Sourdough Biscuits

Quick and easy, and just a tad sour.

If you recently made your (first) own starter, you might have discovered by now that periodically, you have dough to discard.  This happens when your starter is bigger than you baking needs, so to speak.  Well, who likes to discard something they just made?  We sure don’t, and so here are two recipes for sourdough biscuits: The first uses starter you would otherwise discard, the other uses proofed starter.

Sourdough Biscuits with ‘Discard’ Sourdough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbl) cold butter
  • 1 cup sourdough starter, unfed and cold from the fridge

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF, with rack in the upper third.  Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in cold butter until the dough is crumbly.
  3. Add starter and mix gently until the dough comes together.
  4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat into a 1-inch-thick round.
  5. Cut rounds with a glass or biscuit cutter.  Pat any scraps together and cut additional biscuits.
  6. Place biscuits on baking sheet, giving them room to expand.
  7. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20-23 minutes, until golden brown.  The smaller you cut the biscuits, the shorter the baking time will be.
  8. Serve warm.  Wrap leftovers tightly when they are completely cooled and store at room temperature for several days.  Or freeze well-wrapped biscuits for longer storage.
  9. Makes about 6 large biscuits, or more if you cut them into smaller rounds.  Part of our most recent batch is pictured above.

 

For the next recipe, you need “proofed” sourdough batter.  To have the batter ready in the morning, remove the starter from the fridge the night before and allow it to get to room temperature.  Measure out 1 1/2 cups of starter and put it in a 2-quart glass or plastic mixing bowl (not metal).   Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 cup of tepid water.  Mix well, cover, and let sit overnight.

In the morning, measure out the amount of proofed started that you need for the recipe and return the remaining batter to your starter in the fridge.  Remember that your starter needs fed: Give back what you took out by returning the same amount of flour and water that you removed.

Sourdough Biscuits with Proofed Starter

Ingredients

  • 2 cups proofed sourdough batter
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk

Directions

  1. Prepare sourdough batter the night before.
  2. In the morning, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and cut in butter until the dough is crumbly.
  3. Mix milk with sourdough batter and stir into the dry ingredients.
  4. Knead on a floured board for about half a minute.
  5. Roll out 1/2 inch thick and cut into rounds.
  6. Place on greased baking sheet and let rise for 30 min to 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter or milk and bake for 15 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.

Bacon Bread

How’s this for breakfast?

Do you cook with cast iron pots and pans?  It’s my favorite cookware.  Especially skillets, be they big or small, round or square, deep or with molds, they all come in equally handy.

Cast iron skillets are quite versatile.  Whatever we fry, we fry in cast iron.  We poach eggs in them, too, or bake cornbread and Yorkshire pudding.  Chops turn out great if you fry them for a short time in a very hot skillet and then transfer them to the oven to cook through.  On the pictures, you see how versatile a griddle with round molds is: 2 egg sandwiches with sauteed onion in the make, all in one skillet, and the Sunday version is made with bacon bread.  Here is a quick recipe for it:

Bacon Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • milk
  • sifted flour
  • bacon (maple bacon is particularly delicious)

Directions

Beat egg and salt together in a bowl.  Add milk; the amount depends on how much you wish to make.  Mix with the egg, then add sifted flour until the batter has the consistency of pancake batter, but really, you can make it anything between fairly thick and runny, it will turn out anyway.  The thicker the batter is, the sturdier the bread will be.  Thinner batter will produce ‘floppier’ bread.  If you are not using a skillet with molds, don’t make your batter too thin or it will run every which way in the skillet.

Cut slices of bacon into pieces.  Put one piece in each mold, or, if you are not using a skillet with molds, put 3-5 pieces of bacon in a skillet.  Fry them on one side.  Turn the bacon and add batter, approximately a spoonful per mold, or a spoonful on each piece of bacon in your skillet.  Fry like pancakes: When the top is mostly dried, you can flip them and fry the other side.

Of course, you can also make pieces of bacon bread the size of your skillet.

Enjoy!

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No-Knead Whole-Wheat Bread

Easy to make and very tasty!

This is a recipe that children can make all by themselves, if you help them putting the bread in the oven and getting it out again.

No-Knead Whole-Wheat Bread

Ingredients

For 2 loaves

  • 6 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups warm water, separated
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp brown sugar

Directions

Grease 2 loaf pans.  Mix flour and salt and sieve into a bowl.

Pour 2/3 cup of warm water into a measuring jug.  Sprinkle in yeast and let stand for 1 minute.  Sprinkle in sugar, stir, and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Pour yeast mix into the flour.  Pour another 2 3/4 cups of water into the flour.  Mix until all is well mixed.  Divide the dough between the two loaf pans, flattening it slightly with the back of a spoon.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until the dough has risen by one third.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Bake the loaves for about 40 minutes.  Remove from the pans and check if the bread is done by knocking on the bottom with your knuckle: If it sounds hollow, the bread is done.

Place loaves on a wire rack to cool.

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Zucchini Bread

Now is the time when gardeners are beginning to wonder what to do with all those zucchini that keep coming. Here’s an idea.

We love this zucchini bread, and it is easy to make!

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of grated zucchini
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)

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Directions

Grease and flour two 8 by 4 inch pans (bread pans).
Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl.
Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well.
Stir in zucchini and nuts (if desired) until well combined.
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Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes.

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Remove bread from pan, and completely cool, if you have that kind of self-control.  Otherwise, try a piece hot with melting butter on it.

 

Home-Made Tortillas

When it’s hot, burritos are a wonderful food. 

It doesn’t require much to whip up something to roll up in a tortilla – anything from scrambled eggs to apple butter will work fine, if not at the same time – and it’s fun, too.  Of course you can buy flour or corn tortillas just about anywhere and they are quite cheap, but if you would like to make your own tortillas, here’s the recipe we use.  The girls love them!

Flour Tortillas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tbl olive oil, lard or coconut oil

Directions

  • Mix the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients.  If using lard, cut the fat in with a fork or pastry cutter.
  • Knead to achieve a smooth dough.
  • Let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes.  if it is still springy after 10 minutes, let rest longer.
  • Roll out in portions into round shapes.
  • Fry in a little oil for about 1 minute on each side.  Reduce heat if they get too crispy.
  • Fill and roll up wile still warm.
  • If you make them in advance or have leftovers, steam tortillas to make them pliable (again).

Viking Biscuits

For a quick and nourishing bread dough, Viking bread recipes are just the thing.

Viking bread recipes are great for quick and nourishing breads that take no leavening agents.  Our favorite recipe we already posted here a while ago.  This is the recipe to our second favorite kind of quick-bread.  The original recipe can be found on TheHistoryBlog, where you will also find the featured image.  There, it says:

They even have bread loaves that appear to have survived thanks to carbonization, like the bread from Herculaneum. The Viking bread found in Birka, Sweden, was analyzed and the likely recipe recreated. It’s ridiculously healthy, made primarily from barley flour and including flax seeds.

Our version is slightly modified as we use what flour we have rather than going out to buy specialty twigs and pebbles.  I’m sure the Vikings did the same.

Viking Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp lard or butter
  • pinch of salt

Directions

Work all the ingredients together into a dough and knead until smooth.  It doesn’t take very long.  Roll into a log and let rest in the fridge, preferably covered, for at least one hour, or overnight, if you plan on making the bread for breakfast.

Before frying (or baking), cut the dough into flat cakes.  If you make them about 1/4 inch,  they fry very quickly.  Fry them in a cast iron pan on the stove over medium heat, a few minutes on each side, or in the oven at 300F, for 10–13 minutes.

These little cakes are rather satisfying and taste good with sweet or savory toppings, or just as they are with a dab of butter.

Yorkshire Pudding

This recipe is from the schooling material for Lassie Come-Home.

I am reading Lassie Come-Home, and in the schooling material for it was this recipe for Yorkshire Pudding.  The picture is not ours because ours was eaten so quickly that I could not take a picture of it!  Here is the recipe for it:

 

Yorkshire Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3\4 of a cup of flour
  • 1\2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3\4 of a cup of milk
  • pan drippings from pork chops

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees  F.
Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
Beat the eggs and milk in a separate bowl until light and foamy.
Stir in the dry ingredients, but don’t overmix.
Pour the drippings in a cast iron skillet.
Put the skillet in the oven and get the drippings smoking hot.
Take the skillet out of the oven and pour in the batter.
Put the skillet back in the oven and cook until puffed and dry, about 15 to 20 minutes.

yorkshire pudding

DEVOUR WITH FAVORITE TOPPING, SWEET OR SAVORY!

Waffle Bread

Mommy makes this bread and it is yummy.

Mommy makes this bread and it is yummy.  We make it in a waffle iron, but you can make it in the skillet as well.

waffle bread Waffle Bread

Ingredients

  • 7 cups (900 g) of flour
  • 3 cups (750 ml) of milk or buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dash of salt

If you are making a smaller batch, always use 1 egg and adjust the amount of flower and milk as desired.  If you like it a bit sweet, add honey.  You can also add chopped nuts for variation.

Directions

Beat egg in a big bowl.  Add salt and milk/ buttermilk.  Add flour, adjusting to the desired consistency.  Note:  Store-bought flour usually needs less liquid than home-ground flour.

waffle batter

Put a couple of spoonfuls of batter in the waffle iron and bake for 3 minutes from each side on medium heat, or however long it takes for the waffle to be golden brown.  You got to test this out with your own equipment.

waffle iron

Break waffles into quarters and enjoy.  It’s irresistible with butter when still hot, but also keeps well in mason jars and can be sliced for sandwiches.

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If using a skillet, you can fry three of four “patties” at once.

Why We Grind Our Own Flour

Quoting from “Living the Good Life” by Helen and Scott Nearing, from the chapter “Eating for Health”.

The bread (pancakes, viking bread, biscuits etc.) we bake with the flour we grind ourselves is surely superior in taste and texture to anything made from store-bought flour.  But the more important reason why we grind our own flour lies elsewhere.

Quoting from “Living the Good Life” by Helen and Scott Nearing, from the chapter “Eating for Health“; the studies and government statements the Nearings are referencing are from the late 1940s and early 1950s, when food sold at the grocery stores was still a lot healthier than it is these days:

“The milling of grain is a case in point.  For a long time, humans stored their grains hole, as they came from the threshing floor.  The grain, if dry, kept indefinitely, and because of the hard shell which covered each kernel, lost little of its nutritive value.  Wholemeal flour, however, will not keep.  Oxidation alters its chemical character.  The oil in the kernel becomes rancid or evaporates.  In a comparatively short time wholegrain flour becomes sour and mouldy.  Therefore, under ideal conditions, when bread is to be baked, the whole grain should be ground.”

You can do that if you grind your wheat yourself, you know.  It just takes a little bit of planning ahead.

When big business corporations moved into the milling industry they took steps to ensure the profitableness of their investments.  Their first step was to find ways to cut costs, (…) ‘to make a cheaper product resemble a better one’.

Two, they undertook to ‘refine’ the flour, ‘to impart properties of softness and sales appeal’, to reduce it to smaller particles so that it could be swallowed with less chewing and would make lighter breads and pastries.  The germ and outer grain covering from the kernels were removed; with them went the oil, the protein and the minerals.

Three, they whitened flour, on the assumption that what is whiter is cleaner and otherwise superior.  This had the added advantage of removing every vestige of livingness from the flour which became inert and could no longer spoil.  Flour was bleached by using one of the caustic chemicals such as chlorine, which sterilizes and reduces to a dead white color.

Four, modern milling involved processing at high speed metal machines which heated the flour and deprived it of any possible remaining nutritional elements.

Five, flours are now ‘enriched’ by putting back substitutes, ‘synthetic chemicals’, for the essential elements removed in the course of processing.  To quote again (…), ‘Many of the flours and breads contain phosphorous, flourine, silicone, alum, nicotinic acid, potassium bromate, and a score of other poisonous drugs…  Bakery products, like so many of the processed foods, apparently offer those who would resort to chemicals and substitutes, a great opportunity for profit at the expense not only of the consumer financially but of the actual health of the customer.’

Milling may sound like a horrible example of food processing.  It is only one among many.”

Avoid poisoning yourself more than absolutely necessary.

Springy Semolina Bread

Everyone here loves making, and eating, Semolina bread.

This springy dough is great if you have little bakers-in-training whose kneading abilities are just developing:  The dough is much lighter than, say, a whole wheat dough, and it easily forms into a light ball that is fun to fold, roll and push; fold, roll and push; fold, roll and push…  And you only need to knead it for 10 minutes without risking a door stop bread.  Plus, it’s quite tasty bread that our whole family prefers over store-bought bread any day.

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Semolina Bread (makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups semolina flour (durum wheat)
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (or as needed)

Directions:

  • Dissolve sugar in the half cup of warm water, sprinkle in yeast, let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
  • Stir in oil and salt.
  • Stir in semolina and water gradually, alternating between water and flour.
  • Stir in as much whole wheat flour as you need to make a nice springy dough.
  • Knead for 10 minutes, then let rise in a large, covered bowl for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the dough doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Punch down dough, divide in half.
  • Form loaves, place in greased 9×5 inch loaf pans.  You can also just put it on a baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven at for 25-30 minutes until it sounds hollow when you knock on the underside.
  • Let cool and enjoy.

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You may see in the picture of the sliced bread that it has this beautiful yellowish color.  This comes from the freshly ground hard white wheat I used to make these two loaves.  In fact, I ground it right before making the dough, and does it make a difference!

Anmerkung:  Semolina wird in Deutschland als Hartweizengries verkauft, und sollte im Supermarkt zu finden sein.

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