Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD: Soda Bread with Kamut Wheat

Irish Soad Bread made with Kamut flour and raisins

Soda bread is fast, foolproof and always rewarding. The pleasure of a slice of plain soda bread all toasty and warm is exceeded only by a slice with butter and jam.

I’ve been making soda bread — traditional as well as gussied up versions — for years. I thought this Baking with Julia recipe by Marion Cunningham was a good time to try a grain that’s new to me: Kamut khorasan wheat.

This is not your typical wheat, but an old-country relative of the everyday variety. Kamut is not the type of wheat, but a registered brand the company says guarantees certain attributes of this special  wheat.

And what are the special attributes? Not only are the grains significantly larger than that of regular wheat, but they carry more nutrients. This is according to plant scientist Robert M. Quinn whose family developed the wheat from a few grains that hitched a ride from Egypt after World War II. If you follow this link to Quinn’s paper, you can read the wheat’s interesting history.

Because Kamut is not particularly high maintenance when it comes to cultivation and thus is quite suitable for sustainable agriculture. It produces a high quality harvest without reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

As for flavor, it bakes up sweeter than traditional whole wheat flour, which as you know can be a tad bitter. Kamut is said to be more easily digested than common wheat, though it does indeed contain gluten and should not be consumed by persons with celiac disease.

It made a fine soda bread. I followed Marion Cunningham’s recipe, substituting whole Kamut flour for all purpose. I also added a handful of raisins soaked in orange juice.

If you’d like to see the recipe, visit our hosts’ blogs: Cathy of My Culinary Mission and Carla of Chocolate Moosey. Check back on April 3 for the next Tuesdays with Dorie recipe.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Buckwheat Sablés with Garrotxa Cheese, Thyme and Lemon Zest for #Baketogether

Buckwheat sablés with Garrotxa cheese, thyme, and lemon zest.
If it’s possible for a single blog to have a meme, mine would be sablé. In the 11 months since I started this cooking journal, I’ve baked four versions of buttery shortbread cookies.

It wasn’t intentional. It just happened. Memes are like that. You think they come out of nowhere until there’s a pattern in the rear view mirror.

All my sablés, until now, have been on the sweet side. All have used standard unbleached wheat flour. So, when Abby Dodge posted her Spicy Parmesan version for March’s Twitter #baketogether, I got to thinking about variations.

Wanting to change the base, I selected buckwheat. I had some in the pantry, owing to a recent craving for pancakes as a special Friday night supper. Buckwheat is gluten free and this recipe would be a thoughtful way to accommodate friends allergic to gluten.

Garrotxa, an aged goat cheese from Spain.
The Garrotxa cheese came about while browsing the diverse selection at New Pioneer Food Co-op. It is a flavorful aged goat’s milk variety from Spain’s Catalonia region. Creamy white inside, it has a soft and bloomy rind. Garrotxa is rich and tangy enough to pair with earthy buckwheat.

To fill in the flavor gap, I kept the fresh thyme that Abby used. There is a great local herb company, Mariposa, that supplies area supermarkets. I enjoy having fresh thyme, rosemary and basil in the dead of winter.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TWD: Rugelach from Baking with Julia

Rugelach in crescent shapes.
A friend recently posted on Facebook that she’d just made eight dozen rugelach. Eight dozen. That’s 96 little cream cheese and butter pastries with a sweet cinnamony filling. My husband, who really, really loves rugelach, caught the news first and told me.

Our friend is Jewish and very pregnant, so the eight dozen pastries are important for her nesting instinct, for her late-term cravings and for providing nourishment to family and guests when the baby comes home.

“Eight dozen,” he said, not really trying to hide his rugelach envy.

He brightened when I said his rugelach dreams would come true in just about two weeks as the Tuesdays with Dorie group baked a recipe from Baking with Julia.

But since that conversation, he has asked me more than once: “Now, when are you making rugelach?” as if to make sure I hadn’t changed my mind. To keep him in the loop, we discussed the recipe and what filling I would use. I prefer chocolate filling, but he insisted on cinnamon, so I followed the recipe and its cinnamon theme.

Rugelach from the book Baking with Julia.

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