May
5

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Apple Kuchen

Apple Kuchen

Base and apple chunks ready for topping

It’s an old saying that pretty much everyone loves motherhood and apple pie, and I’d include myself in that list – particularly since there have been two back to back crop failures for the blueberry crop around our camp up north – otherwise as a good northern canadian lad I’d be endorsing motherhood and blueberry pie but definitely not turning down apple pie.

More realistically, in our home apple pie usually takes a back seat to apple crisp – which is so easy to throw together and is truly a great desert.  But, Apple Kuchen also figures prominently among our favorite deserts because it’s a great desert in its own right and is almost as quick to prepare as apple crisp.

Whole grain apple kuchen

Partly devoured pan of whole barley base apple kuchen

For those who haven’t had it before it is an cake base topped with apples and a sugar and cinnamon topping.  Since home ground whole grain flours are the principal ones that get used in our kitchen the base is usually whole barley or whole wheat – both of which work great and give more substance and flavour compared to white flours.

So next time you are looking for a great desert give Apple Kuchen a try.

Click on the post title to expand and see the recipe.


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Blueberry Corn Cake

With a sister in law and friends who are celiac I tend to keep my eyes open for recipes that are both gluten free and great and easy (the latter meaning in part no crazy exotic gums and pastes and binders);  That combination is fairly rare – certainly more rare than when one is not constrained to exclude gluten.

Blueberry Corn Cake – A great desert

There are winners though, and this is one of the nicest ones around – so much so that it graces our meals even when the table is filled with wheat eaters.  Frankly the latter simply allows me to do the grinding of the cornmeal on the homemade grain mill from the couple of big sacks of feed corn we always have on hand.  The mill does a great job and fresh meal can’t be beat, but since the mill often processes gluten containing grains I keep a bag of commercial meal for those occasions.

This corn cake makes a desert – moist (even if some lasts a couple of days), rich, flavorful and just the right amount of sweet to cap off a nice meal or accompany tea or coffee.


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Nearly Instant Granola Bars

Easy Homemade Granola Bars with Whole Oats

Easy Homemade Granola Bars with Whole Oats

Once you’ve given these oat bars a try chance are good they’ll replace your prepared granola bar purchases.  They are super quick to pull together, decidedly tasty and cost a fraction of what commercial granola bars cost.

Now to be sure these aren’t super health food – they have quite a bit of fat and sugar mixed in with the whole grain oats – but then at least in terms of sugar content that’s not really different from the commercial product.  All the same, these are our favorite for packing along when we head off into the outdoors on adventures where we’re burning loads of energy.

Once you give them a try I’m sure you’ll be keeping this recipe handy.

Click on the post title for the recipe details.

 

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Chewy Oatmeal-Barley Raisin Cookies

Fresh Oatmeal Barley Raisin cookies packed for a day of skiing

Fresh Oatmeal Barley Raisin cookies packed for a day of skiing

You know those cookies from the store, the “fresh like” ones that are soft and chewy and oh so good.  I have a soft spot for the Oatmeal-Raisin ones.   These ones trump those.  They taste better, feature all whole grains, and can be whipped together in under ten minutes.  They go together quickly, if you are doing it by hand try to grab a Danish Whisk – you won’t go back to a wooden soon after you’ve tried it – or they can be made with even less effort with a stand mixer if you have one.

I think cookies have an undeserved reputation in some folks mind that they are a hassle.  I think a big part of that can be resolved by using silicon baking sheets.  They pretty much guarantee that you won’t suffer from the burnt bottom syndrome and they are reusable for many years – my oldest ones have been around for about ten years and are just about at the point that they need to be retired.

This recipe uses whole barley flour milled in the Homestead Grain Mill but you could just as easily substitute whole wheat, rye, triticale or spelt flour.

 

 

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Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles

Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles - so incredibly light and good.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles – so incredibly light and good.

These waffles are incredibly light and oh so tasty, even when compared to other homemade waffles they are by far the best!    You’ll love the full flavor that the whole wheat brings, and the acid in the not only adds a very mild tang to complement your sweet toppings but also provides the acidity to really foam the baking soda.

These are exceptionally simple to make – you just need to spend five minutes the night before making your sourdough levain.  Really from a time standpoint it doesn’t require any more prep time – just a bit of forethought on your part.

Give them a go and I am sure that “Sourdough waffles in the morning” idea will be floating around your head before you turn in on a regular basis prompting the making of the levain the night before and the sweet dreams realized the next morning.

Click on the post title for the full recipe.


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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Loaf

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Loaf

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Loaf

This loaf will blow your socks off it is awesome good.  Yet like any other quick bread this is a breeze to whip up taking only moments worth of prep work.  In addition to the whole grain it features an abundance of pumpkin – pumpkin is strangely in short supply in many loaves, that’s not the case here.  As well, the sugar content isn’t as high as other loaves – and with the richness of the pumpkin and spice flavor you don’t miss the lesser amount of sugar.  In my case I use my home canned pumpkin cubes which only need to be mashed up with a fork.

If you like pumpkin and do whole grain baking this is a recipe you need to try.  I am sure it will become one of your favorites.

Click on the post title for the full recipe.


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Quick ‘n Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits

Whole Wheat Biscuits hot out of the oven

Whole Wheat Biscuits hot out of the oven

There’s good reason why biscuits were an essential part of pioneer cooking fare – they are quick and easy to make, are incredibly versatile and especially when warm right from the oven – like most fresh baking – make any meal go from whatever to wow!  They were the perfect tool for the busy pioneer wife to pull together to make her meals special.  Not so surprisingly they fill that same role today just as well.  Between work and school and a myriad of other things that fill our modern lives the busyness while different is likely often just as much of an issue today as it was a hundred years ago – so any modern baker – male or female, hitched or not – should have a good basic biscuit recipe to turn to in times of need.   This happens to be a great and versatile one.

Click on post title for the full recipe.

 

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Whole Wheat Naan – bread machine makes it simple

Homemade Whole Wheat Naan

Homemade Whole Wheat Naan

When I first started making homemade naan several years ago I did the mixing and kneading by hand.  It’s a bit of work to say the least.  But, now I let the bread machine do the work.  You’ll need to “trick it” to get the job done but it does an excellent job.  A stand mixer would perform equally well not doubt – as long as it can handle making heavy bread dough.

So, what’s the “trick”?  Well, a standard bread machine cycle won’t kneed the dough well enough – so you need to put it through the initial mixing and kneading cycle a few times.  I usually find it’s three cycles on my double paddle machine – but your mileage may vary.  But the result you want to achieve is the same slightly shiny stretchy dough.

Whole wheat naan on baking sheet

Whole wheat naan on baking sheet

Apart from the need to put the bread machine on the dough cycle and reset it twice – allowing it to continue with the full dough cycle on the third go – making awesome whole wheat naan is easy and fast.  It’s a great way to accompany Indian food such as the slow-cooker butter chicken we posted.  Like the butter chicken you can prepare your naan dough the day before and if you don’t bake it right away you can put it in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator until you roll it out and bake it the next evening, so the two make a great pair – folks won’t believe you didn’t take the day off to slave in the kitchen when you put a meal like this in-front of them.

Finally, there are a bunch of ways to bake your naan.   You can do it on a skillet or frypan on the stove top – flipping it over to finish both sides,  you can make it in the pizza oven, or you can bake it on an overturned cookie sheet either in the oven or on the gas bbq.  I usually favor the oven method since it allows me to bake the half dozen naan all at once, rather than doing one or two at a time.  You still will need to flip them over halfway thorough the baking process even in the oven.   The actual baking time is under ten minutes total.

In the time that it takes me to roll out the naan, the oven to heat up to temperature and the naan to then bake is just about what it takes for the rice to finish cooking and the table to be prepped – a pretty efficient meal plan all told.

Give it a try and you’ll be all smiles.  Click on the show title for the full recipe.

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Whole Grain Waffles – Barley Flour

Waffles are decidedly the high class alternative to the pedestrian pancakes.  Sure,  they are slower to produce but they are a great treat for a breakfast or brunch.

Breakfast fixings, barley flour waffles, strawberries, bacon and maple syrup

Breakfast fixings, barley flour waffles, strawberries, bacon and maple syrup

While a variety of whole grain flours can be used to pull these healthy waffles together my favorite is unquestionably barley.  There’s a sweetness to barley that plays perfectly in this recipe – and by that I mean you’ll be hard pressed to make enough to satisfy the crowd at your table.

You may be hard pressed to find barley flour in your local grocery store – it will probably take a trip to a specialty retailer if you don’t have your own grain mill.  If that’s the case why not consider building a grain mill  – it isn’t much more complex than the baking you are already doing,  just in a different domain.

That said,  like all whole grain products it will fill you up and keep you going – you won’t be getting hunger pangs mid-morning after a hearty breakfast where these are featured.

So oil up your waffle iron, get it heated up and get ready to wow with these whole barley flour waffles.

Click on the post title for the full recipe.


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Easy Whole Wheat Graham Crackers

Once you’ve had homemade Graham Crackers you’ll have a hard time ever buying a box of commercial ones.  Now,  graham flour is just a particular coarseness of whole wheat flour so you’ll find the fine whole wheat flour you can grind on your own mill a perfect match with this recipe.

You’ll find loads of recipes for graham crackers that date to your grandmother’s time – and the resources she had in her kitchen.  They take a few extra steps that you can bypass making the production of these graham crackers faster and easier.

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Rolling graham crackers between silicon baking sheets speeds production

The key here is using silicon baking sheets.  The old way of rolling out the dough called for mixing and then chilling the dough for a half hour.  This hardens the butter which makes it less sticky when rolled out between the two sheets of parchment paper.  But,  silicon baking sheets are so much better that if you are using them you can skip the chilling step completely.  Simply roll out the dough between two of the sheets and then peel of the upper sheet.  At this point you can score the dough to lay out the cracker shapes, slide it onto a baking sheet and put it in the oven.

This recipe is enough to make about two dozen full graham crackers with a bunch of not quite full sized squared for crushing for use in pie crusts, and can be fitted on two baking sheets.  I usually double this, but then I’m usually into mass production.  That double recipe takes about a total of four sheets, which can be accomplished in two goes.

Click on the post title for the full recipe.