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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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Coconut Flour

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, What is it? Wednesday

We are very excited to bring you What is it? Wednesdays! Every other Wednesday, we’ll explore a different ingredient or product in depth. We’ll be covering the benefits, uses and common misconceptions about each. If you have any requests, leave them in the comments and we’ll work them into the schedule. 

***

Coconut is all the rage these days—coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut sugar—if it has coconut in it, it must be good for you. For the most part that is true and coconut flour is no exception. It’s tremendously rich in dietary fiber and very low in carbohydrates. These two factors combine to make a product that is especially ideal for those who need to be conscious of their blood sugar and who are following a low carbohydrate diet. It’s naturally gluten free, so it’s becoming very popular with those on a gluten free diet. This is one of the most difficult and confusing Bob’s Red Mill products to use. It’s not impossible and it is totally worth learning how to use it, but this product does not behave like a typical flour and presents some unique challenges in baking.

What is it? Wednesday: Coconut Flour | Bob's Red Mill

How is it made? Coconut flour is made from the flesh of mature coconuts after coconut oil has been extracted. The remaining coconut contains only about 15% of the oil from the original coconut. The flesh is dried at temperatures above 118°F to eliminate any microbes and is held at 179°F for approximately 30 minutes, which means this product is not considered raw by most raw foodists.

Does it taste like coconut? Because there is no milk and most of the oils have been removed, coconut flour does not have a strong coconut flavor. I’d be lying if I said it was void of any coconut flavor, but it is quite mild and would be masked by any strong flavor like chocolate, coffee, garlic or almond. It’s similar to coconut oil, actually, there is a hint of the coconut, but it’s not like baking with ground up shredded coconut.

Does it contain sulfites? No. I cannot vouch for all coconut flour, but our coconut flour does not contain sulfites or any other preservatives.

How do you use it? That’s the real meat of the issue, isn’t it? How do you use such a unique flour? The single, most important thing to remember about coconut flour is that it is very high in fiber and requires a lot of liquid. More than you would think, actually. If you look at coconut flour recipes, they often call for a lot of eggs (I’m talking 6 to 8 whole eggs for a single recipe).  At first glance, you’ll think it’s an error and it can’t possibly need that many eggs. The thing is, though, it really does. The eggs help replace the gluten and balance out the high amount of fiber. If you are egg-free, try The Spunky Coconut. She has many recipes that are egg-free.

You’ll be relieved to know that there are so many wonderful food bloggers out there experimenting with this product and finding ways around the use of a dozen eggs for a single recipe. They’re getting creative and coming up with recipes like Chocolate Glazed Strawberry Donuts (Cara’s Cravings), Chocolate Marbled Cupcakes (Jeanette’s Healthy Living) and Vanilla Coconut Poundcake (Non-Dairy Queen, below).

Vanilla Coconut Poundcake

Here are tips from our Test Kitchen:

  • Store coconut flour in the fridge or freezer for the longest shelf life.
  • Coconut flour can replace up to 20% of the total flour in a recipe.  Liquid will need to be increased by 20% as well.
  • It is recommended that you use an equal part coconut flour to liquid.
  • Coconut flour is very high in fiber and will absorb large amounts of liquid.  These batters may not resemble the same batter made with wheat flour.
  • Increasing the fat in a 100% coconut flour recipe will keep the product moist without having to add excessive amounts of liquid.
  • Some 100% coconut flour recipes may appear too runny.  Let the batter sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid.  The liquid will be absorbed further during baking.
  • Reducing the sugar or granulated sweetener will make the final product drier and crumbly.
  • Always sift coconut flour before using.
  • To store baked goods with significant amounts of coconut flour, wrap loosely in plastic.  If no air is allowed to circulate, the baked good may become soggy.

My single tip for getting to know coconut flour? TRY AN EXISTING COCONUT FLOUR RECIPE. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use a tried and true recipe. We have a few on our website and there are so many amazing bloggers out there doing a great job with it. Check out All Day I Dream About Food, Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Cara’s Cravings and The Spunky Coconut for some inspiration.

Finally, find more great tips from Jeanette’s Healthy Living and watch this video for even more insight.

Finally, we received some great customer questions on Facebook and I’ll try to address some of them here. These are the questions that I wasn’t sure how to work into the narrative.

Coconut Flour and Browning: Some customers have found that baked goods made with coconut flour brown more easily. While we have not found this to be true here, we think this could have something to do with the natural sugar in the flour.

Coconut flour is gluten free, do I need to use Xanthan Gum? Yes and no. If you are baking a 100% coconut flour recipe with a bevy of eggs, it is likely that you will not need xanthan gum. If you are adding coconut flour to a gluten free blend or are not using a recipe heavy in eggs, xanthan gum might be necessary.

How many carbs does it contain per serving? A 2 Tbsp serving of Coconut Flour contains 8 grams of Carbohydrates (3 grams net carbs). Keep in mind that you use far less coconut flour than conventional wheat flour in recipes.

I have a coconut allergy, will I react to coconut flour? Unlike coconut oil, coconut flour contains coconut protein and will cause an allergic reaction if you are sensitive to coconuts.

I hope this clears up some of the mysteries about coconut flour. Have more questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to get you an answer right away.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Arugula Eggs Benedict F

Arugula Eggs Benedict with Crispy Farina Cakes

by Erin Clarke in Recipes

Growing up, weekend breakfast was an elaborate family affair—at least according to my nine-year-old self’s definition of the term: chocolate chip pancakes; bacon waffles; cinnamon French toast. As a rare treat, we would go out for brunch. Though my sisters and I typically stuck to sweet, bready items we could drench in syrup, my parents always opted for what I now recognize as the ultimate brunch food: eggs Benedict.

Eggs Benedict is the total brunch package. It combines all of the main breakfast food groups—toasty carbs, runny eggs, and savory meat—then smothers them in decadently rich hollandaise. Now that I’m older and cooking weekend breakfasts for myself, I understand why my parents eagerly ordered eggs Benedict out, yet never made it themselves. For one, classic eggs Benedict begs to be enjoyed in moderation. Hollandaise is an emulsion of butter and egg yolks, the meat used is not lean, and the English muffin rarely incorporates whole grains. For another, it’s a pain! Who wants to stress about emulsifying eggs on a Saturday morning? Not this girl.

Arugula Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Sundried Tomato Sauce on Crispy Farina Cakes | Bob's Red Mill

Arugula Eggs Benedict with Crispy Farina Cakes is my healthier twist on eggs Benedict that is attainable for a home cook. Not only is this version much better for you, I found the robust flavors of nutty farina, sweet sundried tomatoes, garlicky arugula, and creamy goat cheese far more satisfying that the original.

In place of the English muffin, we are starting with a crispy farina cake. Farina is more commonly known as “cream of wheat,” and if you have bad childhood memories of icky, soggy mush (as I did), this is the time to put them behind you. Bob’s Red Mill’s Whole Wheat Farina boasts a satisfying, nutty flavor and hearty texture. While farina is typically prepared as a creamy porridge, it can also be cooled, sliced, and pan seared into tasty little cakes. Not only are these farina cakes much healthier and more filling than a classic English muffin, but also, they are better equipped to transport the slew of eggs Benedict toppings we are about to pile on thick.

Arugula Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Sundried Tomato Sauce on Crispy Farina Cakes | Bob's Red Mill

In place of the standard bacon or ham, I swapped fresh arugula sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Not only is arugula great for you, but its vibrant, peppery flavor stands up to the hearty farina. Next comes the classic poached egg with its deliciously soft, runny yolk. If you are intimidated by poaching eggs, fear not—I’ve included an easy step-by-step below. Should you choose to substitute a fried egg for ease, I won’t judge.

The crowing glory of our Arugula Eggs Benedict is a goat cheese sundried tomato sauce. Hollandaise, you better watch out: this creamy, dreamy and flavor-packed sauce is healthier, easier to prepare, and its dynamic flavor outshines hollandaise any day of the week. We loved it so much, I’ve started making extra batches to spread onto sandwiches and top pastas. Try it once and you will be equally addicted!

Arugula Eggs Benedict with Crispy Farina Cakes combines simplicity of farina with the indulgence of eggs Benedict, all with less guilt. While still worthy of a special occasion, this lighter twist on eggs Benedict may just become your new Saturday tradition.

Arugula Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Sundried Tomato Sauce on Crispy Farina Cakes | Bob's Red Mill

Arugula Eggs Benedict with Crispy Farina Cakes

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the farina cakes

  • 3 cups Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Farina*
  • 1 tablespoon Butter, for frying, plus additional as needed
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for frying, plus additional as needed

*Make this gluten free by using Brown Rice Farina

For the goat cheese sundried tomato sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Sundried Tomatoes (dry, not oil-packed)
  • 4 ounces Goat Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

For the garlic arugula:

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced Garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 7 ounces Arugula Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

For the poached eggs

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Vinegar

Directions

  1. Prepare the farina cakes: Lightly oil a 9×9-inch baking dish and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt. Whisk in farina, reduce heat to low, and stir briskly to prevent lumps from forming. Cover and cook on low for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking and stirring until the farina is the consistency of a very thick porridge. Pour into the prepared dish, smooth the top, and let stand until no longer steaming, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold and set, about 1-1/2 hours. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 2 days).
  2. When ready to serve: Place a rack in the center of oven and preheat to 200°F. Invert the set farina onto a large cutting board. Cut into squares with a knife or into 3-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter (cutting into squares will yield more cakes—biscuit cutters will leave some scraps.) Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the farina cakes for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Repeat until all of the cakes are seared, adding more butter and oil as needed. Remove to a baking sheet and keep warm in preheated oven until ready to serve.Arugula Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Sundried Tomato Sauce on Crispy Farina Cakes | Bob's Red Mill
  3. Prepare the sundried tomato goat cheese sauce: Place sundried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water to rehydrate. Let sit 5 minutes, then drain. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. In a blender or a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the milk, drained sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, mustard, lemon juice, and cayenne. Blend until mostly smooth (the sundried tomatoes will still be a little chunky.)
  4. Prepare the garlic arugula: In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Add the arugula, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat with garlic and oil. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, turn the heat to high, and cook for additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring until the arugula is wilted. Turn off heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
  5. Poach the eggs: Fill a deep saucepot with 1 inch of water and add vinegar. Heat water until just below the simmering point (small bubbles will appear all over the bottom of the pan but will not break the water’s surface.) Reduce heat slightly to keep the water from simmering. Break the first egg into a small dish. Using a rubber spatula, move in a vigorous circular motion around the sides of the pot to create a “whirlpool.” Gently slide the egg from the dish into the whirlpool’s center. Do not worry if the egg appears to be coming apart—the motion of the water will draw the sides in and around. If your egg sticks to the bottom of the pot, wait 30 seconds then gently slide the spatula underneath to loosen it. Cook egg for 3-4 minutes, until it only jiggles a little when nudged with the spatula. With a slotted spoon, carefully remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining eggs. Just before serving, you can slip the eggs back into the warm (not simmering) water briefly to rewarm them if desired.
  6. Serve: Top each farina cake with a spoonful of sauce, the sautéed arugula, a poached egg, and then another spoonful of sauce. Serve immediately.

Erin ClarkeWife to a hungry law student, I’m on a mission to cook everything that’s tasty, mostly healthy, and budget friendly—all while Mr. Right is at the library. On my blog, The Law Student’s Wife, I share my recipes for lightened-up comfort foods, healthier baked treats, and seasonal eating. I’m a passionate cook, an awkward dancer, and with enough cheese, chocolate, and my cast-iron skillet, I could take on the world. Keep up with me on Facebook and Twitter

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Erin Clarke Google: Erin Clarke
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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Xanthan Gum

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, What is it? Wednesday

We are very excited to bring you What is it? Wednesdays! Every other Wednesday, we’ll explore a different ingredient or product in depth. We’ll be covering the benefits, uses and common misconceptions about each. If you have any requests, leave them in the comments and we’ll work them into the schedule. 

***

I freely admit that I bit off a little more than I intended with this topic. Xanthan gum is a hard one! It has an unusual origin and many, varied applications. We’ll see if I can clear anything up or if I just make it more confusing! Thank you to everyone who submitted questions on Facebook. We had over 80 submissions and they all break down into these basic questions. If you have more questions, leave ‘em in the comments and we’ll get to them.

What is it? Wednesday: Xanthan Gum | Bob's Red Mill

What is Xanthan Gum? The short, basic version is that xanthan gum is a coating from a particular bacteria- Xanthomonas campestris. This bacteria grows a protective coating. Think of it like an orange peel or the skin of an onion. It’s a protective layer. When fed a particular food, this bacteria’s coating becomes very sticky and makes a great binding and thickening agent in baking. I can get super technical about this, but I don’t think that is necessary. Scientists harvest this sticky layer, dry it out and sell it as a food additive. End of story.

What is this “particular food” mentioned above? Most commonly, Xanthomonas campestris is fed glucose (sugar) derived from corn, soy or wheat. This glucose comes from the starch of the plant and contains no protein, which means if you have a corn, soy or wheat allergy, you can likely enjoy xanthan gum. The bacteria that grows our xanthan gum is fed wheat glucose. There is no gluten in our xanthan gum. 

Why use Xanthan Gum? This is a slightly bigger question. Xanthan gum works well in place of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley that some people cannot tolerate). Xanthan gum helps trap the air bubbles created by leavening agents (baking soda, baking powder, yeast) to allow your breads and baked goods to rise. It helps thicken liquids, which is why it is often found in salad dressings and sauces. This thickening action helps hold gluten free baked goods together and keeps them from becoming too crumbly.

How is it different from Guar Gum? We’ll do a whole post on Guar Gum soon, but a short answer is that they’re made from two different sources- xanthan gum from a bacteria and guar gum from a seed native to Asia. In the kitchen, there are important differences in using xanthan gum versus guar gum. In general, guar gum is good for cold foods such as ice cream or pastry fillings, while xanthan gum is better for baked goods, especially those that use yeast. Foods with a high acid content (such as lemon juice) can cause guar gum to lose its thickening abilities. For recipes involving citrus you will want to use xanthan gum. Read more about how they are different and similar in this post: Guar Gum vs Xanthan Gum.

How should I use Xanthan Gum? Generally, we recommend the following. Every recipe is different. Too little xanthan gum and your baked goods will be crumbly, too much and they’ll be rubbery. If you’re just getting started, we highly recommend following a recipe that calls for xanthan gum to get the hang of how much to use and when.

Cookies………………………………¼ teaspoon per cup of flour
Cakes and Pancakes………………..½ teaspoon per cup of flour
Muffins and Quick Breads………… ¾ teaspoon per cup of flour
Breads……………………………….1 to 1-½ teaspoons per cup of flour
Pizza Dough…………………..…… 2 teaspoons per cup of flour
For Salad Dressings…½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum per 8 oz. of liquid

For liquids, it is best to add xanthan gum to the oil component in a recipe, making complete mix of oil and gum before adding to the rest of liquid ingredients. Using a blender or a food processor is a great way to get the gums to dissolve properly.

Why does it cost so much? This answer is based on speculation, as it’s very hard to pinpoint why some ingredients are expensive. Based on what I know about our ingredients from our Purchasing Department, it is expensive because it is costly to produce (we’re talking specialized labs that must grow, then harvest, this ingredient) and there is a limited supply. Yes, it’s spendy at approximately $15 for a half-pound, but you use very little in a recipe and a bag should last you 6 months (depending on how much you bake).

What is it? Wednesday: Xanthan Gum | Bob's Red Mill

Xanthan gum is messy, what is the best way to clean it up? I find this question slightly amusing because gluten is very messy and hard to clean up, so it seems rather fitting that its replacement would be equally so. I couldn’t find any good tips for how to clean it up, but one customer did recommend sodium persulfate for cleaning up xanthan gum that has gelled with water. I don’t know who has this laying around the kitchen, but I don’t. I have also heard that peroxide is promising (turns out our awesome test kitchen gals are working on this), so you could try that. No matter what, it’s a total disaster. If you have a good tip, PLEASE SHARE IT WITH US!

How does it affect my body and why can’t some people tolerate it? There have not been any significant studies to determine what effect xanthan gum has on humans, but I did find a good article that talks about the studies that have been done. It appears that there is little to support xanthan gum being harmful to adults, but it should not be fed to infants.

More and more, I meet people who cannot have xanthan gum. It upsets their stomach, causes gas, bloating and diarrhea. These are not all people who follow a gluten free diet. I have heard from several gluten free customers who initially blamed their issues on gluten, but later realized it was actually the xanthan gum. The symptoms are very similar. You’ll see that more and more gluten free food bloggers are not using xanthan gum and are opting to use an alternative or leave it out altogether.

What are some alternatives to Xanthan Gum? First, there is guar gum. It works essentially the same way, but you typically use more guar gum than xanthan gum. The people who cannot tolerate xanthan gum often have similar issues with guar gum. Other people are using psyllium seed husk, chia seed, flaxseed or a combination of these. These work because of their high soluble fiber. When you add water, these ingredients gel up. This works well for binding and thickening for most recipes. Our friend Jean Layton, blogger and naturopath, swears by her Pixie Dust. Her recipe, found here, combines psyllium husk powder, flaxseeds and chia seeds and produces marvelous results (we should know, we tested it to find out!). Depending on the recipe, you can sometimes get away with just leaving it out. Some recipes will be just fine without it. It takes experimentation, but, hey, that’s what gluten free baking is all about!

I hope this helps clear up some of the major questions. As I said above, if you have any others, please, leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to tackle them.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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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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Carolyn Ketchum Google: Carolyn Ketchum
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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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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

Embracing the Low Carb, Gluten-Free Lifestyle + Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

by Carolyn Ketchum in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

Starting a specialized diet is a huge lifestyle change that many people face with great trepidation. Whether the dietary changes are by choice or by necessity, it can rock your world to find that many of your old favorite foods are now off-limits. When you embark on a diet that cuts out sugar and gluten and limits carbohydrates, you will at first feel that your food choices are incredibly limited. And you may be very disheartened, thinking that cooking, baking and eating with such limited ingredients will lose all pleasure. I know that feeling all too well, as I was there myself a few short years ago. A diagnosis of diabetes and a desire to stay off insulin led me to the low carb, gluten-free lifestyle; I thought my days of cooking and eating delicious foods were over.

In reality, nothing could have been further from the truth. First, I had to get over the common misconception that low carb diets consist of little more than eggs, meat and cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things, but I think anyone would tire of that menu pretty quickly. One can only eat so many cheese omelets before craving a different sort of breakfast. Thankfully, there is this little thing called the internet; perhaps you’ve heard of it? I will always chalk it up to the power of Google Search that I discovered early on a veritable goldmine of information about eating low carb and gluten-free. And my own experimentation with low carb cooking and baking has added greatly to my understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and how to stay focused and on track. I feel fortunate that I am able to share that knowledge with you.

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones | Bob's Red Mill + All Day I Dream About Food

Upon embarking on a low carb diet, you do need to be prepared to cook and bake a lot of your own foods at home. Low carb, gluten-free recipes tend to take rather specialized ingredients which, thanks to companies like Bob’s Red Mill, are becoming more and more widely available. Almond flour is available in many grocery store chains now, as are coconut flour, flax seed meal and chia seeds. Nut flours/meals and coconut flour form the basis of the vast majority of low carb baked goods. And believe me, baked goods made with these ingredients can rival their high-carb, gluten-filled counterparts in both taste and texture.

Don’t confuse gluten-free with low carb or vice-versa. This is a common mistake, and many well-meaning friends and family may offer you something that is gluten-free, but is made with high-carb ingredients like rice flour or contains added sugars. And many pre-packaged low carb items are actually made with wheat-based products, so if you need to be gluten-free, steer clear of these. The sugar-free or no-added sugar labels are also not a guarantee of a low carbohydrate item. When in doubt, read the nutritional information on the packaging. If it’s a homemade item, don’t be afraid to ask what’s in it. It’s not rude when your health is at stake.

Although you do need to limit your consumption of things like grains, legumes and potatoes on a low carb, gluten-free diet, you will be pleasantly surprised at the number of delicious foods that are naturally low in carbohydrates. Did you know chocolate is low carb? Well, the unsweetened variety is, and although few people like the taste of unsweetened chocolate, adding a little sweetener of your own can produce delicious results. Most vegetables are low in carbohydrates and even some sweet-tasting fruits like strawberries and raspberries are naturally low carb as well.

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones | Bob's Red Mill

All is not lost when it comes to enjoying decadent desserts either. The fact that sugar is the predominant sweetener in our culture is something of an historical accident. There are numerous other sweeteners out there, and you aren’t limited to artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. Stevia, erythitol, and xylitol are all naturally-occurring and have little impact on most people’s blood glucose levels. They all have their limitations in low carb, gluten-free baking, however, so I keep several of them on hand and often use them in combination to get the desired results.

Like any healthy eating regimen, you need to make sure you are getting enough fiber in your low carb, gluten-free diet. Fortunately, many high-fiber foods are also quite low in carbohydrates and dietary fiber can actually count against the carbs in any given food item. Although fiber is technically considered a carbohydrate (at least on US nutrition labeling), it largely passes through the system undigested and has little effect on blood glucose levels. In fact, a significant amount of dietary fiber can actually slow the absorption of other sources of glucose into the bloodstream. You will quickly become familiar with the term “net carb counts”, calculated by subtracting the total grams of dietary fiber per serving from the total grams of carbohydrate per serving.

If all of this sounds confusing and a little overwhelming, don’t worry. A little bit of effort in figuring out what does, and what doesn’t, fit the low carb, gluten-free lifestyle, and it will soon become second nature. And you won’t be limited to meat, cheese and eggs for the rest of your life, either. The foods available to you are much more varied than they first appear. Better yet, you are bound to discover new foods and new ingredients that you heretofore knew little or nothing about. You will find new ways to cook and bake, and you will enjoy your food all the more knowing it’s good for you.

 Cranberry Orange Drop Scones, Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

Scones:

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/3 cup Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol (other sweeteners may be substituted)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup fresh Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 4 large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Zest
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Optional Glaze:

  • ¼ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener or other powdered erythritol (if you substitute another sweetener here, it must be a powdered version)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp fresh Orange Juice

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, almond flour, sweetener, baking powder and salt. Stir in cranberries.

Add Greek yogurt, eggs, orange juice, coconut oil, orange zest and vanilla extract and stir vigorously until well combined.

Drop by large spoonful onto prepared baking sheet. You should get 10 to 12 scones in all. Bake 24 to 27 minutes, until firm to the touch and the tops are lightly browned.

Remove and let cool 5 minutes on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze, whisk powdered sweetener and 2 tbsp of orange juice together in a small bowl. Add more orange juice if glaze is too thick.

Drizzle over cooled scones.

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.

 

Carolyn Ketchum | All Day I Dream About Food

Carolyn 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 Facebook, Twitter, Google 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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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Flaxseed 101 + Flax Egg Replacer

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Health, What is it? Wednesday, Whole Grains 101

We are very excited to bring you What is it Wednesdays! Every other Wednesday, we’ll explore a different ingredient or product in depth. We’ll be covering the benefits, uses and common misconceptions about each. If you have any requests, leave them in the comments and we’ll work them into the schedule. 

***

While chia seed may be the power seed darling in the media these days, we wanted to remind you about another fabulous power seed—flax seeds! Flax seeds are a wonderful source of omega-3′s offering up 1800 mg per 2 tablespoon serving. They are also a fantastic source of fiber, with a nice blend of insoluble and soluble fiber. 

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Meal | Bob's Red Mill

Why are omega-3′s important anyway? Omega-3 fatty acids are broken down into three specific acids- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). These acids work together to support brain development, the functioning of the immune system, cardiovascular health and are beneficial for healthy skin, hair and nails. How they work together is complicated, but the short version is that our bodies can make EPA and DHA, but cannot make ALA. ALA is the backbone for EPA and DHA, and must be consumed in our food. Read more about the interplay between these acids here.

The conversion of ALA into EPA and DHA is harder for the very young and the elderly, which means people in those categories have to be sure to get enough ALA in the first place. Fish, and their subsequent oil, are one of the most common sources of all three omega-3′s. Sure, that’s great, but that doesn’t work for vegetarians or vegans. Also, have you tried fish oil? Gross. That’s why brands now market lemon and strawberry flavored fish oil so you can eat it and not taste the fish. I love fish, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not a fan of a fish-flavored salad. I digress… There are many plant-based sources of ALA (which, let me remind you, your body will turn into EPA and DHA) including FLAX seeds, chia seed, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, and, I just learned today, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts (albeit not as much as the seeds).

Why would you pick flax seeds over any other plant-based source? Flax is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Coupled with the omega-3, the soluble fiber and insoluble fiber work together to absorb and remove cholesterol from the blood stream (healthy heart!) and keep your digestive house neat and tidy. Yes, chia seeds will do that, too, but flax seed is much more affordable and just as effective. You just need to be sure to eat ground flax seed. The flax plant is solely interested in propagating the world with more flax plants, and the human body cannot break down the flax seed. You get virtually no benefit from eating the whole seeds, though they are quite tasty.

flaxseed brochure cover

Luckily for you, Bob’s Red Mill mills whole flax seeds for you. Our flax seed meal is freshly milled using a technology that maintains the cool temperatures needed to keep the oil from oxidizing. I can’t speak for all other brands, but many brands press the oil from the seeds before grinding, so you’re not really getting the whole package as nature intended. We offer several varieties- brown, golden and organic versions of both. The only difference between the two colors is just that, the color. Some prefer the golden for baked goods, as it blends better.

Flaxseed meal is very versatile and is an excellent egg replacer in baked goods (recipe below) and can be sprinkled on salads, hot cereal, smoothies. Some folks around here just mix their 2 tablespoons into water or juice and drink it like an elixir. Personally, I prefer the mixed-in route. We have loads of great recipes for how to incorporate this power house seed into your diet on our website. Be sure to snag a $1.00 off coupon on our homepage, as well.

Flaxseed Meal “Egg”

For one egg, combine 1 Tbsp of Flaxseed Meal with 3 Tbsp of water. Let stand 3-5 minutes. Use as you would an egg in baking. This works best for muffins, quick breads, cookies, pancakes, etc. It is not the best choice for a cake, which relies heavily on eggs for rising or anything that has a fine, delicate texture.

1235C164_FlaxseedMeal_f_HighRes

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Mixed Legumes

Feeding Your Family While Watching Your Weight

by Liz Della Croce in Featured Articles, Health

There’s no way around it: losing weight is hard work. It requires consistency, dedication and a hefty pinch of willpower. If you are married or have children, you likely aren’t just cooking for yourself which can pose a whole new set of challenges.

As the sole cook for a family of four, I can speak first hand about dealing with picky eaters and finding creative ways to make nutritious foods taste delicious.  To help you reach your weight loss goals, here are my top tips for feeding the family while making healthy lifestyle changes.

Family Dinner

Maximize Flavor: Instead of serving steamed broccoli for dinner, try roasting it with a drizzle of sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce. When you roast vegetables the natural sugars in begin to caramelize creating a sweet flavor the whole family will love. Once you begin roasting vegetables you will say bye-bye to boring, overcooked steamed veggies. In addition to broccoli, try roasting Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, eggplant and more.

Variety is Key: One of the surest ways to get bored with healthy eating is to prepare the same foods over and over again. To keep things interesting, try new grains in your favorite dishes. If you normally make quick cooking oats for breakfast, try whipping up a batch of Slow Cooker Banana Nut Oatmeal instead. The chewy, nutty texture is a nice change from rolled oats and will keep the family excited about breakfast. To make it even more fun, let the kids pick their favorite mix-ins in the morning: fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts and seeds make delicious oatmeal toppings.  Want to take it to the next level? Try a creamy bowl of Breakfast Quinoa or Spelt Berry Porridge instead. The options are endless.

Crock Pot Banana Nut Oatmeal | The Lemon Bowl

Get the Kids Involved: The next time you head to the grocery store or farmers market, let your kids pick out one new vegetable or whole grain to try that week. Perhaps they are curious about eggplant or want to try quinoa for the first time. By letting the kids be in the driver’s seat, they will be engaged and excited to try out their special new ingredient.

Don’t Give Up: If you serve a healthy dish that the family doesn’t love, don’t give up. Children and toddlers have finicky palates. Their favorite foods might become their least favorite foods in the blink of an eye. An important part of making permanent lifestyle changes is acknowledging the fact that set backs will occur. Wait a couple weeks and try again. Perhaps you can use the same ingredient in a different recipe or prepare it in a new way. No matter what you do, don’t give up. You would be surprised how quickly little ones change their tunes.

Above all else, have fun with it and get in the kitchen with your family! Cooking at home is not only a great way to save money and calories but it is a great way to connect with the family and make memories. The more fun you have along the journey, the more likely you are to stick with it.

What are your best tips for feeding your family while watching your weight? Leave a comment below – we would love to hear from you!

Liz Della Croce | The Lemon Bowl Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been creating delicious recipes using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality. Liz has appeared live on the TODAY Show and tapes regular cooking segments for her local NBC affiliate station. Through healthy eating and regular exercise, Liz has successfully achieved a personal weight loss milestone and has a passion for helping others reach similar goals. New in 2013, Liz launched Healthy Habits, a feature on The Lemon Bowl where her loyal readers and growing audience can find practical advice, resources and information on creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Liz Della Croce Google: Liz Della Croce
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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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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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