Aug
18

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Whole Wheat Wonton Wrappers – simpler than you think

Stack of homemade whole wheat wonton wrappers

Stack of homemade whole wheat wonton wrappers

Often things that appear intimidating the the uninitiated are a breeze to pull off for those that know a few tricks.  It’s that way with  so many things including many in the kitchen.  Wonton wrappers are one of these.

I think most folks who’ve eaten spring rolls, pot stickers, egg rolls or wonton soup would dismiss the idea that they could produce so thin a dough at home.

Yet, it actually extremely easy to get great results – and do so quickly – using whole wheat flour to boot!

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Rolling out wonton wrappers – it’s easy to get them thin if you are patient.

There are a couple of tricks to making the process easy.  The first, as is the case with our whole wheat bread we want to add a bit of acid – in this case white vinegar – to make the gluten stretchier.  Whole extraction flours have a lower ratio of gluten to the rest of the flour since we’ve got all of the germ and bran mixed in.

Now like the song lyrics you “can’t rush love” or was that “can’t buy love” you actually might be able to do both but you can’t rush making wonton wrappers.  A good rest is required after the first kneed to allow the gluten to strengthen – I generally prefer to make the dough, bag it in a ziplock, place it in the fridge and come back to roll it out the next day.

Now you can do all the rolling out with only a stout rolling pin, but if you have a pasta machine – and you should – this will really speed up the process.

The final secret is corn starch and the liberal application of it when rolling out the dough.  Forget flour, corn starch is it.

Now this recipe forms quite a few wrappers;about three dozen give or take,  but the great news is that the wrappers refrigerate and freeze well, so you can make a big batch and freeze what you don’t need right away for another meal – and there will be many more meals featuring these as soon as folks try them.   If you want to keep folks thinking you’re some kind of genius for mastering these I promise I won’t whisper to them how easy it really was,  then again, maybe just being willing to try something new and seemingly daugnting qualifies you as a minor genius….

Click on the post title for the full recipe.


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Easy Whole Wheat English Muffins

English muffins rising in homemade rings

English muffins rising in homemade rings

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

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.

 

Click on the title post for the instructions.

 

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Whole Wheat Apple Braid

If you make bread you quickly come to understand just how versatile a good standard dough, such as this whole wheat bread recipe, can be.

Whole Wheat Apple Braid

Whole Wheat Apple Braid

You can make bread of course, but we’ve also covered how you can turn it into standard buns, and fancy buns, cinnamon buns, bagels, pizza, and now fruit braids.

One of the reasons why this is such an attractive proposition in my mind is that I can produce a single batch of bread dough and split it to produce two very different products… usually something like buns and then something sweet, and fruit braids are a great option to keep in your baking pocket.

Apple Braid right out of the oven

Apple Braid right out of the oven

Really you roll out the dough divide it into thirds, and cut the outer two segments so that they can be braided over the fruit mounded in the center.

In my house the fruit filling often is apples and cinnamon with a bit of sugar in large part because I tend to harvest and process so many apples.

Give it a try when you next make a batch of bead dough.

 

 

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Simple Whole Wheat Pizza

Everybody loves a great pizza.  Making them at home can save you a ton of money.  I fill my freezer with mozzarella  when stores advertise it at a lost leader price – here it’s usually $4 for a half pound bar.  There’s always lots of pepperoni – home cured from the offcuts I accumulate from doing butcher work.  There’s even plenty of tomato sauce if fresh tomatoes aren’t available and our homemade sauce has run out.

Homemade whole wheat pizza slice

Homemade whole wheat pizza slice

While you can use a much simpler recipe for pizza dough especially if you are using high gluten durum flour, when I use full extraction whole wheat I often tend to default to my tried and true baler twine whole wheat bread dough – which allows me to make a full batch and split it for buns, cinnamon rolls or something similar for the next day if I only want a single pizza.

This dough gives a nice chewy crust.  Load it up with toppings and you’ll get the pizza you want at a fraction of the price of delivery or even store bought frozen product.

 

 

 

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Whole wheat breads – dough moisture levels

So it’s probably pretty obvious that I grind a lot of whole grain flours and do a considerable volume of baking with them.  I’ve learned a couple of secrets over time.

1. You need fine flour to get something that is acceptable quality, you can do that on the home built grain mill or a good quality one you purchase.

2. You need a really good recipe to make a whole wheat breads that is something folks will be happy eating day after day.

3. You need to ensure there is adequate moisture in the dough at when it is just starting out to compensate for the slower

Desired moisture level in whole wheat dough at the start of the cycle

Desired moisture level in whole wheat dough at the start of the cycle

absorption of the liquid into the whole wheat flour.  This is something I always monitor at the start of the bread machine cycle and add water as necessary to achieve the consistency I am looking for.  While the consistency is always the same the amount of water can vary depending upon the moisture content in the flour and things like the size of the eggs.

You want the dough at the start of the cycle to look considerably more moist than you would want to achieve with a white dough.

I shot a video to give you a better idea of what you are looking to achieve.