Ingredients That Make a Difference
Dry milk powder is a nice addition to gluten-free breads. The milk powder increases the protein content of the dough, helping to improve the structure of the bread. You can omit the milk powder from the recipe if you have dairy allergies. Also, the milk or buttermilk in the recipe may be replaced with almond, soy milk, or even coconut milk to accommodate lactose intolerance.
Instant yeast does not need to be proofed- the process of activating the yeast with warm water- before being added to the other ingredients. It gets combined in a mixer or other liquid is added to the bowl.
Because instant yeast is combined with flour, the temperature of the liquid used to activate instant yeast needs to be higher than that used with regular yeast. The ideal temperature of the liquid added should be between 120 and 130 degrees. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the liquid before adding it to the yeast and flour mixture. Temperatures over 130 degrees may weaken or kill the yeast. If the liquid is too warm, let it cool for a minute and check the temperature again.
Natural yeast is a “wild” yeast compared to the store bought hybrid yeast. Both types of yeasts are a single cell fungus that breaks down the starches in wheat flour through the process of fermentation to create sugar that gives off carbon dioxide gas that makes the bread rise. Natural yeast starter has yeast and lactobacilli (similar to the lactobacilli in yogurt or other cultured foods) in a symbiotic relationship.
A store-bought hybrid yeast is like a corn field. It all grows at the same rate and is harvested at the same time. A natural yeast starter (the lactobacilli is part of the starter) is like an old growth forest. Imagine trees and other plants of varying heights that grow at different rates. The lactobacilli create the rich flavor and their presence retards bad molds from growing in the starter. For this reason, a natural yeast starter is responsive to a wide variety of temperature and humidity changes and doesn’t need a strict schedule, though with use, you’ll learn that your starter is most powerful (lots of bubbles and puffy) at a certain point in the fermentation process.
This excerpt was taken from the FAQ’s page at www.cristinaacosta.com. This is a great site for bread recipes, baking with natural yeasts, and useful information on achieving great bread.
Substitute organic chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate instead of Toll House morsels. Substitute sprouted whole grain wheat or spelt flour instead of white flour. Substitute rapadura, organic sugar, or maple sugar instead of white sugar. Always use butter. It’s that simple.
Let’s talk SUGAR this month. Sugar has almost become a dirty word to us with all the articles and books written about the negative effects of too much sugar in our diets. Well, in my opinion (we all have lots of them, don't we?), too much of anything in our diets can be detrimental to our health. Even the wonderful, nutrient–dense foods in excess will tax our systems and prevent optimal health. So let’s resolve to enjoy a little “sweetness” in moderation and not consider sugar as a substance to be shunned (Of course, if you are working to heal chronic health conditions or cancer, this logic may not fit your eating protocol at this time. Please know that I'm not making light of your individual situation.)
There are so many choices for sweetening options it’s hard to choose sometimes. Some options you can ALWAYS steer clear of are any processed sugars, and any fake sugar or sugar substitutes (they're all chemically formed.). Be careful of the new trendy sweeteners such as agave nectar, which is most often made from the starchy root not the fruit.
Some great sweetening options include honey, molasses, maple syrup (especially Grade B), coconut sap sugar, maple or date sugar, rapadura, sucanat, and muscovado sugar. These versions are unprocessed and it’s best to purchase them organic or chemical–free.
So, enjoy a little sweetness in your life and pull out those favorite dessert recipes for a healthy revamp using a natural sweetener and TYH’s organic sprouted flours.
Salt enhances the flavor of any bread or baked good. I prefer the taste of sea salt or Celtic salt, but it needs to be a fine grind before adding it to a recipe. In bread–baking it’s best not to use salt that contains a free–flowing agent or iodine, as these added ingredients may interrupt or play a part in the chemistry of your dough reactions.
It is important to add salt (in bread-baking) because(excerpted from Wild Sourdough by: Yoke Mardewi):
- Salt controls your fermentation, allowing you to have a long fermentation period.
- Salt increases the strength of the gluten by tightening the gluten structure. A salt-less dough will be slack and sticky and the bread volume will be poor.
- Salt enhances the color of your crumb and increases its moistness.
- You can reduce the amount of salt to a minimum of 1 percent. That is about 2 teaspoons of sea salt per kilogram of flour.
Most of the older church cookbooks would print a page of measures and substitutions which I always found helpful when I was learning to bake and cook. But, many of the substitutions were still unhealthy ingredients. One of the most asked for substitutions I get is for dairy intolerances as so many baking recipes call for dairy. Here are a few dairy substitutions I hope you find helpful.
- Buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir – substitute equal amount of water that has 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar added to it. You can also add 1–2 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil to retain the rich texture that the dairy’s fat lends itself to the recipe.
- Cream– substitute equal amount of water less 2 tablespoons, plus add 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil.
- Milk– substitute equal amount of water plus 2 teaspoons coconut or olive oil.
- Butter– substitution ratio: 1 cup butter = ¾ cup coconut oil plus 2 tablespoons water.
Rye berries grow as a grass closely related to wheat and barley. Until about 400 BC this grass was considered a weed. Wheat and barley were the preferred grains and rye berries were ignored by all but the wandering four-legged animals that had an eye for good nutrition.
Until recent interest in rye berries because of their low gluten and high water-soluble fiber content, the use of rye has been spotty in culinary history. Rye berries found a place in rye bread and pumpernickel, in whiskey and vodka, in cereal and animal fodder. The flavor most people associate with rye comes from their experience with rye bread. The flavoring agent in rye bread is caraway seed. Caraway flavor is in no way indigenous to rye berries.
Probably because it will survive a snow storm, rye has been widely used in Eastern Europe where a barley or wheat crop would be wiped out with such freezing weather. From those cold regions you can find bread recipes calling for only rye flour. Such recipes came about because there was only rye flour to work with. Rye berries have been referred to as "black wheat".
Most recipes for rye bread call for no more than 1/3 of rye flour to 2/3 wheat flour. Rye is low in gluten which makes it difficult to handle in bread making. A 100% rye bread is very dark and heavy. Adding wheat flour causes the bread to rise better, having a lighter texture much more suited to the Western palate.
In cooking the whole rye berry, rye berries make a fine substitute for the more commonly used rice. The texture is chewy and flavor rather like walnuts. Anyone appreciating the taste of wild rice will enjoy cooked rye berries. To cook, rinse ½ cup of berries and place in a saucepan with 1 ¾ cups water and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and lower the heat. Simmer for an hour or until the rye berries are tender. Drain off any remaining liquid. Use these cooked rye berries as a cereal, as a side dish, as an addition to soup and a countless number of other ways.
One form of rye berry is the rye flake. The flake is made by cutting and rolling the rye berry into a flat affair resembling rolled oats. This form of rye is popular in cereals and in grain mixes for baking bread.
Don't eat eggs but your recipe calls for them? Here are several substitutes to help you out:
I'm a real foods proponent, but egg replacers and plain tofu are good replacements for eggs in baked goods, custards and quiches.
In desserts and sweet baked goods substitute 1/2 banana or 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg called for. Since they add distinct flavor, make sure they're compatible with other ingredients in your recipe.
Other egg replacement options: 1 egg =
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
- 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
- 1/4 cup pumpkin or squash puree
- 1/4 cup pureed prunes
- 2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon oil + 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed simmered in 3 tablespoons water