Fluffy whole wheat pancakes

Pancakes are a relatively rare occurrence in my house. They’re too much like cake for breakfast, and that much sweetness + carb loading doesn’t sit well with me that early in the morning. But sometimes temptation wins out over practicality.

Recipe

Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes from passthechallah.com

Process notes

  • used 240 gm freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
  • used whole milk
  • made 26 small- to medium-sized pancakes instead of the 10-15 from the recipe instructions

Results

I really like that these pancakes aren’t too sweet! But I do find them a little too rich and oily.

And because of the whole grain wheat I used, these were a little too grainy/toothy in texture for me.

This experience made me want to try a soaked wheat pancake recipe, to see if I can get the texture smoother.

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Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

After making pizza dough with the whey left in my refrigerator from the last batch of yogurt, there was a little bit of the whey left that I could not bring myself to toss. I’ve been reading budgetbytes.com a lot, and the recipe for Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes sounded so good I put it on my list.

Recipe

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes from budgetbytes.com

Process notes

  • used old fashioned rolled oats, pulsed in the blender for several seconds
  • instead of buttermilk, made a pseudo buttermilk from 1/2 c whey, 1 c regular yogurt, and 1/4 c milk
  • scooped out 3/4 c hard white wheat flour from the freezer (not sure the weight, but it wasn’t fluffy and freshly-milled so I figured scooping would be fine — and it was)
  • used oil instead of melted butter

Results

I was glad to be able to use up the rest of the whey, although I was bummed that it also used the rest of my homemade yogurt. I’ve been loving my oats mixed in with some yogurt, soaked overnight, and the other day I created a new concoction of raw oats, diced apple, raisins, walnuts, and yogurt that made an awesome snack.

But these pancakes came together really nicely, and apart from the one little one that I sampled, they went into the freezer for future meals or snacks. I really like the slightly chewy texture of them, and the fact that they’re not overly sweet. They’re more hearty, between the oats and whole wheat flour. Good stuff! I’d like to try some with an apple compote to complement the oats.

I can’t wait until this baking powder I’ve been using is finally gone so I can try a different brand. It just makes things so foamy so fast, and then they collapse. My pancakes didn’t stay thick and fluffy, which isn’t a problem for me, but it bugs me how reactive the baking powder is.

Yeasted flour tortillas

I crave those soft and fluffy flour tortillas from restaurants, and have been unable to achieve a comparable version with wheat flour. But the search continues! This time I had the idea to add yeast, wondering if that would help keep them soft and tender.

Recipe

Adapted from Wheat Flour Tortillas

Process notes

Formula

  • 160 gm freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2/3 c water

Process

Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the oil and water and stir together. Knead a few times, adding in a bit more flour.

Cover and rest in oven with proofing function turned on. (I had to run an errand and mine proofed for about 1 1/2 hours.)

Punch down the dough and cut into 4 equal pieces. Form balls (swirling dough under cupped hand on unfloured counter, like when making rolls) and roll out into flat disks. Let dough rest when it springs back, and continue rolling.

Heat long griddle pan to medium high heat. Place tortillas in pan and cook for a minute or two until bubbles form. Flip and finish cooking the other side.

Let cool a few minutes, then place in bread bag. Once completely cooled, place in freezer for keeping.

Results

In my effort to get fluffier tortillas, I didn’t roll these quite thin enough. They’re more like a pita or flat bread. They taste good, although the wheaty flavor is quite prominent. More so than when I bake bread with this flour.

My first tortilla was used for a simple adaptation of an Egg Florentine Quesadilla (thawed spinach + shredded cheese + fried egg, topped with granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper) and it was awesome. I used another for a simple wrap of lettuce, cheese melted on under the broiler, mayo and mustard, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, and oregano. It’s my easy version of a vegetarian sub, but on a pita-like bread.

Whole wheat buttermilk (whey) pancakes

My most recent batch of homemade yogurt came out very well, and I turned half of it into Greek style yogurt, giving me 1 1/2 c of whey to play with.

I very rarely make pancakes, and they sounded fun to both me and my husband. Plus I like pancakes with applesauce, and there’s some of that in the refrigerator waiting to be eaten up. And some boiled cider, which I think would be good as a flavor boost to the no-sugar-added applesauce.

Recipe

Adapted from whole wheat buttermilk pancakes from ohsweetbasil.com.

Process notes

Formula

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 250 gm freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 c  whey (from homemade yogurt)
  • 1/2 c plain regular yogurt (homemade)
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted and melted

Results

I preheated the griddle (the long rectangular kind that bridges across two burners) when I began making the batter, but this was too soon and it got too hot. When I added the butter, it quickly browned. So next time I’d either preheat it later, or just preheat it at a lower temperature. This particular griddle tends to get blazing hot, and then retains that heat for a long time.

When mixing the wet ingredients together, I accidentally forgot to mix in the eggs. Which I didn’t realize until after I’d poured the first 5 pancakes onto the griddle. I stirred the eggs into the remaining batter and proceeded. Those first 5 turned out rather bland, and the rest of them were a tad too eggy because I didn’t pour any egg out before mixing it in.

I’m not a pancake connoisseur, so I don’t have a rich background of pancake tasting to draw from. But I do like these quite a bit. They came out tender, but not crumbly. I think the whey had a lot to do with that. It’s doing a good job of tenderizing my home-milled flour.

creamy vegetable pasta bake

Creamy vegetable pasta bake

creamy vegetable pasta bake

Lately I’ve become rather hooked on maximizing grocery store savings. It’s like a game, seeing how I can get the most for my money, and it helps that I focus on stocking my pantry with staples that help me cook from scratch. When the grocery store had 1-lb bags of pasta on sale for $.49 each, I stocked up on a variety of shapes and have been brainstorming all the fun ways I can use them.

BudgetBytes.com has loads of doable, healthy, and frugal recipes (my Mealtime board is now loaded with pins from this site). It was really hard to choose which to make first! I started with one that aligned best with my freezer and pantry items and adapted it with my ingredients.

Recipe

Vegetable Alfredo Pasta Bake from BudgetBytes.com

Process notes

Formula

Vegetables:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 oz frozen peas, cooked and drained
  • 12 oz frozen broccoli, cooked and drained
  • 6 oz frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
  • salt and pepper

Sauce:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c hard white wheat flour
  • 4 c whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 3 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Pasta and topping:

  • 1 lb shell pasta
  • 3 oz shredded gouda

I don’t like adding frozen vegetables to a hot, oily pan because of the sizzle and splatter, so I opted to cook my veggies first in a small Micro-Cooker vegetable steamer that goes in the microwave. Except for the carrots, which I sauteed in the oil.

Results

Oh, yum. This is a great balance of flavor and textures. Not too cheesy, not too saucy, plenty of vegetables. The gouda on top is really special. And after a few years of only eating homemade pasta at home, it’s a treat to have the convenience of dried pasta on hand.

I actually think I could skip adding the cheese to the sauce next time, and just go with the cheese on top. Increasing the spices and seasonings in the sauce would be good, perhaps adding dried minced onion and garlic (or fresh, if I have some).

I love the way this casserole turned out — and perhaps even more I love that there are seven more servings of it in the freezer, ready to be pulled out for an easy meal here and there.

Whole wheat flour tortillas again

I’m giving the whole wheat flour tortilla another go, with some adjustments to the last recipe I made:

Formula

  • 375 g freshly-milled hard white wheat flour, coarse bran sifted out
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaping tsp fine sea salt
  • 5 tbsp Crisco vegetable shortening
  • scant 1 c warm water
  • cut prepared dough into 19 balls, each weighing 1 1/8 oz

Results

 

These taste really good, but the texture is a little tough. Not sure if that’s because I’m over-cooking them in the skillet or if it’s a whole wheat flour thing.

I froze the tortillas and eat them as needed from the freezer, and while they’re not the soft and fluffy tortilla I’m seeking, they’re nice to have on hand.

New bag of 25 pounds of Prairie Gold wheat berries

Fresh 25-pound bag of hard white wheat (post-50-pound bag)

Today I finished up the 50-pound bag of Prairie Gold hard white wheat that I had purchased 11/21/14. That’s an average of 5 pounds of wheat per month. I’m kind of surprised I did that much baking in ten months!

Empty canisters from the 50-pound bag of Prairie Gold Wheat Berries

To mark the occasion, I filled up my canisters with the new 25-pound bag of Wheat Montana Prairie Gold Hard White Spring Wheat.

The cost of the new 25-pound bag was $13.98 + tax (8.1%) = $15.11, or $.60 per pound.

A somewhat softer and fluffier version of whole wheat flour tortillas

I’ve had great success with thin whole wheat flour tortillas. The recipe consistently produces a tortilla that folds pretty well and tastes good, but can be tough to chew. As a change a pace I wanted to try one that was softer and fluffier.

I chose a new recipe fairly randomly just to get started, tweaking it a bit for my whole grain flour.

Recipe

Homemade Tortillas from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Process notes

  • used 13.5 oz freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
  • used Crisco vegetable shortening
  • used 1 c water instead of 3/4 c
  • kneaded for about 5 minutes before dividing and resting the dough
  • divided dough into 11 pieces

Results

For me, the trick with flour tortillas is rolling them thin enough to not be like a pita, and thick enough so they don’t get dry and tough. I rolled these out so they basically filled the bottom of my cast iron skillet, and that was about right for the size of each dough ball.

Next time, I’d consider making more, smaller tortillas so they’re more like a soft shell taco. I think this would make eating them as fajitas work better. It’s been my experience that unless the tortilla is really large, getting it properly filled and keeping it from falling apart is tricky. I’m starting to lean toward a couple of small, taco-style shells rather than one large burrito…until I learn how those pros at Chipotle do it anyway.

These taste very good, but aren’t as soft and fluffy as I’d hoped. I’m sure that’s because I’m using whole grain flour, not fluffy white processed flour. The trade-off is definitely worth it to me in order to put something whole grain in my body. But perhaps sifting out the coarse bran next time will soften them up more.

I’m also curious what would happen if I substituted soft white wheat flour for a portion of the hard white wheat flour.

thin and chewy pancakes

Thin and Chewy Pancakes with Apple Pecan Compote

The last time I made regular ‘ole classic pancakes I realized that not everyone has the same idea of what makes the ideal pancake. What I seek in a pancake is thin and chewy, not fluffy and cakey. So at the time, I bookmarked Grandma Curley’s Swedish Pancakes and this morning finally got around to making them.

I loved them! I didn’t use a special pan, just a nonstick griddle pan. And after the first pat of butter in the pan, didn’t even bother adding more butter. That made the edges less crispy, but I’m OK with that.

thin and chewy pancakes with apple pecan compote

Thin and chewy pancakes with apple pecan compote

These pancakes are very thin, have a chewy texture, and are wonderful topped with different things. I went with butter, apple pecan compote, and touch of maple syrup. They’d be great with applesauce, jam, or butter and cinnamon sugar…and because they’re thin and pliable, they’d roll up well. Reminds me of the lefse I ate as a kid spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar.

Thin and Chewy Pancakes

Adapted from Grandma Curley’s Swedish Pancakes

Makes about twelve (thin!) 5-inch pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 extra large egg (I didn’t have these, so used 1 egg + about 1/2 of another)
  • 1 c milk
  • 3 tbls butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 oz freshly-milled soft white wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 oz freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Warm a nonstick griddle over medium heat.
  2. Whisk the egg, then add the milk and butter and whisk to combine.
  3. Stir in the flour and salt.
  4. Pour the batter onto the heated griddle, 2 tablespoons at a time. When the top looks pretty dry, flip and cook the other side.

Apple Pecan Compote

Ingredients

  • 1 apple, diced small
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbls granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tbls pecans, small to medium pieces

Instructions

  1. Prepare ingredients for the compote so it can cook while the pancakes are cooking.
  2. Heat the apple and water in a small saucepan to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Stir occasionally for about 10-15 min.
  3. When done, take off heat and stir in the pecans.

margarets favorite bread made with whole grain flour and updated

Margaret’s favorite bread, updated

Last summer I started making the recipe for Margaret’s Favorite White Bread from our family cookbook — of course I replaced the white flour with freshly-milled whole wheat flour. This bread is my go-to whole grain sandwich bread. It’s super easy to make, with ingredients I always have in the house, and has consistent results.

The last time I made it, I noticed the slices were rather delicate. So this time I adjusted the recipe to make a heartier loaf that fills up my pan better. The change worked out great and this loaf baked up beautifully. I’m much happier with the texture and the flavor is still wonderful.

Favorite Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Ingredients

  • 400-450 gm hard white wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbls sugar
  • 1 3/8 c whole milk,warm
  • 1 tbls shortening

Instructions

  1. Set aside about 50 gm of the flour to add later as necessary. Combine the rest of the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk, then knead together with hands.
  2. Knead 200 times. Then smear the shortening on the counter and knead, an additional 300 times (500 times total).
  3. Place dough in large bowl, cover well, and set in a warm place for approximately 2 hours or until doubled.
  4. Deflate the dough and shape into a ball. Rise again for about 1 hour or until doubled.
  5. Flatten dough and shape into a loaf and place in greased loaf pan.
  6. Heat oven to 400°, and when the loaf has risen bake for 10 minutes.
  7. After 10 minutes, turn heat down to 375° and bake for 20-30 more minutes.
  8. When finished baking (at around 190-200° F), remove from oven and turn the bread onto a rack to cool for at least 1 hour.

25 pounds of Prairie Gold Wheat

25 pounds of Prairie Gold Wheat

Typically I buy 5-pound bags of hard and soft wheat berries to grind in my grain mill, but today the store was out of them. So I took the plunge and bought a 25-pound bag of Prairie Gold Hard White Wheat. People who use the Prairie Gold seem really happy with it, plus it’s organic, and there was a small cost savings by buying the larger bag. It was oddly exciting knowing I’d have that much wheat to bake with, since I’ve been going through the small bags fairly quickly.

I’m storing the wheat in 3 1-gallon containers plus a big baggie of leftovers for easy access. I considered the large food storage bucket that most people seem to use, but these containers are more convenient to store in my kitchen.

Very curious to see how long this wheat lasts! My goal is to use this hard white wheat for all baking, even crusts and cakes where soft wheat is often recommended, to see if I can get away with just one wheat.

Update:

I used up the last of this wheat on 11/21/14. It lasted just under 4 months. And when I went back to buy another 25-pound bag, they only had 50-pound bags…and now I have 50 pounds of this wheat to enjoy. Let’s hope next time they don’t up the ante again because I don’t know where I’d put 100 pounds of this stuff!