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.

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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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Baguette F

Gluten-Free Baguette {Giveaway}

by Cassidy Stockton in Contests, Gluten Free, Recipes

I bet you’re probably beginning to think I love all cookbooks. Rest assured, that’s not the case. If I don’t think it has some merit, we’re definitely not wasting our time talking about it here. I’ve been excited about a lot of gluten free cookbooks this year because so many of them are making waves with gluten free ingredients by using techniques and ingredient combinations that are new and innovative.

GF Artisan Bread in Five

Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day from Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François is a game-changer for a few noteworthy reasons.

1. It is built on the principal of the famous no-knead bread recipe. It works well with gluten and it works superbly for gluten free bread. After all, gluten free bread does not really need to be kneaded at all. It really just needs to be mixed. Kneading activates gluten. When you don’t have gluten, you don’t need to knead. (Yep, ridiculously pleased with myself for that little gem.)

2. The book features two basic flour blends- all purpose and whole grain- and uses them for everything under the sun- from crusty baguettes to gooey monkey bread to ciabatta to chocolate ganache filled brioche. All that from one flour blend!

3. The trickiest ingredient is ground pysllium husk and that is becoming increasingly easy to find and it’s optional!

4. This is a mix it and leave it method. You mix up your ingredients (no kneading!), let it rise and stick it in the fridge. On baking day, you take out a chunk, form a loaf and let it rise for an hour. Then, you bake. You have to admit, it’s much faster than traditional bread baking.

On top of this, I’ve been using one of their previous books, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, for years and it works. It’s reliable and always turns out wonderful breads. As due diligence to write this review (and an excuse to enjoy fresh baked bread), I had the test kitchen bake up a loaf of the classic boule. It was the best gluten free bread I have ever tried and I’ve tried a lot of less-than-stellar gluten free bread. I don’t need to be gluten free, but I figured I should taste this bread if I was going to try to sell you on the book. The loaf was crusty, had a lovely crumb and, above all, had a wonderfully wheat-like flavor.

Our friends Jeff and Zoë, and the folks at St Martin’s Press, have generously offered a copy of this book for three lucky winners. We will pair it with the winner’s choice of the ingredients to make the all purpose flour blend or the whole grain flour blend. To enter, simply comment on this post and tell us what type of artisan bread you miss the most since going gluten free. We’ll select three winner at random from all who enter by 11:59 pm on 11/24/14. If you can’t wait or want to give this as a gift (this would be an awesome gift for a gluten free loved one) you can buy it here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, iBooks and Walmart. I’d bet that your favorite local book seller will also have a copy.

Gluten Free Baguette from Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day | Bob's Red Mill

Gluten-Free Baguette

Recipe adapted from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and used with permission
©2014, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François

Makes eight ½-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.

This beautiful and crispy loaf is the symbol of France. Our gluten-free version is just as gorgeous and delicious.  We brush the top of the loaf with egg white wash to create a glossy crust, but in a pinch, water will do.

Ingredients

  • 6½ cups of Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (see GFBreadIn5.com/GFmix)
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Yeast
  • 1-1½ tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar or Honey
  • 3¾ cups lukewarm Water (100°F or below)
  • Cornmeal or parchment paper, for the pizza peel
  • Egg White Wash (1 Egg White plus 1 tablespoon Water), for top of loaf
  1. Mixing and storing the dough: Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sweetener in a 5- to 6-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
  2. Add the water and mix with a spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle.
  3.  Cover (not airtight), and rest at room temperature until the dough rises, about 2 hours.
  4. The dough can be used immediately after rising, though it’s easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 10 days. Or freeze for up to 4 weeks in 1-pound portions and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before use.
  5. On baking day: Dust the surface of the dough with rice flour, pull off a ½ -pound (orange-size) piece, and place it on a pizza peel prepared with cornmeal (use plenty) or parchment paper. Gently press and pat it into a log-shape with tapered ends, using wet fingers to smooth the surface. Allow to rest for about 40 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap or a roomy overturned bowl. During this time, the dough may not seem to rise much, which is normal.
  6. Preheat a baking stone near the middle of the oven to 450°F (20 to 30 minutes), with an empty metal broiler tray on any shelf that won’t interfere with rising bread.
  7. Brush the top with egg white wash, and then slash, about ½-inch deep, with a wet serrated bread knife.
  8. Slide the loaf onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until richly browned and firm.
  9. Allow to cool completely on a rack before eating.

The authors answer questions at GFBreadin5.com, where you’ll also find recipes, photos, videos and instructional material.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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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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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Artisan Bread Flour

by Cassidy Stockton in What is it? Wednesday

What is bread flour? Our Artisan Bread Flour is milled from high-protein US-grown red wheat and mixed with just the right amount of malted barley flour, which helps breads rise. The high protein content is great for gluten development, which is especially desirable for chewy baguettes, pizza crusts, dinner rolls, sandwich loaves, pretzels, bagels and more.

How much protein does Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour contain? Our bread flour averages 12-14% protein.

Why does protein (gluten) matter? The protein in wheat flour (aka gluten) gives baked goods structure and elasticity. For chewy breads and pizza crusts, you want to use a higher protein flour.

Gluten is sticky and stretchy (think of a balloon). When leavening reacts and produces gasses in your baked good, gluten creates pockets that expand around these gasses, causing your baked good to rise. More gluten and high-power leavening (yeast) will make beautiful artisan breads with lovely air pockets. Less gluten and tamer leavening (baking soda, baking powder), make smaller bubbles and smaller air pockets. When you’re striving to create a rustic artisan loaf of bread, you want big air pockets, making bread flour an ideal choice.

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

How is it different from all purpose flour? Bread flour simply contains a higher amount of protein than all purpose flour. All purpose flour is designed to make fine cakes and chewy breads. Bread flour is made with bread baking specifically in mind. Using it will yield crusty loaves of bread and chewy pizza crusts.

Why would you use this instead of all purpose flour? Because you can. When you want to make the most perfect, rustic loaves of bread, the real question is why wouldn’t you want to use special ingredients? After all, fresh baked bread is just another way of saying “I love you.” In all seriousness, though, bread flour produces a chewier texture, better rise and crisper crust than all purpose flour.

Is bread flour gluten free? No. Bread flour is made from wheat and has a higher proportion of gluten than many other wheat flours, so it is definitely not suitable for a gluten free diet.

Is Bob’s Red Mill bread flour organic? No.

Is Bob’s Red Mill bread flour enriched? Yes, we enrich our bread flour to government standards. This includes adding malted barley flour (to improve the rise), niacin, iron, thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid.

Is Bob’s Red Mill bread flour whole grain? Nope. If you want a whole grain bread flour, we recommend our traditional Whole Wheat Flour or our Ivory Wheat Flour. Both are high in protein and made with 100% whole grain wheat.

Is there a substitute for bread flour? No, but you can replicate bread flour by using an all purpose flour and adding extra gluten to increase the protein content. We recommend an extra tablespoon of gluten per cup of flour.

Some of our favorite recipes using bread flour: 

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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: Super-Fine Cake Flour

by Cassidy Stockton in What is it? Wednesday

What is cake flour? Cake flour is a low protein white flour made from wheat. Its fine texture makes it ideal for delicate cake baking. Unlike many other brands, our Super-Fine Cake Flour is simply highly sifted, finely ground wheat flour. Some brands add cornstarch to dilute otherwise high protein wheat flour (we call this a cheap trick around here). Instead of finding a low protein wheat, other manufacturers use the same high protein wheat and cut it with cornstarch. Our cake flour has not been bleached, another common practice among flour purveyors. While bleaching can help create perfectly white cakes and aid in the baking of a cake, our test kitchen produced stellar (and oh-so-delicious) white cakes. At Bob’s Red Mill, we think baking with chemically treated flours cut with cornstarch is a little yucky. No, thank you.

How is it different from all purpose flour? Cake flour is finer and contains less protein than all purpose flour. All purpose flour is designed to be just that- all purpose. All purpose flour is designed to make fine cakes and chewy breads. Cake flour is made with cake baking specifically in mind. It creates a lighter crumb that is perfect for delicate treats, soft cookies and airy cakes.

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

Why does protein matter? Protein in wheat flour (aka gluten) gives baked goods structure and elasticity. For chewy breads and pizza crusts, you want to use a higher protein flour. Things like cakes and pie crusts need less elasticity, making cake flour an ideal choice.

Gluten is sticky and stretchy (think of a balloon). When leavening reacts and produces gasses in your baked good, gluten creates pockets that expand around these gasses, causing your baked good to rise. More gluten and high-power leavening (yeast) will make beautiful artisan breads with lovely air pockets. Less gluten and tamer leavening (baking soda, baking powder), make smaller bubbles and smaller air pockets. With a cake, you want tiny air pockets so that your cake melts in your mouth and doesn’t fall to bits.

Why would you use cake flour over all purpose flour? Because you can. When you want to make the most beautiful and delicious cake for a special occasion, why wouldn’t you want to use special ingredients? After all, a baked good is just another way of saying “I love you.” In all seriousness, though, cake flour produces a tender, more tightly packed crumb. It can be used for so much more than cakes, as well. It makes lovely cookies, delicate pie crusts and gorgeous pastries.

Is cake flour gluten free? Nope. It’s made from wheat. Even if it has less protein than other wheat flours, it’s still got plenty of gluten.

Is Bob’s Red Mill cake flour organic? No.

Is Bob’s Red Mill cake flour enriched? Yes. Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Cake Flour is enriched to government standards with niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid.

Is cake flour whole grain? Absolutely not.

Is there a substitute for cake flour? Yes, while it’s not perfect, you can do what so many of us have done in a pinch- make your own. For every cup of all purpose flour, replace 1/8th of the flour with cornstarch. Blend together and sift, sift, sift. Joy the Baker has some good tips here.

Some of our favorite ways to enjoy cake flour: 

And some non-cakes…

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Waffle Dippers with Orange Berry Compote - The Lemon Bowl 2

4 Quick Meal Ideas for Toddlers

by Liz Della Croce in Recipes

Toddlers have a mind of their own which can make mealtime stressful for parents and kids alike. With a few simple strategies and a bit of patience, here are a few tips for making fast, healthy and toddler-friendly meals the whole family will love.

  • 6-Cup Muffin Tin Meals: Think outside the traditional round dinner plate and try serving your next meal in a 6-cup muffin tin instead. You can fill each cup with a variety of foods including meat, whole grains, roasted vegetables, salad and more. At breakfast, try filling one tin with yogurt, a second tin with granola and the remaining four tins with their favorite fresh fruits and seeds.
  • Snacks as a Meal: Instead of the traditional meat, rice and vegetable dinner why not try a composed meal made up of your toddler’s favorite snacks? Use a bento-style plate and fill it with string cheese, hummus, whole wheat pita bread, cherry tomatoes and apple slices. Serve with a glass of milk for even more protein and vitamins. As long as you offer a variety of options, snacks can easily turn into a well-rounded meal you can feel good about serving your toddler.
  • Avoid Food Fatigue: Toddlers, like adults, get tired of eating the same foods day after day. Since they are still developing language skills it can be difficult for them to express their food boredom and as a result they often shut down and simply refuse to eat the foods they once loved. Help combat food fatigue by offering more variety.

Try swapping out the usual potatoes or pasta with a tasty whole grain like farro, bulgur or spelt. These whole grains are chewy, nutty and extremely versatile. Serve them on their own or try this Autumn Harvest Spelt Pilaf made with fresh apples and pecans.

What are your go-to fast meal ideas for toddlers or kids of any age? Leave a comment below – we would love to hear your ideas!

The Lemon Bowl Head Shot 2013Liz 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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Poppy Seed Cakes F

Getting the Whole Grain Back to School

by Jessica Fisher in Recipes

As the school year gets under way, I find my days much fuller than they were a month ago. Since I teach our six kids at home, I really have to hit the ground running. My days are full with lessons, chores, and writing projects. It can be extremely tempting to shrug off good nutrition in exchange for getting something done.

Yet, I know that it’s better to invest some time in wholesome snacks and meals for my family – and for me!

Poppy Seed Cakes | Bob's Red Mill

I know that the first cold of the season is just waiting to strike. If I limit our added sweeteners, increase our whole grains, include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and make ice water the more frequent option, we’ll all be healthier and happier.

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of having a plan and setting yourself up for success. Here are some ways you can easily add more whole grains into the back to school diet — for your health and for your kids’:

1. Bake up some granola.

I regularly bake up big batches of granola. Kids of all ages (husbands included) have been known to start eating it up before it’s had a chance to cool. Sometimes I can’t even get it to the container before it’s half gone.

Making homemade granola allows you the option to customize sweeteners and avoid allergens. Plus it tastes great!

Serve granola for breakfast with milk, in parfaits, or for snacking. My husband has even started taking cereal and a container of milk to work for an easy and economical lunch. You can easily pack granola and a small container of milk in the lunchbox.

2. Pop some corn.

I grew up in the age of the air popper, so it’s no surprise that my 7-year old daughter knows how to pop corn. We keep a regular supply of Bob’s White Popcorn on hand, for snacking. It’s easy to pack which makes it a fun thing to take on the road.

3. Bake with whole wheat pastry flour.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour | Bob's Red Mill

One of my favorite baking products under the sun is whole wheat pastry flour. It offers the light texture of all-purpose flour yet it has the whole grain without tasting too wheaty.

I use whole wheat pastry flour in most of my quick breads and even in our family’s favorite apple pie. No one notices the difference, except I know they are eating a little more healthfully.

One of my recent concoctions with whole wheat pastry flour is a redo on my mom’s poppy seed cake. I found it years ago on an index card in her recipe box. The original was a bit more complicated with beaten eggs whites and shortening. I tweaked to make it simpler and healthier.

My kids and husband give it rave reviews. I bake it in muffin papers, like a sedate cupcake, packed full of power. Already individually portioned, these cakes are perfect to take on the road or to brownbag.

Poppy Seed Cakes | Bob's Red Mill

Whole Wheat Poppy Seed Cakes

  • 1-1/4 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Poppy Seeds
  • 1 cup Demerara Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 °. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the milk and poppy seeds. Allow the seeds to soak for about five minutes.
3. Add the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
4. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk again until smooth.
5. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, just a tad less than 1/4 cup batter to each muffin cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minute or until a tester inserted comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool on a rack.

Jessica Fisher Color by Sharon Leppellere - smJessica Fisher is a mom of six children, aged 5 to 16. Homeschool mom by day, writer and blogger by night, she writes two blogs, LifeasMom and GoodCheapEats. She is the author of Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and FreezeOrganizing Life as MOM, and Best 100 Juices for Kids. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jessica Fisher Google: Jessica Fisher
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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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