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Here’s a fairly recent Long Distance Kitchen recipe that came from Smitten Kitchen – Rhubarb Streusel Muffins.  It might be a little past rhubarb season now, but it would also be good with other not-too-sweet fruit (or maybe reduce the sugar if you use something sweeter).  The rhubarb chunks in here did end up pretty tangy, although in hindsight I might have sliced it a bit thick.

I didn’t have white whole wheat flour handy, so I followed Deb’s recommendation and used 3/4 cup white flour and  3/4 cup whole wheat flour in the batter.  Streusel is always tasty – this one was fairly crumbly but good.

Being not-too-sweet, these were good at breakfast.  Not a recipe that wowed me, but I’d recommend it.  I accidentally bought twice as much rhubarb as I needed, so not too long after I was looking for another rhubarb recipe and found one in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking for a very similar coffeecake.  The recipe is for Peach Coffeecake (recipe on a very unattractive random website) but includes a rhubarb variation, where you increase the sugar and switch rhubarb for peaches.  This recipe also calls for a whole wheat/all-purpose flour blend and the rest of the ingredients are similar, except for a larger quantity of sugar.  Maybe it’s just my sweet tooth talking, but I thought the tart/sweet balance was a little better here, and it certainly got devoured (and one pan got delivered to some new parents).

Sadly, no pictures of the coffee cake survive.  When rhubarb season rolls around next year, I might try making a combination of these recipes – somewhere in between the two levels of sweetness.

Where oh where have I been?  The thing about an internship, as opposed to online classes, is that it takes me away from the house.  And the computer.  And the ability to procrastinate by blogging.

I just got two new cookbooks, and they’re making me bewail my lack of free time more than ever, because I feel baking-deprived.  I finally used my giftcard and got How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson and the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. I’ve been flipping through both and drooling ever since they arrived in the mail.

I’d heard of Domestic Goddess before but I think I was always put off by the pictures of Nigella Lawson – she doesn’t look like someone I’d want to bake with or eat with. But then Babelbabe (or Babelbake, as I just typoed) recommended it, and I suppose it’s a lesson in not judging a book by the author photo – I adore her tone and the recipes look delicious. My first attempt – and the first recipe in the book – was the Madeira Cake. It’s a simple loaf cake with a hint of lemon and a lovely golden color.  Not too sweet, but a lovely buttery flavor.

She says, “this is baking at its simplest and most elegant. There’s no folderol or fancy footwork: you just feel humble and worthy and brimming with good things.” To which I say, amen. I love to eat baked goods – I could happily live off of them – but it’s just as satisfying, if not more so, to bake. It’s as much about the process and activity as it is about the end result – although Nigella’s right in saying that people are much more impressed by a simple, home-made dessert than a fancy dinner.

And the process is still satisfying even on my most scatterbrained day – I started to add cornstarch instead of baking powder, my lemon wouldn’t zest, there was flour all over my shirt, I almost dumped an egg into the compost instead of the bowl, and my waxed-paper lining smoked like crazy in the oven. Even if the cake had flopped, it was worth it for the sweet, lemony smell of baking filling the house.

The only whole grains I have on hand are whole wheat, cornmeal and amaranth, so I might need to make a trip to Bob’s Red Mill before I try some of the recipes from Whole Grain Baking. I want to make a whole-grain bread, and the cornmeal-blueberry pancakes, and the orange cloud pancakes, and the coconut scones, and and and…I’ve always found my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion reliable and thorough, so I’m excited to dip into the whole-wheat version. There are a handful of duplicate recipes (like Morning Glory Muffins) but a ton of new ideas and flavor combinations.

Now I just have to pick a recipe for the 4th of July…

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