White Whole Wheat & Spelt Flour Bread

This week I wanted a nice whole wheat bread that could be used for sandwiches if needed. Also, I wanted to use spelt flour and to boost the protein content with soy flour. So, I again (I had used it in February of last year with Emmer flour) used the Basic Whole Wheat Bread recipe (page 18) in Breaking Bread with Father Dominic by Father Dominic Garramone as a basis for the following recipe.

White Whole Wheat & Spelt Flour Bread

White Whole Wheat & Spelt Flour Bread

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

¼ up canola oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups spelt flour
½ cup soy flour

Extra spelt flour and water as needed

Put warm water in a large bowl and add yeast. Dissolve.
Add brown sugar, gluten and white whole wheat flour.
Beat using about 200 strokes.
Let sit for 1 ½ to 2 hours and allow the yeast mixture to ferment. This slow-rise period allows the mixture to form a sponge which heightens the bread’s flavor.

Add oil, salt, spelt and soy flours to yeast mixture, combine thoroughly forming a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface or into a large stainless steel bowl (I almost always use the stainless steel bowl. Note picture. When I use the bowl I normally only add flour if the dough calls for it, otherwise extra flour is not needed for the kneading process itself.)


kneading bowl

kneading bowl

Knead for 13-15 minutes. Slowly add more water or flour if dough requires during this process.
Let rise in a warm spot for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down and divide into two equal parts. Form each part into a loaf shape. Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.

In preheated 400 degree oven bake loaves for 35 minutes or until golden on top. Loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Let cool completely on wire racks.

RESULTS: This is a great sandwich bread. The loaves have a wonderful milk-coffee color, a firm but light texture, and mild flavor. You can eat the bread with just butter, butter with jam or preserves, or as a base for a sandwich.


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Fudge Brownies with Spelt Flour

We’re still finishing the pumpernickel loaves I made earlier, so I baked a dessert this time – spelt brownies. The recipe is based on a Fudge Brownies recipe (page 573) from Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread. Published in 1983 it remains among my favorite cookbooks.

Also, I wanted to understand more about the impact of spelt flour. I read that spelt can replace ordinary white flour one-to-one, but I wondered if it were true or if a person could tell the difference. As I indicated in an earlier blog, I made most of my Christmas baked goods using plain white flour because I wanted to keep the traditional qualities of the cookies and cakes. While I really do like the dense, full-bodied flavor of whole grains, sometimes the lighter qualities of white flour are desirable as well. Trying brownies seemed like a reasonable way to begin checking out how well spelt flour worked. [I’m not even going to talk about the fact that I now had an excuse to bake a yummy dessert!] I used sugar instead of blue agave to better determine that any changes in quality would be due to spelt alone.

spelt flour brownies with frosting

spelt flour brownies with frosting

2 -1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup butter
¾ cup spelt flour
½ tsp baking powder
a little less than ½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla (made with vodka)
a little more than ½ cup broken walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease an 11 X 7.5 inch pan

Melt chocolate and butter together, cool to lukewarm.
Mix flour, baking powered and salt together in bowl.
Beat sugar and eggs together on medium speed, until light.
Combine the chocolate-shortening mixture, vanilla, and egg-sugar mixture.
Gradually add flour mixture with mixer on low speed.
Stir in walnuts and mix well.

Spread evenly in the greased pan and bake on center rake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack.
Frost with chocolate frosting if desired.

RESULTS: I had several taste testers for these brownies. They all concurred: the brownies were chewy with a full chocolaty flavor. Did I hear the spontaneous, fully satisfied “Ummm” from one of the testers? Spelt is supposed to have a more nutty flavor than wheat, however, no one could tell the difference between these brownies and those traditionally made with white flour. It could be that the chocolate flavor overcame any more subtle taste differences. Whatever, these brownies were considered a definite winner.

General Information:
The official name of spelt is Triticum aestivum var. spelta. (from: http://nutrition.about.com/od/grainsandcereals/p/spelt.htm) According to Wikipedia this ancient grain was an important part of the European diet from the Bronze Age to medieval times. It belongs to the wheat family but has more protein than wheat flours, 17 % versus 13.7% in whole grain wheat. While spelt has gluten, the gluten is different from wheat gluten and should be handled more judiciously – that is, don’t overwork it or it will break down. For more on spelt flour and baking in breads go to http://www.breadexperience.com/spelt-bread.html.


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Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread

This pumpernickel bread, based on a recipe from Breaking Bread with Father Dominic 2 (page 23-24), has a strange assortment of ingredients including cider vinegar, cocoa powder, and instant coffee. If for no other reason, that alone should make you want to try this one!


Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread

Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread

½ cup herb seasoned stuffing (toasted bread crumbs will do as well)
½ cup corn meal
2 cups hot water

¼ cup warm water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast

¼ cup molasses
¼ cup canola oil
2 Tbl cider vinegar
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbl salt

¼ cup gluten
2 Tbl instant coffee granules
1 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder

3 ½ cups rye flour, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
¾ cup soy protein flour

Cornmeal for baking sheet

Combine stuffing, cornmeal and hot water in bowl; mix thoroughly; let cool to lukewarm.
Combine warm water, brown sugar, and yeast in small bowl, gently stir to dissolve. Let stand 10 minutes or until foamy.
Add molasses, oil, vinegar, egg, & salt to cornmeal mixture; stir until well blended.
Mix in 2 cups of rye flour. Let dough rest 5 minutes.
Add remaining 1 ½ cups rye flour; stir until ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour, mixing well. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, quickly add the white whole wheat flour and soy flour in small amounts as you knead the dough for 15 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and spread a thin layer of oil over its surface. Place in a greased bowl covered with a greased piece of saran wrap and a towel. Let rise in a warm spot for 90 minutes or until double in size.
Punch the sough down and knead for about 1 minutes. Divide into 2 equal parts; form each part into an oblong loaf.
Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and sprinkle cornmeal over the parchment paper. Place the loaves on the sheet, cover as before, and let rise for another 40 minutes in a warm spot.
Bake for 40 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Cover the loaves with tin foil for the last 5 minutes to prevent over-browning.
Let cool completely before slicing thinly.

I used stuffing because I had it on hand and didn’t have any bread I wanted to use for making bread crumbs. The stuffing worked quite well – no problems.

Do not skimp on the amount of time you knead the dough. If 15 minutes seems too long, listen to your favorite radio program, music, even TV program while kneading. This part is well worth your effort.

RESULTS: This is a full-flavored, dense, dark bread. I tried it first with my St. Louis Gooey Butter Cream, but it wasn’t that tasty. However, it was perfect paired with sliced cheese. I enjoyed it with an herbed brie. The bread would also go well with sliced sausages, such as summer sausage.

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Cranberry-Nut Scones with Emmer Flour

My daughter went back to Chicago, but I still have some St. Louis Gummy Cream left from our scone extravaganza. What to do? Make more scones, of course!

This week I used only Emmer flour with a bit of soy. I loosely based the recipe on The McCray House’s Apricot Scones from Teatime Magazine’s Scones & Tea (page 30). By the way, as I’ve said before, if you like scones, this is a fun book with lots of ideas.

As those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while know, the last time I ordered emmer flour I made a mistake and ordered 5 pounds of seed instead. A big disappointment. That bag stayed in the cupboard for several months untouched. Finally, Ron said he’d grind it so I could use it in baking. That worked pretty well last time.

However, our little grinder (technically a coffee grinder) apparently doesn’t make it as fine as flour. The final texture is more like corn meal. As a result, when it’s really the only flour used, as in these scones (not much soy added), the texture of the scones is more like what you’d get using emmer meal, not emmer flour. The granules you see in the picture below aren’t sugar granules, they are pieces of the emmer seed ground into a meal.


Cranberry-Nut Scones with Emmer Flour

Cranberry-Nut Scones with Emmer Flour

Also, because the emmer is more of a meal than a flour it didn’t absorb moisture in the same way as a flour would, making the resulting dough very moist. The moisture content of the scones meant they had to be baked longer. I covered them with tin foil for the last half of the baking to keep them from getting over brown. I actually baked these for 30 minutes because of the high moisture content. However, using normal flour you should only have to bake them for 15 minutes or so.


2 cups emmer flour
¼ cup + 3 Tbl soy flour
1/3 cup sugar

¼ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup salted butter
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup soy milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Then, using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Add dried cranberries and walnuts and mix.
Set aside.
In another bowl combine soy milk, egg, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and incorporate liquid into mixture – be sure not to over mix.
Add more flour as needed – adding a small amount at a time. You don’t want it to be too dry.
On a lightly floured surface, pat the mixture into a ½ inch round and cut into 6 wedges.
Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until lightly browned about 15 minutes. (However, note my comments on increased time needed if using emmer with a meal texture, not a fine flour texture).

RESULTS: I was depressed when these various issues popped up. I expected to try the scones and then throw the batch away. Surprise. Ron loved them! Even the texture. They reminded him of corn muffins, but with a different flavor. Good to have a true bread eater in the house! The taste did not disappoint. They were “good enough to eat” as my father-in-law liked to say.


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Onion-Rye Bread with Whole Grains

A craving for rye bread with onions brought me back to a Swedish Limpa Rye Bread recipe in Breaking Bread with Father Dominic by Father Dominic Garramone (page 66). It doesn’t actually have onion in the recipe, but I like this particular rye bread overall, so I decided to use it as a jumping-off point.

By the way, Father Dominic’s series of bread baking books is well worth adding to your baking collection. He even includes how to adjust recipes if you want to use a bread machine.

Anyway, back to my onion-rye bread.


Onion-Rye Bread with Whole Grains

Onion-Rye Bread with Whole Grains

¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbl yeast
¼ cup gluten
3 cups rye flour
2 cups instant coffee, lukewarm
¼ cup butter, melted (I used Lurpak, a Danish butter)
Zest from 1 medium orange
Juice from 1 medium orange
1 Tbl anise seeds, finely ground
2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup soy flour
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 to ½ cup whole wheat flour for kneeding

Combine brown sugar, yeast, gluten and 2 cups of rye flour.
Pour in coffee and butter. Beat for about 200 strokes.
Let dough rest 5 minutes.
Add orange zest and juice, ground anise seeds, and salt to dough. Stir until well blended.
Add remaining 1 cup rye flour, mix well. Dough will be very sticky.
Using mixer with dough hook, gradually add 1 3/4 cups of white whole wheat flour & 1/4 cup soy flour.
Turn out onto floured board or over-sized bowl to knead. Add up to 1/3 to ½ cup of whole wheat flour during kneading process. Be careful not to add too much flour, the dough should be somewhat sticky. Knead by hand for 12 minutes and form into a ball.
Spread thin coating of melted butter over dough surface. Cover and place in warm area for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down & divide into 2 equal parts. Form them into 2 balls, cover, and let rise on a lightly greased baking sheet for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
I cut 3 slashes into the tops of the loaves. It really isn’t necessary, but it makes me feel more like a “real” baker!

Bake in oven at 375 degrees (should have been pre-heated) on the middle shelf for 45 minutes, or until crust is well browned. Loaves should sound hollow when tapped.

RESULTS: We ate the onion-rye bread with a bowl of beef stew. A really good combination. The onion came through with quite a strong flavor. I liked it a lot, but if you’re not sure how you will like it, mix the onion into only half the dough, leaving the other half onion free.

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Eggnog Scones & Clotted Cream

My daughter is home for the holidays and it’s time for us to make scones, which we both love. We also like to make something we call St. Louis Gummy Cream, which is our version of Clotted Cream. If you have tasted fresh clotted cream you know how wonderful this is spread over a scone. The only problem I have with making St. Louis Gummy Cream is that there is a lot of milk remaining. When we use 1 quart of heavy cream, we get a little more than 1 pint of a rich milk left. This left-over milk can be used on cereal, in coffee or tea, or any other way you typically use milk.

Given the holiday season we’re in, Renee and I decided to forego the orange scones (an all-time favorite) and make eggnog scones instead. The Eggnog Scones recipe below is based on Eggnog Scones in Scones & Tea from Teatime Magazine (page 56). Scones & Tea is a fabulous book for scone lovers. There are recipes for sweet and savory scones as well as an array of delectable spreads. I particularly like the recipes for the various spreads, because they are not as easy to find as scone recipes are.


Eggnog Scone with Clotted Cream

Eggnog Scone with Clotted Cream

St. Louis Gummy Cream (AKA: Clotted Cream)
1 quart pasteurized (NOT ultra-pasteurized) heavy cream
1 ½ tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Mix heavy cream and vanilla in oven-proof pan then cover with oven-proof lid.
Place on middle rack in oven for at least 8 hours.
Remove from oven and skim the clotted cream off the top. Pour the remaining milk into a separate glass container. The remaining milk is good in coffee or tea.
Use the clotted cream on the scones with or without jam.
Keep refrigerated.

Eggnog Scones
2 cups white whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
slight ¾ tsp coarse sea salt
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup salted butter
2 Tbl vegetable shortening
½ cup eggnog
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl blend dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Use a pastry blender and cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl whisk eggnog and egg together. Add to flour mixture, stirring until ingredients are just combined. If the dough seems dry, gradually add more eggnog.
On a lightly floured surface pat dough into a circle ¾ inch thick.
Cut into 8 wedges and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until a light golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

RESULTS: All I can say is: Fabulous. If you’ve never had Clotted Cream before, try our recipe for St. Louis Gummy Cream: it’s easy to make (just leave it in the oven for 8+ hours) and really, really makes the scones shine.

Enjoy & Happy Holidays!

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Whole Grain Banana Nut Bread

I have been baking quite a bit this past week, but in some cases I wasn’t that thrilled about the results and in other cases I didn’t use whole grains – just went with the white flour recipes. It is the holidays after all and tradition is the main theme. In baking that often means white flour. Although some things, like the ginger-oatmeal cookies I made did work out well, even with whole grains.

However, I did bake a whole grain banana nut bread that was quite good. It is based on a Banana Bread recipe out of Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread book (page738). Given the moisture level of the bananas and going on my experience last month when I made pumpkin muffins with blue agave, I decided not to use blue agave as a sweetener in this bread. I used plain white sugar.


Whole Grain Banana Nut Bread

Whole Grain Banana Nut Bread

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup soy flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups mashed, ripe bananas (about 6 bananas)
2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
¾ cup shortening
1 ½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
¾ cup soy milk
½ cup chopped pecans

Directions: Mix flours, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in small bowl.
Using the mixer, mash the bananas.  Add lemon juice and mix well.
Using another bowl, cream shortening and sugar with mixer at medium speed.  Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy (at least 4 minutes).
Add dry ingredients alternately with soy milk.
Fold in bananas and nuts.
Pour into 2 greased loaf pans (8 ½ inches x 4 ½ inches x 2 ½ inches).
Bake for one hour in a pre-heated 350 degree oven or until a wooden pick inserted in center of bread comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.
Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and let stand in cool place overnight before slicing.  Double wrap loaf to freeze it.
Makes 2 loaves.

RESULTS: The cookbook’s directions say to bake the loaves in a 350 degree oven for one hour, but I had to bake them for 1 ½ hours. This may have been due to the ripeness of my bananas  and their high moisture content (they were ripe bananas that I had in the freezer). So, consider the moisture in your bananas and be sure to test your bread for doneness using the wooden pick.

I believe this will be a wonderful breakfast bread – although we ate about 1/3 of it tonight as dessert! Clearly, we will eat the first loaf up quite quickly. As for the second loaf, I wrapped it in saran wrap and put it into a plastic freezer bag in order to freeze it for later in the week. This banana nut bread is a definite keeper!

If you have a whole grain holiday bread or dessert recipe you’d like to share, please let us know what it is. I’d love to learn about new and healthier holiday treats.


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