dietary restrictions are a concern, use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats. As someone who is a bit hesitant to experiment with gluten free baking, these products have been a lifesaver. I simply swapped the gluten free flour for the all purpose flour (same for the oats) in my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, and the results where outstanding.

Flour and Oats

If dietary restrictions are not a concern, you can use the same amount of regular all-purpose flour (or even white whole wheat flour) and oats in the baking mix.

Once the ingredients are layered, tie the jar up as you please, then attach this handy recipe to the front. (Download a higher resolution version here.)

Printable

Now that we have the holiday shopping under control, only one serious cookie mix question remains: exactly how many minutes we after the cookie mix is opened before hinting at “testing” it out? I think 10 seems socially acceptable, don’t you?

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix in  Jar | Bob's Red Mill

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix in a Jar

Yield: about 30 cookies

For making the mix:

For baking the cookies:

  • Jar of Cookie Mix
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure Vanilla Extract

To make the mix: Combine the flour (gluten free mix or all-purpose) baking powder, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Place the flour mixture in 1-quart jar. Layer the brown sugar, granulated sugar, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and oats in the order listed, pressing firmly after each layer. Seal with lid and decorate with ribbon as desired. Attach recipe printable.

To bake the cookies: Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, egg, and vanilla until well blended. Add the cookie mix and mix well, breaking up any clumps.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each ball of dough. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden brown, rotating the pan’s positions halfway through. Remove from the oven, and let cool on a wire rack.

Store leftover cookies in an airtight container.

Erin Clarke

Erin Clarke is dedicated to wholesome food that tastes incredible. On her blog, Well Plated by Erin (www.wellplated.com), she shares approachable recipes for lightened-up comfort foods, healthier baked treats, and seasonal eating. She passionately believes that family dinner can be special without being complicated and that one need not sacrifice taste to enjoy a balanced diet. The Huffington Post named her as a “Best Food Blog for Eating on a Budget,” and her recipes have been featured on TODAY, Oprah, Parade, The Kitchn, and Cosmopolitan. She conducts televised cooking demonstrations and resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

When Erin’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find her out running, working on long overdue photo projects, and exploring Milwaukee’s local food scene. She owns far too many plaid shirts and is convinced that bourbon should be classified as a condiment.

Keep up with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus

 

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Erin Clarke Google: Erin Clarke
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Ciabatta Bread F

Baker’s Dozen: Essential Tips and Tricks for Baking Success

by Stephanie Wise in Featured Articles

In my five years of baking and blogging about bread, I’ve acquired a few bits of knowledge on the subject along the way. This doesn’t mean I don’t have oh-so-much more to learn – believe me, I do, as I am often reminded by a recipe fail – but thanks to these handy tips and tricks, I’m much better off than I used to be (sayonara, loaves of bricks!).

Because I want everyone in the whole world to know how to bake a good loaf of bread because there are few better things to bake and eat from scratch, in my opinion, I’m going to share some of those tips and tricks with you – a “baker’s dozen” of handy knowledge, if you will – along with a few delicious recipes from me and other Bob’s Red Mill bloggers that can help you get started!

  1. Know the difference between active dry and instant yeast. Instant yeast can be directly added to the dry ingredients in your recipe, while active dry yeast most often needs to be activated before it can be added to the remaining ingredients. To activate active dry yeast, dissolve the yeast in a bowl of warm water (sometimes with some sugar or honey, too) and let it sit until foamy. The amounts of these ingredients should be indicated in the recipe, for example, in this recipe for Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread with Caramelized Onions from The Roasted Root. Some people like using instant yeast because you can skip a step, but I prefer to use active dry yeast in most of my recipes so I know the yeast is fresh.
  2. Some flours cannot be substituted for another. Sometimes, yes, they can, but when you come across a situation when they can’t, you’ll know it. For instance, in my recipe for Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread, it’s best to use the ratio of all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour called for so you don’t end up with the aforementioned “brick loaf.” Whole wheat flour needs more water to absorb to yield the same result as all-purpose flour with less water, but even with some tweaking of the recipe, it doesn’t always work. That being said, I will sometimes substitute up to 75 percent of the all-purpose flour called for in a recipe with whole wheat flour, but no more. The same goes for bread vs. all-purpose flour – bread flour has a higher gluten content, so when a recipe calls for it, it’s probably because it will give the bread the extra shape and sturdiness it needs. In those cases, I often suggest just sticking with whatever the recipe calls for.

  3. Check the expiration dates. This is a big one, because I think many of our recipe failures can be attributed to it. So be sure you have the freshest ingredients on hand: Baking soda, baking powder, yeast, nuts and even whole wheat flour can all lose their oomph over time. I like to keep my flours in the fridge to extend their shelf lives, and on my jar of yeast (which I also refrigerate) I’ll write the date six months from when I’ve opened it, which is when it tends to lose its freshness.
  4. How to make your own ingredients. You’ve got the oven pre-heating. You’ve got the mixing bowls set out. And then you realize you’re missing a key ingredient. Raise your hand if you’ve been there! Yeah, me too. That’s when knowing how to make your own ingredients comes in handy. Here are a few examples:
  • Buttermilk: Combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a scant cup of milk for every cup of buttermilk you need for the recipe. Let it sit for five minutes.
  • Cake Flour: Remove 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour for every cup you need for the recipe and replace it with cornstarch. Sift the ingredients together about four or five times.
  • Bread Flour: Remove 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour for every cup you need for the recipe and replace it with gluten additive. Stir it in.
  • Homemade Butter: Savory Simple has a fantastic tutorial on how to make your own!
  1. How to halve ingredients in a recipe. There are times when a recipe makes a double batch, or I just don’t need all of those muffins or pancakes, so I’ll halve the recipe. That’s when this nifty guide comes in handy.
  2. Keep fruit from sinking to the bottom of baked goods. Easy-peasy: Give the berries or pieces of fruit a good toss in one or two tablespoons of the flour called for in the recipe, then add them to the batter. This isn’t necessary for yeast breads, as the dough is sturdy enough to hold up the fruit. Here’s a great recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal Bread from The Lemon Bowl to give it a try on.

  3. Less is more. If there is nothing else you take from this list, let this be the one mantra you keep with you for baking. It never fails me, especially when it comes to working with dough. The less you play with the dough after it’s fully kneaded, the better. The less flour you add to it to make it a smooth, soft, pliable, elastic, tacky (but not sticky) dough, the better. The less flour you sprinkle on a surface to knead or shape the dough, the better.
  4. Know when bread is fully kneaded. Solution: The windowpane test. Once you’ve kneaded your dough, remove a small piece of it and stretch it out between your fingers to a thin membrane. If the dough breaks, it needs a little more kneading. If it stays thin and translucent, it’s ready.
  5. Make dough rise really well. If it’s the cooler seasons (meaning, it’s sub-70 degrees in your kitchen), I’ve found this trick works well to helping dough proof better: Wrap a heating pad in a thin towel, turn it on low heat and set it on a counter. Place the dough, in a covered bowl or loaf pan, on top of the wrapped heating pad. The little bit of added heat from the pad will help the dough along. Don’t have a heating pad? Place the bowl or loaf pan in the microwave or oven, turned off.
  6. How to test when a dough is doubled. I’m a big fan of eyeballing it, but for extra accuracy, place a strip of tape on the side of the bowl to gauge when the dough is doubled, or, lightly press two fingers into the top of the risen dough. If the indentations remain, the dough has doubled.

  7. How to tell when a loaf is fully baked. Take the loaf out of the oven and give it a tap on the bottom with your fingernails. If it makes a good “thwacking” sound, like it’s almost hollow, it’s probably done. But to be extra sure, insert an instant-read thermometer in the bottom center. For regular yeast breads, 210°F to 220°F is ideal; if it’s an egg or milk-based yeast bread – like this recipe for Apple Honey Challah from The Law Student’s Wife – or has a few extra ingredients in it (like nuts or veggies), aim for 200°F to 210°F. This does not apply to quick breads.
  8. How to store yeast breads. Crusty loaves store well in a paper bag and soft, milk or egg-based enriched breads store well in an airtight container or plastic wrap. Both can be stored at room temperature for a day or two before they get stale, but I like to refrigerate my breads to extend their lives (this is a huge no-no to some because it can alter the flavor of the bread, but I’d rather keep my bread around for longer). If you want to freeze bread, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then foil.
  9. Have great baking resources at the ready. Bob’s Red Mill has oodles of resources, products and articles that will help you along on your baking journey!

StephanieStephanie is the baker/blogger/babbler behind the blog, Girl Versus Dough, where she writes about her adventures in bread baking and other tasty, unique recipes. Her approach is friendly yet inspiring, down-to-earth yet adventurous. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Elliott, her furry child-cat, Percy and a beautiful baby girl, Avery. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter

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Stephanie Wise Google: Stephanie Wise
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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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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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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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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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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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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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