How many of you are growing a garden this year? How many of you have flowers in your garden? How about medicinal flowers?
We started our garden out with just things that could be eaten. It was a way to help cut down the food cost and to know the story of where our food was coming from. Which growing methods were used, where the seeds came from, the type of soil that they were growing in.
Equally important as our vegetable garden though are our medicinals that we grow as well. It's handy to also know where our medicine comes from as well.
Today we thought we would share a bit about a favorite medicinal flower that we are growing here on the farm. Bachelor Buttons also known as cornflowers are used in many of our teas but that isn't there limitation. Join us as we go over their culinary and medicinal uses!
Did you know that you can cook with tea and not just drink it? One of our Super Fan's and V.I.P. Members, Kris Miller, sent us this lovely recipe using Golden Turmeric Spice Tea in a curry dish. What makes it super fantastic is that not only is it yummy, not only does it have anti-oxidant packed turmeric in it BUT Kris is also a culinary student at a local college! Training as a professional chef she used her culinary skills to cook up something fantastic! It even made it on the college menu :)
Jello salad in the summer time. Jello cups. Jello cheesecake. Pinapple fluff. Jello cake. Layered jello, O my! There is no shortage of jello recipes out there and no doubt most of us grew up eating it in one form or another. Most of these recipes are very high in processed sugar and processed ingredients. Not to mention synthetic dyes and flavorings. But not this one! It's time to make a healthy jello that you can feel good about serving to your friends and family!
Matcha Shamrock Shortbread cookies add that little special touch to our yearly family celebration and heritage.
You see the Farmer and I both have Irish heritage in our family. We grew up celebrating St. Patrick's Day every year and when it came to picking a name for our youngest son we gave him the strong, strapping and Irish name of Patrick.
Oh winter. The last few weeks of the wet and the rain in Oregon really start to get to a person. It's dark, its gloomy. ITS WET! Really wet, like slip around outside when its wet, wet.
We spend much more time in the house than we care to but there is so little to do in so much rain and mud. There is no garden to work on - its too cold. The animals are hunkered down just like us. The only thing to do is to make a mess in the kitchen - I mean be creative in the kitchen. ( As I look behind me to see if the Farmer' saw me type those words... ah hem.)
cooking with, not drinking tea
I have sort of a reputation for being a mad scientist in the kitchen. I think its usually the after math of my creativeness that gives me that reputation. The latest inspired mess - I mean creation - came from a tea called Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang is a special black tea from China that is smoke-dried over a pine-wood fire. It's known as the smoked tea.
Let me tell you what, that is the best name for this tea! While drinking smoked liquid just didn't sound pleasing to MY palate, I had some other ideas! Some people buy Liquid Smoke but what does this farm girl do? I just eat my tea.
Gut shots and kraut pounders. A couple of words I didn't think would probably ever enter my vocabulary until a few years ago. Doesn't sauerkraut just come in a jar? Isn't that, that stinky stuff that goes on roast beef sandwiches? Cabbage? Bleck! I wasn't a fan of sauerkraut in the least, at least the stuff that I saw at Costco being piled on hot dogs and the yellowish stuff out of a jar for on top of St. Patrick's day corned beef. And if your wondering what a gut shot is.... its kraut juice in a shot glass (just had to put that out there.) I'm here to tell you that REAL fermented sauerkraut doesn't taste like that stuff at all. Its actually good!
About 5-6 years ago I encountered traditional cooking. A way of cooking that uses traditional preparation methods for things like grains, vegetables and meats. Some of these methods might not seem so strange like dehydrating meat for jerky. Fermenting bread dough and vegetables was a new thing to me though.
The fermentation process, whether it be bread our sauerkraut adds nutrition to the foods, helps to pre-digest some things our bodies are not so great at digesting and helps with our overall health. Live fermented vegetables add probiotics to our gut which helps us have healthy digestion. It is said that health starts in the gut!
These forms of food preservation were used until the Industrial Revolution making them quite normal in every day life. Over time that changed and these methods were lost and set aside. With so many gut related health issues in the news (think Chrons, IBS, ulcerative colitis) its no wonder that these traditional methods are coming back.
So its time to throw out that jar of store bought kraut and meet the real stuff!
Plain sauerkraut Recipe
2 medium to large green cabbages (purple cabbage works too, a bit spicier!)
9 tablespoons of good quality sea salt
1.) Remove the outer leaves of your cabbage to insure cleanness.
2.) Shred cabbage with a food processor shredding blade, knife, or traditional cabbage shredder.
3.) Add sea salt to shredded cabbage. Blend in well.
4.) Pound the cabbage to help speed the release of the the cabbage juices. When cabbage is juicy pack into a jar that kraut will fill to the top. You don't want any extra space in the top of your jar.
5.) Place a fermenting weight on the top and a lid. Let fermented at room temperature for 3-7 days until you see bubbles and have a sour taste. Time frame will vary depending on the temperature in your house.
If you love spicy and hot things than kimchi is going to be the kraut for you! Ours is a little more low key than the traditional Korean stuff but a great place to start if you are not sure about kimchi .... or if your just not ready for that hot bright red stuff!
Our low key kimchi
2 heads of green cabbage
9-12 tablespoons of good quality sea salt
1-2 daikon radishes
2-3 garlic cloves
Approx. 4 inches horseradish or to taste
2-3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1.) Remove the outer leaves of your cabbage to insure cleanness.
2.) Shred cabbage, carrots, daikon radish, horseradish, and garlic with a food processor shredding blade, knife, or traditional cabbage shredder.
3.) Add sea salt to shredded cabbage & veggies. Blend in well.
4.) Pound the cabbage & veggies to help speed the release of the the cabbage juices. When cabbage is juicy pack into a jar that kraut will fill to the top. You don't want any extra space in the top of your jar.
We hope that you enjoy these simple sauerkrauts as much as we do! Feel free to try different veggies in either of these recipes. Caraway seed and dill might be great in the basic recipe and remind you a bit of dill pickles. Spice up the kimchi more or less according to your taste! Add some green onion or what ever suits your mood.
If you would like to watch how we make sauerkraut we did a little video here with our 3 year old helping us out, complete with an end of fall farm update! See you next time.
CeAnne & Paul
How to Make sauerkraut
The stores in town are busting out the Christmas trees and the lights. The holiday bazaars have started and so has the shopping. Down at the farm life is a little bit slower.
This time of year we are embracing fall, even if the coldness feels a bit more like winter. We are enjoying the beautiful color on the fall leaves, the reds and oranges are just beautiful here this time of year. Along with the fall beauty we are embracing seasonal foods. Not that that is a new thing here on the farm but the season is new!
That means lots of cranberries, pumpkin and squashes and apples! Its also the season of sharing with friends and family! What better way than to make a dish to take and share at gatherings with friends and family?!
My favorite food at gatherings is usually the snacks or appetizers, aside from dessert of course ;) Little bites of yummy goodness! We decided to spice up a favorite treat of ours, turkey pinwheels, with some tea.
Our Coastal Cranberry Spice was the perfect blend for this recipe but you are welcome to use any fruit tea that you enjoy as well as just plain cranberry sauce.
We used tea in place of cranberry sauce not only because it adds to the depth of the flavor but it also utilizes different herbs that come with different qualities and nutrition. Its super yummy and we think you will love it!
What is your favorite holiday appetizer? Let us know in the comments below!
Tea Infused Turkey Pinwheels
6 Whole Wheat Tortillas
Deli Sliced Roasted Turkey
1.5 TBL Cranberry Tea (We used our Coastal Cranberry Spice Herbal Blend)
6 oz of Hot Water
12-15 leafs of Romain Lettuce
1 - 8 oz container of Cream Cheese (We love Nancy’s Brand filled with Probiotics)
1 TBL Pure Maple Syrup
1.) Steep the tea in 6 oz of water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and set aside until cool.
2.) Once tea has cooled add steeped tea, cream cheese and maple syrup to food processor. Blend until everything is well incorporated.
3.) Spread 1/4 c. cream cheese mixture on one whole wheat tortilla making sure it is thin and even over the entire tortilla.
4.) Place two turkey slices down the middle of the tortilla with cream cheese.
5.) Place 2-4 leaves of romaine lettuce over the turkey.
6.) Roll tortilla tightly and slice in about 2 in. pieces. Top with steeped tea leaves for a little bit of flare.
If you loved this recipe, good news! There is more to be had :) Below are 9 more recipes for our readers in our free cooking with tea e-book!
Grab Our Free
Great tea also needs a great treat! Here are five whole foods recipes to fill your tea time table with this week.
#1 Sourdough Chocolate Zucchini Muffins by St. Fiacre's Farm
Grow an abundance of zucchini like we did this summer and have some stashed in the frige? Here is a great way to use it up, or you can always head to your local organic produce section. Grab the recipe here. They are sourdough and whole wheat to boot.
Do you have a favorite, whole food, tea time treat? We would love to check it out. Please send us the link via email.
Thanks for joining us down on the farm, see you at tea time next week!
Preserving Zucchini (freezing shredded zucchini) from Life Between the Kitchen and the Coop
Salt and Vinegar Zucchini Chips by Sugar Free Mom
Dehydrating Zucchini for Winter Use by Learning and Yearning
Fermented Zucchini Pickles from the Fermented Food Lab
Blueberry Banana Zucchini Bread from Made to be a Mamma
Zucchini Brownies from Crazy for Crust
Zucchini Breakfast Casserole from Simply Recipes
Side Dish Recipes
Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Zucchini, Squash and Tomatoes from Cooking Classy
Zucchini Tots from 31 Daily
Main Dish Recipes
Zucchini Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage from Yellow Bliss Road
Zucchini Season Italian Sausage Boats from The Beautiful Life
Zucchini Pad Thai from Eat. Drink. Love
Zucchini Meat Loaf by Diet Taste
Mexican and Zucchini Beef from Low Carb Yum
Garlic Margherita Chicken and Zucchini from Healthy Fitness
Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats by The Wholesome Dish
Sourdough Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
2.) Mix your raw honey and sourdough starter. After butter is cooled add that to this mixture.
3.) Add your eggs and vanilla, give it a good mix.
4.) Next are the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, sea salt and blend in well until dry ingredients are incorporated. If its a little wet its ok to add more flour, the thickness of your sourdough starter will affect how much flour to put in.
5.) Add your zucchini and blend well.
6.) Add chocolate chips if you have them and blend in. This recipe is great without them but chocolate chips make everything that much better!
7.) Bake muffins at 400 degrees for 22 minutes, mini loaves for 33 minutes and full size loaves at 45 minutes. Check to see if they are done with a toothpick. If it comes out clean your good to go. Happy eating and don't forget the tea, we might suggest some Peppermint Patty with this.
The recipe we are sharing today is made with our Bloom'n Hibiscus Tea Blend which features the lovely and brilliant colored hibiscus flower. Most people will recognize this lovely flower as a Hawaiian flower and actually the yellow hibiscus is the state of Hawaii's flower. It has a bright petals usually five in number with a long protruding pistil typical of the tropical flower we all tend to think of. They come in many different colors but our tea today features the bright red variety.
The tropical flower this tea is based off of will make you think of the tropics when you drink it as the lemon balm and lemon grass compliment the fruitless of this flower with a citrus twist. Blackberry and Raspberry leaves give it some heartiness which is reminiscent of a light green tea and add a nutritious punch. Some have likened the taste of this hibiscus tea to 'Kool-aid' but better and I have yet to meet anyone who didn't like this tea - be they a tea drinker or not.
According to online sources hibiscus boosts the immune system, helps prevent cold and flu, assists in weight loss, helps to quench thirst, aids in blood pressure management, assists in reducing anxiety and depression, helps to lower levels of bad LDL, protects the liver against infections, assists with relief from cramps and menstrual symptoms as well as slowing down the growth of cancer.
Needless to say if you are looking for cool and refreshing and a crowd pleaser for young or old this is the drink to try!! Without further ado we will move on to the tutorial.
Bloom'n Hibiscus Cooler Recipe
1 1/2 gal. canning jar or glass equivalent
2 large tea filters (found at most grocery stores near the coffee filters)
1/2 oz Bloom'n Hibiscus Loose Leaf Tea (small bag from our farm store)
1/2 gallon filtered water
1 lid for canning jar
1/3 cup local raw honey (optional)
1/4 cup organic unbleached sugar (optional)
Lemon slices (optional)
BLENDED PEPEERMINT PATTY LATTE
1/4 cup Loose Leaf Peppermint Patty Tea
2 cups filtered water
2 cups ice
1/2 cup of milk (we used kefir for a probiotic kick!)
4-5 TBL raw honey (We love our local raw honey from Bee Line Honey Co.)
Add your 2 cups of filtered water to your tea kettle or pot and bring to a boil. Place your Loose Leaf Peppermint Patty Tea in a French Press (or use other steeping device) and add boiling water. Let steep for about 5-7 minutes. Once your tea has steeped strain into a blender (Vitamix or Blendtec works best). Add remaining ingredients starting with ice (it will help cool the tea down for blending) and blend until ice is chipped to your liking. Serve in a pretty glass, top with some cocoa nibs and fresh mint. Sip and enjoy!
"Cast iron; noun
1. a hard, relatively brittle alloy of iron and carbon that can be readily cast in a mold and contains a higher proportion of carbon than steel.
2. firm and unchangeable"
Cast iron pans have been around a LOONNNG time! I just read about a piece that was around since the early 1800's. That is a sturdy piece of cook ware, going beyond an antique and passing into the realm of heirloom. A lovely thought to think that the same cookware I'm using now might just be used by my great-grand children. Something that won't disappear with inflation, wear out or be obsolete. Along with its long lasting life cast iron has a reputation for cooking foods evenly because the heat spreads evenly around the pan. It heats up fast and retains its heat so that foods cook up much better. But alas I could go on and on about the benefits of cast iron, you all are here for the recipe! ;-)
Oh and before we go any further... a little disclaimer: Links contained in this post may contain affiliate links. What that means… if anyone purchases something via that link we get a little bit of that which helps this blog and our farm run. We thank you for your purchase and supporting our life #downonthefarm!
Lentil Tamale Pie in the
Cast Iron Skillet
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
Yankee Cornbread Crust:
(From Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book)
3 tbl. butter, melted
2 tbl. honey
2 cups buttermilk
(or sub reg. milk/ dairy free with 2 tsp. lemon juice set for 5 minutes)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking powder, aluminum free
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tbl. Olive Oil
3 cups dried lentils (or 6 cups canned equivalent)
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
1 cup dried tomatoes
home dried, sun dried or 2 c. canned died tomatoes- cut liquid by 1 cup)
6 cups water
2 tsp. veggie broth powder
(we dehydrated our own but bouillon cubes would work or sub veggie broth and cut liquid)
2-3 tbl. garlic powder
2-3 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. cayanne powder
1 tsp. paprika powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
If your butter has cooled off a bit add your honey to it and mix throughly. Add this mixture to your egg and buttermilk mixture. Mix well.
We freshly ground our corn meal and whole wheat so if you are doing the same now would be the time to grind your grain. (Read up on Milling at Home here and checkout the Nutrimill!) Measure out 1 3/4 cups of cornmeal and 1 cup of whole wheat flour into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the 3/4 tsp salt, we prefer Realsalt. Also add 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
Going down Father Fahey's list of 12 Factors of Proper Nutrition we are going to touch on numbers 10 and 11 today with our sourdough tutorial: proper preparation of food and proper cooking of food.
What is so special about sourdough bread? According to the all knowing Wikipedia, "Sourdough is the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast." Prior to the use of commercial yeast (bread yeast typically purchased for bread making) sourdough starter was how families baked their daily bread. Sourdough starter uses a natural leaving that takes the naturally occurring yeast from the air when flour and water are mixed together. This is what makes the bread rise in a sour dough recipe. Most sourdough breads purchased or served in a restaurant do not use this method but add other agents to mimic the flavor of sourdough.
Why is all of this important? Sourdough starter not only makes the bread rise without having to purchase a commercial man made yeast but it also helps to make bread more nutritional. The lactobacilli (the yeasts and bacterias) digest the sugars in the wheat, they give off gas in the process making the bubbles in the starter/bread dough which make it rise. When these lactobacilli eat the sugars they are "pre-digesting" the bread for us which makes it easier for us to digest. It also prepares the nutrients in the wheat for us so that we get more out of our wheat than we would have had these bacteria and yeasts not started the job for us. This study from the US National Library of Medicine shows that souring the bead reduces gluten and may be helpful to those who are gluten intolerant. In our own personal experience we don't have the bloating that is associated with eating yeasted bread and the whole wheat sourdough also ties us over to the next meal much longer. When we have gone back to a commercial yeasted bread we feel as if we didn't eat much and continue to feel hungry, in return eating more.
So without further ado, we present our family sourdough recipe. This recipe has been a labor of love in the making for about 4 years. One downside to sourdough is that it isn't a scientifically made commercial yeast. Meaning that it isn't a straight forward consistent item to use in the kitchen. It has been said that sourdough making is an art and there are as many ways to use this lovely starter as there are recipes in Russia for borsch, recipes in the US for potato salad and recipes in Bulgaria for Shopska Salad (as every country has its dish! Our children are adopted from these…). With that I will say this recipe might not work for every starter and every situation but it is what has been working for our family for 6 months almost without fail after 4 years of many sourdough bricks! I must also send a thank you to all those family members who have helped give tips along the way! To my sister-in-laws, cousin and aunt who put up with all my questioning and probing. This recipe is a combination of all of those tips and much reading and research.
Grind your Wheat!
(Or Sub Store bought)
This recipe makes two large loaves. I grind about 6 cups of organic hard red wheat berries which I order from Azure Standard but any hard red wheat will do. If you are buying pre ground flour from the store (Winco, Roth's, Fred Myer) I would recommend getting Bob's Red Mill brand of whole wheat.
To grind wheat please follow the directions that came with the mill that you have. We started out with a hand crank Wondermill Jr. mostly because we thought it would be great to have something that didn't require power. Then the official wheat grinder became tired and so we invested in our lovely electric wheat grinder, the Nutrimill, which we have had about 6 years now.
Measure out the starter
After trying to make our own starter from scratch (just flour and water, feeding equal amounts for a week) we opted to just purchase a starter from Cultures for Health. In this tutorial we are using their Whole Wheat Desem Starter which has worked great for us. I've killed it twice I think but always save some, dehydrated, for back up. Either follow the directions for the Cultures for Health starter, make your own or get some from a friend. Perhaps another post will be up on all those details. For the purpose of this tutorial though have your starter ready to go, fed at least 1-3 days before. We like to keep ours in the fridge. I take out what I need then feed it equal parts flour and water enough to fill my canning jar and put it right back in the fridge.
Measure out 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sourdough starter into a large glass bowl (sourdough will eat stuff stuck in plastic bowls and metal is a debatable material).
Add flour, starter and water
To the bowl which you placed your sourdough starter add 2 cups of your ground or bought whole wheat flour and 2 cups of filtered or purified water. City water/tap water won't work well for this as the chorine that is added and other chemicals isn't good for the sourdough starter and may kill the only thing you have to rise your bread. Mix until well incorporated. Let this set for 8-12 hours. I mix mine before bed about 9:30 pm the night BEFORE I want to bake. Then the lactobacilli have plenty of time to do their thing (eat those sugars and digest the gluten). At about 9:30 am the next morning I move on. This step takes about 5-10 minutes. I cover my bowl with an Uber lid or any reusable bowl lid that doesn't seal tight like these. I was using plastic wrap but when you make bread every day or every other day it just seemed like an unnecessary waste. A cloth towel works ok but in the summer fruit flies snuck their way in.
Mix in the remainder of ingredients
After the sponge (mix of water, flour, starter) has sat 8-12 hours I dump it into my Kitchen Aid mixer and add 2 cups of filtered water (again the starter likes pure water), 1/4 cup of raw honey (the best kind to use with the most nutrition, local if possible), and 2 tsp. of sea salt (we prefer RealSalt full of minerals and no additives). I give the mixer a little short run to blend that together then add my 6-7 cups of flour. The flour amount depends on how watery your starter was, how fresh your flour is (more flour if fresh less if bought) and the how warm or cold the weather is. The dough should be wet but shouldn't make a squishy should when you pinch it. Sourdough prefers a wet dough and you can usually add some later in the process but you don't want it too wet or the bread won't rise well. The fourth picture in the set above shows how it should look. This will probably be more wet than a dough that is made with yeast at this point. The whole wheat takes a while to soak up the water so it will need to be more wet.
Once you have your flour mixed in I rinse out the large bowl that was used for the sponge and give it a quick wipe down with a clean cloth napkin. Pour about 1 1/2 tbl. of oil in the bowl to grease it. Then transfer the dough from the mixer into that large bowl. I cover it with my Uber lid and let it sit about 4 hours. The timing on this will also depend on the warmth or coolness of the house. On cold days it might go longer than 4 hours though generally that doesn't happen with ours. On hot summer days I have to watch it, it could go in an hour or so. If its really cold sometimes it gets to snug close to the wood stove. It can also be placed in the fridge if the baker will be busy longer than 4 hours. (Read I ran to town and didn't make it back ;) ). The coolness of the fridge will slowdown the fermenting process and give the baker some extra time.
At any rate, no matter your condition you are essentially looking for your dough to rise double in size for it to be ready.
Knead dough and shape
After your dough has doubled in size (for me, the size of the bowl I use and my Uber lid this means when it pushes the Uber lid off the bowl). Once that happens I get out my trusty, could-not-do-without, Pampered Chef Pastry Mat (one of my favorite kitchen tools can you tell?!) I dump out my dough on an oiled mat (if my dough is too wet I use flour instead of oil) and use a pastry knife to cut my dough in half so I have equal parts for two loaves (or close to equal).
I knead the dough, flattening it out and folding it over itself until it has a nice smooth elastic feeling to it. I estimate this takes less than 5 minutes for each ball of dough. The sourdough starter does such a good job at digesting the gluten that it almost kneads it for me. I usually knead one half let it rest while I knead the other. Let the second set rest while I shape the other into a loaf.
Bake that beautiful staff of life
For our average oven this tempature and time are perfect, every time. Everyones ovens are different though so a good tempature for bread is about 190 degrees on a meat thermometer. When the bread is done I remove it and then turn it out of the pan onto a baking rack to let it cool. I brush some olive oil over the top for a little less rustic look and it browns the top a bit while it cools.
You could slice right away but the longer it has the cool the better. Hot bread (which is really hard not to cut right into!) will be super moist and will mush together when you try to cut it. A couple of hours would probably be the perfect amount of time to wait. This recipe makes a great sandwich bread. Its very hearty, healthy and simple!
Not everyone is home all day long to bake bread and I admit that timing was really a lot of what took me 4 years to figure this out. For those that work baking many loaves on a Saturday and then freezing them (pre sliced) would be an option. One could also place the dough while in the first rise stage (in the bowl before shaping) in the fridge and then take out when home from work to shape for the last rise. What ever schedule works for your family this bread is a healthful blessing!
In the Kitchen …
In the garden …
In the dehydrator …
sourdough strawberry shortcake tutorial
Recipe serves about 6-8 people
3-4 cups strawberries; washed, hulled & sliced
2-4 t/l organic sugar (for sugar free replace with maple syrup, honey or other sweetener of choice)
1 can full fat coconut cream (We used Trader Joe's Coconut Creme)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the shortcake:
6 tbl solid Coconut Oil
2 1/2 c. Freshly Ground Soft White Wheat Flour (or if store bought whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 c. sourdough starter
3/4 c. Organic Soy Milk (water works as well as any other type of milk)
1 1/2 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbl. organic sugar
(for sugar free replace with maple syrup, honey or other sweetener of choice.)
1/4 tsp. sea salt (I used Real Salt in this recipe)
grind those wheat berries!
Mix in sugar and salt
Add in the coconut oil…
Once your oil is measured out cut it in with a pastry knife or two butter knives… if all else fails fingers work too. Cut it in until it resembles coarse crumbs.
now for the fermentation…
Add the liquid
add liquid to dough
When your dough has been mixed as above, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let your dough ferment for 4-8 hours depending on how quickly your sour dough is working and the tempature of your house. If its warm as it was at our house the other day it only took 2-3 hours. It had a little more motivation sitting outside. Just make sure if you put it out in the sun that you keep an eye on an critters looking to take a bite. Such as say a really hungry cat, or some of the two legged kind over anxious for their dessert. Really uncooked sourdough is not very tasty…
Slice up those strawberries!
fermented and ready to bake
If at this point something comes up you can stick the dough in the refrigerator to slow down the fermenting process. It will continue to ferment but at a much slower rate so make sure to use it as soon as you are able. If disaster strikes and there is no way to finish your shortcake then wrap it up in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer. Just make sure to bring to room temperature before using.
The next step is to spring on the 1 1/2 tsp. of non-aluminum baking powder and the 1/2 tsp. of baking soda. Gently fold in the dry ingredients but do not mix. It will turn into kind of a wet ball and then you can place it in your pie plate for baking. (Or cut for single cakes, like biscuits, place in muffin pans for shortcake cupcakes, even stick in a mini loaf pan for slicing…) Make sure to grease and flour the pan that you are using.
whip the cream and put it together
Now if you are like me and don't plan that far ahead sometimes the Trader Joe's coconut creme (in the brown can) will whip fine with the liquid in it, sometimes it is already separated at the bottom of the can but it just depends on the can purchased. This time around we had some left over in the refrigerator so it was nice and cold.
Separate the liquid from your creme by scooping the cream out and the liquid should be at the bottom of the can. Once your cream is out whip as you would cows milk whipping cream until the peaks are slightly stiff. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla about half way through and if you want a little powdered sugar, we didn't use the sugar this time around.
Five Minute Homemade Mayonaise
1 whole organic egg
1 organic egg yoke
1 cup of light Olive Oil (Pure Olive Oil from Costco was used here)
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
2-3 drops of lemon flavoring (lemon juice would do too!)
1/4 tsp sea salt (Real Salt is a good brand full of minerals)
In a small bowl, or a canning jar (works great because of the height and keeps splatter down), add the whole egg and egg yoke, along with the garlic powder, salt and lemon flavoring. Using a stick blender mix it up well. Slowly add the olive oil while blending and the mayo will get nice and thick. Blend until all the oil is added and the mayo is the desired thickness.
I believe a high end blender like a Blendtec or Vita mix would do the same, though I've read that it may be necessary to let the ingredients come to room tempature to get it to work. The eggs came straight out of the refrigerator and it blended up wonderfully. I won't be buying mayo again! It is much cheaper this way, very quick and easy, and we used mostly organic ingredients though we were low on organic olive oil … and it has a stronger taste too.
When we started I tried to make my own starter from scratch and after many failed attempts and brick loafs I bought a boxed starter from Cultures for Health. From there on out things went much better. Once a week or more we have sour dough pancakes which are super easy to make and very tasty. We noticed with those right away that we didn't 'feel like a pancake' after eating them like we usually did with the white flour non-sourdough pancakes we had eaten for years . These freshly ground whole wheat sour dough not only tasted better but was easier to digest. We have also had sourdough cake, sourdough pie crust, sourdough muffins, and of course sourdough bread which I'm still trying to master. Today I wanted to share our sourdough English muffins as a favor to a friend that requested it, who would like to make them as well.
Ingredients: (Recipe makes appox. 8-12 muffins)
- 1 cup Active Sour Dough Starter (we are using a whole wheat one in this recipe, though any should do)
- 4-5 cups of freshly ground hard red winter wheat
- 2 cups of milk (here we are using Organic soy but any non-dairy milk or water will work)
- 2 TBL raw honey
- 2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp sea salt (We love using Real Salt)
A quick note about the flour used in this recipe. If you have a starter that uses a flour other than whole wheat you are welcome to use that type of flour to make your english muffins as sour dough starters prefer the flour they are use to being fed when making baked goods out of it. The starter may act differently if a different type of flour is used. We have always fed ours with hard red winter wheat as when we tried to feed it hard red spring wheat the starter did not grow as well or act as we needed it to. Store bought wheat will work as well but again it may act differently than you see here.
Freshly milled flour is the best way to utilize all the lovely nutrients that God placed in the wheat berry. Store bought flour, even whole wheat, has the bran and other parts removed to help keep it shelf stable otherwise it would go rancid quickly. The more that the flour you use is in its natural form the more health benefits you will get from it. We have been blessed with a Nutrimill for grinding wheat but have also previously used a Wondermill Jr. which is not electric. I'm afraid our wheat grinders got worn out and that is when we welcomed the electric mill. I highly recommend the Nutrimill, it has done a wonderful and consistent job. Our wheat berries are ordered from Azure Standard and sometimes we get them in the bulk section at Winco who usually carries Wheat Montana brand but our starter has been finicky with that on occasion so we stick with Azure for the most part.
The first step to making Sourdough English Muffins….
The night before or early in the morning mix your 1 cup of active sourdough starter (it does not have to be in its bubbly risen state as with bread but it should have been feed in the last 12 hours or so) with your 2 cups of milk. Once mixed well you will have sort of a thick looking milk with specs from your flour.
Add your flour, starting with 3-4 cups. Mix that well and see how sticky or dry your dough is. It will change depending on the freshness of your flour, which flour you are using and how wet your starter was. You want to add enough flour that the dough comes off the mixer bowl but make sure it is still sticky to the touch. Whole wheat flour is going to suck up some of the moisture but later on you will be adding honey that will make it sticky too so it will take some practice. Always err on the side of too wet, you can add it later even though it won't ferment but you can't take it out and will have dry muffins. The dough show here below the pictures is still just a little bit sticky, so I'll add just a little more flour, maybe 1 tablespoon or so.
While sourdough English muffins don't need to be kneaded, a part I love, I do knead them a little in the mixer. Now that we added our flour I let the mixer knead the dough for a couple of minutes until it all comes off the edge of the bowl and starts to form a nice ball of dough. A quick tip! Make sure that you either wash the mixer/spoon right away or put it in water to soak. Sourdough starter is like glue and is very hard to get off if left to dry. Now its time to take a break!
Sourdough is not like commercial yeast in that it will take one hour to rise and then be ready. Sour dough works on its own time fermenting the dough as it rests. I find that my starter takes about 4 hours, some others say theirs will go 12 hours or something in-between. I have found though that if I let mine go past 4-6 hours that it usually starts to deflate so it will depend on the temperature of the room that the dough is in and how active your sourdough is.
If its a cold day I like to part it on a little chair in front of the wood stove, or on top of the dehydrater and turn it on low to warm it up or on the back of the stove if I'm baking and heat is coming out of the vent there. The top of the refrigerator is also a warm spot, or even out on the porch if its a sunny day (with plastic wrap over the top or a towel to keep out bugs, and kids fingers! )
Time to get cook'n!
Now that it has been 4 hours or so the sourdough has risen to about double its size. Warm up your griddle and/or frying pan to about 375 degrees. We have an electric griddle that takes care of this size recipe pretty easily with only a couple left for a second round.
Its now time to add the 2 tablespoons of raw honey, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Sprinkle that over the top of your dough and put the mixing attachment back on and mix until all the new items are evenly mixed in. (If you placed your dough in a different bowl its just fine to move it back to the mixing bowl)
Once those are all mixed together, dump your dough out onto a rolling service that is well floured (according to how sticky your dough is). If you want you can use a rolling pin and roll your dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Usually I just pat out our dough because the amount is rather small and its less to clean that way! Using a biscuit cutter or as we use, a wide mouth canning lid, cut out your muffins. Place your muffins on the griddle or frying pan and cook on a med. low heat until they are nice and brown on one side. About 10-15 minutes or so depending on the consistency of your dough. Then turn the muffins over and do the same to the other side making sure the middles of the muffins on the outside are not squishy before taking them off the griddle.
Let cool and then slice and toast! They make great mini sandwiches, toast, mini pizzas and more. We mostly use this recipe for the bread in our house because they are simple and easy to make with just a little bit of planning ahead. Enjoy!
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