Oregon Trail Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Oregon Trail Cookies

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

Break out of your holiday cookie rut with these Oregon Trail Cookies. They combine some of our favorite Oregon things- whole wheat flour, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. They have a nutty flavor from the whole wheat flour, a zing from the dried cranberries and a crunch from the nuts and seeds. Keep you and yours nourished during your holiday travels with a batch of these cookies on hand. With less sugar than most cookie recipes, it’s hard to feel too guilty about enjoying one. Your kids will feel like they’re getting a special treat and you can feel good about what you’re giving them.

Oregon Trail Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Oregon Trail Cookies

STEP 1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

STEP 2 In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

STEP 3 In a large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, sugar and honey until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Gently mix in almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and cranberries.

STEP 4 Roll dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons at a time and place on baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart. Flatten each cookie slightly.  Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 16 cookies.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

We just can’t stop eating these Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies! Especially since they are a lighter version of classic peanut butter cookies using whole wheat pastry flour and honey instead of white sugar. These cookies will be a big hit and no one will be the wiser about their healthy ingredients. We think Santa would love a plate of these with a glass of milk or, perhaps, a cup of coffee?

Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies

STEP 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet.

STEP 2 Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter and honey. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add flour mixture and gently stir until combined.

STEP 3 Roll dough into 2-Tbsp balls and place 1-in apart on prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball with a fork, making a crisscross pattern. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 30 cookies.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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brownief

Chocolate Mint Brownies

by Erin Clarke in Recipes

If an Andes chocolate mint and a decadent fudge bar eloped to the North Pole and had a beautiful baby brownie, and if that brownie went on to be crowned homecoming queen, graduate from Harvard, and win the Nobel Peace Prize, it would be these Chocolate Mint Brownies.

Chocolate Mint Brownies | Bob's Red Mill

I’m not one to rush to superlatives or swoon at the concept of a soul mate, but these mint brownies are THE ONE. A lifetime fan of the chocolate-mint flavor dream team, as well as a self-proclaimed brownie aficionado, I can say with confidence that no other chocolate mint dessert compares to these mint brownies. They are transcendent.

The brownie layer is deep, dark, and decadent, a chocolate-lover’s paradise. On its own, it nearly risks being too rich, but the fluffy, fresh mint layer majestically lightens and balances it. The mint layer, in turn, is balanced by a thin lid of unsweetened chocolate. I love sinking my fork into the shiny chocolate top, watching it crackle over the York Peppermint Pattie mint filling below, then forge into the fudgy brownie base.

Chocolate Mint Brownies | Bob's Red Mill

The origin of this recipe is my friend Elizabeth, who years ago slide an innocent-looking pan of brownies (if there can be such a thing) my direction and asked if I’d like to try, “the best mint brownies ever.”  They were so incredible, I nearly seized the pan and made a run for it, but a slug of milk returned me to my senses. I asked for the recipe instead. Elizabeth obliged.

Today’s recipe is a lightly adapted version of Elizabeth’s. I modified the brownies to be thicker and fuller, as well as to fit into an 8×8-inch vs. 9×13-inch pan. The brownie thickness is simply because that’s how I believe a brown should be. The smaller pan is an act of self-preservation—once I begin work on these brownies, self-control becomes a mere hypothesis, so the smaller pan is prudent. Trust me.

To keep things from completely rolling off the edge of reasonable brownie behavior, I also baked these mint brownies with Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. It’s completely undetectable, adds fiber, and allows you to feel a bit more confident about that extra slice you just snuck. I plan to use it in many of my baked goods this holiday, and I know my family won’t suspect a thing!

Chocolate Mint Brownies | Bob's Red Mill

To celebrate the start of the holiday baking season, Bob’s Red Mill for giving away a prize pack filled with high-quality baking essentials. One lucky winner will receive:

To enter the giveaway: Visit The Law Student’s Wife and scroll to the bottom of the post. You’ll find full entry details, as well as multiple ways to win!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Yield: 1 8×8-inch pan

Ingredients

For the Brownie Layer

For the mint layer:

  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 -1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 -1/2 tablespoons Milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure Peppermint Extract
  • 2 drops Green Food Coloring

For the topping:

  • 1 -1/2 (1-ounce) squares Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1 -1/2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Directions

  1. Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch pan and set aside.
  2. Prepare the brownie layer: In a heat-proof bowl set atop a pan of simmering water so that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water’s surface, melt the 12 tablespoons butter and 3 ounces chocolate together. Stir frequently and watch carefully so the chocolate doesn’t burn. When the chocolate has nearly melted, remove from heat and stir until smooth. Set aside and let cool completely.
  3. Once the chocolate has cooled, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add the vanilla extract and sugar, beating thoroughly. Add the whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour, then beat until blended.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the middle appears set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  4. Prepare the mint layer: In a medium bowl, beat the 3 tablespoons of softened butter and powdered sugar together. Add the milk and vanilla, beating until smooth, then beat in the food coloring.  Spread over the cooled brownie base and refrigerate until firm.
  5. For the topping: Melt the 1 1/2 ounces chocolate and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter together, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over the chilled mint layer, then spread with spatula, gently covering surface with a very layer. Place in the refrigerator to set, then cut into squares. The brownies will cut more easily (and are delicious) when chilled. Enjoy with a large glass of milk.

Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator or wrap tightly and freeze for up to two months.

Erin Clarke

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

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

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

 

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Erin Clarke Google: Erin Clarke
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Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix-4

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix in a Jar

by Erin Clarke in Gluten Free, Recipes

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

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix | Bob's Red Mill

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flour and Oats

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

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

Printable

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

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

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix in a Jar

Yield: about 30 cookies

For making the mix:

For baking the cookies:

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

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

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

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

Store leftover cookies in an airtight container.

Erin Clarke

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

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

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

 

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Erin Clarke Google: Erin Clarke
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quinoa bites F

3 Healthy Road Trip Snacks

by Claire Gallam in Recipes

The holiday season is upon us, and to many, that means lots of baking, holiday parties, endless shopping and long road trips to see family and friends. Even though it’s just as easy to pull into a McDonald’s or a Burger King when the kids start demanding food, those meals filled with fat, empty calories and sugar will only leave them hungry again in no time.

My suggestion? Skip the drive through and pack your car full with one of these healthy, fiber and protein-packed snacks for seamlessly easy road snacking. Now, I can’t promise your kids will behave, but I can promise they’ll eat these up without any complaining.

Preventing your son from licking his sister’s face or your daughter from hogging the iPad is on you, I’m just packing the snacks.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | Bob's Red Mill

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yields about 8 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/3 cup of Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/3 cup of Canola Oil
  • 1 cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt together. Form a well in the middle. Add eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and oil.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir until fully mixed. Add chocolate chips and nuts, stir until incorporated.
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of batter into each cup (or until 3/4 the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until browned.

Mexican Quinoa Bites | Bob's Red Mill

Mexican Quinoa Bites

Yields about 14 mini bites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa (we love tricolor)
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded Carrot
  • 1 stalk Leeks, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Jalapeño Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Green Chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Cilantro
  • 1/3 cup shredded Colby Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon Mexican Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Plus Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt) and Avocado for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix the quinoa, egg, carrot, leeks, garlic, jalapeño, diced tomatoes, green chiles cilantro and cheese. Mix in the seasoning and salt and pepper.
  3. Fill each muffin tin all the way full with quinoa mix. Bake for about 16 – 20 minutes, or until crispy on the outside.

Fluffy Banana Bread | Bob's Red Mill
Easy Frosted Banana Bread

Serves about 14 – 16.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2-½ tablespoons unsalted Butter
  • 3-½ medium Bananas, smashed
  • ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Almond Meal
  • ½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 cup chopped Walnuts
  • ½ cup Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Chocolate Chips for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large 9 x 3 x 3 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the applesauce, butter, eggs and sugar, until creamed. Mix in the banana, cream and vanilla, stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the flour, almond meal, xantham gum and baking soda together.
  4. Make a well in the center of the butter ingredients and add the flour mixture, fold to combine. Stir in the chopped nuts.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.
  6. Bake for about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, frost with cream cheese. Top with chocolate chips.

Claire GallamClaire is a cookbook author, food writer and recipe creator, soon-to-be culinary student
and avid world traveler. She is recently married to a social media guru who loves *almost* everything she conjures up. She writes full-time for the Food section of SheKnowsFabulousFoods.com and is a contributing writer for the Travel section of SheKnows. You can also follow her daily musings and find delicious healthy recipes on her food blog, The Realistic Nutritionist. Follow Claire on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with her newest creations. 

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Claire Gallam Google: Claire Gallam
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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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Ciabatta Bread F

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

by Stephanie Wise in Featured Articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stephanie Wise Google: Stephanie Wise
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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Pastry Flour

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes, What is it? Wednesday, Whole Grains 101

What is pastry flour? Pastry flour is a low-protein flour designed for baking when baking powder or baking soda is the leavening agent. It bakes delicate pastries, chewy cookies and is an excellent solution for pie crusts. We recommend our Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for bakers who want to use whole grains, but need a lighter touch. Full-force whole wheat flour is great for breads, but a little heavy for cookies and muffins. Our whole wheat pastry flour is milled from soft white wheat, which has less protein (aka gluten) than our whole wheat flour ground from hard red wheat. We offer whole wheat pastry flourorganic whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached fine pastry flour for all of your pastry baking needs.

How is it different from all purpose flour and cake flour? Pastry flour, whether whole wheat or unbleached white, has less protein than all purpose flour and more than cake flour. It’s a happy place in between.

Why would you use this instead of all purpose flour or cake flour? I am starting to sound like a broken record, but you choose this flour because you can. Because baking is an act of love and, just as you would choose your words carefully in a love letter, you choose your ingredients carefully when baking something from your heart. It sounds cheesy, and maybe it is a little, but when I bake, I bake with the intention of creating something special for my loved ones. I can’t think of the last time that I baked just to get the job done.

When you want to make a perfect blueberry muffin, pumpkin quick bread or chewy chocolate chip cookie, pastry flour is a good choice. Just between us, I would venture to say that unbleached pastry flour and cake flour are pretty interchangeable. You probably don’t need both on hand. Whole wheat pastry flour, though, is a kitchen essential when you want to use whole grains in your baking. Whole wheat pastry flour is a far cry from regular whole wheat flour. It is not nearly as heavy as regular whole wheat flour and has a lighter flavor. It’s wonderful when used half and half with white flour. I guarantee that no one will know your chocolate chip cookies have whole grains if you use half whole wheat pastry flour and half white. I know, I’ve done it. Do not, however, be fooled into thinking you can use pastry flour for bread baking. You’ll be sadly disappointed.

What is it? Wednesday: Pastry Flour

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. For pastries and delicate baked goods, you want less protein.

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 decadent coffee cake, you want a small crumb and a moist loaf.

Is pastry flour gluten free? Nope.

Is Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour organic? We offer one organic option- Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. Otherwise, our regular whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached fine pastry flour are not organic.

Is Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour enriched? Yes, our Unbleached Fine Pastry Flour is enriched to government standards with  niacin, iron, thiamine, folic acid and riboflavin. Our whole wheat varieties are not enriched, as they contain all of the healthful vitamins and minerals just as nature intended.

Is Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour whole grain? Our whole wheat varieties are made with whole grain soft white wheat, nothing added, nothing removed. Our unbleached fine pastry flour is not whole grain.

Is there a substitute for pastry flour? Not really, but if you are in a pinch, all purpose flour and cake flour are close replacements for white pastry flour. For whole grain baking, a combination of regular whole wheat flour and all purpose flour will work, but baked goods will be more dense. Luckily, whole wheat pastry flour is a very popular item and available at many retail stores.

What is it? Wednesday: Pastry Flour

Some of our favorite recipes using whole wheat pastry flour: 

View even more here

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Top it Off for National Oatmeal Day

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

Everyone knows oatmeal is good for you. We’ve touted its health benefits here and here. We’ve walked through all of the different types and how to make the perfect bowl of steel cut oats. We’ve shared loads of recipes, but today we’re celebrating National Oatmeal Day! We often hear that folks don’t like oatmeal. Well, sure, a gloopy mess of oats is rather unappealing. That’s why we want to remind you that we offer many different types of oats- each one with a unique texture sure that is sure to hit the spot.

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

Take your oatmeal of choice and pick one of these toppings, or try them all, and treat yourself to a delicious breakfast. Some of these toppings might seem absurd and some seem downright unhealthy. Take a step back and open your mind. Forget what you know about oatmeal and think about oats as a canvas for all types of flavors. And remember, we don’t suggest eating The Ice Cream Social every day, but once in a while. A little indulgence is good, after all, you are still eating a bowl of oatmeal.

Check out all of the recipes here and download a handy calendar to keep on the fridge for when you need a little extra inspiration. 

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

The Jet Setter: You’ll be ready to take on any day by topping your oats with a shot of espresso, chocolate covered espresso beans and whipped cream, but you’ll probably want to skip this one for the kiddos.

Peaches and Cream: Turn your oats into a Southern favorite with sliced fresh peaches, heavy cream and toasted pecans.

The Gilgamesh: Take a culinary journey by topping your favorite bowl of oatmeal with pistachios, chopped dates, a drizzle of honey, milk and a dash of cardamom (or cinnamon).

The Alaskan: Try smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, and fine red onion for a delightful breakfast.

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

Romancing the Bowl: Top your oatmeal with a tablespoon of Nutella® brand hazelnut spread, add some halved strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream to be ultra-decadent.

The Old School: Top your oats with brown sugar, a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt.

The Truck Stop: You don’t have to be a trucker to eat like one. Top your favorite oatmeal with a fried egg, ham or sausage, shredded cheddar cheese and hot sauce (we like Sriracha).

The Ice Cream Social: For a decadent breakfast (or dessert), add a small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, chopped peanuts and a maraschino cherry (of course).

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

The Elvis: To your favorite oatmeal, add a tablespoon of Peanut Butter, 1/2 of a sliced banana and two crispy strips of bacon.

The Camper: Smores aren’t reserved for a campfire anymore. Top your hot oats with crumbled graham crackers, chocolate chips and marshmallows.

The Power Lift: Power up for your day with 5 egg whites, steamed spinach and toasted hemp seed

The Texan: Make your oats with a Texan-flair by adding crumbled chorizo, black beans, shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, a drizzle of BBQ Sauce and top it off with a fried egg.

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

Carrot Cake:  Make your oatmeal reminiscent of carrot cake with shredded carrots, walnuts, raisins and brown sugar.  Top with a scoop of cream cheese frosting, if you have it for a true carrot cake experience.

Doctor’s Orders: Oatmeal topped with blueberries, a big dollop of gut-lovin’ non-fat Greek yogurt, and two tablespoons of ground flaxseed.

Get Your Goat: Goat cheese, sliced pear, walnuts and honey are a decadent and decidedly healthy addition to your favorite oatmeal.

The Crunchy Granola: Start your day off right by topping your oatmeal with chia seed, goji berries and a drizzle of agave nectar.

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

The Hang Loose: Turn your bowl of oats tropical by adding coconut flakes, pineapple chunks and chopped macadamia nuts.

Oat Couture: Make breakfast classy by adding dried cherries, crème fraiche and abalsamic reduction to your favorite bowl of oats.

Thai-Me-Up Oats:  All the flavors you love from Thai food come together for a sweet and spicy breakfast- sprinkle red pepper flakes over a dollop of peanut butter and a healthy helping of shredded coconut.

Oats-Over-Parma: Take a trip to Italy with prosciutto, Parmesan and sun dried tomatoes.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Chickpea Veggie Soup {OATrageous Oatmeals Giveaway}

by Cassidy Stockton in Gluten Free, Recipes

What’s not to love about a cookbook dedicated to the humble oat? Kathy Hester’s OATrageous Oatmeals offers recipes for using oats in myriad creative ways, like this Chickpea Veggie Soup and Sun-dried Tomato Steel-Cut Oat Risotto. All of the recipes in OATrageous are meatless and contain tips for converting each to gluten free. This book is perfect for just about anyone looking to expand their oat horizons. She has recipes for making vegan sausage crumbles from oats, as well as oat milk and oat yogurt. We had no idea you could do so many things with oats. At Bob’s Red Mill, we thought we’d seen it all from oats, Kathy has proved us wrong and we thank her for it.

OATrageous Oats by Kathy Hester

Today we’re sharing a recipe from Kathy’s book and giving away a copy of this book, along with a variety of our oats to one lucky winner. To enter, simply comment on this post and tell us which type of oatmeal you like best (thick, old fashioned, Scottish, steel cut, etc.). We’ll pick a winner at random from all who enter by 11:59 pm on 10/27/14. If you want to grab a copy for yourself or scope a preview of this book, check out Amazon where you can grab an e-book version for only $8.89.

Chickpea Veggie Soup from OATrageous Oatmeals| Bob's Red Mill gluten-free, vegan

Chickpea Veggie Soup

by Kathy Hester from OATrageous Oatmeals

gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free option*

This healthy soup tastes like you slaved over a hot stove all day but comes together fast enough to eat any weeknight. Sweet potatoes, carrots and kale make this delicious. Using steel-cut oats as your grain of choice makes the soup thick and hearty too!

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Olive Oil (*use broth or water instead)
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) minced Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups (270 g) diced Sweet Potato
  • 1 cup (110 g) chopped Carrots
  • 1 can (15 oz [425 g]) Chickpeas
  • 6 cups (1420 ml) Water
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) Steel-Cut Oats (or certified Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats)
  • 4 tablespoons (24 g) Nutritional Yeast, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Rosemary
  • 1-1/2 cups (270 g) chopped Kale or other green like Chard or Collards
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Add the olive oil to a soup pot and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes.

Add the sweet potato, carrots, chickpeas and water, then turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Once the soup is boiling, turn to low and add the oats, 2 tablespoons (30 g) of the nutritional yeast, marjoram, smoked paprika, basil, thyme and ground rosemary. Cover and simmer until the oats are thoroughly cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Add in the kale and the other 2 tablespoons (30 g) of nutritional yeast. Cook about 5 to 10 minutes until the kale is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Per serving: Calories 177.6, protein 8.1 g, total fat 5.3 g, carbohydrates 24.2 g, sodium 41.9 mg, fiber 6.1 g

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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