A Note from Pam

Friends and fellow bread lovers –

I am going to take a sabbatical [unpaid, of course :)] from blogging about whole grain breads for a bit.  I hope you keep on baking and developing your own delicious and healthy breads.  Please, drop me a note if you discover a recipe you really enjoy – I’ll be checking in for comments even though I won’t be baking for a few weeks.

Take care & enjoy!


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Lemon Bars with Spelt Flour

I made Lemon Bars based on a recipe in Baking by James Peterson (page274).  The only change I made is that I used spelt flour instead of all-purpose and cake flour.  The crust turned out pretty well and was tasty.  It was a bit crumbly, but I think that’s the way lemon bar crusts are anyway.

Lemon Bars with Spelt Flour

Lemon Bars with Spelt Flour

Note: In making the lemon curd James Peterson uses a brown butter.  I used regular butter and because it has a higher moisture content than brown butter, the cooking process for making the lemon curd took about 3 times as long as the book suggests.  That gives the curd time to cook out the excess moisture and firm up.

Results: This is a delightfully tangy lemon bar.  Perfect for these warming months.


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Mixed Whole Grain Bread

I missed a week of baking due to the death of a favorite aunt, who lived in another state. Death may be a normal part of life, but knowing that doesn’t necessarily make the passing of a dear person any easier for those left behind. Perhaps the two most important sources of comfort are, for the religiously inclined, that the person has gone onto a better place, and for everyone no matter what their beliefs, the memories shared.

In continuing our search for tasty and nutritious breads, I produced the following bread using a combination of white whole wheat, garbanzo bean, emmer, and soy flours. The baking process is based on the one used in my February 5th blog’s White Whole Wheat & Spelt Flour Bread.

White Whole Wheat, Garbanzo Bean, Emmer,& Soy Bread

White Whole Wheat, Garbanzo Bean, Emmer,& Soy Bread

2 cups warm water
1 tsp yeast
1 Tbl brown sugar
¼ cup gluten
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
2 cups white whole wheat flour

¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups emmer flour (seeds finely ground in my coffee grinder)
½ cup soy flour
¼ cup flax seed

Sesame seeds

Put warm water in a large bowl and add yeast. Dissolve.
Add brown sugar, gluten, garbanzo bean and white whole wheat flours.
Beat for about 200 strokes.
Let sit for 1 ½ to 2 hours in warm place to allow the yeast to ferment.

Add oil, salt, emmer flour, soy flour, and flax seeds to yeast mixture, combine thoroughly forming a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface or into a large stainless steel bowl. [Note my February 5th blog] Knead for 15 minutes.
Cover with a greased piece of saran wrap. Let rise in a warm spot for 90 minutes or until doubled. [Note: I let it rise for 45 minutes then put it in the refrigerator overnight because I didn’t have time to bake it that night. The next morning I took the dough out and let it stand for 2 ½ to 3 hours before continuing.]

Punch dough down and divide into three equal parts. Form two into long loaves and one into a rounded loaf. Sprinkle the sesame seeds onto a piece of parchment paper. Roll and press the top of each loaf in the sesame seeds. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and cover.
Let rise for 60 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.

In preheated 400 degree oven, bake loaves for 35 minutes or until golden on top.
Let cool completely on wire racks.

RESULTS: This nutritious bread has good texture and can be eaten with butter, cheeses, and sliced meats. It seemed a little dry, but since it holds together well, you can cut the bread into thin slices. Also, I think it tasted a bit flat – so, I would increase the salt level from 1 tsp to 1 ½ tsp. Sometimes cutting back too much on salt also cuts back too much on flavor!


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Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

This rye bread recipe, based on Rye Bread (page 16-19) in the publication The Best of Fine Cooking Breads(winter 2012), uses two starters: a rye and a wheat starter. Since I was basing this on the Breads recipe the flours are given in weight measurements. I have a small baking scale which made this part easy. Measuring by volume does give a slight different difference in amount produced. For example, I used 9 ounces of spelt flour, which by volume was: the first 1 cup = 4.6 ounces and the second 1 cup = 4.4 ounces. Is that important? Apparently.  Some bakers are adamant that it is critical, others (most bakers, given the number of cookbooks which use volume measurements) are not so concerned. It’s up to you.

Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

Rye Starter
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ tsp active dry yeast
8 ounces rye flour

Wheat Starter
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ tsp active dry yeast
8 ounces white whole wheat flour

7 ½ ounces rye starter
10 ounces wheat starter
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
9 ounces spelt flour
10 ounces white whole wheat flour
2 ¼ tsp salt

For the Starters:
Make the rye and whole wheat starters separately.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water in a medium size bowl.
Add flour until well blended.
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours. I let mine sit for 20 hours.

For the Dough:
Dissolve yeast in water and put aside.
Divide the starters by weight and put together in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl mix the flours and salt.
Add dissolved yeast to starters and mix. The recipe said to do this by hand, and I did, but I think it could very easily (and less messily) be done with a large whisk. Just be gentle.
Add starter mixture to the flour mixture and combine by hand until it all comes together.
Knead on an unfloured surface (or in a very large bowl). Do not add more flour; use a scraper if you need to, but no more flour. Knead for 8 minutes.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Knead again for several minutes – until the dough springs back when you poke it with your finger.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a slightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size or for 1 hour.
Release the gasses from the dough by gently kneading it a couple of times.
Return it to the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Cut dough in half and form into two loaves. Place on baking sheet covered in corn meal.
Let rest for another 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 450 degrees.
Turn the heat down to 400 degrees and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until the bottoms sound somewhat hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Don’t slice until the loaves have cooled completely.

RESULTS: The rye bread is nice and chewy with a golden color. It has a good texture for eating with just butter or for making a sandwich. I think it makes a really fine rye bread.

Using the starters added a couple of extra steps, but since it could be done the day before, it actually makes this recipe easy to fit into your schedule. My one real problem with this recipe is that there is so much more starter than needed for the dough. Yes, the leftover starters are enough for another batch, and that’s probably the best way to use them. Unfortunately, Breads didn’t give advice on keeping the leftovers if they’re not used immediately.

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Whole Emmer Grain Banana Bread experiment #2

Interestingly enough, I find that I really like emmer – both as a grain and as flour. In continuing to experiment with using the grain in bread I tried it in a banana bread this week. I used most of my cooked emmer grain a soup (used as a whole grain, not chopped), but kept aside ¾ of a cup for the bread.

This recipe is loosely based on Banana Bread (page 738) from Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread, plus several other banana bread recipes. All in all, this should be pretty nutritious. This kind of bread goes under many aliases: tea bread, nut bread, no-knead bread, and quick bread to name a few. No matter what it’s called, it’s a joy to eat.

Whole Emmer Grain Banana Bread

Whole Emmer Grain Banana Bread

1 cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup spelt four
¼ cup soy flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup emmer grain (cooked and coarsely chopped)
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 ½ Tbl canola oil
½ cup soy milk
1 jumbo egg
1 cup chopped walnuts

Mash 2-3 very ripe bananas – to make 1 cup.
Coarsely chop cooked emmer grain (note last week’s blog for cooking instructions).
Combine the white whole wheat, spelt and soy flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar. Mix well.

Thoroughly beat egg in mixer. Add oil and beat together.
Gradually add soy milk alternating with flour mixture; add mashed bananas and nuts. Beat until well combined.
Pour into greased 5”x 9” loaf pan.
Bake in preheated, moderate (350 degrees) oven for 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pans 10 minutes.
Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
Wrap in foil and place in refrigerator overnight before slicing and eating.

Makes 1 loaf.

RESULTS: It was hard to wait until this morning to finally be able to slice and try this Emmer Banana Bread, but so worth it! It’s a real treat – moist, slightly sweet, nice texture – yet has substance and is nutritious. Although making this bread involved a couple of extra steps – cooking and chopping the emmer grain and mashing the bananas – it really does come together pretty quickly. Not a lot of time needed for you to have a delightful treat that you and your family can share without feeling you’ve given in to the “dark side” (AKA, empty calories).


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Whole Emmer Grain Muffins experiment #1

The Bulgur Muffins last week called for using cooked Bulgur Wheat with Soy. That made me think it would be interesting to try using a similar technique with cooked emmer grain. So, I cooked up some whole emmer grain, chopped them and included them in the following muffin recipe, which is based on Hodgson Mill’s Bulgur Wheat with Soy’s recipe (back of the box).

Whole Grain Emmer Muffins

Whole Grain Emmer Muffins

Cook Whole Emmer Grain
Soak 1 cup of whole emmer grain overnight.
Drain water.
Add 5 cups of water to the soaked seeds, bring to a boil, let simmer for 60 minutes, drain remaining water.

1 jumbo egg
1 cup soy milk
3 Tbl canola oil
3 Tbl blue agave
½ cup spelt flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup cooked emmer grain (chopped)
½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners

Beat egg in a medium bowl. Add soy milk, oil, and blue agave. Mix.
Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in another bowl.
Combine liquids and flour mixture. Add cooked emmer grain and cranberries, stir until moistened.
Fill 12 muffin cups.
Bake 15-20 minutes.

RESULTS: Actually quite good! The emmer grain added a pleasant chewiness to the muffins. We ate them with butter or our own St. Louis Gummy Cream (a kind of clotted cream we make, note earlier blog) and jam. I actually liked it best with just butter because the flavor of the muffin is quite delicate. So, good news for those of you who have whole emmer grain versus emmer flour. This is another way to enjoy the “fruits” of the grain.

Experiment & Enjoy!

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Bulgur Wheat Muffins with Spelt & Emmer Flours

If you like moist, full-bodied muffins, you’ll love these.  I found a box of Hodgson Mill Bulgur Wheat with Soy cereal in the freezer.  I had used it for making tabooli, which is great, but somehow the box had been forgotten as it sat in the depths of the freezer.  Once unearthed again, I found a recipe for Bulgur Muffinson the back of the box.  The following is a muffin modification of their recipe.


Bulgur Wheat Muffins with Spelt & Emmer Flours

Bulgur Wheat Muffins with Spelt & Emmer Flours


1 extra large egg

1 cup soy milk

3 Tbl canola oil

1 cup spelt flour

½ cup emmer flour (ground from seed)

3 Tbl blue agave

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salf

¾ cup COOKED Bulgur Wheat with Soy

½ cup raisins


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners

Wisk egg in medium size bowl.

Stir in soy milk, oil, and blue agave.

Mix flours, baking soda, and salt together.

Combine flour mixture with liquids, add Bulgur Wheat and raisins. Mix until moistened.

Fill the 12 muffin cups.

Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove to cool on wire rack.

RESULTS: I can categorically say that these are really worth making.  I was looking for something tasty, but different, and these fit the bill.  They were good for breakfast and as a side with a dinner salad or a tomato soup.  If you don’t like raisins, try dried cranberries instead.


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