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.
Ok, so it may be that with half of my gene pool coming from Norway it’s almost inevitable that I have a craving that periodically can only be fulfilled with fresh homemade crispbread. Fortunately, crispbread is fast and easy to make. While I know it is designed to last a long time – I’ve never found that I can keep a batch around for very long – especially when there is a hearty fall soup, some smoked salmon or gravlax, or an awesome cheese to do it justice.
This has got to be one of my favorite loaves – great for sandwiches and just begging to be toasted and topped with some buckwheat honey.
One of the great things about having a grain mill is that it provides you with a big range of flour options for baking – wheat, corn, rye, barley, oat, triticale, spelt, and more can be purchased cheap from farm stores in 50# bags and stored for the long haul either in the bag themselves or in 45 gallon drums to be ground as you need. That makes producing “artisanal” loaves such as this light rye a breeze and a cheap one at that.
Sourdough rye bread ready for the oven
With a bit of tang from the sourdough and the full extraction rye flour cut with some white this loaf is an easy sell for most folks.
Even better, while it takes a bit more forethought the actual time required to work the loaf is minimal – especially if you have a stand mixer.
Making great fresh breakfast sausage is easy and rewarding, and undoubtedly the best way to dip your toes into sausage making. Here you only need to blend spices into the ground meat (I use pork) and form them into patties. No curing, no casings, no fuss – just a great breakfast compliment. You’ll also be able to tailor these to suit your taste, and enjoy significant quality improvement and cost savings to boot.
Fresh pasta is a feature of high end Italian restaurants – and with good reason its flavour and texture blows away the dried competition. Underlying that foundation to a great meal though is the reality that making pasta at home is easy, quick and fun.
You’ll need a pasta machine – here we’re making rolled pasta not the extruded sort (that’s for another day). These are low cost, I picked up one recently for the cottage on special for $20 and generally come with the main rolls whose gap can be adjusted as well as spaghetti and linguine making rolls.
To use whole wheat flour – I grind mine in the homestead mill for the freshest flavour – you’ll need to increase the hydration compared to using most commercial flours – so this recipe adds an additional egg to the dough. While you can do the kneeing by hand a stand mixer makes life very easy and I would find it hard to go back to living without one in my kitchen.
Homemade whole wheat pasta with garden fresh sauce
The other thing to bear in mind is that while the overall process doesn’t take much time from you (particularly if you have a stand mixer) it can’t be rushed. For the dough to be rolled out easily it needs to be left for a couple of hours in the fridge. So make the dough in advance and toss it in a ziplock in the fridge – for a few hours or a couple of days.
When you are ready for your fresh spagetti or linguini put your salted water on the stove to boil and generally I find that by the time the pot is boiling – under ten minutes for me – the pasta is ready to be dropped in.
Cooking time for fresh pasta is significantly less than for the dry version so keep that in mind when timing the other components of your meal.
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.
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
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.
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.