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Wholemeal Crank

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  1. Digression for cooked whole Kernza: Had a breakfast of Kernza perennial wheat cooked as....not quite porridge, but cooked for breakfast. It was a trial to see how it is best managed, and there was so much adjustment that my notes are no longer as precise as I'd like them to be. For example, I was planning to weigh the water used before and after cooking it with an excess of water just to keep track of how much water was absorbed, but I not only forgot to measure it at the beginning, I ate some of the grain at early on and decided it was not done enough and returned the rest to the pot to keep going. So....I can tell you what I did, but I would not follow this as guidance on porridge or pilaf prep! But: my nose was filled with the lovely sweet fragrance, although eating it plain without even a dollop of honey, cream, or fruit meant that scent was not backed up with much sweet taste. It is nutty, fragrant, and it cooked up rather unevenly as I did this batch. I'm not sure how much of the unevenness is because it is not very genetically standardized yet, or my cooking. Still, it seems like it will be just lovely in soups and pilafs when I have figured it out better than this. What I did: Because I did not know how much water it might need, I did not try rice cooker or pressure cooker. I started with 50 grams of Kernza. I heated a small saucepan, added a teaspoon of butter, let it melt, and added the Kernza. I stirred it until there was a lot of popping sound (and indeed, a few kernels flew out when they popped), and it smelled toasty. Then I added 400-500 mL of water and brought it to a boil. I cut the heat to a gentle simmer and turned off after 5 minutes, let sit 5 minutes, and tested. The tested kernels were soft so I drained it (saved the water, fortunately), and started in but it was overall still quite chewy. I put it back on, back to boil, to low heat, simmered 10 more minutes, and noted a lot of kernels had opened up; I let sit 5 minutes and tested again. It was quite edible but about half were still quite small/narrow and a bit too crunchy. This time, at least, I had not drained it all. 10 more minutes to simmer, and then I turned off the heat and let it sit on the stove overnight. This morning I drained it, warmed in the microwave, and ate it. Obviously not the optimum prep, but it's a start. I think this represented the drained after 5 minutes' simmer version: And this was as I ate it utterly plain this morning:
  2. And just in case someone is looking for an update about cooking the kernza for breakfast: I let it go dry during cooking in the microwave and clearly need to work on my technique, little bit by little bit. Next time, stovetop for easier monitoring.
  3. I milled and baked with Kernza perennial wheat for the first time last night. I was absolutely thrilled to discover the fabulous scent carries through in the milled flour and the baked product--cookies, naturally, for the first go-round. And the flour is a remarkably rich shade of yellow, like semolina or even a bit brighter. I was not thinking fast enough to include something in these photos to correct the white balance, but still the color difference vs some soft white wheat flour should be pretty obvious with the two flours side by side: I made a simple shortbread cookie, without any seasoning or spices or seeds or nuts or fruits or anything: just flour, butter, buttermilk, brown sugar, salt and leavening. The cookies smell and taste like the flour did: vanilla, almond extract, floral, and a bit of cinnamon and cloves. The shortbreads came out rather dense and hard, because I wanted to stick as closely as possible to the Kernza flour alone and avoid diluting the flavor with other grains, so I did not mix in oat and rice for softness & crumbliness as I would have otherwise. But their flavor is marvelous! I can't wait to try the Kernza just cooked up as breakfast porridge (will be soaking them overnight for a treat tomorrow morning); and as some kind of flatbread that won't depend so much on having the usual bread-flour type/proportion of glutens. Because it's still quite remarkably pricey (about $10/lb), it's not yet going to replace my other staples just yet....but I am going to keep playing with it to learn about it's culinary qualities, and figure out some places to use it to best effect for sharing.....for those potlucks we're going to have again someday post-COVID. It gives me hope for the future of perennial grains.
  4. I am staring at almost 2 kg of Kernza branded perennial wheat https://landinstitute.org/our-work/perennial-crops/kernza/ and trying to figure out what to do with this preciou$ $tuff ($$$ but this is my kind of shopping therapy) to really figure out what it can do. I am thrilled to try a perennial wheat crop, so much potential (carbon capture! low/no till! so many benefits!), although these little tiny kernels do make me a bit wary. It's so small, and clearly has a much smaller surface to volume ratio than durum, spelt, emmer, einkorn, hard red or soft white wheats. Here's the Kernza, including one cut in half for a view of the endosperm: And here is durum wheat, not to same scale: Hard Red Fife Wheat, ditto And plump soft white wheat, ditto I went a bit crazy today and shot all the grains I had in the pantry at present...usually there's millet too but must have run out. I made a flickr album with very up-close macros of all of them. It's baking qualities will likely be quite distinctive: (*) And this Civil Eats article describes some things to watch out for, but it's hard to know if the wheat I've got is the same as was being discussed in 2015: Metallic taste would be unpleasant, but I've been playing a lot with gluten-free baking because of a friend's Celiac diagnosis, so this is not necessarily a major problem for cookies, cakes, pancakes, muffins, scones, crackers, and flatbreads, because flax and chia do wonders to stick stuff together....and certainly not an issue for soups. And this stuff has such an intoxicating sweet and spicy scent when I opened the package that I could hardly believe it until I had decanted the packages into a glass jar and left them overnight--and the scent is still there. I don't have 40 lbs to play with, but I've got mills and lots of practice mixing and matching grains to recipes. I'm thinking first a plain crisp flatbread or cracker (flour/water/bit of butter or oil/salt/ammonium carbonate (to keep them from being like rocks)); a simple cookie or scone without a lot of fruit, nuts, spices; something like zuppa di farro to enjoy it cooked whole.....and making each of these in small quantities, in parallel with 1-2 other wheats to compare. *Version of Record: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0733521018303771 Manuscript_d9bd1455f820fb61bf71577f53554980 Chemical characterization, functionality, and baking quality of intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) 1121 Citra P. Rahardjo , Chathurada S. Gajadeera , Senay Simsek , George Annor , 1 1,3,* 1,* Tonya Schoenfuss , Alessandra Marti , Baraem P. Ismail 1 2 3 Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy *A. Marti: Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via G. Celoria 2, 20133 Milan, Italy; email: alessandra.marti@unimi.it *B. P. Ismail: Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, 1334 Eckles Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55108, U.S.A; email: bismailm@umn.edu Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN, U.S.A Department of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, U.S.A Keywords: perennial crop; Thinopyrum intermedium; chemical and functional characterization; baking quality 1 © 2018 published by Elsevier. This manuscript is made available under the Elsevier user license https://www.elsevier.com/open-access/userlicense/1.0/
  5. Not the Diana Kennedy, but rather Oaxaca by the Guelaguetza restaurant family, Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral.
  6. I asked elsewhere and got the same answer: beware the grit with volcanic rock versions. And since I can’t touch it first while buying online, granite Seemed safest.
  7. Did it! Got a granite molcajete. Shipping by Amazon. And a “good” used copy of Oaxaca.
  8. Free shipping sounds good.....but it also feels wrong because I'm here in LA, land of abundant goods from Mexico. The Thai ones look easier to tip over than the big tripod molcajetes--but maybe that doesn't really matter? I've had lousy experience with my attempts at mortar and pestle but they were small and I was trying to use them for spices so maybe it was always doomed to fail. And by residue--you mean still stony grit?
  9. I searched and found at least one of those topics but the comments about smooth vs rough and size were scattered through a more diffuse topic. I was still left with these key questions. I believe he will be using it for sauces, including salsas and guacamole, but not only those. I'm not 100% sure on what he is most into because I haven't shared kitchen time with him in ages, since I was the cook and he the small helper (sigh).
  10. My nephew is becoming a serious cook and he’d like a molcajete. I’m seeing lots of conflicting advice about smooth granite (less grit) vs rough volcanic rock (tiny glass edges to air pockets increase speed and efficiency of grinding). And is this something where the bigger, the better, because small quantities can be easily worked in a large version but not the other way round? He lives quite a distance away so shipping is s consideration.
  11. The flowers are nice but not as fancy as usual garden cultivars. People looked at me oddly when I was photographing them on my trip to Japan.
  12. Someone has posted in another forum about getting enough for one small session of tea from one tea bush after growing it for several years, or a few sessions from a single row of plants in their California back yard. I've never tried it, but one of these days I probably will, just because I like odd stuff in the garden.
  13. Inspired by discussion in another forum, I found Jeffrey Hamelman's recipe for lebkuchen on ckbk.com (from Bread), which is quite similar but richer than the version linked above from Wild Fermentation. I used Hamelman's as my starting point, and decreased the quantity because it was an experiment, used fresh-milled whole rye flour because that's how I roll, and it was quite an interesting process. I mixed honey and flour without heating the honey first, and put the quite firm dough into a half-gallon mason jar (I would not do that again because it was quite hard to get it back out!), put on a lid but left it a bit loose. And then I put it on a bottom shelf of the kitchen, and put a reminder on my calendar to check it out in 3 months. It did not visibly change in that time. Then I prepped everything else to be mixed into the dough. I chopped dried pears (I prefer dried fruit to citron in confections) and candied ginger (TJ's 'uncrystallized ginger' is softer and less sugary than more easily available harder versions with thicker coatings of sugar) in the food processor with some unbleached all-purpose flour to keep the pieces separate. Unfortunately the pears were softer than usual and I was wary of adding too much flour so they were more pasty separate/fluffy bits. I dissolved the ammonium carbonate and the baking soda in cream instead of milk because I had some extra cream. And I added extra cream and water because the long-aged/fermented dough was just too hard to mix; my fresh whole grain flours need more water than the usual refined flours and I expected this. I should have broken the hard dough up smaller first, and I added the spices, liquid and dried ingredients all together so again, the dried fruit and ginger got pulverized by the long mixing needed to really break up the aged/fermented dough. Finally, I overbaked the result, so there is a relatively hard crust on the outside. But despite all that, they're pretty good, and while I usually find cookies made without butter and/or nuts sadly lacking, these have a fine depth of flavor that must come from the long aging. I also expected them to be very sweet--equal weights of honey and flour, oh my--but they feel well balanced. I'm now very curious to know if there is some enzymatic or microbial activity that breaks down some of the fructose so it isn't so sweet. Another surprise: I was quite far along in the process before I realized that this version includes no ginger or cloves--unlike virtually every gingerbread recipe I've encountered before. But mine got the candied ginger and maybe that's enough. I like them enough to try again...but I'm not sure if I'll use ginger or cloves this time. I've got several months to decide! Here's what I ended up doing....but as noted above, I'll do some things differently next time. 500 grams fresh whole rye flour 500 grams honey Mixed until smooth and aged 3 months covered but not super tightly sealed in my Los Angeles kitchen with temps 60s-70s throughout. When preparing to bake the lebkuchen: 100 gram TJs uncrystallized ginger 1 tablespoon unbleached flour Chopped in food processor to very small individual bits 200 grams dried pears 1/4 cup unbleached flour Chopped in food processor (may need a bit more flour next time to avoid pear paste) about 75 grams (4 large) egg yolks 1 teaspoon salt about a tablespoon of lemon zest 1 teaspoon ammonium carbonate 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1 teaspoon ground aniseed 1/2 nutmeg, grated (about 1 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg) 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, ground 1/2 cup cream 1/4 cup water I scooped the dough out of the jar (bending a few spoons and spatulas in the process, maybe I can wrap the dough in a cylinder of plastic wrap and stick that inside the jar, so it still gets the protection against insects from the canning-jar lid but is easier to remove at the end for next time) and broke it up to no more than walnuts sized pieces in the bowl of my kitchenaid mixer. I foolishly added the chopped pears and ginger and eggs at the same time, and it was ugly lumpy solids-in-wet stuff for a very long time, mixing on low power (with one or two breaks to cool down my mixer--this was HARD work for the moter). I dissolved the spices and leavenings in some of the cream, and mixed that in, and kept adding a tablespoon more here and there, ran out of cream, and added water, and mixed until the dough was more or less smooth--but still firm enough that never left low speed. The ammonium rendered it unpleasing to taste so I wasn't sure what I had at that point. I scaled the dough to as carefully as possible match Hamelman's recommendations of baking it in loaf pans to speed baking and avoid overdone crusts, and ended up doing a bunch of algebra to figure out how many grams to a muffin cup when I didn't have enough loaf pans. I pressed the dough into the pans by hand--and was surprised afterwards to see how lumpy the bottoms were when the tops smoothed pretty nicely. I also messed with the baking temps because I was too lazy to remove my baking steels from the oven. I won't be so lazy next time. And I probably will not use the convection setting either. The thickness of the crusts on this first batch are not very pleasing. I baked them 350 for 15 minutes and 20 more minutes at 300. In spite of being less than beautiful, and some foolishness planning out the recipe, they're really quite tasty. They're dense but chewy and fruity and spicy. The recipe made enough for 2 narrow loaf pans (8.5 x 3 inches) and a dozen muffin-sized pieces (2 inches diameter standard sized cups). It's about 1/2 inch thick. (cut with serrated knife one direction, and torn open the other way)
  14. Doesn't whistle, as best as I can close off the spout (using a heavy oven mitt over a soft washrag; then jammed a bit of old rag in the spout--helped maybe a tiny bit, but not enough; and steam is definitely coming from the back of the lid/pot junction. I got a reply from the company, pursuing that now.
  15. I believe that is the inside of the whistle slit.
  16. The light spot blue spot is the slit on the inside of the whistle part of the lid, with the whistle passage lit by light from the outside of the lid. The dark spot is a bit of tarnish that looks original, like from soldering or welding that inner bit of the whistle in place. It is not a hole.
  17. D'Oh. Just reread. So the whistle is the hole in the lid, and insufficient blockage by the ball valve in the spout, letting too much air out that way, would not allow the whistle to sound loud enough. So back to my original idea that the valve and/or lid seating may not be tight enough. The lid rim and pot rim are now spotless, so no scale there to encourage leaks; the spout....hm...
  18. This is the hole from the front of the lid and this is the hole on the inside of the lid, with a light aimed from the front hole to make it more obvious.
  19. The whistle is a ball-valve in the spout, so steam is supposed to exit there. That ball does rattle as usual when I shake it suggesting it moves freely.....my first idea was scale where the ball sits so it doesn't sit as tight and the ball lets steam out at too low a pressure. Looking again, there is also another valve in the lid itself....which would seem to permit free exit to steam, so lid fit can't need to be that tight when this hole is clearly part of the design.
  20. I took a closer look and the lid does not fit quite as snug on the front and back near the handle. Perhaps this is a warp issue.
  21. I prefer not to add to pollution & climate change by bottling, shipping & filtering water when what comes out of my tap is perfectly fine to drink.
  22. My 10 year old Simplex kettle stopped whistling. It now makes a sadly muffled croak, not the sharp piercing sound that makes it easy to hear from any room in the house. Online searches haven't gotten me very far. I did find an official looking use and care guide PDF that says nothing about fixing this issue, but does warn against what would have been my next step--boiling some vinegar in it: The ball in the spout rattles when I shake the empty kettle, so it's not completely stuck or jammed. I presume it's something to do with scale or rust or something keeping it from seating tightly enough to hold the steam in until whistle pressure is reached. It's always and only been used with Los Angeles city tap water. Suggestions for next steps? I've already entered a query to the company here, but am asking the smart community here because I anticipate a long time before I get a reply from them due to life in COVID times.
  23. A fabulous invention this morning: Rosemary-Raisin Walnut Scones Preheat oven to 400 degrees If you have a mill, mill these together: 250 grams soft white wheat 50 grams brown rice (makes the scones a little crunchy on the outside) 1 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/2 teaspoon thyme (optional) 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (optional) 1 clove (optional) 1 inch vanilla bean, cut into bits [If no mill, consider 2 cups of all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour or blend of these, substituting up to 1/3 cup of rice flour, if you have it, for some extra crunch 1 teaspoon ground rosemary 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (optional) 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme (optional) itty-bitty pinch of clove (optional) and add 1 teaspoon vanilla with the juice, water/buttermilk, and egg below] 1 teaspoon soda 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/4 cup buttermilk powder OR use buttermilk to complete the liquid volume below (powdered version allows more concentrated flavor despite limited liquid component of recipe) 25 grams flaxseed, ground in a clean coffee mill/spice grinder (optional, good fiber & omega 3 and nutty flavor) Stir/strain/sift all the dry ingredients together until thoroughly mixed 1 cup raisins zest of orange you juice for the next step up to 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves 3/4 cup toasted walnuts (about 12-15 minutes at 325 spread onto bare baking sheet usually does fine) Chop these an add to dry ingredients or easier still, put the dry ingredients in the bowl of your food processor, and process the raisins, zest and rosemary until the raisins are small bits; then add the walnuts and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped 8 tablespoons cold butter grate or use pastry blender to cut into small bits and mix with the dry ingredients 1 egg 1 lemon, juiced 1 orange, zested and juiced plus water or buttermilk (if not using powder) to total 3/4 cup Whisk the egg, juice, and water or buttermilk together and just stir into dry ingredients until all moistened drop large spoonfuls on lined or greased baking sheets; wet your hands and pat into neat rounds 1/2 inch thick, and bake for 20 minutes. I bake 2 sheets at once in my convection oven and turn front/back and top/bottom at the 10 minute mark.
  24. Try it, I think you'll love it
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