I have just discovered Mesquite Meal (aka Mesquite flour) which Indians in the American Southwest used in their breads. In a quick trip to southern Arizona this past week we stopped at the Casa Grande Archaeological Site between Tucson and Phoenix. The shop there sold 4 oz size packets of Mesquite Meal. Mesquite Meal is made from the beans of the Mesquite tree. Yes, the same tree that produces the wood people use in barbequing to get that special mesquite flavor in their meats. Mesquite flour apparently is packed with nutrients and is especially good for diabetics. A traditional, heritage, flour and highly nutritious, what’s not to try? So, I bought 2 packets [4 oz isn’t very much flour] at $6.50 per packet.
I decided to use Father Dominic’s Basic Whole Wheat Bread recipe from his book Breaking Bread with Father Dominic (by Father Dominic Garramone, OSB), page 18. The recipe produces two loaves, perfect for me since I wanted to do a comparison between breads with and without Mesquite flour.
Father Dominic’s recipe My Changes
3 to 3 1/2 cups Hodgson Mill Best Divide dough in half,
for Bread Flour use 1 1/2 cups Emmer Flour in first
1 cup Emmer Flour plus ½ cup
Mesquite Flour in second half
Although both rose beautifully before baking somehow during the baking process they dropped. Not bad, but why? What caused them to “deflate”? Any ideas?
I baked one (the non-Mesquite bread) in a loaf pan and the other (the Mesquite bread) as a round in order to be able to tell them apart after baking. However, as you can see from the pictures, I needn’t have done this since the Mesquite loaf turned much darker than the straight whole wheat and Emmer loaf.
The result was a nice hardy, dense, whole grain bread. There is a hint of another flavor, but probably using ½ cup of Mesquite flour to 2 ½ cups of other flours (whole wheat and Emmer) couldn’t produce much of a flavor difference.
Overall, I’d say if you have a chance to try Mesquite flour in your bread or rolls, go ahead and give it a try. It’s part of another bread tradition – Southwest American Indian – and is highly nutritious. The down side is the cost. In checking the Internet to see where I could purchase Mesquite flour, I found the prices, including shipping, to be quite steep for frequent baking use. Nevertheless, it is worth a try, an experiment, and maybe you live close enough to a source to not have to pay shipping, which seems to almost double the cost.
The address on the Mesquite Meal from the Casa Grande Archaeological Site is Native Seeds/SEARCH 3061 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 84719-2816; www.nativeseeds.org.