I’m trying something new for sourdough quarantine baking: pumpkin cinnamon rolls. The two cans were the perfect amount. Because the filling is wetter than regular cinnamon rolls, the unrisen rolls are droopy. I don’t think it will matter, but I’ll see! I intend to eat these for breakfast, so they are healthier, too: less sugar, basted with melted vegan butter, but none in the dough or spread on the rolled out sections.
A brief essay on making substitutions for sourdough baking if you’re living in a state with shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders: I ran out of semolina due to other people’s panic buying because of the pandemic. I’m at high risk for coronavirus complications so I’m avoiding shopping in stores. I was going through my food storage and realized I had blue corn atole, a type of roasted cornmeal. It works perfectly well for dusting pans. I also have some garbanzo flour and teff grain in my freezer. I have started adding small amounts of one or the other to each sourdough bread loaf to stretch out my supplies and spread out consumption of extra nutrients to maintain my health. I’m using olive oil to oil pans because I have more olive oil on hand than other oils and fats.
You can purchase my book, “Wild Bread,” in Kindle form if you want an instant download to avoid possible coronavirus exposure. Of course, paper copies are also available from Amazon and lisarayner.com. My friend Dan runs lisarayner.com and runs a considerably more sanitary operation than Amazon warehouses are experiencing right now. He only has one employee.
My gardening book, “Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains,” has a chapter on food substitutions—how to use local and home grown ingredients in place of imported foods. A sustainable future will require a relocalization of food systems based on small farms with permaculture polycultures.
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.
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.
Buy my book Wild bread on Amazon (Kindle and paper versions) or lisarayner.com (paper only).
My sourdough loaf bread and pizza made with freshly ground whole wheat flour are always in demand.
Flatbread is the most flavorful kind of sourdough. That’s because there is a high crust-to-bread ratio. It’s also fast to bake. When the sourdough culture has been fed flour and water several times and is ready for baking, I first save 8 oz of the culture in it’s storage jar, feed it more flour and water, and let it sit on the countertop for an hour. Then I add salt, water and my hand ground whole wheat flour to the dough and knead for about five minutes. When I make flatbread, I give the dough a bench rest to relax the gluten. Then I flatten it out and moisten the top with olive oil using wet hands. To prevent pita pockets from forming I use my Uzbeki bread stamp to poke holes in the dough after it has risen and bake the bread. My Kindle edition of “Wild Bread” is only $9.99. Also, I now have a YouTube channel. More free videos forthcoming!