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Posts Tagged ‘sourdough’

This past Sunday our Sunday Photo post focused on “Flour Power.” Well, flour has definitely taken on power, and new meaning for me in the past five years.

On my journey to rid our kitchen of processed and pre-packaged food, I have also taken some detours and now local food plays a very important part of this journey as well.  Granola Bars 1

Flour, also gives me freedom. The freedom and power to make things like bread and pizza dough. Crackers and muffins. Sour dough starter and white sauce. I know where my flour came from and I know what the ingredients are in the things I make. Not only do I know the ingredients, but making these things is also frugal. I know it costs a lot less then buying a loaf of bread at the market.bread dough

In Sunday’s post Alexandra talked about finding local flour in Wisconsin a few hours from where she lives. I finally found a source for wheat in Texas that is about 500 miles away. YIKES. Texas is fifth in the nation in wheat production, and it is hard to find wheat or flour locally. Hmmm. Fran talked about flour and its connection to communities.KPMF on toast with asaragusOn any given day, I usually eat something that I eat that has flour in it. Toast made from homemade bread to go with my morning eggs. Maybe a granola bar in the car on the go. Last week for dinner I made a mushrooms in a white sauce using flour, served if over toast and topped that off with steamed asparagus.

Flour is one of the staples that I would never want to be without in my cupboards because it plays an important part in our meals. I am grateful that I have the time to make these things at home.

What part does flour play in our kitchen and life?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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Hi All from narf7 from Serendipity Farm

Today’s post was brought to you by the concept of flour through the ages. I have a very sketchy ability to recall my own history let alone the history of the rest of the world but somewhere in the back of my mind I remember a history lesson regarding how important the growing of cereal crops was to the history of mankind. It meant that we would no longer need to be nomadic and that there would be a degree of surety regarding our food supply that was previously reliant on the hunting of large and dangerous creatures to feed us. Maybe that’s where vegans started as well…who knows! All I know is that it meant that people tended fields of grain while others went out to catch the mammoths and that’s where humanity started to really appreciate the concept of community. Everyone had a job, and the cereal became the backbone of the community.

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Sourdough rye starter after being fed, ready for use

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A sourdough loaf

Very early on we humans learned that a loaf of bread (albeit unleavened and most probably somewhat tasteless) was a valuable thing when the mammoths went on their annual sabbatical to wherever they went (most probably the La Brea Tar Pits) and being able to harvest perennial grasses allowed communities to grow and prosper. The production of flour allowed a community to store food and once food was stored it could be bartered for other food and goods and services, and over a period of time commerce was born. Flour, and that tasteless loaf of unleavened bread was incredibly vital to how big a community could grow and how far it could travel to meet up with other small communities.

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Homemade spinach pasta dough made with eggs and spinach produced on the property

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A Roly Poly Tiger Stromboli created from a savoury Stromboli recipe after wondering if a sweet version might be nice…it was!

Fast forwards to today and flour is just as important to our economies as it was back then but we have refined (pun intended) our flour to within an inch of its life and it isn’t the life sustaining product that it once was. Fortunately for us there are healthy alternatives and we can all have a go at creating customised baked goods suitable for everyone in our family. There is a groundswell of interest in cooking and especially baking and a subsequent rise in food blogs enabling us all to customise our diets to suit our requirements. It also allows us to share what we learn with our friends and family and spread the food love around

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Delicious and healthy, a cake baked using dates as an alternative to refined sugar

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These muffins were baked using kefir and sourdough starter a great way to use up excesses in a most tasty way

Where our communities were once reliant on spreading the grain love for survival, we now share recipes to rebuild a sense of community…we have almost come full circle. I shared how to make a wonderful pizza, calzone and Stromboli dough with a wonderful friend who was staying with us recently. She can now take the recipe back home with her and share it with her friends and family to make their lives richer. Humble flour still enriches our lives even though our lives are a whole lot easier than they once were. Where would we be without bread, birthday cakes and pizza?

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This week we have our third mini-challenge for the Dark Days Challenge. Vegetarian Theme.  For some of the carnivores participants this is a big challenge, for other carnivores it isn’t. And it will be interesting to see what the vegetarian and vegan participants cook up as well. Did they challenge themselves to try something new and different?

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West Region (CA, CO, TX, UT, Mexico) with Emily from Sincerely, Emily

Lynda (CA) from Cortina Creek made some wonderful looking sourdough pancakes this week. Lynda grows and grinds her own wheat and the sourdough starter has been growing for 3 generations originating with her grandparents (what a treat!) She used cherries that she had preserved from a farmer’s market last summer, she used eggs from her chickens and she made the cheese using local milk & cream. The oil came from her son who grew and pressed the sunflowers himself. I would say, not only was this a local and vegetarian meal, but it was mostly from family grown and raised ingredients.

This wasn’t much of a challenge for the vegetarians over at d.i. wine & dine.  Instead of just another “normal” meal for them they decided to challenge themselves and make blue corn tortillas using local blue corn meal. The local ingredients go on and on with anasazi bean, spinach and potatoes. They also added another layer of flavor using a mostly local homemade peach salsa.  Head over to their blog to see more photos and read more about their challenge.

Teresa (CA) from Not from a Box wasn’t super challenged by the vegetarian meal this week, in fact eating vegetarian meals is a normal occurrence around her place. Coinciding with the DDC was lent and as she had done in years past, she gave up meat again this year. She prepared a flavorful parsnip and apple soup and paired it with a nice looking grilled cheese sandwich. Her list of local ingredient is long and impressive. Visit her blog to read more.

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Amusingly, the first post I opened for our vegetarian challenge, from the entertaining WoohooTofu (ironic name there)  boldy proclaimed “Crazy for Chicken.” She gets them by the boatload, something I may try for the summer when my freezer isn’t full of frozen veggies. She made a lovely family heirloom chicken soup. Oh course it wasn’t Woohoo that I was worried about. After her gorgeous celeriac a gratin two weeks ago, I’m fully confident that she can whip up vegetarian with one hand tied behind her back. I was a little concerned with game-loving Sanborn Sanctuary, but they came through, although not without editorializing meat. 😉 We’ll have to award flying colors here, for sweet potato latkes with garlic aioli. I am making this for dinner tonight. My other meat eater, at Backyard Farms, also stepped up to the challenge, with that vegetarian staple food, pizza.

Dave at Happy Acres checked in at the last minute. Another inveterate meat eater, they made some lovely meals nonetheless. He caught this season of bookends perfectly with spinach (new and fresh and grown in spring) and a lovely roasted sweet potato (preserved from last year’s harvest). I won’t spoil it by mentioning that they served it with steak. (oops) And vegetarian theme notwithstanding, I have to bring up their amazing “southwest chicken pot pie” made with tortillas and green tomato salsa.

UPDATE: Thank goodness I went looking for the wonderful, thoughtful MNLocavore.com this morning. I wanted to see why she had dropped out of the Challenge. Turns out no such thing. She’s in it and as thoughtful as ever. Her post reminded me of my daughter confessing that she’d made breakfast for a vegetarian friend, but had first made some bacon for herself before cooking eggs. She didn’t think to clean the bacon grease out of the pan. “Wow,” her friend said, “why are these eggs so delicious?!” Yeah, bacon. Here also is her post from February 8, another vegetarian option.

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Northwest Region  with Miranda from Pocket Pause

Up here in the blustery Northwest my blogging neighbors have been cooking up some yummies. It seems crustless quiche were popular for our veggie challenge. Along with my fritatta, Farming Mom got back into blogging action to tell us about her yummy “egg cake” for the veggie challenge, a chocolate mousse for the dessert challenge and a bunch of other local fare. If you’re in the NW, check out her post for some great local resources of SOLE foods. Be Creative snuggled up with some delicious looking tomato soup after a chilly walk in the rain, and it may not be long until she shows up with a quiche or fritatta as well: her chickens are laying!

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After making my sourdough starter a few years ago, I make bread all the time. This past year I’ve been working on trying to learn how to make sourdough quick breads, like English muffins, pancakes, biscuits and other things. One reason I like sourdough is because the grains are soaked overnight, this is supposed to make them easier to digest and much more nutritious. On Tuesday morning I finally made my first batch of sourdough pancakes and they were a HUGE hit.

I used the basic recipe from Mother Earth News and amended it to suit my tastes. I used my sourdough starter and some freshly ground whole wheat flour, along with some buttermilk leftover from my butter making, eggs from the local farm. We topped them with some homemade butter and some local maple syrup (soon enough we’ll have our own maple syrup).

Sourdough Pancakes

1 cup sourdough starter* (I like to use recently fed starter)
1 cup water or buttermilk (I’ve made both and much prefer buttermilk)
1 cup flour (I used 100% whole wheat freshly ground)

In a large bowl, mix these 3 ingredients just until combined (don’t over mix) and let stand overnight. I use raw milk buttermilk in mine and it doesn’t bother me to let it sit out overnight, it has beneficial bacteria in it, so I don’t worry about the milk going bad. *I feed my starter white flour, so my pancakes were half whole wheat.

2 eggs (I usually use only 1 egg)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter (allow to cool slightly)
1 tablespoon of sugar (or 1 tablespoon of honey)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
*you can add a few Tablespoons of powdered milk if you used water in your starter above instead of using buttermilk

The next morning, sprinkle sugar, salt and baking soda over the starter sponge you made the night before (I always put my baking soda through a screen to get rid of any lumps). Whisk eggs and butter or coconut oil together then add to sponge mix. Add additional buttermilk if the sponge mix seems to thick for pancake batter (depends on whether you like thick or thin pancakes, this batter is slightly thicker than normal). Mix until combined and allow to sit for 30 minutes before making pancakes.

Drop batter by quarter cups on a buttered, preheated cast iron pan. Cook pancakes until golden brown on both sides, flipping them once only when tops are bubbly and edges look like they’re starting to dry (I guess you know how to do this so I don’t need to explain it too much).

Some of the recipes I’ve read don’t use baking soda, I’ll be making a batch soon without. I hear that it helps reduce the sourness of the pancakes, so if you’re pancakes are too sour, add another half teaspoon of baking soda. Next batch I’ll try making without any baking soda to see how sour they are and how well they raise.

Mr Chiots loved these pancakes, he said they were the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever made. One great thing about soaking the whole wheat overnight is that it reduces the bitterness of the whole wheat. I must agree, these didn’t taste like they had as much whole wheat in them as they did. I’ll try making some buckwheat pancakes soon as well. I’m not as huge a fan of buckwheat as I am whole grain or oatmeal pancakes.

What’s your favorite kind of pancake?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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