Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Soaking-An Update

Last week, my baby step was to try my hand at soaking grains.  Of course we all know that while I have good intentions, my follow through lacks on occasion (especially given the super busy time of year).  I did do a bunch of reading on the reason behind soaking grains and I found a couple recipes that I wanted to try. 

Last night I set to work getting my prep work done for soaked whole wheat pancakes and soaked whole wheat bread.  For the pancakes I used this recipe from Kitchen Stewardship.  I was a little skeptical this morning when I thought the concoction smelled funny, but they tasted awesome.  This recipe made 21 pancakes approximately 4" across.  Next time I will make mini pancakes and let the kids dip (I think they eat more when dipping than forking).  Each of the kids ate 2 (and Little Man ate 4), but there were still 7 left to freeze for a morning when we're rushed.  Gotta love that.

I also made whole wheat bread.  I had picked out another Kitchen Stewardship recipe to try, but abandoned that idea last night in favor of using my own whole wheat bread recipe. I used the principles that Katie (from Kitchen Stewardship) laid out when making her own bread and applied them to my recipe.  Basically, add all your wet ingredients (making sure that there is a somewhat acidic liquid) to the flour and then add yeast and salt the next day.  I used 1/4 cup lemon juice as part of my warm water and used 6 cups of flour.

This morning, I wondered how I was going to get the yeast incorporated into the bread and activated since my kitchen was a cool 61 degrees.  I activated the yeast in a 1/4 cup of warm water and dumped it on top of the pile of goopy, soaked dough with the salt.  I mixed it in as well as I could (which didn't seem to be near enough).  Once again, it was covered and I placed it on top of my stove with the oven preheating-I hoped that the stove top would get warm enough that the dough would rise.  An hour later, the dough had risen some, but not much.  I was about to consider the whole thing a failure and dump the bowl.  I decided that since I'd already used 6 cups of flour, another cup wouldn't be that more to waste.  I dumped the dough out on my counter and kneaded another 3/4 cup of flour into the dough, placed the dough in bread pans, covered and waited for the second rise-again on the stove top.  The rise was much better this time.  I let it rise for an hour before baking and it came out of the oven looking like any other loaf of bread I've baked.  At this point I was getting a bit more enthusiastic.

Once cool, I cut a mini loaf for the kids' peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  I did thin slices (think cocktail bread) and it didn't crumb very much at all.  The crust was tender and the bread was soft, but not doughy.  The taste is a tad on the sweet side, which was fine for pb & h, but I'll probably want to measure the molasses next time I make a loaf-this time I just eyeballed it and probably got a little too much.

Overall, I've been impressed with my soaking efforts.  Assuming the mini pancakes turn out as good as the larger ones (and I can't see why they wouldn't), this will be make go-to pancake recipe.  I'll tinker with the sweetener in the bread (like actually measure) and see if I still like the bread as well, but I think soaking helped the texture of the bread and made it better for sandwiches.  If I find this to be the case, it will be my top bread recipe.

I didn't get around to making my steel cut oats.  Maybe that will be breakfast tomorrow-we'll see.


  1. love this! I have also tried soaking some grains and my attempts turned out somewhat successfully. thank you for posting your experience, it's encouraging and makes me think I may have to try it again! :)


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