Is This Healthy Bread Fad Worth The Effort?

Using house-milled wheat flour that costs $1.40 per pound (as opposed to the 20 cents/lb for normal “white” flour), and has shelf life of just about a week, may seem like an unnecessary complication for something as basic and beloved as bread. But several bakeries and restaurants around the country are making the shift to doing just that.

Source: Is This Healthy Bread Fad Worth The Effort?

When did 11th century baking become the new hotness? What’s next, retting home-grown flax to make linen?

It’s healthy as long as it doesn’t have gluten. Because if I’ve learned one thing about food, it’s that gluten is evil and bad for everyone. Also, if it’s not organic, then what’s the point? Non-GMO, organic, gluten free, whole grain bread is all I eat.  You don’t eat lactose free bread? You might as well poison yourself with cyanide right now.

Archaeologists Discovered a 5,000-Year-Old Beer Recipe in China

Step aside with your claims to long legacies, craft breweries! This reconstructed beer recipe is over 5,000 years old. It’s the earliest beer recipe—and the earliest known use of barley—in China.

Archaeologists at Stanford University, while digging along China’s Wei River, made an intriguing discovery: A marvelously complete set of brewing equipment. And at the bottom of that equipment was something even more wonderful: Residue from the drink it once brewed.

Source: Archaeologists Discovered a 5,000-Year-Old Beer Recipe in China

Tubers…freaking Tubers… And it still tastes better than Bud lite.

Along a similar line, Dogfish Head Brewery had a collaboration with a biomolecular archaeologist who was able to reverse engineer an ancient Chinese beer from residue in pottery from the Jiahu culture. The beer is about 9000 years old, making it one of the oldest (if not the oldest) known beers in the world.  If you have a local Dogfish Head Brewery distributor, you can buy bottles of this “Chateau Jiahu”, the modern recreation of a 9,000 year old beer and try it out.

Use Chickpea Liquid to Make the Fluffiest Egg-Free Pancakes Ever

Recipes and techniques generally advance in baby steps. It’s rare that you find a technique so far out of left field that it changes the way people think about food overnight. Sous vide cooking is up there, as is no-knead bread. In the world of vegan cuisine, nothing has shaken things up like aquafaba—the recently coined term for the liquid inside a can of cooked beans. It’s the kind of technique that’s so mind-blowingly simple that I’m amazed nobody discovered it until just a couple of years ago.

Source: Use Aquafaba to Make Extra-Light, Fluffy Egg-Free or Vegan Pancakes

I discovered aquafaba with a recipe for two ingredient meringues a few months ago. It has since nearly completely replaced my use of prepackaged egg substitutes. I am eating a lot more chickpeas now as a result. I’ve also found that canned chickpeas freeze well and defrost quickly.

Quaker Oats Is Being Sued Because People Still Don’t Know What ‘Natural’ Means

Quaker Oats is being sued over the big “100% Natural” label on the front of its box. What else is in that bucket o’ oats that makes the label a lie? Nothing, say the plantiffs—it is, indeed, just oats. Their complaint is that the oats were grown using pesticides. That, they claim, should be sufficient to keep the natural label off it.

Source: Quaker Oats Is Being Sued Because People Still Don’t Know What ‘Natural’ Means

But they do have a definition for “organic” which is what the plaintiffs evidently think Quaker Oats is claiming to be even though it’s not anywhere on the label.

There’s no medical evidence that eating non-organic Quaker oats, or any other conventionally-grown food, is unhealthy or harmful at all.  Stop worrying about whether food is “organic” or not, and quit eating so much fucking salt and sugar, people. THAT is what makes you unhealthy.

Don’t Feed Babies a Ton of Rice Cereal, Says FDA

It’s a cereal killer. 🙂

Rice cereal is a popular first food for babies. It’s also kind of high in arsenic, says the Food and Drug Administration, so if your kid gets a steady rice cereal diet, it’s time to diversify.

Source: Don’t Feed Babies a Ton of Rice Cereal, Says FDA

Boiling it and discarding the water (like how you make pasta) reduces the arsenic content, so that might help. The FDA’s fact sheet has some more info.  I’ve covered arsenic in rice in the past.

A New Baker’s Guide to Choosing the Right Kind of Flour

Flour is one of those seemingly simple ingredients that, upon closer inspection, can be downright mystifying. This harmless looking powder has much more going on that you would think, and even though it’s in almost every recipe, it can be hard to know which variety to buy for the best pastries, breads, and cakes. Let’s examine this veritable bouquet, starting with the basics.

Source: A New Baker’s Guide to Choosing the Right Kind of Flour

Things absolutely worth noting to new bakers as well:

  • Make sure your oven is level
  • Get a probe thermometer in there for accurate temperatures. 328 isn’t the same as 325.
  • Get some good pans, and stock up on parchment paper. Nice light pans = nice, light cookies. Crisped up on the bottom, they’ll actually look golden instead of… cajun?
  • Anything will continue to cook in the pan that it’s in when you take it out of the oven.
  • Don’t leave it on the stove top after you take it out. Some ranges have the heat from the oven blowing out there. Put it on a cooling rack in a different room if you can.
  • Wilton and Michael’s are your best friends. Regular 40% off single item coupons. First thing I bought? Icing spatula. Changed my life and made smoothing chocolate for peppermint bark so much simpler.

Crumble Up Rice Cakes for a Crunchy, Easy Bread Crumb Substitute

…when purchased breadcrumbs aren’t an option, head to the pantry and grab a few rice cakes to make your own gluten-free breading mix. You might not have considered using these crisp and airy snack cakes this way before, but they work quite well. And any kind of rice cakes will get the job done. Use whatever you have available, but maybe it’s best to stay away from the sweeter varieties.

Source: The Best Gluten-Free Breading Mix Is Already In Your Pantry

For those who are allergic to wheat, this is a good way to get bread crumbs for various recipes that are gluten free. Gluten free bread crumbs are kind of pricey…

Toast and Season Your Rice Before Boiling for Unbelievable Flavor

The secret to a better pot of rice lies in seasoning and flavoring the grains before they even hit that pot of boiling water.

Source: The Tastier Way to Cook Rice

Instead of transferring it to the boiling pot, you could combine this tip with Alton Brown’s pour-over method to really take your rice to the next level. Either way, it’s an easy enough step, and it makes for extra tasty rice.

“Ancient Grains” Like Quinoa Are Trendier Than Wheat, But No Healthier

“Ancient grains” have been officially mainstream since January of this year, when they got their own Cheerios version. The likes of quinoa, spelt, and teff are turning up more and more, always with a hint that they’re healthier than boring old wheat or corn.

Source: “Ancient Grains” Like Quinoa Are Trendier Than Wheat, But No Healthier

I’m cool with diversity, but are people who dislike wheat because it’s industrially cultivated and intensively bred really pushing for ancient grains to become mainstream, thus being industrially cultivated and intensively bred?

There may well be environmental reasons to prefer these other grains, especially since some are more tolerant of drought or cold or whatever. But that’s definitely not why they’re in Cheerios, y’know?

Have Granola Whenever You Please With This Super Quick Stove Top Recipe

The only drawback to homemade granola (superior to store-bought, on all counts, in my book) is finding the foresight to make large batches of it in advance. Maybe it’s just me, but my motivation for making anything is pretty closely tied to how soon I’m going to scarf it down.

Source: The Shortcut to Homemade Granola

The basic sequence of events is this: Add your fat and sweetener to your pan over medium-low heat and blend until everything is nice and liquid. Add in the grains and a pinch of salt and toast until golden (8-10 minutes). Mix in whatever nuts and seeds you like and cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with your favorite spices (or toasted coconut and chocolate chips!) and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Break it up and throw it in some yogurt or milk and you have a tasty homemade breakfast.  Or anytime snack; granola shouldn’t be confined to the morning.