From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bread SPELT differently

For 23 days now I've avoided all wheat products: bread, pasta, baked goods, etc.  I've also been very careful to read ingredients in prepared foods and sauces.

It's amazing how pervasive wheat is.  Even soy sauce has wheat so I had to buy soy sauce made with rice instead.

If nothing else, avoiding wheat has made all my eating to be something quite 'mindful' now.  I don't just grab and go.  I pause and consider.  This mindfulness has given me an opportunity to look at alternative foods that hadn't hit my radar in the past.

And, by and large, I've had no problems avoiding wheat.  (I'm sure I'd have probs if I were of the sort that ate out a lot, but I can go weeks and weeks not seeing the inside of a restaurant or diner.)

But one thing I really DO miss is something to accompany all these lovely soups and sauces I've been making lately.

Soup and chile without bread to dunk.  Eggs and turkey bacon without toast.  Fruit and cheese without some crustinis.  Even a little sandwich now and then.   *whine*

Yesterday I decided to do something about that.  I went out and bought a couple bags of SPELT (<= click) flour (stone ground, whole grain, unbleached, unbromated and unfortified).

Just a reminder, I'm avoiding MODERN WHEAT with it's heavily modified genetics and suspect gluten/gliadin components.  Spelt, on the other hand, is an ancient precursor to today's wheat.  A simpler grain.  And one that is making a comeback.

I wanted to try it.  First project: soda bread.  I knew that the gluten in spelt is softer, less substantial, so I didn't use my 'normal' AP flour recipe.  Instead I found a simple spelt soda bread (<= click) on the web and used that instead, but I omitted the herbs.

The measure was in grams. Grams?  Never fear.  While up at Hartville hardware yesterday I bought myself a Christmas present - a digital kitchen scale.  (I've been a good girl this year, honest!  And I've alway wanted one of these.)

I followed the simple instructions, but instead of baking the bread on a flat sheet, I went with a shallow cast iron skillet.  (Yes, that is an orange skillet - a used Le Cruiset I snagged at the Restore depot for a mere $4 on 50% day. :-D)

Whole grain spelt flour looks very light in the bag - like whole wheat.  But when baked, you can see it is quite dark making the bread look like a rich pumpkin or banana bread.  The texture is similar too, but that's as far as it goes.  The resultant soda bread is not sweet, but not as 'toasty' as a AP white flour.  It's just different.  And that's not a bad thing. I understand there is also a white spelt flour, but I didn't find any in my shopping this time, but I'll look for some in the future.

What the bread DOES do is make a nice platform for butter and jam.  And it's toasts up well which made my lunch of an open-faced turkey sandwich garnished with some homemade pickled Vidalia onions totally yummo.

All in all, for a first experiment with spelt flour, I'm calling it a success.  And as long as I don't expect spelt to act or taste like regular white flour, then I'm sure I'm going to find other 'alternative' dishes for this rustic grain.

After all, unless we use an older grain, fruit or vegetable, BIG FOOD will find a way to eliminate it from competition or subvert it to it's own bottom line (even GMO) greed.  

Meanwhile *munch* someone pass the jam please? :-D

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