You can buy great tasting fresh bread from local bakeries and grocery stores, but there is something to be said for making your own bread from scratch. My mom is a fabulous bread baker. She has mastered her own recipe that incorporates steel cut oatmeal. Her bread is light as air and has the perfect amount of chew or “crumb”. I apologize in advance to the gluten-free, because great bread is all about gluten; the networks of proteins that give bread its amazing chewy texture.
After reading Michael Pollan’s latest book, COOKED, (and hoping to take after my mom) I was inspired to take a stab at baking my own bread. First, I signed up for a class at my alma mater to learn how expert baker, Michael Kallanty, makes his famous San Francisco sourdough. Just as Pollan outlines in his book, the process of making a loaf of pan au levain (bread with levain, aka, a sourdough starter) is a lengthy labor of love. I started on Thursday evening by feeding my starter, made the levain Friday, the dough Saturday and finally sampled my fermented loaf on Sunday. And to my surprise, it was heavenly. Making bread is an incredibly rewarding project. Now that fall is here, devote a weekend to it, it’s worth every minute. The ingredients are simply: flour (whole-grain and AP), water and salt. The required equipment: a scale and a pizza stone or bread cloche. And finally, just some patience and a little TLC.
If you want a little motivation in the kitchen, read COOKED. You’ll be braising meats, drinking beer and baking bread in no time. COOKED has a recipe for sourdough bread, as does Chad Robertson’s latest cookbook, Tartine Book No.3. Here’s The New York Times recipe to get you started.
When I was a kid, my parent’s made their own muesli that we jokingly referred to as “horse chow”. I remember they even traveled with it and gifted it to friends. I do the same today. You may get flack for it, but there’s no better way to start the day than with an insanely healthy, nourishing breakfast. Pair it with kefir, raspberries and sliced peach while at their peak, and in the winter with warm steamed milk and maybe a banana. I love the version from Bob’s Red Mill, but decided to take a stab at mixing up my own. Here’s my recipe:
Yield: 12 cups
1 cups currants
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup flax seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups kasha
3 cups oats
3 cups rye flakes
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Gently fold and mix by hand to combine. Store in airtight container.
Yield: 12 small cakes (approximately 3.5” diameter)
This recipe evolved from a zucchini fritter craving and turned out to be a light, yet nutrient dense, baked-not-fried version. The cakes are vegan, but you can always substitute an egg for the flax seeds. For a vegan “tzatziki”, I would substitute tahini and water/lemon juice for the yogurt. You don’t have to bake the dozen cakes all at once; they can be left, separated by parchment paper, in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. Bake individually as you like, but be sure to bake for 20 minutes to achieve a good crust.
Ingredients & Procedure
For the cakes…
1/3 cup millet
1 tbs flax seeds
1 tbs pumpkin seeds
- In a small pot, soak all of the ingredients listed above in one cup water (for at least 6 hours or overnight).
1 cup mung beans, soaked for 6 hours or overnight (you want to soak the beans separately, because bean soaking water should be discarded).
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
¾ tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp ground pimenton
Tiny pinch saffron threads (optional)
- Drain and rinse beans.
- Add beans to pot with millet and seeds with the addition of 1 cup water, garlic cloves, salt and spices.
- Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, turn off heat, but keep lid on and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
- Empty contents of pot into a large bowl and add the following additional ingredients:
2 tbs minced shallot
1 cup whole-wheat panko
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 medium sized zucchini, grated and strained (approximately 1.5 cups)
*Wrap grated zucchini in paper towel or dishtowel and squeeze out excess liquid (discard or drink!)
1 4oz. bag shelled pistachios, finely ground in a food processor
- Using a large spatula, fold to incorporate and evenly distribute shallot, zucchini, breadcrumbs and salt into the millet and mung bean mixture. The “dough” will be sticky.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Scoop out and shape dough into small cakes. I like to use an ice cream scooper for consistent size: press and flatten two scoops together.
- Put ground pistachios and a generous pinch of salt (if using unsalted nuts) on a plate and cake by cake, cover completely with nuts.
- Lay out cakes on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
For the Tzatziki…
2 tbs fresh mint, chopped
2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
1 tbs fresh dill, chopped
1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
2 containers Siggi’s yogurt (or 12oz. of any strained/Greek plain yogurt)
1 tbs olive oil
Zest from 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, finely chopped
¼ cup cucumber, brunoise (cut into tiny cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and fold with spatula until evenly combined.
Serve zucchini cakes with quadruple-herb Tzatziki and a wedge of lemon. A few halved cherry tomatoes go nicely with this dish, along with a green vegetable. Finish plate with a light dusting of left over ground pistachios.
Due to popular Instagram demand, here is the recipe for the Millet-Black Bean burgers I shared earlier this week. The recipe makes 5 large burgers. Served with a salad and some avocado they make for a great dinner. As left overs the following night, we gave them a protein punch by topping with a slice pepper-Jack cheese and a fried egg. Note: these are definitely grain burgers, but play with the proportions and use more beans and less grain for bean burgers.
For the burgers…
- 1 cup millet cooked in 2 cups water for 20 minutes with:
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- ¾ tsp salt
1. Rinse millet.
2. Bring water to a boil in small saucepan.
3. Add millet, spices and salt to boiling water.
4. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Turn off heat, without removing lid and let sit for 10 minutes.
- 2 large scallions (or 3 to 4 smaller), finely chopped
- 1 large handful cilantro, roughly chopped
- 4 oz. pepitas (I used a bag of these, because I had them in my pantry, but plain are just fine.)
- 1 can black beans
1. Add scallions, cilantro and pepitas to food processor and blend until combined into a paste.
2. In a large bowl combine millet, pepita paste and 1 can of black beans. Fold until evenly combined.
3. With a bit of olive oil on your hands, form “dough” into your desired burger size.
4. Although the burgers don’t technically need to be cooked, you can either brown them on either side in a pan, with a splash of olive oil (as you would a real burger), or bake in the oven at 375 until browned and warmed through.
For the slaw…
- ½ head small red cabbage, finely sliced (on a microplane is best)
- zest and juice of one lime
- Drizzle of honey
- Few dashes of Tabasco
- Large pinch of salt
1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and toss with your hand. You basically want to squeeze/ massage the dressing into the cabbage to break it down, making it easier to digest.
- Salsa (My favorite store-bought brand)
- Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Drizzle olive oil
- Avocado, sliced
1. Nest some slaw on your plate and lay burger right in the middle.
2. Top burger with salsa and a sprinkle of cilantro.
3. Arrange sliced avocado around the edge of the plate.
4. Drizzle dish with extra virgin olive oil and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Everyday Food
Serves 2 with leftovers
From the first time I made this recipe, it has been a staple in my repertoire. I make these delicious little suckers for myself, clients and share the recipe with fellow private chefs for their own clients. A major plus, is that kids love these too (you can always adjust the heat level by adding less Sriracha). If you are serving more than two people, I suggest doubling the recipe; these meatballs are great left over the next day.
¾ cup whole-wheat panko “bread” crumbs
3 tbs. water
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
4 tsp. fish sauce
4 teaspoons unrefined sugar
4 teaspoons Sriracha
1 garlic clove, minced
Scant ¾ tsp. salt
1 lb. ground turkey
1 tbs. safflower or peanut oil
Lime wedges for serving
- In medium sized bowl, combine first nine ingredients and stir to combine evenly. Gently fold in turkey; I like to use my hands, until just combined with breadcrumb mixture. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out approximately 15 meatballs.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1-tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add meatballs and allow to brown on one side, approx. 3 minutes, flip and brown the other side. Transfer meatballs to baking sheet and finish in 350 degree over for 5 to 10 minutes or until firm to the touch.
- Serve meatballs over brown rice with lime wedges, kimchi and vegetable of your choice (I like broccoli and or bok choy).
Makes 1 loaf
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
½ cup flax seeds
½ cup almond flour (ground almonds)
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup millet
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1 Tbsp. raw honey
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cups water
- In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk honey, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable).
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit and run lengthwise down the bottom of your bread pan. There should be just enough coming out on either end, in order to easily remove the loaf when cooked.
- Add the dough to bread pan, lined with parchment and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the parchment paper, away from the loaf pan.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).
- Store bread in a tightly sealed container, or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to five days. The bread freezes well too (pre-slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!).
I added Sarah Britton’s Life-Changing Loaf of Bread to my Pinterest Board as soon as she posted it back in February. I have been on a major Eli’s Health Bread kick lately, and was inspired to make my own (rather, My New Roots’ version). Aside from buying some ingredients that may not already live in your pantry, the recipe is incredibly simple. I even baked it in my toaster oven. Don’t fret if you don’t have a flexible, silicon loaf pan. I didn’t either, nor could I find one at Sur la Table, but a regular loaf pan, lined with parchment paper, does the trick. This nutty-seedy loaf is incredibly dense and filled with fiber, protein and vitamins. This morning, I toasted and topped it with skyr (Siggi’s version of Greek yogurt), a sprinkle of cinnamon and fresh berries. This is a great “bread” to slice and carry pieces with you as a snack. Next time, I may experiment by swapping pepitas for the sunflower seeds and almonds for hazelnuts.
Have a great weekend everyone!