Man, did I get my bake on this last week! I am thoroughly enjoying all the whole wheat recipes in my Whole Grain Baking book (WGBB) from King Arthur Flour. My whole family was skeptical about all the grains but so far every recipe has been a huge hit.
This week I baked the Morning Glory Muffins (p.35), the Classic Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies (p.305), the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (p.182), another batch of the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (p.304), and the Multigrain Snickerdoodles (p.308). Whew! That’s a lot of baking! I’m not going to go over the chewy chocolate chip cookies again (link goes to my previous post on that recipe), except to say that the second time they didn’t turn out as well. It may have been because my son accidentally put the dough in the freezer instead of the fridge overnight. Don’t get me wrong, we still ate them all! But they weren’t quite as chewy and soft as the first batch.
Classic Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Not going to lie, these were one of my favorite bakes so far. They taste very similar to my good old standby Tollhouse Cookie (from the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag). They were slightly more crunchy, but I think if I pulled them out of the oven a bit sooner, they would have been softer. The recipe features traditional whole wheat flour and barley flour, and NO corn syrup. The corn syrup taste just ruins the chewy version for me.
Interesting story about the barley flour. I get most of my flour at my regular grocery store. I buy the King Arthur brand for my traditional and white whole wheats. If I can’t find it in the King Arthur brand, I look through the Bob’s Red Mill section and can usually find what I need there. Except when I can’t, like prior to making this recipe. I could not find Barley flour, and I checked at 3 different supermarkets. I ended up going to the Whole Foods Market. I will admit, I hate Whole Foods. They are so much more expensive than any other local store. That being said, they do have a few specialty items that I can’t get anywhere else. They had Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flour (which I needed for bread). They didn’t have Barley Flour on the shelves, but when a store worker went to help me, she found out they had just special ordered it for a customer and there was a box in the back! So I got my Barley Flour without having to mail order it, which was nice.
My husband and kids loved the crunchy cookies. Like me, my husband likes this version best. They are not as hyper sweet as the chewy ones. I ended up making a second batch of the chewy cookies because they are the kids’ favorites, though. Yes, we’ve blown through three batches of cookies in about two weeks. That number is edging up to four because of my next cookie bake.
Once again, I failed to notice the refrigerate overnight symbol on the recipe! But we rolled with the punches and baked these the next afternoon. These might be my favorite cookie so far (even better than the crunchy chocolate chip cookies). This recipe features Barley Flour, Traditional Whole Wheat Flour, and rolled oats that have been ground in the food processor for about 30 seconds. The result is a crunchy, oaty flavored dough, sweetened with cinnamon and sugar.
My son helped with these cookies and suggested the photo above demonstrating how we flattened them with a glass. For those not familiar with snickerdoodles, you take a ball of dough, dredge it in the cinnamon sugar and then flatten it on the cookie sheet before baking. These are definitely not a healthy snack (there is so much sugar!) but man, are they tasty! I will definitely do these again.
100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
This is the second loaf of bread I’ve baked from the WGBB, and I was fairly happy with the results. My family liked the taste of this bread a bit more than my first loaf, probably because it had a texture more like the sandwich bread they are used to. This recipe features Traditional Whole Wheat Flour and Potato Flour (although you can substitute potato flakes if you don’t have the potato flour). Unlike the first loaf I made, this dough had to be kneaded and allowed to rise twice, so it was a much more labor intensive recipe.
I immediately fell victim to my complete inability to remember and read all the instructions first. The WGBB gives you three options for kneading bread: by hand, by standing mixer with a dough hook, and by bread machine. My bread machine gave out years ago, and I don’t want to knead by hand, so I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook attachment. Only after mixing everything up did it occurred to me to see what WGBB had to say about how to do it. Needless to say, I did it WRONG.
WGBB recommend mixing together the dough ingredients with your paddle attachment just until the ingredients are combined (I used the dough hook). Then you are supposed to let the mixture stand in a covered bowl for 45 minutes (I had already been kneading mine, so I skipped this part. Oops.) Only then are you supposed to knead the dough for 15 minutes. I forged ahead and hoped for the best.
I let the dough rise twice (it took a little longer than estimated because my house was kind of cool due to the weather). The resulting loaf of bread was beautiful. It has a very fine crumb and a nice whole wheat flavor that even my picky child liked. The only problem was that the crumb was very tender, so when you tried to toast it, it didn’t quite want to hold together. In other words, this was a very crumbly bread, probably due to the fact that I didn’t follow the right mixing/kneading procedure. I am going to bake a second loaf this weekend to see if it is better when done correctly.
I really feel like this bread could become a weekly staple in my house.
Morning Glory Muffins
These should really be renamed the Crowning Glory muffins because they were the crowning glory of my entire baking week. They taste very similar to carrot cake, and contain carrots, coconut, Granny Smith apple, slivered almonds and dried cranberries. I substituted the cranberries for the raisins called for in the recipe (my son and I hate raisins), and everyone agreed the cranberries were even better than raisins. I did not include the sunflower seeds/wheat germ option, but it would definitely add another level of texture in these muffins.
The recipe features traditional or whole wheat flour. I used the Traditional for one batch and the white whole wheat for the second. The only noticeable difference was that the white whole wheat made for a lighter dough. And yes, I made two batches in a week because my family hoovered up the first batch in two days.
The down side to these muffins is that you have to grate the carrots and the apple. My husband told me it would be best to use the microplane, or they would be too chunky. Microplaning carrots is extremely labor intensive. For the second batch, I got my son to do most of them. I’ve since consulted with Diane, my go-to baking and cooking guru, and she assures me that using the food processor will be just fine. So next time (and there will be a next time, my family demands more muffins!) I will be processing everything. These muffins are moist and delicious and a great on-the-go breakfast for my family to grab on the way out of the door. They are a tad too sweet for me, but I ate half a muffin with my breakfast a few days last week. They would be excellent with cream cheese on them, or even cream cheese frosting if you wanted to get fancy.
This recipe is definitely going into a weekly rotation for now.
So that was my baking bonanza! I still didn’t get to my sourdough starter, mostly because I’m nervous about all the trouble it takes to get it going. I might try whole wheat pancakes this weekend and see if the kids like them better than Bisquick. So far, it’s been pretty easy getting the family to eat the whole grains, so I’m guessing the pancakes will be a hit too!