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Will Japan Lift US Wheat Ban?

Will Japan Lift US Wheat Ban?


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The nation is still undecided on lifting western white wheat after GMO scare

Officials say the decision is “under consideration.”

Following the presence of non-authorized genetically modified wheat in Oregon in May, representatives from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture met with the United States Department of Agriculture to discuss progress on the investigation into the allegations, Food Navigator Asia is reporting.

While Japan is still undecided on whether or not they will lift bans on importing Western white wheat, United States Agriculture minister Tom Vilsack says business could resume as usual as early as August.

The temporary ban was placed in May following the investigation, and would not resume until there was clear information about the GMO contamination.

Japanese officials have also been conducting their own tests, and although they have not found anything, there have already been contracts for substitute white wheat from the US and Australia.

The contracts are for 23,000 metric tons of club wheat and 2,000 tons of soft red winter wheat from the US and 2,000 metric tons of Australian white wheat.


13 Best Gluten Free Desserts

Ariane Resnick is a special diet chef, certified nutritionist, and bestselling author who takes great joy in shattering the image of what, and how, nutritionists eat.

Everyone deserves a sweet treat at the end of a meal, and not being able (or wanting) to eat gluten shouldn't be a deal-breaker for that! We've compiled a collection of thirteen desserts so tasty you won't notice they happen to not involve wheat flour. Some call for alternative flours, like rice or almond, and others are held together with items, such as eggs or corn starch. From puddings to cakes, there are flavors to satisfy all palates—including those who don't care one way or the other about gluten.

Of course, there is always the option of modifying a "regular" dessert recipe that does call for white or wheat flour with an all-purpose gluten-free blend. Here is one gluten-free flour blend we love if you want to make your own, or you can purchase a cup-for-cup blend ready-made at the grocery store. It's important to note that these flours won't exactly replicate a typical wheat flour product, and may yield a result that is a bit more bouncy, crumbly, or otherwise "off" than anticipated. Because of that, recipes made specifically with being gluten-free in mind, whether with a gluten-free flour blend, individual flour, or no flour at all, are most likely to yield the perfect results you crave.


Whole-Wheat Flour Swap

To achieve healthier muffins and cookies, how much whole wheat flour can be substituted before the texture is affected?

To find out, we made blueberry, bran, and corn muffins with all-purpose flour and compared them to muffins in which we substituted whole-wheat flour in increments of 25 percent, 50 percent, and 75 percent. We also baked chocolate chip, peanut butter, and brown sugar cookies, comparing them to cookies in which we subbed in the same percentages of whole-wheat flour. In every application, most tasters found anything beyond 25 percent whole-wheat flour unappealing. Any more and the muffins and cookies become so tough, dense, and chewy that only the most die-hard whole-wheat enthusiasts gave them a thumbs-up.

The starting point for our Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (March/April 2011) was an ordinary white sandwich-loaf recipe in which we incrementally replaced the white flour with the whole-wheat kind. We found that every time we upped the whole wheat, we also had to increase the water in the recipe or the bread turned out overly dry. This is because the bran and germ in whole-wheat flour absorb more water than the nearly pure starch in white flour.

Whole-wheat flour is ground from the whole berry—the outer bran layer, the germ, and the endosperm (the heart of the wheat berry)—whereas all-purpose flour is ground from just the endosperm. While the germ layer gives whole-wheat flour more protein than all-purpose flour gets from just the endosperm, it does not form gluten. Gluten provides lift and structure to baked goods, so less of it means a denser crumb. Additionally, the germ and bran particles in whole-wheat flour contribute to greater chewiness. Whole-wheat flour holds about 13 percent more water by weight than white flour. In practical terms, this means that if you want to replace some of the white flour with whole wheat in a given baked goods recipe - whether for bread, muffins, or cookies - you'll need to use either more water or less flour to avoid dryness. The simplest approach is to add liquid. We found that this approach will not affect the texture of the final product (aside from the coarser quality whole wheat lends to baked goods).

For the best results in recipes calling for all-purpose flour only, don’t substitute with more than 25 percent whole-wheat flour or texture will suffer. If you want to bake with more whole-wheat flour, you will need recipes specifically designed for this goal.


Will Japan Lift US Wheat Ban? - Recipes

Biothai: Powerful company behind US policy

published : 25 Oct 2019 at 17:11

Worried about its exports, the US is applying pressure for a pause and reconsideration as the Dec 1 deadline nears on the ban on three toxic farm chemicals. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

The government has rejected US opposition to its decision to ban use of three toxic farm chemicals, the herbicides paraquat and glyphosate and the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Friday officials would be assigned to clearly explain Thailand's position to the US embassy.

Deputy Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul was more blunt. He said the US was worried only about trade. The Thai government was concerned about the health of Thai consumers

Gen Prayut said before a meeting on preparations for the Asean Summit that he will instruct relevant officials to explain to the US, through its embassy, the country's policy decision to ban three farm chemicals .

The ban, effective on Dec 1, was approved on Tuesday by the National Hazardous Substances Committee, which upgraded the three farm chemicals from Type 3 toxic substances to Type 4, which prohibits their production, import, export or possession.

In particular, the United States is opposing the ban on glyphosate, an informed source said, citing a copy of a US embassy letter sent to the prime minister and seven other cabinet ministers requesting a delay in imposition of the ban, and a review.

A copy of a document from the US Department of Agriculture supporting the US assertion that a ban on glyphosate will affect Thai imports of US soybeans and US wheat was enclosed with the letter.

"The US also accused the Thai government of banning glyphosate without sufficient scientific proof and claimed that the chemical has been widely used in the US because it has been proven to be safe in a number of studies," the source said.

The US letter cited an assessment by the US Environmental Protection Agency as well as scientific opinions from agencies in Japan, the European Union, Australia and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to back its claim that use of glyphosate in farming poses no harm to the health of humans.

Mr Anutin said Washington and the US embassy in Thailand were entitled to worry about trade and commercial aspects of the ban.

"But the Thai government is responsible for ensuring the safety of consumer products," Mr Anutin said.

&ldquoFearing they won&rsquot be able to sell their products, they are now asking us to lift the ban. Should we bow to this move?&rdquo

The NHSC has 29 members who are experts in the field and they studied the advantages and disadvantages of the ban for a long time before arriving at their conclusion to ban the chemicals, Mr Anutin said.

He was adamant the ban was being implemented for the sake of the public health.

Biodiversity Sustainable Agriculture Food Sovereignty Action Thailand (Biothai) posted on its Facebook page that the US opposition to Thailand&rsquos ban on glyphosate was due to the influence of the powerful company that sells the chemical in the US.

The ban on glyphosate would affect the company&rsquos exports of the chemical to Thailand, Biothai said.

&ldquoThe reclassification of glyphosate as a hazardous substance will possibly affect the export of certain farm products from the US to Thailand,&rdquo Biothai said.

Soybeans, corn and several other farm products in the US have been found to be contaminated with glyphosate, Biothai said. This prompted the US government to announce it was raising the maximum residue levels (MRL) of glyphosate allowed in these products, to ensure that they could still be sold legally.

Referring to the letter sent to the Thai government, Biothai said Thailand&rsquos ban on the chemical would lead to the US suspending the export of certain farm products to Thailand worth around 51 billion baht per year.

Thailand currently imports about 73.2 billion baht of US agricultural produce each year, Biothai said.

Glyphosate was developed by US giant agribusiness Monsanto and is sold under the brandname Roundup.


10 Oldest Cereals Ever Created

Humans have been eating grains for as long as anyone can remember, but the first true cereals, didn’t come about until the 19th century. Before the first cold cereal was invented, people did eat hot cereals or porridges. However, breakfast tended to be a heavy affair and the first cold cereals were created as healthier alternatives. These early cereals were made from wheat and were tough and not that great. Eventually, cereal recipes got better and they have evolved into what we see all across grocery shelves today. While a few of the cereals on this list are long gone, several are still actually around today and nearly as popular.

10. Force

Year Created: 1901
Creator: Force Food Company
Place of Origin: Buffalo, New York, USA
Still Available: No

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Force was originally created in 1901 by the Force Food Company, which was owned by Edward Ellsworth. It was one of the earliest cereals advertised with a popular mascot, a cartoon man named Sunny Jim. In addition to the popular character, Force was the only well-liked wheat based cereal besides Shredded Wheat.

Eventually, Force became a staple in Britain as it lost favor in the United States. Sunny Jim and his jingles were slightly modified for the British audience and they took to him immediately. Force changed ownership several times over the years. The cereal was last manufactured by Nestlé only in the UK until 2013.

Did You Know?

To advertise Force, Minnie Maud Hanff, a freelance jingle writer, invented the character Jimmy Dumps, a morose character who on eating the cereal was transformed into Sunny Jim.

9. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

Year Created: c.1898 (some sources say as early as 1894)
Creator: William Kellogg and John Harvey Kellogg
Place of Origin: Battle Creek, Michigan, USA
Still Available: Yes

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes might not be the oldest cereal ever, but it is definitely one of the most iconic and often comes to mind when people think of breakfast. The Kellogg brothers had already been in the cereal business for over a decade, selling granola. However, they kept experimenting with different techniques and eventually produced corn flakes. The Kelloggs’ new cereal was lighter, crispier, and tastier than the most of the tough early cereals of the 19 th century. Of course, as we all know, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were a hit and are still very popular today.

Did You Know?

After many disagreements, William Kellogg bought the recipe for Corn Flakes from his brother and left to form “Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company,” which is now the Kellogg Company.

8. Vitos

Year Created: 1897
Creator: Pillsbury-Washburn Flour Mills Co.
Place of Origin: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Still Available: No

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

As the competition in the cereal industry was heating up, Pillsbury decided to enter the fray with their own cereal, Vitos. Like the other early cereals of the time, Vitos were made from wheat. Pillsbury tried to make Vitos stand out from the competition by letting consumers know it could be eaten in many different ways. The company even ran an amateur recipe competition using Vitos in 1900.

Did You Know?

According to Vitos packaging, the cereal was sterilized, which was unique to Vitos as no other cereals were advertised as sterilized.

7. Grape-Nuts

Year Created: 1897
Creator: C. W. Post
Place of Origin: Battle Creek, Michigan, USA
Still Available: Yes

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Grape-Nuts made their debut all the way back in 1897 after C. W. Post visited John Harvey Kellogg’s Battle Creek Sanitarium and became interested in all of Kellogg’s recipes. Post decided to open up his own company in Battle Creek and produced his own cereal, Grape-Nuts.

Like all early cereals, Grape-Nuts was advertised as a health food. Grape-Nuts were made from a dough that was baked into a rigid sheet. The dough was then passed through a coffee grinder to produce “nut” sized kernels.

Did You Know?

Grape-Nuts are such a hearty shelf-stable food that during World War II, the cereal was part of the rations sent to Allied forces stationed in Panama and other tropical parts of the world.

6. Granose Flakes

Year Created: 1895
Creator: John Harvey Kellogg and William Kellogg
Place of Origin: John Harvey Kellogg and William Kellogg
Still Available: No

photo source: scalar.usc.edu

Before coming up with Corn Flakes, John Harvey Kellogg and his brother William Kellogg did a lot of experimenting. They were trying to come up with the perfect cereal and something that could compete with Shredded Wheat, which had become really popular at the time.

According to Kellogg Company lore, Granose Flakes were the result of an accident. Will Kellogg left a batch of wheat berries to soak overnight and after discovering his mistake, he decided to run them through the machine rollers anyway. This resulted in a thin sheet of dough that produced large flakes. Will Kellogg baked these flakes and thought they were delicious. The Kelloggs dubbed this new cereal Granose Flakes.

Did You Know?

The name “Granose Flakes” is a combination of grain and the scientific suffix “ose,”or metabolism.

5. Shredded Wheat

Year Created: 1890
Creator: Henry Perky
Place of Origin: Denver, Colorado, USA
Still Available: Yes

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Shredded Wheat is another popular old-fashioned cereal that dates back to the late 19 th century. The cereal was invented by Henry Perky in 1890. Perky went on to start the Cereal Machine Company and he initially sold his new shredded wheat cereal to vegetarian restaurants in 1892. In 1893, Shredded Wheat made its national debut at Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition and the cereal soon exploded in popularity.

Did You Know?

While a few different brands produce their own version of Shredded Wheat, the original recipe is now manufactured by Post Consumer Brands, who acquired the cereal from Nabisco in 1993 – Nabisco had been making Shredded Wheat since 1928.

4. Pettijohn’s Breakfast Food

Year Created: 1889
Creator: The American Cereal Co.
Place of Origin: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Still Available: No

photo source: Flickr via Boston Public Library

Pettijohn’s Breakfast Food is a cereal that’s been gone for ages, but was one of the earliest mass produced wheat cereals. It was initially produced by The American Cereal Co. of Chicago, Illinois. Then in 1893, Pettijohn’s Breakfast Food was sold to The Quaker Oats Company. Pettijohn’s was made “from the best pacific white wheat” and was touted as a health food that had all the benefits of whole wheat without the bran.

Did You Know?

In the 1920s, Quaker Oats rebranded/repackaged Pettijohn’s Breakfast Food as Pettijohn’s Whole Wheat Cereal.

3. Granola

Year Created: c.1881 (sources differ and say as early as 1877)
Creator: John Harvey Kellogg
Place of Origin: Battle Creek, Michigan, USA
Still Available: Yes from many different brands

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

While granola is now a widely available cereal from many different brands, it actually started out as a specific brand created by John Harvey Kellogg sometime around 1881. Kellogg was inspired by James Caleb Jackson’s Granula and actually initially called his own cereal Granula. Even though Kellogg’s Granula was very different from Jackson’s product, Jackson filed copyright infringement against Kellogg, who then changed his cereal’s name to Granola.

Kellogg’s granola was made from oats instead of the Graham flour that Jackson used. Kellogg also used a different rolling process to make the oats more chewable than Jackson’s cereal, which had to be soaked over night.

Did You Know?

John Harvey Kellogg’s Granola was so popular that within a decade, he was selling two tons of the cereal annually.

2. Wheatena

Year Created: c.1879
Creator: George H. Hoyt
Place of Origin: New York City, New York, USA
Still Available: Yes

photo source: Flickr via Internet Archive Book Images


Wheatena might not be a widely recognized cereal today, but it is one of the oldest continuously manufactured cereals dating back to the 19 th century. The cereal was created by George H. Hoyt and it was one of the first cereals to be packaged in a box. At the time, most cereals were kept in large barrels at the grocery store and scooped out by the pound for customers. Hoyt felt that his sanitary packaging would appeal to customers.

Wheatena hasn’t changed much over the years and the cereal is produced by Homestat Farm, which is owned by Camden Holdings.

Did You Know?

In the 1930s, Wheatena often sponsored radio shows, including 87 episodes of the Popeye the Sailor radio program on NBC’s Red Network.

1. Granula

Year Created: 1863
Creator: Dr. James Caleb Jackson
Place of Origin: Dansville, New York, USA
Still Available: No

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

First invented in 1863, Granula is the oldest cereal ever created in the world. While cereal grains and hot cereals have been eaten by people for years, Granula was the first breakfast cereal, as we know it today. Granula was created by Dr. James Caleb Jackson, who ran a health spa in upstate New York. Dr. Jackson began experimenting with cold cereals as cure for various ailments.

Jackson came up with Granula, which was made from Graham flour dough that was rolled into sheets and baked. These dried sheets were then broken into pieces, baked again, and broken down again into smaller pieces. As you can imagine, Granula was very tough and it didn’t take off with the public, but Jackson’s creation ended up inspiring one of biggest cereal titans, John Harvey Kellog.

Did You Know?

Granula was such a hard cereal that it had to be soaked overnight before it could be eaten and it was nicknamed “wheat rocks.”


Reaction to consultation

Scientists and farmers have thrown their support behind gene editing, arguing that it has huge potential to help feed the world as climate change and population growth put pressure on food supplies.

“Gene editing has the potential to offer huge benefits to UK farming and the environment… It could help us address pest and disease pressures on our crops and livestock, increasing our resilience in the event of extreme weather events. It could also reduce our impact through a more efficient use of resources, resulting in lower emissions and less waste,” said Tom Bradshaw, vice president of the National Farmers Union.

Professor Johnathan Napier, of Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire, added: “Early benefits of gene editing for UK agriculture could include gluten-free wheat, oilseeds with heart-healthy fats, disease-resistant sugar beet and potatoes that are even healthier than those we have now.”

“Gene editing can also help accelerate the improvement of orphan crops like cassava, millet, cowpea and yams, which are critical to food security in less developed parts of the world,” he said.

But inevitably there are concerns about introducing a technology which is still in its infancy.

Dr Penny Hawkins, of the RSPCA, said: “We are incredibly worried that the Government is considering relaxing the rules around these procedures…We don’t think consumers will stand for this.”

And even those who are strongly in favour of gene editing advise caution.

“A more flexible and risk-based approach to the application of gene editing technologies will help highlight where most benefit might be gained and what society agrees is appropriate for their application,” said Mark Downs, chief executive of the Royal Society of Biology.

Meanwhile, Gareth Morgan, of the Soil Association, said: “Gene Editing is a ‘sticking plaster’ – diverting vital investment and attention from farmer-driven action and research which could be yielding results, right now.

“The focus needs to be on how to restore exhausted soils, improve diversity in cropping, integrate livestock into rotations and reduce dependence on synthetic nitrogen and pesticides,” he said.


Baking Notes

Once the two preferments get together in the mixer, they become one sticky dough. This dough doesn’t relinquish its stickiness easily with additional kneading or by throwing more flour at it. The 2 tablespoons of olive oil help to some degree—and though Mr. Reinhart suggests adding it to increase aeration, we like the results either way. The best approach to stickiness management is using wet hands to handle the dough.

Stickiness notwithstanding, Red Fife is a bread flour and this is a muscular dough. It needs to be kneaded by machine—not by hand—to fully develop the flour’s gluten. If the dough feels especially taut and tough when you pull it from the mixing bowl, wet your hands and knead the dough a few times in succession on the counter to hydrate the dough and make it more supple.

The gluten window we mention in the body of the recipe signals the strength and extensibility of the dough. You can test this by pulling up a bit of dough between the thumb and forefinger of each hand and stretching it. When the dough is properly kneaded, it will stretch into a membrane thin enough to see through. This is the gluten window.

Working with a number of bread doughs recently, we fell in love with the utility and aesthetic of a coiled cane proofing basket known as a brotform. Sprinkled inside with flour, a brotform cradles the dough during its final rise, helping wetter doughs retain their shape. Unmolded just before baking onto a parchment-lined pizza peel or inverted sheet pan, the coiled design of the brotform leaves beautiful tracings on the dough. You can fabricate your own proofing basket—albeit one minus the design—by lining a 1½-quart mixing bowl with a clean linen napkin. Let the edges of the napkin drape over the rim of the bowl, and then secure the napkin by tying a length of kitchen twine around the bowl’s circumference. Flour the inside of the bowl generously and shake out the excess.


Real Jewish rye bread

Unless you’re reading this story in your grandmother’s Brooklyn or Minnesota kitchen, a loaf of dark bread just out of the oven, you may be part of the vast majority of people for whom dense rye breads are a bit out of the comfort zone. You may run across old-world loaves like these, on your table if you’re lucky or maybe at a Vermont bakery, the loaves stacked in a dark mosaic, but in this country it’s mostly the more familiar baguettes and country whites that we buy and bake at home.

But if your experience of rye bread has been limited to grocery store loaves, then you’re missing out on something extraordinary. And if you’ve never baked breads like these -- chewy ryes, dark breads studded with nuts and seeds, black pumpernickels layered with as many intricate flavors as a great ale or stout -- then it’s not just a good loaf you’ve been missing, but a whole new world of baking. Or, more exactly, an old one rediscovered.

Loaded with flavor from whole grains, often from nuts or seeds, and sometimes from long hours on the oven floor, loaves of rye bread built the bakeries of northern and eastern Europe and migrated to this country with the bakers that created them. And although they can sometimes require a bit more technique than a loaf of white, and often a few more ingredients, they’re surprisingly easy to make at home.

The payoff? Loaves with stunning flavor, texture and depth. Breads that have complexity and staying power and the ability to pair with strong ingredients instead of fading into the background of a meal. Breads that can form the centerpiece of meals, almost the meal itself.

“When you get hooked” on rye breads, says master baker Peter Reinhart, “you really get hooked, just like when somebody falls for a strong IPA beer. Then all of a sudden nothing else satisfies you.”

The cornerstone of old-world breads like these is, of course, the flour. Instead of wheat, these are breads built with rye flour, as that grain could grow in the less hospitable climate. Rye is a hardier grain, and the flour is also more mercurial than wheat flour, with less gluten and more bran and fiber, which means the doughs absorb more water and have a tendency to become dense and gummy. For this reason, most rye breads are not made with 100% rye, but with a combination of wheat and rye.

The exception to this loose rule is sourdough rye bread, which is what most bakers who fall in love with rye bread usually end up baking, and which, of course, is a whole other story. By using sourdough, the acidity of which creates a small chemistry experiment in your bread bowl and oven, you can make loaves using all rye flour -- beautiful, complex loaves that bear as much similarity to store-bought ryes as artisan-made baguettes do to Wonder Bread.

Sourdough starter controls the enzymatic activity of the rye flour with its natural acidity, preventing the crumb from getting gummy while adding a beautiful complex flavor to the bread. And since baking with sourdough isn’t any more difficult than baking without it -- the hard part is making and achieving a strong starter -- it’s worth considering as the logical next step in old-world baking.

“The real thing,” says certified master baker Jeffrey Hamelman, who started baking German breads 34 years ago and has represented the U.S. at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, “puts you on your knees.”

Sourcing good flour, always important in baking, becomes even more so, as rye flour -- not as popular in this country as wheat -- can quickly grow rancid if left too long on a store (or a home) shelf. Buy flour from a reliable source and store it in the freezer.

A good loaf of rye, like Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “real Jewish rye,” requires very little more than a percentage of rye flour, a bit of malt syrup (you can use honey or even table sugar), yeast, flour, salt and water.

Indeed, this simplicity is part of the reason home-baked rye is so good. Traditionally, black breads and pumpernickels were baked overnight, using the residual heat of the oven, and get their distinctive color from a long, slow caramelization of the bread itself in the oven. Short-cut commercial ryes get their hue from caramel colorings and are laden with fillers that mask the true flavor of the breads.

These badly made breads can put you off the real thing for good. “My relatives in Russia used to tell me that black bread was used to plug door holes,” said Beranbaum.

But done well, with balance and proportion, baking a simple rye bread at home, even without a sourdough starter or a massive Teutonic oven, can be revelatory.

“For me the key was the seeds,” Reinhart says of baking old-world breads at home. “Seeds have so much flavor and they give you an excuse for having a dense bread.” Nuts and seeds can be toasted for added flavor, but don’t toast them if you’ll be sprinkling them over the bread, as they’ll burn during baking.

But although seeds help compensate for not having sourdough in a bread, they also suck up a lot of the moisture in a dough, as does the rye flour itself. Many traditional rye or multigrain bread recipes call for a soaker, which is pretty much what you’d think it would be: an additional step in which seeds, bran, whole grains or whole-grain flours are first soaked before being added to the dough. This step is needed because these ingredients often require more time to fully hydrate than they’d get during ordinary mixing and rising time.

Because of issues of hydration, it’s important not to overcompensate by adding too much flour while kneading these doughs, which can be very dense but should not be stiff. This is one reason why making dark breads is often easier with a Kitchen-Aid or other mixer.

“In the beginning I did everything by hand,” says baker Beth Hensperger, author of “The Bread Bible.” “ ‘Oh no,’ I thought, ‘you need to connect with the ingredients.’ But when you have these whole-grain sticky doughs, the electrical appliances really come in handy.”

Mixing doughs by machine may not give you the same 19th century feel as kneading by hand, but it will ensure that you don’t add too much flour as the dough comes together.

And if you’re not already in the habit of weighing your ingredients, now is the time to invest in an inexpensive kitchen scale, as the different flours, as well as the brans, whole grains, seeds and nuts, can easily throw off a recipe unless they’re pretty accurately measured.

Another tip if you’ve just discovering these breads, points out Reinhart, is to divide up the dough into rolls instead of making a few large loaves. Rolls are easier to make and to control, and the dark, flavorful breads make fantastic sandwich rolls.

Dense, chewy rye and seeded breads also toast up extraordinarily well: Pair them with nubs of butter and good jams or marmalades, maybe a generous spoonful of Nutella. Beranbaum suggests topping her rye bread with unsalted butter, sliced radishes and big flakes of salt. Or turn slices of black bread into open-face or smorgasbord sandwiches, loaded with smoked fish or salumi. Even break off pieces and dip them into a pot of Swiss fondue, as they’ll hold up better than flimsy bits of French bread.

You’ll soon see that you don’t have to hop on a plane to Germany or live next to a New England artisan baker to discover the joys of freshly baked old-world bread: All you really need is a good recipe, a little patience and a pocketful of rye.


Banana Walnut Bread

It has been far too long since I shared a baked good around here. One month and twenty five days if I’m being precise. What better way to break the silence than with classic banana bread, right? You’re going to want to bookmark this recipe and come back to it time and time again.

Despite the fact that this banana walnut bread is made entirely with whole grain flour, coconut oil, and sweetened naturally with maple syrup, I’m going to refrain from using the obvious adjectives like ‘healthy’. Let’s not fool ourselves here. It’s quick bread, not kale.

Let’s call it healthyish, ok? It’s a banana bread that we can justifiably eat for breakfast on a busy day (or as a quick afternoon snack!) and one that won’t leave us with a sugar coma. All good things. As a little optional side bonus, I’m sharing a fun and simple spiced walnut butter to serve alongside it.

Growing up, dead bananas on the kitchen countertop meant one thing and one thing only: a loaf of my mom’s banana bread was in our future! Banana bread was one of the very first baked goods that I ever learned how to make as kid. Quick breads hold a special place in my baking heart. I just love them.

For today’s banana walnut bread, I turned to my mom’s original formula and tweaked it a lot to make it more nutritious, tastier, and easier to prepare! You’ll need your basic measuring cups and spoons, two mixing bowls, a whisk, and a large spoon. If you’re a baking scale lover (like myself!), I’ve provided gram measurements as well.

One of the best parts about baking with fruit purees, whether from banana, pumpkin, apple, or other fruits, is that they make it fairly easy to create 100% whole grain baked goods. The natural moisture from the fruit, along with the coconut oil, produces a tender, moist banana bread that stores well.

To achieve a light and fluffy crumb, I turned to my favorite whole wheat pastry flour. Whenever I’m making tender quick breads, cakes, or muffins, it is my flour of choice. Please note that whole wheat pastry flour is not the same thing as traditional whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour.


Whole wheat pastry flour is milled from soft white wheat. Soft white wheat contains significantly less protein than red wheat (used to produce whole wheat flour). As a result, whole wheat pastry flour is lower in protein and produces less gluten development. Low gluten development is preferable for baked goods that don’t benefit from increased elasticity. Aka. banana bread.

While you may be able to get away with using traditional whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour, they generally require a higher liquid to flour ratio and will not produce as tender of a crumb as whole wheat pastry flour.

You can find more details and baking science information in this post on different types of flour (and when to use them!). I highly recommend checking it out if you are interested in adapting family recipes into healthier whole grain versions.

Tip: Store your whole wheat flours in the freezer. This will give them a longer shelf life and help them retain the nutritional benefits since the natural germ and bran in whole wheat flours can become rancid with time. Just remember to allow your flour to come to room temperature prior to baking, unless you are preparing pies or other pastry doughs that require chilled ingredients.

While my mom’s original banana bread recipe used a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar, I always love to sweeten baked goods with pure maple syrup (like these easy rhubarb muffins!) if I can get away with it. It is a more natural alternative (that doesn’t spike our blood sugar!) and adds tons of flavor to boot.

This banana walnut bread tastes fantastic on its own…but if you’re looking to jazz it up for friends or serve it at a brunch party, I’ve included a bonus sweet compound butter – spiced walnut butter – for spreading. It’s a simple combination of softened butter, toasted walnuts, cinnamon, and a touch of maple syrup. It would taste fantastic on all sorts of things!

You should totally make this today.


No-Knead Whole-Wheat Bread

With very little work, this recipe and method will yield a crusty, chewy and beautifully aerated loaf. The bread is baked in a Dutch oven, which helps produce a crunchy, flavorful crust.

Baker Jim Lahey calls for a ratio of 3 parts bread flour to 1 part whole-wheat flour. Feel free to experiment with the proportion of whole wheat, but keep in mind that too much might lead to a texture that is too gritty or dense.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to rest and rise twice first for 12 to 18 hours, and after it's shaped, for 1 to 2 hours (all at room temperature).

Servings:

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 10-12 servings makes one large boule-type loaf

Ingredients
Directions

Stir together the flours, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the water use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit at room temperature until its surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough has more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

Generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a rubber spatula or lightly floured hands to scrape the dough onto the surface in one piece. Use your lightly floured hands to lift the edges of the dough up and in toward the center. Gently pinch the pulled-up dough together, cupping the edges in your hands as needed to nudge it into a round (don't worry about making it a perfect circle).

Place a clean dish towel on your work surface generously dust the towel with wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough feels sticky, dust the top lightly with more wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Fold the ends of the towel loosely over the dough to cover it. Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it has almost doubled in size. When you gently poke the dough with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for an additional 15 minutes.

About half an hour before you think the second rise is complete, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy Dutch oven or pot with a lid in the center of the rack. Preheat to 475 degrees.

Use pot holders to carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven, then lift off the lid.

Uncover the dough. Quickly but gently invert it off the towel and into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution — the pot and lid will be very hot.) Cover with the lid bake (lower rack) for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid continue baking until the loaf is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. (If you like a more precise measure, the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread registers 200 to 210 degrees.) Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly before serving or storing.



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