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.
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.
Nationally-known cookbook author and food writer Lorna Sass interviewed me on Feb. 21, 2010. See Part I, Part II, and Part III.
I’m wearing one of my handwoven tunics. In this second video I talk about how I became a vegetarian in college. I later interned for Farm Sanctuary taking undercover videos in Pennsylvania stockyards. Watching the horrific abuse made me a vegan. I also talk about my early effort to write a cookbook based on foods that grow well at high elevation. Finding a word-processor in a dumpster was a big help to creating the first edition of my book, Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains (now in its fourth edition). I also discuss how I became interested in baking sourdough bread. I explain the feeding schedule for my sourdough starter and show off my Lehman’s grain grinder
I started my day by feeding my sourdough starter. I did some knitting. At 9:00 a.m. the outdoor temperature was around 22°F. I opened the solar oven to preheat it. After breakfast I put the beans in the solar cooker; the cooker reached 300°F at its hottest point an hour or so later; the daily high temperature was around 40°F. The snow on the ground reflected extra sunlight into the cooker. The air temperature had very little effect on the cooker temperature; the low angle January sunlight had a bigger effect on lowering the temperature.
After breakfast, I ground whole wheat flour by hand for 15 minutes (amount pictured) and fed the starter for the third time. I kneaded my bread dough, stopping to grind more flour as needed (a full loaf contains 16 oz of flour, including the flour in the starter). I left the loaf to rise for a couple of hours. When the bread was risen, I baked it at 375°F. I removed the cooked beans from the solar oven around 2 p.m. I let the bread and beans cool down on my kitchen counter.
In the afternoon, I spent some time weaving cloth and doing miscellaneous chores. I added the cooked beans to a stew with winter vegetables for dinner. I used my pressure cooker to make the stew. A pressure cooker is an enormous time saver at 7,000 feet; pressure cookers also save a lot of stovetop time, and therefore fossil fuels, too.
I began my day by feeding the sourdough to make a loaf of my 100% whole wheat bread for myself and soaking soybeans from our natural foods buying club for making soymilk that evening. Then I went out on the back balcony to do some weaving. Mornings are peaceful. I love the morning sky. Since the monsoon rains have begun it has rained almost every night but in the morning it is usually sunny. The pea vines are now as tall as I am.
After breakfast I ground some whole wheat flour to bake bread, made the bread, and then set it one the porch to rise. I spun yarn while keeping an eye on the bread dough.
In the afternoon, I bicycled to East Flagstaff along the Route 66 bicycle/pedestrian trail to shop at Goodwill, my favorite thrift store, and the 4th Street Flagstaff Farmer’s Market, a locally owned produce store that has been increasing its organic and local produce options. Mount Elden looms in the background.
I made the soymilk and cooked dinner in the early evening. We watched a documentary while eating dinner.