Pizza. Yum. Photos from our most recent bi-weekly vegan pizza night. Lately, I’ve been making pizza sauce using cooked winter squash like butternut or kabocha in place of tomato paste. I add our favorite Italian herbs and spices just as I would for a tomato-based pizza sauce. On top of the sauce is eggplant sauteed in tamari. The pizza pictured has two different veggie areas: mushroom and red bell pepper, and zucchini. I partially melt a little Daiya nondairy cheese on top after the pizza is baked. Then I add steamed broccoli and let the pizza cool before slicing to ensure a good crust texture. There is more broccoli on the zucchini section of this pizza to make up for fewer kinds of veggies. The 100% whole wheat crust was absolutely delicious. I’m having so much fun with unlimited amounts of whole wheat flour.
My wife has been taking a legume-based soup/stew with her to work. I’ve decided to cut costs by solar cooking dry legumes. Cooking beans and lentils in a solar cooker is my favorite way to cook legumes. Some people often mistakenly believe that legumes will not soften in a solar cooker. Not true. Some people also mistakenly believe that legumes never soften fully at 7,000 feet elevation. Not true either! While it’s possible to sauté in a solar oven, I didn’t have time until later in the evening. My wife did the sautéing and added the lentils and herbs and spices to suit her taste.
This is a loaf of whole wheat sourdough twice the size of my previous regular loaves, about two pounds of bread. The loaf pan is a specialty pan for angel food cake. It was a gift. The pan is big enough that the loaf could have been higher, so next time I’ll try making a 2.5 lb loaf.
My typical sourdough artisan loaf bread (loaf bread made using plain artisan dough, but unlike artisan bread, baked at a lower temperature in a loaf pan that has been oiled and dusted with semolina).
Now that I have unlimited quantities of freshly ground whole wheat flour, I’m switching to a long loaf pan designed for angel food cake. It’s perfect for baking loaves that contain twice as much dough. This will allow me to bake loaf bread once a week rather than every five to seven days, plus other baked goods like pizza and calzones and sweet rolls, all 100% whole wheat. More information soon.
Another use for my home ground whole wheat flour: cookies.
I have made soymilk with a SoyaJoy™ milk eight years ago. Soymilk makers usually make 1.5 liters of milk and 1 cup of okara at a time. They can also make all other types of non-dairy milks in a fast and easy process. Okara (Oh-kar’-ah) is the Japanese word for soy fiber pulp left over after making soymilk and tofu (a cup of refrigerated okara is pictured below). Vegans and vegetarians also use the word to apply to other pulps left over after making all kinds of non-dairy milks, such as almond and other nuts, coconut, rice, oat and hemp okara. Okara is high in fiber and protein and contains some moisture when fresh. It can be refrigerated seven to 10 days.
In my household, one of favorite uses for okara is my own (copyrighted) recipe for chocolate chip peppermint cookies. The okara substitutes for some of the whole wheat flour as well as for the moisture and binding power of eggs.
Chocolate Chip Peppermint Okara Cookies
I live at 7,000 feet and all directions are for high-elevation baking. If you live at sea level you will have to increase the amount of baking powder, lower the baking temperature to 350°F, and start checking to see if the cookies are done at 10 minutes. You can use other flavorings besides peppermint and vanilla, such as almond. I use a fork for creaming and mixing. The cookies can also be baked in a solar cooker. I will blog about solar cookies another time. Makes ~48 cookies.
1/2 Cup butter (I use vegan non-dairy butter)
1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
1/2+ Cup Chocolate Chips (how much chocolate do you want?)
1/2 Cup chopped pecans, other nuts or slivered almonds
2 Teaspoons vanilla
2 Teaspoons peppermint flavoring
1 1/2 Cups okara
2 3/4 Cups flour (whole wheat pastry or unbleached all-purpose)
2 Teaspoons baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Cream the butter and sugar together (I use a fork).
- Mix in the chips, nuts, vanilla and peppermint.
- Mix in the okara.
- Add the flour and baking powder and mix. After the initial mixing, I use my hand to gently knead the dough together. At sea level you’ll have to be careful to not over-mix the dough and thereby develop the gluten or you will have tough cookies. At 7,000 feet a little gluten development is a good thing for helping vegan baked goods hold together. Below is a photo of fully mixed cookie dough:
- Use a spoon to scoop out larger-than walnut-sized blobs of dough (or make more, smaller cookies; you’ll have to adjust the baking time). Pat the dough into a flattened round on a prepared cookie sheet like so, 24 cookies per full size baking sheet:
- Bake each sheet at 7,000 feet for 13 minutes if using a convection oven and 20 minutes in a regular oven.
Blueberry sourdough whole wheat pancakes. Yum.
Here is my new electric flour mill in action. I hand ground about 1 to 1.5 lbs of whole wheat flour per week for 12 years, mostly for myself. Now I’m switching over to 100% whole wheat for all baked goods, and I bake everything from scratch, from bread to pizza to pancakes, sweet rolls, cookies, and more, for every household member. Next up: posts on sourdough baking this week with flour ground by this mill.
I bought an electric grain mill, a KoMo Fidibus 21 Grain Mill. I used my Lehman’s best hand crank grain mill for 12 years. My family needs more fresh whole wheat flour than I can grind myself. I want to use 100% whole wheat flour for everything I bake. I plan to keep the Lehman’s mill just in case I need a non-electric mill. I’ll post my review of the mill soon.
Since I began milling my own flour, I have become addicted to it. Fresh whole wheat flour tastes sweet. It makes wonderfully-tasting sourdough breads. Store bought whole wheat flour is rancid. Super polyunsaturated wheat germ oil is as fragile as hemp and flax oils once the wheat berries are ground. I think it’s a crime that commercial flour millers are allowed to put a two-year expiration date on whole grain flours. Always store whole wheat flour in the freezer unless it’s freshly ground and you plan to use it within a couple of months.
KoMo’s Fidibus 21 grain mill is handmade in Austria. It has excellent reviews. Specs: beechwood veneer, corundum-ceramic burrs, high-efficiency motor, and a solid beechwood hopper that holds almost two pounds of grain. It grinds 5 to 6 oz flour per minute.
The Fidibus 21 grinds soft or hard wheat berries, oat groats (dehulled oats), rice, triticale, kamut, spelt, buckwheat, barley, rye, millet, teff, quinoa, amaranth, and sorghum. It also grinds legumes. The only grain and legume it can’t grind because of their hardness are garbanzo beans and popcorn. The mill is adjustable to mill fine flour to coarse meal and cracked grain.