Saturday, May 31

Exotic & Gourmet Grains

Baking Gourmet with Whole Grains (news article)

At the house just round your corner or just up your street, wholegrain baking is returning and bread, the staff of life, is more popular than ever before.

Five or six times a week, Terina Darcey bakes hot, fragrant breadsticks, muffins, pancakes, and brownies, by hand, from scratch, from the whole grain by first grinding the grains, then mixing flours from recipes that have taken years to perfect.

Terina began this gourmet quest when she was diagnosed with an intolerance for wheat flour a key component in most baked foods in America. Her recipes have gourmet ingredients that are alien to most of us, amaranth, flax, millet, coconut, teff, montina, garbanzo and fava bean. These exotic flours have their origins all over the world. Some of these grains she buys in bulk over the internet and then grinds, but she also finds them in many typical supermarkets with gourmet sections where we find amaranth, quinoa and sorghum flours.

ConAgra, a major food supplier in America estimates their market in what they term ancient grain will increase 30% this year. ConAgra has introduced new flour mixes using wheat flour and a combination of what they term ancient grains. See article at Ultragrain or Sustagrain.

"There may be four grains that I can’t have, but there are twenty-four that I can, and that was what opened my eyes to the world of exotic grains," She searched cookbooks and websites for recipes and adapted them. "I have a favorite recipe from a morning news show that was originally from PJ's at the Market (now closed) for the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and I substitute sorghum flour and add xanthun gum (a binder that mimics the gluten in wheat) and the cookies taste great."

Most exotic grains can be substituted in 1/3 increments for white flour adding nutrition to baked goods. Terina goes on, "My children and their friends can’t tell the difference. I make brownies, cream puffs and angel food cake and I substitute different flours the same way.”

"As long as the world continues baking from plain old wheat, I'll continue baking exotic."

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