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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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 Éclairs

Whole Wheat Chocolate Éclairs

Whole Wheat Chocolate Éclairs

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.

Click on post title for 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 Apple Fritters – Fall Fantastic

DSC06000Try 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

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

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.


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Whole Wheat Potato Bread

I enjoy making this bread whenever I have leftover mashed potatoes that need to be used up.  BUT, I will make mashed potatoes specifically to be used in this bread when I’m going to be making toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches.

Toasted Bacon and Tomato Sandwich on Whole Wheat Potato Bread

Toasted Bacon and Tomato Sandwich on Whole Wheat Potato Bread

Fundamentally all we are doing is swapping a cup of whole wheat flour for a cup of mashed potatoes from our standard whole wheat bread recipe.

The mashed potatoes do a couple of things.  First off since they don’t contain gluten we get a somewhat denser bread.  I say somewhat because it is nowhere as dense as a rye, triticale, spelt or barley loaf.  The reduction in gluten is to some extent mitigated by the easily converted starches that give the yeast an extra boost.  At the same time we get a moister loaf.  The combination makes for a great toasting bread – and great toast is the foundation of a great bacon and tomato sandwich!

Originally potato bread was used to stretch more expensive wheat flour but today the bread merits being included in your baking rotation on its own merits alone.  That said,  it remains a great way to put that little bit of mashed potatoes remaining after some meals to good use in your daily bread!

Click on the post title for the full recipe.


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Whole Wheat Cracked Peppercorn and Olive Oil Crackers

Rolling whole wheat crackers directly on silicon baking sheet

Rolling whole wheat crackers directly on silicon baking sheet

The prices for a box of great crackers is pretty steep, but you don’t have to eat that cost to make a great foundation for cheese or smoked salmon – just make your own.

It is actually very easy and fast to produce your own crackers at home, in fact you’d probably be able to get them done and cooling before you’d have been able to fetch them in a trip to your local grocery store.  Like any baking and cooking you also gain the advantage of being able to tailor the recipe to your taste.

This process is extra easy if you roll the crackers right out onto silicon baking sheets – then after scoring them you can slip them onto baking sheets.

So easy and yet so good – you’ll really impress yourself with these so go ahead and make some.


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Campfire Cinnamon Buns

There are folks who revel in roughing it when they head into the bush.  That’s not me.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the outdoors and think glamping is silly but while I am perfectly capable of living rough if need be, if I can make things more comfortable for myself I will.  That includes food.

Cinnamon buns cooked over the campfire

Cinnamon buns cooked over the campfire

Much of my camping is done by canoe – so even if there are portages the size and weight constraints aren’t that rigorous – which makes more diverse outdoor fare reasonable.  These campfire cinnamon buns are a case in point.  Having these with coffee in the morning while looking out over still waters with the mist rising off them is a pretty awesome experience.

Now most would expect to need a stove to bake cinnamon buns – or at the very least a reflector oven, but these are cooked in much the same way as you would the english muffins we already covered – as griddle cakes in a frypan – which makes them much more reasonable to produce.

Dough rolled out ready for cinnamon and sugar

Dough rolled out ready for cinnamon and sugar

What I prefer to do is use an extra large ziplock bag – add flour – I prefer to use the whole wheat ground on the diy grain mill – add a pinch of salt, some yeast, a bit of sugar and then add water until you have a sticky dough.  You can do an ok job of roughly kneading the dough while it remains in the ziplock bag.  Since I generally do this step just before turning in for the night – I generally don’t do a second knead.  Make sure the air is out of the bag and don’t get carried away and make too big a batch, and place the bag in a warm spot overnight.

Something spectacular to wake up to

Something spectacular to wake up to

In the morning open the bag, punch down the dough, pull out dough balls, flour roll out, and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on the dough and then roll up and cut as you would with regular cinnamon rolls.  Allow them to rise and then place them in an greased frying pan.  I often just use a couple of pieces of bacon to provide the fat needed to render the surface non stick.

Cook over low heat on one side for a bit, then flip and cook on the other.  Alternate sides until the buns are cooked through.  Allow to cool slightly and serve with a bit of butter if you have any along.  Enjoy.


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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.