Apr
20

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Quick Apple Fritters – whole grain (or not)

Homemade Apple Fritters frying

What was it Homer Simpson used to say…. MMMMMMMMMMMMMM Donuts.  For me that is more likely to be MMMMMMMMMMM Apple Fritters,  so it’s probably not surprising that I’ve played with dozens of recipes over the years  – most yeast versions.  But this quick one is the one I keep coming back to – it’s fantastic AND as a quick donut it’s a snap to produce.  While I usually make them using fresh whole ground flour they work just as nicely with white flour.

The other nice thing is this recipe is that it scales wonderfully – from 1x to about 5x which is about the maximum I can manage to make with my deep fryer before it makes sense to do up another batch of batter – but given that takes all of five minutes it’s really no hardship.  So get out your apples, heat up the oil and get ready to enjoy.

Click on the post title to expand for the whole recipe.


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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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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 Wheat Banana Bread

Once you’ve tasted banana bread made with the rich taste of fresh whole wheat flour you won’t want to go back to the comparatively bland taste of loaves made with white four.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread - ready for lunch

Whole Wheat Banana Bread – ready for lunch

As a quick bread this loaf is easy to pull together.  Unlike many other banana breads I’ve tried that are sweetened enough to be deserts this rich load has less added sugar and relies more on the sweetness in the bananas combining with the nuttiness of the whole wheat flour to form a hearty snack or lunch loaf just begging to be combined with a few slices of aged cheddar.

Combined with cheese a couple of slices of this are a hit for lunches – adding healthy variety.

Click on the post title for the full recipe.

 

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Whole Wheat Hot Crossed Buns

Like so many seasonal or holiday baked goods hot crossed buns can be prepared any time of the year.  It’s not like the bakery gremlins are going to jump out from behind the wheat barrel and confiscate “unseasonal” baking.  But, all the same, there is something to be said about allowing traditions and the flow of the seasons to prompt us to mix up our culinary repertoire.

Let Easter (or now) serve as the reason to mix up your baking by preparing a batch of hot crossed buns.  If you can make buns you can make hot crossed buns – the only difference is the addition of a few spices to our standard whole wheat yeast bread recipe along with a cup of raisins added just before the dough is kneaded for the second time.  When the buns have cooled they get a tiny bit of icing.  That’s it.  Simple, easy, fast and a delicious difference.   Make a batch and the bakery gremlins who make these disappear will end up being your family members.

Click on the title for the recipe details