Sunday, July 5, 2015

Baking Tips for Spelt & Whole Wheat Baking

Spelt Butter Cake made with homegrown/made cultured butter & dusted with rapadura & cinnamon & decorated with edible flowers and leaves 

 Making the switch from using white flour (either bleached or unbleached) can be tricky.
Whole grain flours can be harder to work with in the beginning. When we swapped from using "normal" flour to grinding our wheat ourselves I thought I wouldn't be able to make a loaf of sandwich bread, a cake that didn't crumble or cook a crepe ever again.
I looked for tips and advice but had trouble finding it as we were a year or two ahead of the whole food movement and information on baking with alternative ingredients was limited.
We've been grinding our own flour for about 5 years now, and I can tell you that cooking a whole batch of crepes is a breeze and that spelt makes the best tasting, fluffiest pancakes you've ever had.


Sourcing Whole Grain Flours

Of course you don't have to go to the length of grinding the grain yourself. Whilst this is a great option if you want your flour to be truly fresh and thus maximise the nutritional value of the flour, all good health food stores will stock a range of alternative flours. Our local store stocks whole wheat & spelt, unbleached white spelt, and rye flour. It also stocks the whole grains for you to grind yourself. Most of the time these products are also certified organic.
If you only want to bake with whole grain flours sometimes, buying it in small bags from a retailer is probably your best option. If however, like us, you wish to swap entirely to all whole flour baking, and you are going to do it regularly, then a more cost effective option is to join a local co-op. Our co-op orders every few months and because a group of us are buying bulk, we get the goods for wholesale prices.


Baking Tips & Good Cookbooks for the Whole Grain Baker

For pastry, chose a "rich" pastry recipe, i.e one with a higher butter content. Make sure you chill the pastry well and handle it with care. Rolling it between two sheets of baking paper is ideal for whole grain pastries. Eleanor has a delicious Spelt pie crust in her book that is great for savoury baking.

For yeasted bread baking, I found a wetter, sticky dough resulted in a perfect, light loaf. If making a sandwhich loaf, a smaller loaf works better, i.e 350-400gm.
For sourdough I'm finding Yoke's book very good. She has a whole section with recipes for baking with whole grains and explains how to get a good rise and light loaf from whole grain flours by adjusting baking temperature and starter to flour percentage. The book also has recipes for sourdough made with unbleached spelt and all your other regular flours. It's a great book all around for any sourdough baker.

For pancakes and crepes, Spelt makes the best tasting ones around! To get your crepes to work, it's all a matter of eggs. My basic crepe ratio is 2 eggs to every 1 cup of flour. The eggs will give your crepes strength which they need as they are so very thin. I've made Spelt pancakes without eggs heaps of times (like when the chickens take laying holidays) and with a good whisk they come out beautifully fluffy.

For cakes, muffins and biscuits, I simply use any recipe that takes my fancy and swap the flour mentioned for Whole Wheat or Spelt. Easy peasy.


Are you a whole grain or white flour baker?
If you're thinking about using Spelt or whole wheat flours, or are struggling as I did in the beginning I hope this post has helped!
If you have any questions about baking with alternative flours that weren't covered here, please comment below or email me, I'm happy to help!
Do you have any tips for baking this way? Add them below in the comments!

Sarah x

This post does not contain affiliated or sponsored links. All recommendations are my own.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Home Grown

It's a grey wet winter's day here. It' been like this, off and on, for the last few weeks. A mixture of cold winds, damp days and some actual rain. 

I'm supposed to be planting veggie seeds, planning a tea party menu, finishing my Pixie Bonnet pattern, photographing new stock, waking up my sourdough starter, bathing a dog (or two), picking veggies for dinner, skimming thick cream off the top of milk and a heap of other things. 
But instead I'm taking a minute here to share some of the home grown happenings in my kitchen for Celia's monthly kitchen tour.

This was a butter cake that I made last week. It wasn't made for any special reason but it was a special cake. After making half a kilo of cultured butter one evening, I decided to use some of it in a butter cake. I used the recipe from the Gourmet Farmer Deli Book, just swapping the flour and sugar for spelt and rapadura. I decorated it with a dusting of rapadura and cinnamon, and mint leaves and viola flowers from my garden.

Speaking of the garden, there has been a lot of produce coming out of it lately both for us and the animals. (The pigs just love fresh celery!).
This basket was filled with frilly lettuce, parsley, squash, celery, silver beet (swiss chard) and the first of our kale. Tonight we'll be having more kale and a heap of snow peas with dinner.

Milk. Common enough, but magical stuff that we don't stop to admire nearly enough. I took a minute to feel proud of it one morning as I put nearly seven litres into the fridge.


What's happening in your kitchen this month?
I hope there are some good things happening for you right now.

Sarah xx


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hello Etsy

I've opened a little Etsy store. I've been contemplating opening one for sometime.
I've filled it with some of my favourite natural yarns. I've added mini prints that feature my photography. It's another place to purchase my Tea Mouse pattern and the kits. I plan on adding more prints, some greeting cards and some more knitting patterns.

I opened it on the weekend and I'd be thrilled if you'd pop by and let me know what you think!

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