Saturday, October 9, 2010

Experimenting in the Kitchen

The house I share with my brother came with about 90 gallons of wheat stored in metal cans. I guess the previous owners had a survival hoard. I used to do a lot of baking when my family was growing up, but not so much in recent years, so I've forgotten a lot (and there was plenty I didn't know to begin with). Lately I've been experimenting with home-ground flour.

My first biscuits using 100% whole wheat flour were more like hockey pucks or ship's biscuit. They were edible, but nowhere near light and fluffy. The second batch, using half ww and half all-purpose flour, were an improvement. Then I got really daring and made chocolate drop cookies using half ww. Edible, even tasty, but the appearance and texture left a little to be desired. That's when I remembered making cracked wheat bread about forty years ago--I always soaked the cracked wheat overnight. Hmmm.

My friend Amanda had given me a roll recipe that she said worked with up to half the bread flour replaced by ww. But my home-ground flour is probably a bit coarser than the commercial stuff. So I mixed the ww (almost half) with the milk in the recipe, covered it and left it in the refrigerator overnight. The flour soaked up ALL the liquid. Her recipe was for a bread machine so added the yeast with the dry ingredients. I figured I'd better go with the more traditional method, plus I was guessing I might need more liquid, so I dissolved the yeast in (more) warm milk, then added that and the other ingredients to my milk and flour glop (which I had first warmed a little in the microwave). Success!! The rolls came out perfect.

I think next time I make cookies I'll try the pre-soak method.

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