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White Wheat: What Is It?

What is white wheat and why would you care?

White wheat isn’t just processed white flour. It’s a 100 percent whole wheat variety that is lighter in color than the typical red wheat we’re used to. The Whole Grains Council says we can think of it “as sort of albino wheat” because its genes for bran differ from standard red wheat. White wheat also has a less intense flavor than typical red wheat flour.

White wheat has gained popularity over the past 10 years or so because when it’s used to bake bread, the finished loaf has an amber color, which is more appealing to some people. In baked goods, white wheat gives a lighter texture and color.

white wheat
Photo by Loretta Sorensen

I use white wheat in my bread baking for the lighter, less coarse loaf it produces. It’s the only wheat flour I use in my Ezekiel bread because it results in a more fluffy, tender loaf than red wheat flour.

White wheat flour and white wheat berries are showing up on more and more grocery store shelves, which means it’s easy to add it to your pantry. Depending on the brand, the cost of white wheat flour is very comparable to red wheat.

To store white wheat flour or berries, follow all the recommendations for any whole grain or whole grain flour: keep it in the freezer to retain its freshness and quality for a long period of time – a year or more. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for a short time or in the cupboard on a short-term basis.

When it comes to using white wheat in your favorite recipes, you can substitute it one-to-one for traditional whole wheat. There’s no difference in how it works in your bread dough.

While white wheat flour works very well in bread recipes, it can also be used as a substitute in any type of recipe that calls for wheat flour. That includes cookies, bars, muffins, etc. Note that if you’ve previously used processed white flour in your recipes, 100% white whole wheat flour will likely produce a somewhat heavier product.

If you’re happy with regular wheat bread, you may consider substituting a portion of your red wheat flour with white wheat. The result will be a loaf that’s somewhat lighter colored, lighter textured and less intense flavor.

As far as how long a white whole wheat loaf of bread stays fresh, that is also the same as any 100% whole grain bread. I store all my bread in the refrigerator in a bread keeper (because plastic bags can gather moisture and more quickly spoil your loaf). They keep for as long as 14 days.

White wheat can be a great addition to regular whole wheat bread and other whole grains breads such as rye and multi-grain breads. It’s lighter texture and less intense properties may also work very well in making pastries calling for 100% whole grain flour.

The health and nutrition benefits of white wheat flour, says the Whole Grains Council, are considered to be the same as red wheat. “Most nutrition differences among wheat varieties are driven by environmental conditions, such as weather and soil composition. For example, when crops are in a drought, the protein in wheat will be higher . . .”

The Kansas cooperative, Farmer Direct, is comprised of more than 300 producer members who “have been working for almost two decades to grow and popularize white wheat,” which has been a principal Australian commodity for many decades.

Learn more about this wonderful whole wheat flour option.


Find more of Loretta Sorensen’s recipes, bread baking tips, bread-making videos and her book at Bake Your Best Ever Bread. Her book, Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! contains recipes and a wealth of baking pointers. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest (Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever).

These 11 Recipes Will Make the Perfect Mother's Day Brunch

Mother's Day is sneaking up fast, and partners and kiddos everywhere will be busting out the bacon and scrambling eggs. Why treat mom to an ordinary brunch when you can make it extraordinary? She did give you life, after all.

The following 11 recipes will allow you to shower mom with love for all she does throughout the year. Plus, they're easy to put together — as long as the tiniest tots are supervised in the kitchen. Get your grocery list ready so you can show mom just how much you care.

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1. Mimosa Fruit Salad

Prep this colorful salad Saturday evening before the big day to welcome mom to brunch with a flourish of color and crunch. The recipe contains a touch of prosecco — just enough to whet mom's appetite for the rest. Plus, the mix of berries, fruit and honey are all chock-full of antioxidants, so mom gets her vitamins for the big day you have planned.

2. Minty Pea and Pecorino Finger Sandwiches

These tasty little bites look super classy and elegant but don't take much time to make. You can prep these the night before and have them ready to go in the morning. The mint, peas, and chives create a flavor punch that's sure to wake up mom's taste buds.

3. Sausage and Egg Breakfast Pizza

This recipe takes a tiny bit more time to prep if you go the route of making your own crust, but you can substitute a store-bought pizza base to make readying this treat easier. The mild Gruyere and fontina cheeses take the bite off spicy breakfast sausage — I recommend using a slightly hot turkey sausage to keep the recipe even lighter — and the egg whites prevent the dish from being too high in calories.

4. Overnight Apple French Toast

Making French toast in the oven instead of the stovetop lets you get the little ones more involved in prep time. Letting the sliced bread marinate in the egg mixture overnight lends a depth of flavor regular French toast can't match. The maple blends perfectly with the apple bread, but you can substitute store-bought syrup, too.

5. Eggs Benedict Casserole

Moms who adore regular Eggs Benedict will drool for this tasty casserole version. It contains all the smoky flavor of the meat and creamy, lemony goodness of hollandaise sauce, but since it needs to sit overnight in the fridge, all you need to do Mother's Day morning is pop it in the oven and prep the sauce. The eggs add a fluffy consistency to the dish.

6. Tacos Rancheros

Does mom like her food south-of-the-border style? This fun recipe combines the tasty flavors of the classic Mexican breakfast dish all rolled up in a flour taco shell. You only need one ancho chili pepper, but if mom really enjoys spicing things up, add some jalapeño slices along with or in place of the optional avocado.

7. Egg and Cheese-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Potatoes make for a hearty brunch, and you can't go wrong when you add eggs and cheese to anything. This is an elegant-looking dish that's sure to be the star of the table, and the added bacon makes it a full meal. Enjoy for brunch and save the recipe for a simple and delicious dinner side dish as well.

8. Egg White Frittata With Lox and Arugula

Mamas who like to keep things kosher will dig right into this flavorful frittata. If you have a big day planned for mom ahead, the arugula gives her a shot of energy and the protein in the egg whites will keep her feeling full through the days' activities. Since the dish whips up in just 18 minutes, you won't need to slave over the stove for long.

9. French Toast Dippers

These French toast dippers make for a sweet treat at the end of a Mother's Day brunch — or anytime during it. Serving with syrup, icing, and strawberry preserves gives the woman who raised you a variety of sweet sensations on her tongue. Kids dig these dippers, too, so the little ones can enjoy as well.

10. Strawberry Heart Doughnuts

These adorable heart doughnuts tempt mom with sweet delight, and they also can double as a snack to take along to the next pink ribbon fundraiser. They do take a bit of time to make, but most of it is spent waiting for them to bake and raise — you won't need to spend the whole day in the kitchen. These doughnuts taste equally scrumptious with or without the frosting, so those with less of a sweet tooth can enjoy them plain.

11. Peach Bellini

A Mother's Day brunch simply isn't complete without champagne, but mom deserves more than a basic mimosa. A peach bellini fits the bill nicely, and the slightly less acidic flavor and hint of sweetness from the peach puree make the beverage pair well with nearly anything else on the menu. They look elegant enough served plain in a flute, or you can garnish them with a slice of peach and a mint leaf if you prefer.

Bread Machine Ezekiel Bread

Ezekiel bread has a reputation for being nutritious, but can it also be easy to make, and tasty? This recipe is all of that!

Ingredients are taken directly from the Biblical account of instructions given to Ezekiel. The secret to making this bread light and lovely? Go easy on the flour, your dough can be a bit sticky for the final rise. And use 1 Tablespoon of gluten. The bread’s reduced wheat content makes it lower in gluten so adding a bit extra will just give you a higher rise. If you prefer a heavier loaf, omit the gluten.

You can purchase ground flours or grind your own in a high speed blender, especially since you use just ¼ cup of the bean, lentil, millet and barley flours. If you don’t want a coarse grind flour, grind a bit extra and sift out the coarse portions.

ezekiel

Bread Machine Ezekiel Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups water (I use hot tap water but you can warm on the stovetop, too)
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

In cold weather, I heat the measuring cup with some hot water before I use it so it doesn’t affect the temperature range I want.

Measure the water and syrup into a measuring cup. Using a digital thermometer, check the temperature range. If it’s below 105, you can warm ¼ cup of the liquid on the stovetop to reach the correct temperature range. Once it’s the correct temperature, stir in the yeast, dissolving as much of the yeast as possible. Set aside.

  • 2 1/4 cups white wheat flour (red wheat flour produces a coarser bread)
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup barley flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup lentil flour
  • 1/4 cup bean flour (I used black bean but any bean flour would work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon wheat gluten (optional but gives a higher rise)

Sift all dry ingredients well.

If temperatures are very cold, I use hot water to warm my bread machine canister before I use it. Pour yeast mixture into bread machine; add dry ingredients.

2 Tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil 

Pour the oil on top of the dry ingredients. Start the machine.

My bread machine completes a mix/knead (10-18 minutes) rest (20 minutes) mix/knead cycle (10-18 minutes). When that is complete, place the dough in a bread pan sprayed/coated with a non-stick product. I place my pan in my oven, which is warmed to near 100 degrees. Cover the pan with a tea towel to help keep it from drying out while the dough rises.

Within 30 to 45 minutes the dough should raise satisfactorily. Don’t allow it to rise too high or it’s likely to fall when you bake it. Remove the raised dough from the oven; heat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the crust is well browned. Remove from the oven and immediately take the bread out of the pan and cool on a rack for a couple of hours. Enjoy!


Find more of Loretta Sorensen’s recipes, bread baking tips and her book at www.bakeyourbestever.com. Her recent book, Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! contains more recipes and a wealth of baking pointers. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest (Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever).

Quick and Easy Pickled Radishes

Radishes are the little jewels of my spring garden. Because they pop up soon after sowing and are quick to mature, they are among the first vegetables to grace the garden. And these little jewels with their showy green foliage provide not only a pop of color and a welcome sight after a long winter but also fresh, peppery bite to my taste buds that need awakening after months of eating hearty winter fare.

pickledradish

I feel like radishes are a little bit of an overlooked vegetable. While they have a reputation as mainly being crunchy and slightly spicy salad fixing, they’re also nutritious — small but mighty being loaded with fiber and vitamin C. And don’t be fooled into thinking that the only way to eat a radish is as a garnish for a green salad because they’re actually quite versatile. They are delicious roasted, sauteed, grated into vegetable slaws, or on top of a baguette slathered with butter.

One of my personal favorite ways to eat radishes, though, is on top of fish tacos. For me, a few slices of crispy radish is just what a good, homemade fish taco needs. This time, I decided to change it up a little bit, and actually pickle some radishes to top my tacos. I used organic apple cider vinegar and lime juice for the acid, and then added a hint of garlic and fresh ginger. (I also included sliced carrot and red onion in my pickles, but you can do only radishes if that’s your preference.) And these pickled radishes are only for tacos - they’re also an excellent topping for veggie and grain bowls, Banh Mi sandwiches, or as an accompaniment to anything barbecued. 

Ingredients:

• 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
• Juice from 1 lime
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tablespoons cane sugar
• 1/2 tablespoon canning salt
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 pound of sliced radishes, carrots and red onions (you can omit the carrots and/or onions)

Directions:

1. Add the vinegar, lime juice, water, sugar, salt, ginger and garlic to a stainless steel or enameled saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stovetop, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Place sliced vegetables into a hot, sanitized jar. Carefully pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving 1/2-inch of space at the top of the jar.

3. Cover jar with a clean towel and allow to cool to room temperature. Place lid on cooled jar and store in the refrigerator.

Keep in mind, these are small-batch pickles not intended for canning, so stash them in the refrigerator after they have cooled. I find these radish pickles need to sit in the fridge for a few days before they reach their fully-pickled flavor, and are best eaten within 2-3 weeks.

Barter for Bread!

The idea of trading one product for another – bartering – goes clear back to 6000 B.C. when tribes in Mesopotamia traded goods with Phoenicians. The practice was also used in Babylon.

The origin of the word barter goes back to the 15th century, stemming from the French word “barater,” which, among other things, meant “haggle.”

America’s barter system was very popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when many people had little money. Bartering was a means of obtaining food and other necessities. 

When I was approached about the possibility of trading bread for other products – including naturally raised beef – I could hardly say no!

Since I had already calculated the value of a loaf of homemade white bread – which ranges between $1 and $1.50 – it was fairly easy to strike a deal on a fair trade for one pound of the beef. Two loaves of white bread – 100% organic – for one pound of beef, 100% natural.

It has proven to be a beneficial trade on both sides.

IMG_0077
Photo by Loretta Sorensen

Since that trade has been working so well – and I find it so easy to produce a quality loaf of bread – I’ve been pondering more options for making a trade.

In rural areas – and perhaps more often now in urban areas, too – farm fresh eggs aren’t hard to find. If the eggs are organic and laid by free range hens, the cost of a dozen eggs may well be equal to two loaves of bread. Of course, that depends on the flour and other nutrients used in the bread.

When you’re baking 100% whole grain bread, it has a value of at least $4 per loaf. If your recipe includes added nutritional ingredients such as flax, the total cost of a loaf may be somewhat higher.

To calculate the cost of producing your bread, review this article.

Once you’ve determined what you have invested in your bread loaves, compare it with the cost of purchasing the item you will take in trade. Your objective is to complete a trade that’s fair for all parties involved.

When I bartered for the beef, we struck a deal that covered a weekly trade for about 12 weeks. You may want to make a one-time trade or set up a once-a-month agreement. The terms of the agreement are totally in your control.

In the case of bartering for homemade bread, be careful not to overestimate your ability to produce enough bread to cover your trade agreement. If you need to produce multiple loaves of bread in a short time, consider implementing my “Bread Express” method.

You may also want to strike a deal with your bartering party that includes how you will amend the agreement or “catch up” with your trade agreement if for some reason you can’t produce the promised loaves.

One added benefit of this kind of agreement is that you will have ample opportunity to polish your bread baking skills and promote your bread quality and availability if you’re wanting to make more trades or sell some of your bread.


Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find her book on her blog site at www.bakeyourbestever.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth LivingGRIT MagazineOur Dakota Horse Tales, and on Pinterest, and Facebook.

17 Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Want to help the planet? Cut your plastic waste. The best place to start is the kitchen. Choose one of two of the following steps, get your new routine down pat and then choose more steps.

How to Shop

cloth bags and jars
Cloth bulk bags and glass jars filled with staples from the bulk bins

1. Bring your own cloth shopping bags. Opt for natural fibers when you choose bags. Synthetic materials shed tiny plastic fibers in the washing machine. This plastic ends up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. You can buy cloth shopping bags pretty much everywhere today.

2. Bring your own cloth produce and bulk bags. You won’t want to stuff your reusable shopping bags with plastic produce and bulk bags. I sew very simple bags that last for years. If you don’t want to make your own bags, you can often find them at health food stores and food co-ops. You can also buy them online from various Etsy shops. Again, opt for natural fibers.

3. Bring your own glass jars. Get the weight of these before you fill them up at the bulk bins. At some stores, customer service will weigh them for you and mark the tare (i.e., weight) on them. Other stores set out scales and you weigh the jars yourself. The cashier will deduct the weight of the jar from the total weight when checking you out so you pay for the food only.

4. Make a shopping list and stick to it. With a shopping list in hand, you will not only avoid all those plastic-wrapped impulse buys at the front of the checkout, you’ll also know just how many bags and jars you’ll need to take with you shopping. A little bit of planning will help you eliminate a great deal of your waste.

5. Shop more frequently for less food. If you can do this, you’ll waste less food because you’ll have less perishable food on hand to go bad before you can eat it.

Where to Shop

March farmers market
Spring produce from the farmers' market, bought with cloth produce bags

6. Fill up at the bulk bins. Search for bulk stores worldwide at zerowastehome.com/app. Users can also submit stores not yet listed on this web-based app. Fill your reusable cloth bags, glass jars and other containers with staples like beans, rice, flour, oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and so on. Some bulk stores have an extensive selection that includes cleaning and personal care products and pet food.

7. Hit the farmers’ market. When you reduce your waste, you stop eating processed food—it’s almost always packaged in shiny plastic wrapping. At farmers' markets however, you’ll find fresh, seasonal, local, organic produce that you can usually buy unpackaged. Find your local market in the US through Local Harvest.

8. Shop at thrift stores and yard sales. Opt for second-hand kitchen wares (and other wares too) rather than new. New items require energy and raw materials to produce and they almost always feature at least some wasteful packaging.

What to Buy

looseleaf tea

9. Choose fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables. The best food for you—seasonal vegetables and fruit—is also best for the environment and economy when you buy it locally. It travels fewer miles. You can find much of it unpackaged. More of your money stays in your local community.

10. Opt for foods lower on the food chain. Where I live, cheese almost always comes wrapped in plastic. Meat is often either wrapped in plastic or portioned out on foam trays wrapped in plastic. When you eat lower on the food chain you waste less packaging material (beans are often easy to find in bulk) and you reduce the amount of resources that go into producing food higher on the food chain. Meat requires much more water than vegetables, for example.

11. Buy milk in returnable glass bottles. I can buy milk from a few dairies that sell their milk in glass. Depending on where you live, your local dairy may deliver milk in glass bottles that it later picks up—just like the old days.

12. Buy loose bread in your own cloth bag. Many grocery stores and bakeries stock their loaves, rolls, bagels, pastries and so on, loose in a bin or display case. Put it in a cloth produce bag or hand your bag to the clerk to do that for you.

13. Drink loose-leaf tea. Fabric and mesh tea bags are often made of synthetic material (i.e., plastic). Landfill aside, you don’t want to eat or drink something after it has come into contact with hot plastic. When you heat food—or tea leaves—in plastic, nasty chemicals can leach into what you’re about to consume. Even paper tea bags may contain small amounts of plastic. And most tea bags—synthetic or paper—are individually wrapped, then stuffed into a box that is often wrapped in yet more plastic.

What Not to Buy

14. Cut out the processed food. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where you’ll find produce, dairy and the fish and meat counters. In the middle section—the aisles—you’ll find only processed food and products wrapped in plastic packaging (think snacks and sodas, cereal and energy bars, plastic-lined cans of vegetables and shelf-stable pickles). Cut the processed food and you’ve cut most of the plastic coming into—and out of—your kitchen.

15. Ban bottled water. According to The Story of Stuff website, Americans alone “buy more than half a million bottles of water per week. That enough to circle the globe more than 5 times.” Choose tap!

16. Skip the bottled beverages. If you drink more tap water, you’ll drink less soda, energy drinks and juice. Bottled beverages almost always come in plastic bottles and even when they are packaged in glass, they most always have big plastic lids that can’t go in the recycling bin. Not that recycling is the answer. It’s not. Reduction is.

17. Kick the K-cup. In 2014, Keurig alone sold nearly 10 billion coffee pod packs, and that number includes multi-packs, so the actual number of single pods is larger. Use a French press and ground coffee beans. Buy the beans in bulk and either have them ground at the store or grind them at home.

Bread Baking Express!

Need to bake multiple loaves of bread within a few hours? Here are some tips for using a bread machine to streamline the process. 

MULTIPLE LOAVES
Photo by Loretta Sorensen

  1. You could mix all the dry ingredients (except yeast and sugar) for each recipe the night before, even a couple of days before you’re ready to bake. Be sure to label each batch (either glass jars or plastic bags make great containers) to ensure you know which recipe it’s for.
  2. If you don’t mix dry ingredients ahead of time, start assembling all your recipe ingredients to ensure you have the supplies you need and to shave some time off the actual baking task.
  3. Set up a separate area in your kitchen – on the counter or an extra table, etc. – for working with wet ingredients and dry ingredients. This just makes it easy to keep all dry ingredients together and all wet (remaining) ingredients together as you prepare the contents of each loaf. It’s less likely you’ll forget to add something.
  4. Assemble all your equipment and set it up in the appropriate spot to make your “assembly line” as efficient as possible and avoid searching for a necessary item just as you’re ready to start baking.
  5. If you don’t have enough bread pans to use a different one for each loaf, you can easily rotate between two or three pans. Plan to soak the pan in water for 3 or 4 minutes after your baked loaf is removed. It’s easy to clean bread pans when the loaf doesn’t stick!
  6. For easy access, recipes can be attached to your fridge with a magnet or otherwise set up so you can easily read them without having to stop and pick them up. My recipes are enclosed in plastic sleeves to help keep them clean.
  7. A day or two ahead of time, make sure your oven is clean and empty (I often store pots and pans in mine) and racks are properly positioned for baking bread.
  8. If you haven’t prepared dry ingredients ahead of time, it’s wise to prepare all dry ingredients for your recipe before moving on to the wet ingredients (or another task). This helps eliminate time consuming issues such as, “Did I already add that?” or “How many cups of flour did I just measure?” It can be helpful to use a consistent method such as always measuring flour first or measuring salt/gluten, etc. first, then measuring flour.
  9. Be prepared for spills or mishaps by having extra towels, paper towels, dish cloths, etc. ready. The best laid plans can be foiled!
  10. You might consider mapping out and writing down the timeline for each loaf, as in what time ingredients go into the bread machine, what time the first dough should be ready for final rise, etc. This can help avoid under- or over-kneading, under- or over-baking loaves.
  11. Check your bread machine for instructions about run time and any need for cooling down between operations. My machine recommends a cooling period between 10 and 15 minutes to avoid overheating the machine.
  12. Set up an area that’s out of the way for cooling loaves. If your cooling rack won’t accommodate 3 or more loaves at one time, you can use items such as packaged food or pans to suspend the bread (one package on each end of the object while it cools.
  13. Storing your finished loaves will require some space. If you intend to use them within 48 hours, you can store them at room temperature. Otherwise, plan to refrigerate or freeze as many as necessary.
  14. With my yeast activation and “keep it warm from mixing to baking” method, you can have a batch of dough ready to bake every 90 minutes, producing up to 5 loaves of bread in a 6-hour period. Advanced preparation is the key to making it all run smoothly and successfully.

Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find her book on her blog site at www.bakeyourbestever.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth LivingGRIT MagazineOur Dakota Horse Tales, and on Pinterest, and Facebook.







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