Apple Cinnamon Sourdough Batter Bread

We’ve been playing with sourdough at my house lately. If you’d like to learn how to make your own, I highly recommend the Art of Homemade Bread Class taught by Carolyn Thomas at Homesteading Family. She has a whole section on sourdough that is excellent. She breaks it down into simple steps that so that the follow through is easy.

My daughter even decided to do sourdough as her science experiment this year. We have had 10 different starters growing at our house. Which means we have been baking A LOT!

Here is my latest favorite.

Apple Cinnamon Sourdough Batter Bread:

Add 3 approximately 2.5-3 cups of immature (or mature) starter to your mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, and about 1/2 cup flour. Stir to combine. Let this mixture sit and bubble while you butter your casserole and chop your apples.

Generously butter a glass casserole dish and set aside. Peel and chop 3 apples. Pour the chopped apples into the bowl with the batter, and add 1 tsp of cinnamon, dash of cloves, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 cup cream, 1/4 cup mild tasting oil, 1/4 brown sugar. Stir to combine. Then add flour 1/4 cup at a time until your batter is stiff like a cold buttercream frosting. It may not take much flour if your starter is thick. I added less than 1 cup to mine. Once you have achieved the right texture, pour into your prepared baking dish and sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar over the top. Cover and let it rise for 30 minutes. Then back at 400 for 40-45 minutes.

About 3 cups of immature spelt starter.

Buttered casserole.

3 Opal apples. Use a sweet apple like Fuji, Gala or Braeburn, rather than tart.

Peeled and chopped.

Add to batter.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Be prepared. The baking soda will make the mixture foam and bubble.

All combined.

Poured into pan, covered and set to rise for 30 minutes.

Fresh out of the oven.

Creativity in your Kitchen

As a general rule, I like to solve problems in life. And as a general rule, these are the only times that I would consider myself to be creative. I get to practice this a lot in my kitchen figuring out recipes and food substitutions for my food sensitive kid. So, in my life, creativity only expresses itself out of some need.

Yesterday, I was forced to be creative in my kitchen for lunch and dinner because 1) I forgot my what my original meal plan was. And 2) Neither backup plans worked either.

Now, this is where most people would pull out a box of Mac & Cheese and call it good. That’s great if you have an easy option like that. But, about the only things I can buy pre-packaged for our food sensitivities are flour tortillas and graham crackers. That doesn’t make for much of a dinner.

So, I had to use what was on hand and make it ready within about 30 minutes. What I came up with is below. Not my best cooking ever, but it was hot, healthy, and homemade, and I’m proud of that. How do you show your creativity in the kitchen?

This was lunch. Flour tortillas, crisped in the oven to be quesadillas, lentils cooked and smashed to substitute for refried beans, leftover Jalepeno lime chicken from the the fridge, topped with homemade herbed ricotta, seasoned toasted pumpkin seeds, my homegrown herb garlic dehydrated cherry tomatoes, and some fresh chopped Jalepenos. It was actually tasty.

See below: Dinner consisted of turning the innards from our carved pumpkin into pumpkin bisque courtesy of our Instant Pot, cooked sausages from the freezer, and cabbage sautés with onion. It made for a good fall combo.

Have you come up with any creative meals lately?

Sprouting Grains

Sprouted and ready to store in the freezer.

I’ve been sprouting spelt for the last 9 months to grind to make our bread each week. I was so intimidated by the idea when I started. And I really couldn’t find any reliable information or consistent techniques online. But, now that I have it figured out….. it’s so easy! There’s really nothing to it. Once you have it worked into your routine, you can easily sprout a batch ahead, and always benefit from the additional nutrition that sprouting makes accessible to your body in your breads and baked goods.

Easy Steps to Sprouting Grain:

(These steps work with any grain.)

  1. Soak your grain in a large bowl overnight, or for about 10-12 hours.
  2. Drain into a mesh colander and rinse.
  3. Return the drained grain to the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel.
  4. Rinse every 6-12 hours, depending on how fast it dries out until you see little tails at the tips of each seed.
  5. Spread on your dehydrator and dehydrate 110-120 degrees (I usually do 115) until the grain is hard and cannot be indented when pressed upon by the end of your fingernail.
  6. Store in sealed mason jars in the freezer if you don’t plan to grind your grain within 2 days.

That’s it! Give it a try. Sprouted grain makes a softer flour, is easier to grind than unsprouted, and I think makes lighter baked goods.

Unsprouted spelt berries.

Cover with water and soak for 12 hours.

 

Sprouted. See the tiny tails on the tip of each seed?

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Before dehydrating.

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After dehydrating.

Dehydrated and ready to go in the grain mill.

In the mill. About to become flour.

Compare: Left – after dehydrating, Right – before dehydrating.

The Benefits of Baking Day

I have a page in the “Kitchen” on my blog called “Baking Day.” In it I wax poetic thinking of Ma Ingalls and my great-grandmother, Maggie, working in their kitchens. I imagine them in their vintage aprons, leaning over their wooden kitchen tables, kneading their bread. They have flour dust on their faces from swiping back the wisps of hair from their faces that have fallen down.

Not many people have a baking day anymore. Each day is much the same as another, running from one errand or activity to another. But, for the last 2 years or so, Saturday has become my baking day. I often will go grocery shopping in the morning, and spend the rest of the day cooking. It’s exhausting but rewarding. Sometimes it’s hectic. Especially when we have another activity that day that cuts into my baking time. But, I’m learning to guard my time on Saturdays as much as possible. That time in the kitchen is valuable to me. And it can be quite pleasant. If the kids are outside, I can sing, listen to music, listen to a podcast, or just get lost in my own thoughts. The kitchen is a good place for that. I’m finding that between technology, daily appointments, and the responsibility of teaching and caring for the kids (all of which have their place in life), I don’t have enough of that quiet time in my head.

Baking day helps me be well prepared for my week. On a typical baking day, I produce a lot of breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and sometimes dinner prep that help me survive Monday through Friday when I just don’t have the time to devote to the kitchen. Below are some photos of what I typically make. Would a baking day make your life easier? I’m finding that I really do need mine.

Sprouted Spelt Bread

Banana chocolate chip muffins.

Snacks for the week.

Sprouted spelt waffles for breakfast.

Granola for hubby’s breakfast.

Elderberry herbal syrup.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This was dinner tonight. Give it a try.

Start with enough sweet potatoes for the size of your family. I did one per person and had leftovers as they were large and not everyone ate a whole one.

Wash the sweet potatoes and prick all around with a fork.

Bake at 400 for 1-1.5 hours depending on the size of your potatoes.

While they bake, assemble your filling.

Filling: ground turkey, chopped onion, garlic, celery, cabbage, red bell pepper, salt, pepper, seasoned salt, sage, oregano, olive oil, flour, and water.

Brown the turkey meat. When cooked through, add a little olive oil to your pan and sauté the onion, celery, garlic, cabbage and red bell pepper. Now add the salt and pepper to taste, a sprinkle of seasoned salt, and the oregano and fresh sage. I used about 1 tbls. of fresh sage but you could use about 1 tsp of ground as well.

Next, a couple of tablespoons of flour into your meat mix and stir until the flour has absorbed. Then add about 2-3 cups of water. The addition of the flour and water will create a sauce which will keep the ground turkey from becoming too dry. Turn off the heat once the sauce has thickened.

When you’re sweet potatoes are soft when squeezed, remove them from the oven and place on a cookie sheet and slice open. Butter and lightly smash the insides. Then top with the meat mix. I sprinkled buttered homemade crumbled bread on the top. Return to the oven on 400 for about 15 minutes until the bread topping is toasty. Sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles to serve.

Dehydrating Tomatoes

I decided to take the advice of my friend Carolyn Thomas at Homesteading Family and dehydrate some of my end of the season tomatoes. It was fun and easy.

We’re still getting the last of the ripe tomatoes off our cherry tomato plants. Since this is about the only vegetable that I seem to be able to grow prolifically, sometimes we don’t eat them up fast enough. Enter my dehydrator.

I simply sliced them in half, and seasoned them with a bit of salt, pepper, granulated garlic, oregano, and savory. You could use any seasonings you like.

Lay them out on the dehydrator tray and dehydrate at a temp below 150 degrees until they are crisp.

If you have a few that are past the point of saving, then squirt out the seeds into a bowl, cover with water for a day or two to loosen all the gel, and then lay out on a paper plate to dry for the next year’s growing season.

Fresh Bread Out of the Oven

I’ve been honing my bread making skills this last year. Follow my bread making journey by reading the latest on the Baking Day page.

Just can’t beat freshly baked sprouted spelt bread and raspberry jam.

Roasted Beets, Sweet Potato, and Apples – Yum!

So I’ve been needing a new healthy snack in my life and this is what I came up with spur of the moment tonight. I’m going to experiment with variations on the seasonings, but this first batch turned out so nicely that I thought I would share.

This makes about 3-4 servings but could easily be doubled or tripled. And this would make a great side dish too. The colors are perfect for fall.

Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes, and Apples:

1 Sweet Potato, peeled and chopped

4 Small beets, peeled and chopped

2 Small apples, chopped

3 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp oregano

2 tbls brown sugar

Mix it all together in a bowl until the apples and veggies are coated with the oil and seasonings. Roast on 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

I came up with this recipe after my birthday this year, since chocolate chip cookies are the best dessert EVER! And the only thing that could make them better is cooking them in a cast iron skillet. (If you know me, then you recognize two of my favorite things here – chocolate chip cookies, and anything cast iron.)

Cast Iron Skillet Cookie:

1 stick butter and 1/4 cup tasteless oil (I use light olive oil), melted

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Vanilla

Whip the sugar, honey, and butter several minutes until light and creamy (this step is important, don’t skimp on the mixing). Then mix in the egg, salt, and vanilla.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

Stir together.

Mist your skillet(s) with cooking oil. You can either use one 10″ skillet, or three mini cast iron skillets. Fill with cookie batter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Best served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Apple Cinnamon Baked French Toast

This is a mix up or recipes. It’s kind of a combination of apple cobbler, cinnamon rolls and French toast rolled all into one.

Our family has a tradition of breakfast for dinner on Sunday nights. I use this as an opportunity to experiment a little with breakfast options we’ve never tried before, or to make up and test new recipes. This was the later.

Here’s how I did it.

First mix up a basic baking powder biscuit dough with some cinnamon and sugar added.

Baking Powder Biscuit Dough:

2 cups all purpose flour (or your flour of choice)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbls baking powder

2 tbls sugar

1 tbls cinnamon

Cut in 1/2 stick of butter with pastry blender.

Add 1 cup of milk. Stir until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and pour out on to a floured surface. Knead just until smooth and let rest.

Apple filling:

4 Gala apples (or your favorite baking apple, or whatever is in your fridge), chopped into 1″ pieces

Melt 2 tbls butter in a large skillet. Stir in 3 tbls brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt, and cook over medium heat until bubbly. Stir in apples and cook about 3 minutes.

French Toast Mix:

2/3 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

Whisk together in a 2-cup measuring cup.

Put it all together:

Butter a large cast iron skillet or a big casserole dish.

Roll your biscuit dough into 2″ balls and space evenly around your skillet or casserole. Next, pour the French toast mix over the biscuit dough. Spoon your cooked apples over the top of everything. Bake for 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Serve with your favorite pancake topping – maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, whipped cream…. the options are endless.

5 Grain Hot Breakfast Cereal

I’ve been trying to come up with new breakfast ideas lately. When you have to eliminate eggs, oats, nuts, and pork you really aren’t left with many options.

I raided my pantry and gathered up all my different bags of grains that I use for various things. Here’s what I came up with.

Rolled spelt, barley, millet, buckwheat, and quinoa.

I used the following proportions, but you could adjust the measurements or types of grains to suit your preferences.

5 Grain Breakfast Cereal:

1 cup quinoa

3/4 cup spelt flakes

3/4 cup barley flakes

1/2 cup mullet

1/4 creamy buckwheat cereal

Mix the grains together and store in a quart size jar.

To cook, use 1 1/2 cups of water for every 1/2 cup of cereal mix. Serving size is 1/2 cup of cereal mix per person. Simmer in water until the millet is cooked. Serve with butter or cream, and brown sugar.

A Week of Waffles

A Week of Waffles

We eat waffles for breakfast every morning. Why you ask? Because when members of your family are allergic to oats, eggs, and pork you’re pretty limited on your breakfast food. This is something that I can make that everyone can eat. So, I make a HUGE batch every Saturday to last us the week. If you want a week’s worth of waffles, try this recipe.

Waffles:

4 eggs (I use 8 egg yolks as we can’t use the whites)

1 cup mild tasting oil (I use light olive oil)

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 tsp. Salt

Stir.

4 cups buttermilk (I sour milk with vinegar)

Add to egg mixture and stir.

5 – 5 1/2 cups flour (I usually use 2 cups all purpose, 2 cup whole grain spelt or whole wheat, and 1 cup millet)

1 tbls. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Baking soda

Stir. If you used whole grain flour, let it sit a few minutes so that the flour can absorb all the liquid. If your batter is still too runny add a half cup of all purpose flour.

Cook in my favorite Cast Iron Waffle makers. 🙂

Store in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze.

Enjoy your pre-made breakfast.

Click this link for some tips on using these cast iron waffle makers to their full advantage.