English Muffins

Bread Starters Part Two: Biga and Poolish

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

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

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

Biga

Prepare 8 – 24 hours before baking.

  • Flour                30% of total flour from bread recipe
  • Water              equal weight as 15% of total flour
  • Yeast               .08 – 1% of total yeast from bread recipe

Biga

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

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

Whole Wheat English Muffins

Poolish

Prepare 4 – 24 hours before baking.

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

 

Poolish

 A word about measurements

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

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

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Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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instant2

Say Goodbye to Instant Oat Packets!

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

I admit it, I’ve bought instant oatmeal packets. Shhh, don’t tell Bob, he’d be so disappointed in me. They’re hard to resist. I love oatmeal and I’m always pressed for time in the morning. The packets are so EASY and already portioned for me. They’re also expensive and filled with weird flavors and sugar (even the ‘healthy’ versions).  On top of that, Bob’s Red Mill doesn’t make any.

Not only was I spending more than I wanted, I was buying oats that weren’t our superior oats and I was getting extra sugar and gross chemicals in the mix. I started thinking about it and a brilliant (well, pretty obvious and basic) idea occurred to me. Why don’ t I make my own instant oat “packets?” I didn’t want to waste plastic baggies making “packets” and I didn’t really want to use instant oats. I whipped out a plastic container and filled it with what I wanted in a packet—quick oats, flaxseed meal, chopped walnuts and wheat germ—voila! an “instant” oat breakfast was mine! I threw a quarter cup measuring cup in the container and I was set! I keep the container in my desk, along with a bowl. Each morning, I scoop out 1/2 cup of oats and add 1 cup of hot water from the hot water spigot on our water cooler, let stand for a few minutes and I’m off and charging with a health, easy breakfast. quick oats, quick cooking oats, oatmeal packet

To make your own, you’ll need:

Mix and match, but be sure not to add more than your container can hold.

  • 1/2 cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 1/2 cup Wheat Germ
  • 1 cup chopped Nuts
  • 1/2 cup Hemp Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Wheat Bran
  • 1/2 cup Rice Bran
  • 1/2 cup Oat Bran
  • 1 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 cup Almond Meal
  • 1 cup dried Fruit
  • 1 cup Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon or other spices

Mix to combine and you’re all set. This lasts me about 2 weeks. Because you will probably use it within a month, you do not need to worry about refrigerating the flaxseed meal and other normally perishable ingredients.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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National Flour Month: Wheat Flour Primer {Giveaway}

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

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

millstone

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

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

whole wheat flour unbleached white flour

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unbleached White Flour

millstone

Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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bread

Bread Starters Part One: Preferments

by Sarah House in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

Here at Bob’s Red Mill, we love good bread, especially when it’s made with whole grains.  Do you know what we love even more?  Good whole grain bread that has flavor, loft, chewy crumb and hearty crust.  Sure, you can throw together some flour, water, salt and yeast and make a perfectly acceptable loaf.  But with a little bit of natural action (known as fermentation) your loaf can go from good to extraordinary!

In this series, we’ll explore the different types of starters and how to use them, incorporating whole grains, to produce the best bread you’ve ever made.  Once you go starter, you’ll never go back!

You may ask yourself: what is a starter?  Answer: magic.  Kinda.  Starters are fermented cultures much like beer, wine, yogurt, kombucha, coffee and chocolate (betcha didn’t know about those last two, huh?).  The natural yeasts and bacteria that surround us in the air and on the surface of grains are allowed to grow and multiply and create a bubbly little environment that, due to their carbon dioxide output, will give your bread strength, moisture, extended shelf life, color, chewier crumb and fabulously complex flavors.

If starters seem a bit intimidating, using a preferment will be a great big baby step into the world of natural yeast cultures.  Preferments are similar to sours and levains and provide many of the same benefits.  They also have a limited life, so there is no obligation to remember to feed them and keep them alive.  Essentially, a portion of the flour, water and yeast are mixed and allowed to ferment for up to 48 hours before tossing it in with your bread dough.

Let’s begin with two of the easiest preferments:  pâte fermentée and sponges.

Pâte Fermentée, which sounds so fancy and sophisticated, is essentially old dough.  That’s right, old dough.  And it’s so easy!  If you bake bread daily or every-other-day simply pinch off 1 – 2 oz of dough per loaf and save it in the refrigerator.  The next day, toss that same ratio of dough into the fresh batch you’re currently mixing.  You are not going to notice a huge flavor boost but the gluten strength, moisture and crumb will definitely benefit.

A sponge is another super easy and approachable preferment.  With the sponge method, a portion of the flour, water and yeast are mixed together and allowed to sit at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes.  This mixture will begin to rise just like bread dough and you will see a marked difference in the height of the final baked bread.  To use a sponge, follow this formula:  from your bread recipe use 30% of the total flour for the sponge.  Add an equal amount (by weight) of water and all or half of the yeast.  You’ll know your sponge is ripe and ready to use when the batter is slightly bubbly.  Add this sponge with your remaining liquid ingredients and proceed with your recipe as usual.

Rye Bread Sponge Starter

Bob’s Red Mill Rye Bread Mix made with the standard method (L) compared to the mix made with the sponge method (R).  The sponge method has more height, an even crust and a more open crumb.

Sponge

Prepare 30 – 60 minutes before baking.

Flour                30% of the total flour from your bread recipe

Water              equal weight as 30% of total flour

Yeast               50 – 100% of total yeast

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Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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pizzacrustmix

Mixing It Up: Gluten Free Pizza Crust

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free

We’re going to get a little personal up in here. Not too personal, mind you, but perhaps sitting at the same table rather than just eating in the same restaurant. I had a baby (our first) last October and, as any parent can attest to, life got complicated quickly. Gone were my hours to fiddle with this recipe and that. Heck, it was a miracle if I got into the kitchen at all! Luckily, I had planned ahead (thanks to the wonderful mom-friends I have) and had several meals in the freezer. I also stocked my cupboard with a few packages of our Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix for dinners that my husband could prepare in a pinch. I knew money would be tight and ordering out was likely to be out of the question for a while. Additionally, I knew that I didn’t want to spend any unnecessary time kneading or rising pizza dough from scratch.

GF_Pizza_5701

Let me tell you, we fell in love that first groggy October night when I’d finally convinced myself to put down the baby and enter the kitchen. I have liked our pizza crust mix since we released it in 2008, but this is new, this is love. I don’t eat a gluten free diet, but I happen to find this mix to be a wonderful combination of ingredients for a pizza crust. It’s not for everyone, I’ll give you that, but it sure beats many recipes that I’ve attempted. It has whole grains and so what if those grains happen to exclude wheat?

Here is what I do to make this mix really shine. I’ve even tested these minor adaptations on my husband who managed them and made a delicious pizza from *mostly* scratch.pizzacrustmix

  • Instead of eggs, I use the suggested egg replacer of flaxseed meal and water. I first tried this when we were out of eggs and the store was out of the question. Not only did it work well, we liked it more. Plus, it gets a little extra flax in our lives and, for that, I am grateful.
  • I make sure my hands are wet, like really wet, when spreading out the dough. I know it seems kind of gross, but truly, it makes a huge difference. As soon as my hands start to get sticky, I run them under the water again. Making sure to spread the dough out as thin as possible. Don’t worry, with the pre-baking step, the little bit of extra liquid becomes negligible.
  • In that vein, I spread the dough out as thin as possible. Thinner = crispier.
  • Then, and here is what I think is our coup de grace, I sprinkle a *light* layer of mozzarella cheese over it before pre-baking. I think this makes it a little crispier. You could try this method with a non-dairy cheese such as Daiya.
  • I don’t do this every time, but you can add a bit of garlic powder, oregano and red pepper flakes to the dry mix to give it a little extra pizzazz.

From there, I cook according to the package directions. We like pizza pretty simple at our house, so it’s usually just a combination of cheeses. Sometimes we add tomatoes, sometimes we make it a barbecue pizza with pineapple, bell peppers and chicken (“chicken” at our house). It doesn’t really matter what we top it with. It comes out great and it is E-A-S-Y and that’s a four-letter word that I can get behind now that I have a B-A-B-Y.

Do you have a secret to making this mix work for you? Share in the comments. Who knows? I may just kick down some random coupons to those who comment (that’s another word that has a whole new meaning!).

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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almondcoconut

5 Super Foods for a Super New Year!

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health, Whole Grains 101

If you resolved to have a healthier, happier 2013, consider adding some (or all) of these nutritional powerhouses to your diet. For recipe inspiration, check out our recipe collection on our website.

  1. Flaxseed Meal: Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, delivering a whopping 2400 milligrams in each 2 Tbsp serving of Flaxseed Meal. Ground flax also delivers 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per serving. Seeds should be ground to reap the benefits of flax, however, whole seeds make a wonderful addition to breads and other baked goods. Bonus: Flaxseed Meal makes a great egg substitute in most baking. See below for directions.

    Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Meal

    Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Meal

  2. Hemp Seed: Like flax, hemp seeds are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, delivering 880 milligrams in each 2 Tbsp serving. Unlike flax, these seeds do not need to be ground to enjoy their nutritional punch. Hemp seeds are creamy and nut-like in texture and flavor. Larger than a sesame seed, but smaller than a sunflower seed, these little babies are a great addition to hot cereal, salads and baked goods. A 2 Tbsp serving will deliver 5 grams of protein, making them a perfect addition to breakfast or a post-exercise snack. Bonus: Hemp is a complete protein! This makes it ideal for vegetarian and vegan diets.

    hempseeds

    Hemp Seeds

  3. Chia Seed: Chia is the darling of nutritionists these days and it’s easy to see why. Like flax and hemp, chia is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. Each 1 Tbsp serving delivers 2900 milligrams of omega-3, 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. Chia does not need to be ground to enjoy its health benefits, but some people find it easier to digest chia gel. See below for making chia gel. The seeds can be added to hot cereal, baked goods, smoothies and all sorts of wonderful dishes. Bonus: The fiber in chia has the ability to thicken, making it ideal for refrigerator jam, thickening sauces or using as an egg in baking.

    Chia seeds

    Chia seeds

  4. Almond Meal: Almonds are notoriously healthy nuts providing a good amount of manganese and vitamin E, as well as a healthy serving of monounsaturated fats in each 1/4 cup serving. Not only do almonds have a healthy boost of protein, they are also very low in carbohydrates. Eating whole almonds is terrific, but did you know that adding almond meal to your baking and cooking can bring the health benefits of almonds to your diet, as well as cutting back on carbohydrate consumption? Replacing 1/4 cup of white flour in your baking with almond meal will add wonderful texture and flavor and reduce the carbohydrate load. These days, baked goods using exclusively almond meal can be found all over the web for those that need to watch their sugars. Bonus: Almond meal makes a great coating for fish and chicken in place of flour or cornmeal.
    almondcoconut
  5. Coconut Flour: Once consigned to the category of nutritional no-no’s, coconut has seen a resurgence in popularity due to new studies that have found it to be a highly nutritious food. While everything made from coconut may not be good for you, some coconut products are very good for you. Coconut flour is one of these mind-bogglingly nutritious foods. A single 2 Tbsp serving of coconut flour delivers 5 grams of fiber! The light flavor allows coconut flour to blend seamlessly into sweet or savory baked goods. Like almond meal, coconut flour has a low carbohydrate load, making it ideal for people who must manage their carbohydrate intake. Coconut flour is gaining in popularity, but it is still a tricky flour to bake with. We recommend starting with some recipes to get the hang of it, as it requires an unusual amount of liquid to balance out the high amount of fiber. Adding 2 Tbsp to a protein rich smoothie is a great way to get a little more fiber into your diet. Bonus: Like almond meal, coconut flour also makes a wonderful coating for chicken, fish or other proteins in place of regular flour or cornmeal.
What super foods would you add to this list?

Using Flaxseed Meal as an Egg Replacement:

Flaxseed meal makes a great egg replacement for muffins, quick breads and other baked goods with a heartier texture. It does not work as well for recipes with a lighter texture such as a white cake or sugar cookies (it will likely work, but the texture will be different and some visual appeal may be lost). It also does not work very well in egg-heavy dishes such as quiches, stratas and frittatas. Use this formula to substitute for one egg. Double for two eggs, triple for three eggs, and so on…

1 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
3 Tbsp Water

Combine flaxseed meal and water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Add this ingredient to your recipe as you would the eggs.

Making Chia Gel:

2 Tbsp Chia Seed
1 cup Water

Combine chia seed and water and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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roulads2

Wicked Good Kitchen: Honey-Nut Rugelach (GF)

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

When the holiday baking season starts, I immediately think of rich, buttery, chewy-flaky rugelach and they are promptly placed at the very top of my baking list. I have been baking rugelach since 1988 and introduced them to my future in-laws who promptly adopted them as a Christmas favorite that same year. In the coming months, I made several improvements to the recipe before honing it for good in 1990 as a young bride. Rugelach are my husband’s favorite cookie in the universe, so I had placed a high priority on perfecting this scrumptious holiday classic. In fact, I think he married me for my rugelach recipe! My hubby, Stefan, is Polish and it seems rather fitting that rugelach is his favorite cookie—it’s in his genes.

Rugelach (sometimes spelled “Rugalach”) are more than a holiday cookie. In fact, rugelach are pastry-cookies (cookie-pastries?) and should be considered an everyday treat—not reserved solely for special occasions. However, special occasions always seem to be the time of year when we devote our efforts to baking homemade rugelach due to albeit simple but somewhat time-consuming steps involved. Rugelach are Eastern European pastry-cookies comprised of delicate tangy cream cheese dough filled with a variety of slightly sweet but lip-smacking fillings and have become a traditional Jewish favorite. In fact, the name has origins from the Polish word “rogal” for croissant pastries which resemble horns. The Yiddish word “ruglach” carries the same meaning. Since the Polish language influenced Yiddish, the term probably originated in Polish, first, and was later translated into Yiddish. No one really knows which came first, so the debate continues. Still others, like Certified Master Pastry Chef and instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, as well as author of several books including The Professional Pastry Chef and The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef, Chef Bo Friberg, contend that the word rugelach is derived from the Yiddish word “rugel” which translates to “royal”. Interestingly, the “ach” ending of the word “rugelach” specifies plural while the “el” in the center signifies petite. When put together, one Yiddish translation is “little twists” which is so appropriate for this scrumptious pastry-cookie of twisty goodness! In the end, however, the word “rugelach” stuck and the term is most definitely Yiddish.

Traditionally, rugelach are filled with a fruit jam, marmalade or preserves, sugar or brown sugar (or a blend of both), spices and chopped nuts—even perhaps almond paste or marzipan—and dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas (golden raisins), dried cherries or cranberries and currants as well as other chopped dried fruits such as apricots, dates and figs. Sometimes, poppy seed paste or prune butter (lekvar) are used as a filling in rugelach making them similar to Hamantashen. More recently, chocolate has found its way into rugelach filling such as with chocolate paste (made with melted chocolate, an egg or two and powdered sugar for binding and sweetness) or simply chopped chocolate or mini chocolate morsels sprinkled over the filling. Chocolate paired with raspberry jam has been a favorite for the classic tart-berry and sweet-chocolate flavor combination heralded by chocolate lovers the world over—to include Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in her James Beard award-winning cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours. However, the most popular preparation over the years has been to fill rugelach with apricot preserves, sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped nuts and, sometimes, golden raisins. This is probably due to the heritage and traditional prevalence of Polish cookies such as buttery Apricot Tea Cookies (thumbprints) and especially Polish Apricot-Filled Cookies (known as “kolaczki” or “kolacky”) which are pastry-cookies made with a cream cheese pastry. In the case of Kolacky, the cookies are fashioned into a bowtie or envelope shape from a square piece of cut pastry dough with the opposite corners overlapping in the center which are pinched to seal in the apricot filling. Since the advent of rugelach, innovative bakers have been playing around in the kitchen to create their own rugelach twist to meet their dreams and expectations of the perfect rugelach pastry-cookie. Bakers use either a cream cheese or sour cream pastry dough (sometimes using yeast for leavening as was the case with “butter horns” in earlier days) and then concoct different flavor combinations with filling ingredients. However, as Chef Bo says, “Good rugelach should be more chewy than flaky, so it is important not to make the dough too short”. I couldn’t agree more.

Crescent-shaped Rugelach

When I first found a recipe for rugelach, with a buttery cinnamon-sugar-nut filling with currants, in its classic horn shape for “walnut horns”, I knew I had to bake them immediately! And, I did. Since I had baked Pecan Tassies (miniature pecan tarts) in my teen years as part of my holiday baking, and was familiar with the magic (read: buttery, tender flaky goodness) that happens when baking with cream cheese pastry, I thought to myself that rugelach must be some sort of a fancy rolled cookie version of the tasty pecan tarts. Well, I wasn’t far off! The recipe I found was by none other than the veritable “First Lady of Desserts”, Maida Heatter, from her James Beard award-winning cookbook, Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies, published in 1977. Let me tell you, Maida’s recipe rocked my baking world! Her cream cheese pastry recipe performed flawlessly. (At the time, the only changes I made were to add sugar and use kosher salt.) And, her filling was truly extraordinary. Maida did not call for any classic fruit preserves. Instead, she called for 3 tablespoons of melted butter to be spread over the chilled and rolled dough in a manner similar to cinnamon rolls before sprinkling on the remaining filling ingredients. After doing some research on this new-to-me rugelach cookie, I learned about the classic filling using fruit preserves along with sugar, spices, dried fruit and nuts. Surely, I thought, the sticky-fruity-tartness yet mild sweetness of fruit preserves in the filling would create outstanding rugelach! And, so it went. I kept testing and retesting over the next year and that’s when it occurred to me to add honey versus butter or fruit preserves to the filling. Suddenly, a new version of rugelach was born.

Roulade-shaped rugelach (see notes and step-by-step photos below)

Then, in 1990, just before my October wedding, I happened to be shopping at Hudson’s department store in my home state of Michigan. On my way out, on the upper level, as I breezed by the book department, there on a table, propped up in a display, I saw the most glorious book cover ever conceptualized by man. I was so drawn to it! The cover featured the traditional Christmas colors of red and green, a small photo of a woman in similar style to the iconic Betty Crocker in an oval frame and the image on the cover was a beautiful mosaic of tempting holiday cookies of all sorts imaginable—even an ethereal snowflake seemingly falling down from above. There it was. The cover read: “Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Cake Bible.” As I flipped through the pages on the way to checkout, I was transported to Christmases past baking German-Hungarian family heirloom recipes with my Grandma Gigi. Having grown up admiring my mother’s copy of Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, baking from it during my pre-teen years (and dreaming of baking every single cookie recipe sandwiched between the covers!) and, later, after devouring Rose Levy Beranbaum’s award-winning cookbook, The Cake Bible, from 1988, I swear…I felt as if Rose had written this comprehensive and stunningly beautiful holiday cookie cookbook especially for me—and, just in time for my upcoming nuptials! In short, it was Rose’s recipe for rugelach in Rose’s Christmas Cookies, using Lora Brody’s recipe for cream cheese pastry, which had me adding vanilla extract to my rugelach dough. Pure genius! And, from Lora’s recipe, which calls for ¼ cup sugar, it confirmed that I was on track when I had added 2 tablespoons of sugar to my recipe for rugelach dough to achieve a tender and slightly sweet pastry. Later, when I saw that the esteemed Nancy Baggett had used honey in her filling recipe for rugelach, in her exceptional cookbook, The International Cookie Cookbook, published in 1988 (but, not added to my cookbook library until early 1991), I knew I was onto something wonderful—a new timeless classic.

Through Christmas 1996, I had always fashioned my rugelach into crescent shapes. It wasn’t until the fall of 1997 when I learned how to shape rugelach into roulades. Ever since, we have enjoyed them this way. Our thanks go out to the very talented Lisa Yockelson (if you do not know who she is, shame on you!) for her recipe for rugelach and contribution to Cook’s Illustrated magazine (the October 1997 issue to be precise) which included instructions along with helpful illustrations for shaping rugelach into roulades as well as crescents. Roulade-shaped rugelach are our absolute favorite. Why? With the roulade shape, you roll up in cinnamon roll fashion and then slice with a sharp knife and bake. Voila! Not only are the roulades simple to assemble, but they are like holding a heavenly, tiny rolled “finger pie” in your hand to savor alone. Most importantly, the several layers of delicate pastry in its rolled glory allow your teeth to crunch through each blissful tender-flaky layer upon first bite. Soon, the contrasting moist and tangy-sweet yet chewy filling flavors dance on your tongue. No matter your preference in shape, experiencing homemade rugelach is a gastronomic cookie-tasting sensation like no other!

Step 1 for shaping into roulades (see notes below), roll into 10″ x 8″ rectangle, fill with 1/4 of the filling and liberally flour

In closing, when Bob’s Red Mill asked me to guest blog and provide a holiday recipe for December, I was honored. Knowing that I had an opportunity to share my recipe for rugelach, a gluten-free variation of the original, to satisfy the cravings of the gluten-free community for some tasty holiday rugelach, I jumped at the chance. I hope my Honey-Nut Rugelach recipe, with filling variations for Baklava, Cranberry Orange Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookie Rugelach, will become a holiday family favorite and perhaps new tradition. Yes, I believe for the first time ever, Baklava meets Rugelach in a published recipe. For me, it was a natural progression and an extension of my deep affection for yet another buttery, flaky, gooey-honey-sweet and nutty dessert, Baklava. From there, it was effortless to create the irresistible Cranberry Orange Pecan variety with a spicy flavor combination especially suitable for the winter holidays. And, since I simply adore chocolate chip cookies, I couldn’t resist creating a filling variation for Chocolate Chip Cookie Rugelach. From my kitchen to yours…Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! ~Stacy

Step two for shaping rugelach into roulades- roll filled rectangles into 10″ long cylinders, seam side down.

Gluten-Free Honey-Nut Rugelach

The gluten-free flour blend for this recipe incorporates less rice flour than ordinary blends and more protein flour with adequate starches to achieve ideal rugelach which should be more chewy than flaky.

Ingredients:

For the Cream Cheese Pastry:

For the Honey-Nut Filling:

  • 1¼ cups finely chopped Walnuts (or pecans)
  • ¾ cup firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp Honey

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp Light Cream (half and half) or Whole Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp ground Cinnamon

Step 2 for shaping rugelach into roulades, cut into 1-inch slices

Directions:

Prepare the Pastry:  In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum and baking powder; set aside. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese. Beat in sugar, vanilla and salt; mix until well combined. Add flour mixture in two batches beating just until incorporated. Scrape dough onto sheet of plastic wrap using rubber spatula; divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion of dough by patting out into either small 5-inch disks (for crescents) or small 4- by 6-inch rectangles (for roulades). Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Prepare the Filling & Topping:  In a medium bowl, combine walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add honey and stir to incorporate using a fork and finishing with your fingers; set aside. Pour cream or milk into a small prep bowl or cup; set aside. In a small prep bowl or cup, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350° F. Line insulated baking sheets with parchment; set aside. Alternatively, place a half baking sheet atop another and line with parchment. Using insulated baking sheets will prevent these delicate pastry-cookies from overbrowning on the bottom.

Shaping rugelach into roulades: Using a sharp paring knife, slice ends of cylinder to create neat, flush ends and discard scraps. With paring knife, slice each cylinder into eight 1-inch thick roulades. This step is made easier by first scoring (marking lightly with paring knife) the cylinder’s midpoint

To Shape Rugelach into Crescents:  Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to soften slightly on countertop for 12 to 15 minutes so it becomes pliable for rolling. On lightly floured surface, and working with 1 disk of dough at a time, with a floured rolling pin roll each disk into a circle measuring 10 inches in diameter and about ⅛-inch thick. Rotate dough often while rolling and add extra flour to surface as necessary to prevent sticking. With a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges. Sprinkle ¼ of filling evenly onto wedges; press down gently on filling. Starting with rounded edge, roll each wedge of dough jelly-roll fashion toward the point, tucking point under, and form into crescent shape by bending. Use a pastry brush to whisk away excess flour from dough as you roll. Place crescents 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

To Shape Rugelach into Roulades:  Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to soften slightly on countertop for 12 to 15 minutes so it becomes pliable for rolling. On lightly floured surface, and working with 1 rectangle of dough at a time, with a floured rolling pin roll each piece of dough into a rectangle measuring about 10- by 8-inches and ⅛-inch thick. Lift dough often while rolling and add extra flour to surface as necessary to prevent sticking. Sprinkle ¼ of filling evenly onto rectangle to within ¼-inch of edges; press down gently on filling. Starting from long side, roll dough tightly into a cylinder and place seam side down. Use a pastry brush to whisk away excess flour from dough as you roll.

Shaping rugelach into roulades: Score evenly into eight equal pieces.

Using a sharp paring knife, slice ends of cylinder to create neat, flush ends and discard scraps. With paring knife, slice each cylinder into eight 1-inch thick roulades. This step is made easier by first scoring (marking lightly with paring knife) the cylinder’s midpoint, again and again between each section, until 8 sections are scored; slice through markings for 8 even roulades. Place roulades 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets seam side down.

Bake the Rugelach:  For both crescent- and roulade-shaped rugelach, brush tops of unbaked pastry-cookies with cream or milk and generously sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 22 minutes or until golden brown and filling bubbles. Cool on wire racks. Carefully remove cookies using a small metal cookie spatula and trim any overflowed filling using a paring knife. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely and store in airtight containers. Rugelach can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Yield:  Makes 32 pastry-cookies.

Shaping rugelach into roulades: Score evenly into eight equal pieces.

Variations:

Traditional Rugelach:  For the dough, replace all gluten-free flours with 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour using dip and sweep method for measuring; omit xanthan gum and baking powder.

Baklava Rugelach:  For the filling, replace finely chopped walnuts (or pecans) with mixture of finely chopped almonds, pistachios and walnuts to equal 1¼ cups. (Use all walnuts if preferred.) Add 2 teaspoons very finely grated lemon zest, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves and ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

Cranberry Orange Pecan Rugelach:  For the filling, use pecans in place of walnuts and add 2 teaspoons very finely grated orange zest and ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. If desired, for spicier filling, also add ⅛ teaspoon each ground ginger and cloves. Sprinkle ¼ cup dried cranberries which have been finely chopped over filling on each piece of rolled out dough before shaping rugelach. You will need a total of 1 cup dried cranberries for entire recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Rugelach:  For the filling, omit cinnamon (cinnamon will be in the topping) and add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle ¼ cup mini chocolate morsels over filling on each piece of rolled out dough before shaping rugelach. You will need a total of 1 cup mini chocolate morsels for entire recipe.

Shaping rugelach into roulades: slice through markings for 8 even roulades. Place roulades 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets seam side down.

Tips:

Gluten-Free Flour Blend for Rolling Dough:  When rolling out gluten-free cookie dough, such as for this recipe, I like to use a blend of equal parts by volume sorghum, sweet white rice and tapioca flours. Prepare 1 cup using ⅓ cup each to keep on hand as needed.

How to Measure Gluten-Free Flours for this Recipe:  This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. When measuring Bob’s Red Mill® gluten-free flours for this recipe, I used the method of spooning the flour into the dry measuring cup and leveling off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.

To Make Rugelach Successfully:  Be sure to brush away excess flour from dough when rolling to ensure tender rugelach and prevent dry, tough rugelach. Always start with a clean surface each time rolling more dough by brushing away excess flour and filling between batches. Use a metal dough cutter to help start the rolling process to form the cylinder for roulade-shaped rugelach. Use insulated baking sheets to prevent rugelach from overbrowning. And, if using raisins, dried cranberries or similar, plump them first if they are too dry.

To Prepare Rugelach Dough in Advance:  Rugelach dough can be prepared in advance much to the delight of busy holiday bakers. Wrap well in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Also, the dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. To freeze dough, enclose plastic-wrapped dough in heavy duty zip-top freezer bags. Simply thaw in the refrigerator while still wrapped in plastic.

To Freeze Baked Rugelach:  These pastry-cookies freeze extremely well in heavy duty zip-top freezer bags for up to 2 months. Be sure to expel as much air as possible. For layering cookies inside freezer bags, divide with sheets of wax paper as the wax paper will protect appearance of cookies as well as absorb excess moisture.

Baked roulades

Article, recipes, headnotes and photographs Copyright © 2012 Stacy Bryce. All rights reserved.

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her latest passion is developing gluten-free recipes after sending a friend who is Italian, and a recently diagnosed celiac, four varieties of gluten-free biscotti as a Christmas gift last year. Her friend’s response touched her deeply and she vowed to share gluten-free versions of her original recipes whenever possible via her new blog. You can visit Stacy’s blog at WickedGoodKitchen.com and follow her on Twitter.

These recipes were developed and shared with Bob’s Red Mill to support the food pantry of Saint Vincent De Paul Center, Hamilton County, Indiana, for those in need and on a special diet. Bob’s Red Mill has agreed to send a few cases of certified gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats to the pantry on behalf of Stacy, Wicked Good Kitchen and Bob’s Red Mill.

Article, recipes, headnotes and photographs Copyright © 2012 Stacy Bryce. All rights reserved.

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October Cooking Classes at Bob’s Red Mill

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles

We have some wonderful classes in store for you in October- including a hands-on bread baking class with David Kobos. This class fills quickly, so be sure to register today.  Call 503-654-3215 x 208 to register. Classes are held at our Whole Grain Store (see address at bottom).

Discover the ancient grain quinoa with Lori Sobelson.

The Versatility of Quinoa with Lori Sobelson!
Thursday, October 4, 2012
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Class Fee: $50

This month’s featured grain is my all time favorite, Quinoa! Quinoa is a wonderful nutritious grain that is very easy to prepare and extremely versatile in cooking. In this class my goal is to show you how to use this tasty, nutty grain in ways you’ve never thought of before! My quinoa recipes include: Easy Guacamole, Fruit Smoothie, Healthy Pancakes, Caribbean Quinoa & Squash, Stuffed Red Peppers, Tasty Quinoa & Scottish Oatmeal Hot Cereal, Black Bean Salad, Fruit Salad, Blueberry Muffins, and Chocolate Truffle Brownies. If you’ve never  incorporated this wonderful grain into your menu now is the time to do so with my easy, healthy, and tasty recipes! **Quinoa is a glutenfree grain however this class contains recipes with gluten.

Learn delicious ways to combine three garden staples—corn, beans and squash—with Dan Brophy.

Three Sisters From Your Garden with Chef Dan Brophy!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Class Fee: $50

Corn, Beans and Squash—an ancient association of three plants by Native American farmers. One of the original examples of integrated, vertical polyculture. Eating these three provides a complete protein from a plant source. Dan Brophy will be providing recipes which show this association/complementation including: Roasted Corn Chowder, Indian Corn Pudding, Black Bean Chili, Succotash, Basic Polenta and its many variations and Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Pilaf baked into winter squash. Come and join us for this fall harvest celebration.

Learn how to make wonderful homemade bread with David Kobos.

Plump, Moist, Delicious Whole Grain Bread with David Kobos!
Thursday, October 25, 2012
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Class Fee: $60

This is the perfect class to explore turning Bob’s Red Mill whole grain flours and cereals into plump, moist, delicious loaves and rolls. In this hands-on bread baking 101 class, David Kobos, founder and president of Kobos Coffee, will introduce you to techniques of kneading, forming and baking breads and rolls with whole grains and flours. A few of his recipes are: Swiss Style Whole Grain, Oat Wheat, Whole Grain Beer Bread, Whole Grain English Muffins, and Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. You will leave with a loaf and some rolls to bake at home.
Supplies to Bring: One 4 to 6 qt. mixing bowl, apron, kitchen towel, bench knife or dough scraper, wooden spoon or spatula, a bread pan (8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ is best), cookie sheet and measuring cups.
*This class assumes no prior knowledge of bread baking.

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store
5000 SE International Way
Milwaukie OR 97222
503-607-6455
Directions

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appetiteforlife

Appetite for Life {Giveaway}

by Cassidy Stockton in Contests, Featured Articles, Recipes

Almost any parent will tell you that their child doesn’t eat ___. It’s a rare child who will eat everything, but Stacey Antine, MS, RD‘s new book Appetite for Life proclaims to deliver a solution to the picky eater. I was a little skeptical, but having spent some time reading the articles and checking out the recipes, I have to admit, this book does look promising. As the founder of HealthBarn USA, an organization dedicated to introducing kids and their families to healthy eating habits and real food, Stacey knows what she’s talking about.

Appetite for Life begins with tips for introducing new foods to your kids, such as avoiding words like “yuck” in favor of a thumb up, thumb sideways and thumb down system for rating new foods. There is a great section for how to get your kids involved in cooking and growing their own food. This book has an excellent pantry list section, weekly meal planners and even educational activities for kids. Recipes are kid-approved and range from breakfast dishes like Sweet Potato Pancakes to more exotic fare for dinner like Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Herb Dipping Sauce. Appetite for Life has a wonderful selection of healthy snacks for those after-school munchies and a healthy, but delicious array of dessert choices.

{Giveaway}

The kind folks at Harper Collins have provided three copies of this lovely book for us to giveaway. We’re pairing these books with a package of our Flaxseed Meal, Buckwheat Flour and Cornmeal so you can try this delicious recipe (one of the author’s favorites) for Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes right away.

To enter, tell us what your least favorite food was as a kid. Me? I loathed lima beans and would pick them out of every dish my poor mom prepared with them. I’m not sure why exactly, but they were my nemesis in the food world. We’ll pick three winners randomly from all who enter by 11:59 pm on 09/09.

Congratulations to Charlene, Crystal and Georgia!

Fun to eat and fun to make. Photo courtesy of Appetite for Life

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

  • 2/3 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1/3 cup Cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp ground Flaxseeds
  • 1-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 large Egg Whites
  • 1-1/2 cups Low-Fat (1%) milk
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Blueberries
  • Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar

Directions

1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, ground flaxseeds, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

2. Add egg, egg whites, milk, and vanilla to flour mixture, and stir until moistened. Add blueberries and stir until blended.

3. Heat a nonstick griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Pour batter by ¼ cup onto the hot griddle or skillet. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top, about 4 minutes. Turn over and cook a few minutes longer, until underside is golden. Transfer pancakes to a plate; keep warm. Repeat until all batter is used.

4. Serve with pure maple syrup or agave nectar.

Makes 6 servings (2 pancakes per serving)

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September Cooking Classes at Bob’s Red Mill

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles

UPDATED! Due to high demand, Carol Fenster’s class “One Dough Does It All” will be offered on both Tuesday, September 11th and Wednesday, September 12th. Call 503-654-3215 x 208 to register.

Now that our hottest months are behind us, the Bob’s Red Mill Cooking School is in full swing again. Check out these great classes for September. Call 503-654-3215 x 208 to register.

“One Dough Does It All” Gluten Free Bread Baking with Carol Fenster!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 and
Wednesday, September 12
5:00-7:00 p.m.

Class fee $60.00

Time is precious, so maximize your kitchen time with easy, versatile bread doughs that have many uses. One dough can be made into sandwich bread, Focaccia (Italian flatbread) or dinner rolls… just by making some minor tweaks. Another simple dough makes fabulous pizza for easy suppers or flavorful breadsticks for dipping into herbed oil or Italian marinara sauce. Cookbook author Carol Fenster will take you through the  steps of [1] how to make the basic dough using her versatile, time-saving gluten-free flour blend; [2] how to refrigerate the dough for a few days to improve flavor and texture (the secret of many artisanal bakers); and [3] tips for shaping the soft, sticky dough for best results.  Her recipes include: Basic Sandwich Bread, Italian Focaccia, Easy Dinner Rolls, Pizza, and Breadsticks.

Healthy Baking with Robin Asbell!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Class fee $50.00

Master plant-based baking, and learn about the benefits of using whole grains, natural sweeteners and real food in your desserts, with Robin Asbell. The author of Big Vegan, and the new Sweet and Easy Vegan Treats brings her vegan baking expertise to share.  Her recipes include: Coconut Banana Granola, Hazelnut Olive Oil Cupcakes with Hazelnut Frosting, Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Cinnamon Crunch Stuffed Bundt Cake, Raspberry Tart with Cashew Cream. Treats everyone will enjoy!

Wheat Wonderful Wheat with Amelia Hard!
Thursday, September 27, 2012
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Class fee $50.00

Popular Chef Amelia Hard has come up with another class focused on a single grain: wheat. The most important staple grain for a majority of the world’s population, wheat products are the basis of a marvelous array of delicious, healthful dishes. We’ll begin by sampling a delightful Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad with a lively citrus vinaigrette. Then a hearty Italian Spelt and Bean Soup, perfect for fall and winter, served with a super-easy Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread. Next Amelia will show you how to make a fabulous homemade whole wheat pasta, Herbed Whole Wheat Spaetzle. Then a zesty middle-Eastern dish, Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous with Olives and Quick-Preserved Lemon. The very special dessert will be Ravani, a Greek cake soaked in a luscious orange syrup. An additional recipe will be Toasted Bulgur Salad.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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