Roasted mashed and cooled seminole squash ready for bread making
I’ve covered before how much I like seminole squash – they taste great, and they store a incredibly long time, and as a plant they resist pretty much any pest… the one drawback is that they take a relatively long time to mature… but with each growing year I’m selecting for earlier maturity.
So to take advantage of that great taste one of our favorite recipes is this Seminole Pumpkin Bread. It’s reasonably sweetened rather than cakey sweet allowing the sweet flavour of the pumpkin to shine. As with much of our baking we’re using whole grain flours. My preference here leans towards whole barley flour, but whole wheat is also a nice flavour, ground of course on the homebuilt grain mill. Either of these flour options provide a complexity that goes miles beyond a pumpkin cake loaf served in some green logo coffee shop.
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.
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.
Growing up I always loved when my mother would have chocolate éclairs bursting with fresh whipped cream for desert. They seemed so decadent – or rather they were and still are, but now as a baker, having baked éclairs I wonder why they weren’t more commonly on the desert plate since they are really very easy to make (and that’s not overselling it).
For those that think whole grain translates into blah, well this is a great recipe to demonstrate that finely ground whole grain flour can and will wow.
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.
Try these and it will forever ruin your experience with donut shop fritters, they are awesome. Now, they aren’t quite as easy as just tossing the ingredients for bread into the bread machine and walking away, but if you have a handle on the processing steps they don’t take that much more time and the result at the end of the process is well worth it.
Start by making the whole wheat dough. This is a rich sweet dough that is oh so sticky. As such it’s best mixed in a stand mixer or in the bread machine on the dough cycle.
Apple fritter filing
While the dough is going through the cycle – which takes about an hour and a half – prepare your apple filling. If you can choose apples with a crisp firm flesh – those hold together best – but I find I’m often grabbing bags of softer fleshed apples we’ve gleaned and put down. Irrespective of the type of apple don’t cook them into a mush – you just want to soften them and get them to absorb some of the cinnamon caramel greatness.
When rolling out the dough make sure your work surface is well floured to keep the dough from sticking. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick, and then put the apple mixture on one half and fold the other segment over the filling.
Cut up dough and filling ready for forming
Now, in order to get that structure of dough and apple that fritters are known for you need to chop the material up cut on the diagonal about 3/4″ apart, and then cut the opposite diagonal in the other direction. Then take a scoop of the cut up dough and apple mix and firm it into a solid ball about 1″ thick.
Allow the fritters to double in bulk and then fry them up. When they are still warm dip one side in the glaze you can make up while the fritters are rising.
My favorite glaze is made using my homemade apple cider syrup which really punches up the apple flavor, but maple syrup or vanilla are also great options.
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
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.
Super chocolaty brownies made with whole barley flour
These brownies are crazy awesome good. Frankly they are soooo chocolaty that it masks most (but not all) of the sweet nuttiness that I love from the whole barley flour. These are really really good, and so quick to prepare that you’ll be able to whip them up and have them in the oven in under five minutes – washing your bowl will take as long as the prep.
This recipe is also a great one to hand to new bakers (of all ages). Unlike cookies which are fun but can be a bit time consuming these brownies are pretty close to instant gratification and there is really little chance of it being screwed up.
If you have younger bakers you might find the mixing a bit of a challenge with a wooden spoon. Pick up some Danish Whisks and the kids will be able to do all of the mixing themselves. Once you’ve got them in your kitchen drawer they will end up being your default mixing tool they are that good.
Bread Dough rolled out, oiled and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and ready to be rolled up
It’s telling that a whole franchise – and a rather successful on at that – can be built on one very narrow product – cinnamon buns. I guess, upon further reflection I guess that isn’t so unique, but it may be a bit telling as to how easily many of us part with cash that we’d be willing to pay such a premium for what is really a very simple bread product.
If you haven’t made cinnamon buns at home you should. The process is really very simple – and the bread machine takes all of the real effort out of the process.
This is one more case where silicon bakeware really shines. Cleanup of any sugary “leakage” from the buns is easily snacked on or washed up.
Cinnamon buns ready for second rise before going in the oven
For soft sided buns put the dough into a pan so that when doubled in bulk the buns contact each other, if you want harder outer crusts place them on a baking sheet with separation between the buns.
I always find it cool how changing even a single variable can significantly change the outcome. That is as true in baking as it is in many other domains.
English muffins are a great example of this. They are just regular bread dough that is cooked on the griddle rather than baked in the oven… simple enough right – but would you have guessed how easy their preparation was before now?
Certainly they are sold in stores at a premium – but you can turn them out easily at home.
Whole wheat English Muffins in the frypan
English muffin rings are certainly not necessary, and personally I would never have purchased them. Rather I have two dozen that I made up from salvaged stainless steel sheets. They are nice in that they give uniform muffins, but the real reason I enjoy using them is that I get a kick out of having fabricated them myself from scrap.