Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wheat Wisdom

Wheat, Lesson Two

Since my family refused to eat 100% whole wheat bread (the only thing I knew to use at that time, from our wheat supply, was to grind whole wheat flour), I decided to try it in desserts. Started replacing 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup of white flour. This worked for us little by little. It wasn't until many years later that I read how tastes can be changed by slowly integrating a new flavor into the diet. Never say never!!!

Mexican Wedding Cookies
Whole wheat flour gives these gems a nutty flavor (replaces the pecans often used in this type of cookie). 

5 T. powdered sugar                                         
1 stick butter, softened                          
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract                                         
1/2 tsp. almond extract                     

3/4 c. unbleached flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour 
1/8 tsp. sea salt 
extra powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325
°.  Mix the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond, unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, and salt.  Roll dough into 1-inch balls, place one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until set but not browned on top. Cool slightly; roll in powdered sugar.  Cool completely, then roll again in powdered sugar.  Makes 24.


Cinnamon Applesauce Bread
This dessert bread could also be breakfast, with a cup of herb tea!

2 large eggs 
(or 4 T. dried whole egg powder added to the flour + 6 T. water added to liquids)

1/4 c. vegetable oil (or melted butter)
3/4 c. sugar
1 T. molasses (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 c. applesauce 

**1 c. sifted unbleached or white flour
3/4 c. sifted whole wheat flour 
1 T. dry milk powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt or salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 to 4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
Mix eggs, oil, sugar, molasses (optional), vanilla, water, vinegar, applesauce. 
In a separate bowl: mix the flours, dry milk, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon. 
Pour dry mixture into liquids and stir just to combine (do not over mix, it's okay for batter to be a bit 'lumpy'). Pour into greased loaf pan, gently spread to even out top. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center top comes out with moist crumbs but not wet-batter on toothpick. Remove pan from oven, allow loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Let cool on rack before slicing. 

**this tastes good with all whole wheat flour, if you are now used to the taste of whole wheat, I suggest using no white flour in this bread. Also, I like to use white wheat instead of red wheat for this (see wheat lesson four on this blog)
**Before measuring, make sure to sift the flour....too much flour will make this dry/tough. So, sift it, gently spoon into measuring cup, use the back of a table knife to even off top


I love the taste of wheat. In fact, I love the smell of it cooking in the crock pot. But that wasn't always the case!! With those first few tries using whole wheat flour, because I was used to eating refined foods, it just tasted way way way too strong. [Same with brown rice].  Not wanting to give up so easily, I also started replacing 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup of white flour when making bread. Going more slowly like this, we eventually worked our way up to 100% whole wheat bread.   Now I was using it in desserts and bread, though we never found too many desserts that we liked with all whole wheat flour, but I was still happy there was some in there to provide more fiber and nutrition.

After a long time of doing this, I realized one day that it had been a long time since we had gone to the doctor.  Every one of my small children had previously been to the doctor frequently with lung problems/bronchitis. It especially scared me when my baby had to have a chest x-ray.  Pondering upon this discovery, thinking what had changed, it dawned on me that the change was: we were eating some wheat.  Then I started wondering why would this make a difference?  Now a fervent quest began on my part to find out why, researching everything I could find on wheat.  Discovering that it had fiber, vitamins and minerals galore.  During this time I was discovering other methods for cooking wheat, though at first it just did NOT taste good. But spurred on by the improvement in our health, I wasn't about to let go of this help in our lives.

So after the whole wheat flour successes, I started cooking it with different methods, and learned to sprout it. Still didn't own a wheat grinder, but thank goodness for friends willing to grind some of our wheat. Years later, I was able to pay it forward by grinding wheat for others just starting out as I had.    
When someone gave me a recipe for making blender pancakes, and we were already well on our way to eating more whole wheat, I thought why couldn't we also make blender cracked wheat? 

If you don’t have a grinder, that is okay…..still many ways to use Wheat without one. 

Wheat cooked in slow cooker to use as a breakfast cereal with real maple syrup and butter. Also use this
 wheat to make meatless burgers / patties / wheat chili / in soups, etc....

cooked wheat berries....also called wheat kernels

Slow Cooker Wheat
2 c. dry wheat
1 tsp. sea salt
6 c. water

Cook on low about 7 hours. Turn off heat, let sit covered another hour.  Ready for breakfast or other uses. When cooled and put in tightly covered container, stays good in fridge up to 5 days. Also freezes well.

**Blender cracked wheat cereal with butter and honey

[this picture shows sifted cracked wheat....when done in blender, it isn't sifted, but looks similar]

Blender Cracked Wheat 
1 c. dry whole wheat berries/kernels
3 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt or sea salt

Put dry wheat, water, salt into a blender; cover.  Blend on/off at LOW speed until wheat is cracked into small pieces.  Pour all into a double boiler.  Cook for 30 minutes or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes. Serve with butter and honey. Some people like it with just sugar and milk; others like sugar and cream. 

**Leftover cooked blender cracked wheat can be used in ground beef to stretch it, and to add fiber; this mixture makes an especially good taco filling, as well as meatballs (ratio of 1 c. cooked cracked wheat, cooled or chilled with 2 c. ground beef). 
Use leftover cooked cracked wheat in other recipes as well, it will keep for 5 days in fridge if put into a tupperware-type container.  It also freezes very well: measure out 1 or 2 cup increments, put into sandwich baggies, put the sandwich or snack baggies, place these into a gallon freezer zip-loc bag, label and date. 


Blender wheat pancakes or waffles 
"Sausage" wheat patties
Golden wheat patties
Big Sky wheat burgers
Wheat berrie bread
Cracked wheat bread or rolls
Cracked wheat pancakes
Sprouted wheat as a snack and in salads
Sprouted wheat bread
Janet's Carrot Sprout Salad
Cracked wheat spice cake

Blender Wheat Pancakes

Put in blender, blend 4 minutes:
1 c. dry wheat
1 and 1/4 c. water

Add, blend until smooth:
2 large eggs

Scrape blended mixture into mixing bowl. Add and stir in until combined:
1 T. cooking oil
2 tsp. baking powder (Rumford's, see list)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. sugar

Cook pancakes on medium heat.


Golden Wheat Patties
A surprisingly good main dish. Approved by teenage sons and hungry men. This is a popular sample at my classes. We like these with mashed potatoes, cream gravy, and broccoli. But we have also had them with homemade french fries and coleslaw.  

1 and 1/2 c. cooked cracked wheat (we use white wheat)
1 large egg
3 T. dry milk
3 T. dried chopped onions
1 T. unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. liquid smoke
3 T. water
2 T. oil or olive oil (may need more)

Mix all ingredients. Heat oil on medium. Place 2 T. mix at a time in hot oil, smooth with back of spoon to form small patties. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Will make about 15 patties.


Sprouting wheat is easy, watch his method, or look up other methods if you wish.  [We sprout wheat in glass quart jars]:

I also like this post and pictures for sprouting:

Janet's Carrot n' Sprout Salad
When first tasting sprouted wheat, I was surprised that it tasted a bit sweet. This is one of my best recipe creations! To me it was so good, that I decided to make it for a New Year's dinner. Our guests, used to healthy foods, loved it. Of course, the *sprouting takes time, so plan ahead.  

3 to 4 fresh carrots, peeled and grated
1 c. sprouted hard white wheat, slightly chopped
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, do not drain
3 oz. cream cheese + plain yogurt

Mix pineapple, cream cheese, and about 1 T. yogurt until creamy.  Add carrots and sprouts, mix.  Cover and chill until serving time.  Stir before serving.  Makes 6 to 8 servings, but this also good for simple lunch, which would be 2 servings.

*you might want to google sprouting methods....we use a quart glass jar, bought plastic screen that we cut to fit under canning ring.

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