Cooking With Whole Wheat
Cooking with whole wheat is not something most of us do on a daily basis.
We buy whole wheat for our food storage with the intention of leaving it there for many years because it stores very well.
But for the sake of rotating your food storage and, more importantly, getting your family accustomed to eating it, it is wise to use it in recipes every so often.
There are several kinds of wheat so let's explore how each kind is best used.
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What kind of wheat should you store?
- Hard Red Wheat and Hard White Wheat is best for yeast breads. It is higher in protein and gluten and stores longer than softer wheats.
- Soft wheats are primarily used for tender pastries, cakes, cookies, flatbreads, crackers and muffins. All-purpose flour, the most common variety in grocery stores, is often a blend of soft and hard wheats and can be used in a wide variety of baked products.
- Durum wheat is the hardest wheat and is primarily used for making pasta.
You can buy wheat already packed and sealed in 6 gallon buckets or #10 cans atany preparedness store. I have bought hard red wheat, hard white wheat, and oats 50 lbs at a time from Honeyville and Emergency Essentials.
It's also possible to order all kinds of grains in large amounts at stores like Whole Foods or, if you have a farmer's market nearby, you may be able to order in large quantities there. You would have to pack it for long-term storage yourself (or use it within a year) . . . so read the next paragraph for help with that.
How to Store Wheat
If unopened, optimum shelf life is 30 years or more. If opened, it will last about 3 years. However, once ground into flour, wheat loses most of its nutrients within a few days so only grind small amounts at a time. You can add oxygen absorbers, bay leaves, or dry ice to help keep critters out of your wheat. Check out this video on how to pack grains for long-term storage.
What to Cook With Whole Wheat
In order to use your stored whole wheat, a grain mill will be a necessary item (unless you plan to just boil it and eat the whole kernels as a breakfast cereal - which is good, by the way).
There are electric grain mills and hand-crank varieties. If you are really preparing for a time when there is no electricity, you will definitely need a hand-crank grain mill. No matter which kind you buy (or both if you want), make sure it will grind many kinds of grains.
When cooking with whole wheat, you may have to introduce it into your family's diet gradually, and literally "disguise" it a little. Try some of these recipes — you may find the family actually likes whole wheat.
Blender Wheat Pancakes
1 Cup Milk ( 3 T. Dry Powdered Milk + 1 C. Water)
1 Cup Wheat Kernels, whole & uncooked
2 Eggs (2 T. powdered eggs 1/4 C. Water)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1-1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbs. Oil
2 Tbs. Honey or Sugar
Put milk and wheat kernels in blender. Blend on highest speed for 4 or 5 minutes or until batter is smooth. Add eggs, oil, baking powder, salt and honey or sugar to above batter. Blend on low. Pour out batter into pancakes from the actual blender jar (only one thing to wash!) onto a hot greased or Pam prepared griddle or large frying pan. Cook; flipping pancakes when bubbles pop and create holes.
Here's a standard white sauce recipe using whole wheat flour substituted for white flour.
1/4 Cup flour (whole wheat or all-purpose)
10 Tbs. powdered milk
3/4 Tbs. salt
2 cups water
Combine all dry ingredients and mix or shake well. Combine dry mix with enough of the liquid to make a smooth paste. Stir in remaining liquid and cook over moderate heat, continuing to stir frequently until sauce thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Makes 1-1/2 cups sauce.
Whole Wheat Carrot Bread
2 C. Brown Sugar, Packed
1 C. Oil
3 Eggs (3 T. Dehydrated Eggs + 1/3 C. Water)
2 C. Carrots, Finely Grated (1 C. Dehydrated Carrots. Pulse in blender before re-hydrating to make them smaller pieces.)
1 C. Crushed Pineapple, Drained
3 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1 t. Salt
1 t. Cinnamon
2 t. Vanilla
1 C. Raisins (soak in warm water first)
1 C. Walnuts, Broken
Grease and flour 2 bread pans, 1 bundt pan, or 2 muffin pans (12 each) with vegetable cooking spray. Beat together brown sugar, oil and eggs (no need to reconstitute eggs before adding to this mix).
Stir in carrots and pineapple. blend together dry ingredients; stir into batter thoroughly. Add vanilla, raisins, and nuts. pour into prepared pan.
Bake bread pans for 45-40 minutes, muffins for 20 minutes, and bundt pan 1 hour or until done. Makes 1 Bundt pan, 2 bread pans, or 24 muffins.
Here's a recipe to try for fun. It pops similar to popcorn.
Roasted Wheat Kernels
1/4 cup wheat berries (whole kernels of wheat)
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet. Add wheat berries and pop like popcorn. They don't expand as much as popcorn, but they will pop. Swirl around in the pan to prevent burning. Sprinkle with salt while hot.
How to "disguise" Whole Wheat so your family will EAT it!
1. Try it in desserts first (Who can turn down a cookie?)
2. No need to use 100% whole wheat at all times. Half white and half whole wheat provides excellent results. However, if your family is really fussy, start with 1 tablespoon of whole wheat flour in the bottom of each cup of white flour and increase the whole wheat amount each time you cook.
3. Use recipes you know your family already likes.
4. Have your kids help you make the treat! Kids love to try it when they help.
5. Don't warn your family that there is whole wheat in the food they're about to eat. Your family will assume you made the recipe as usual so sit back and smile to yourself as you see them gobble it up...wheat and all!
6. Wheat flour is brown in color and best disguised in recipes using brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, fruit or vegetables, such as bananas, applesauce, carrots, or zucchini in breads, cakes and cookies.
Kitchen Equipment You'll Need
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