Category Archives: Traditional Preparation of Grains

Farro: Ancient Grain But Should You Eat It?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

finding the best farro to buy_mini

Farro is an ancient grain that is rapidly growing in popularity as more people discover that modern wheat varieties extremely high in gluten are difficult to digest. This is especially true if the wheat is not traditionally prepared via sprouting, soaking, or sour leavening.

Unfortunately, there is some confusion about whether farro is truly an unhybridized, low gluten form of wheat that those who are gluten intolerant can potentially eat without symptoms.

The problem occurs because the exact definition of farro continues to be debated. Here’s the lowdown about this ancient grain so you know how to source the best kind and understand exactly what you are getting if you choose to buy it.

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Tiny Teff Grains Deliver Big on Nutrition

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

gluten free teff

I first tasted the delicious, gluten free grain known as teff shortly after my husband and I were married. We met after work at an Ethiopian restaurant that we’d been wanting to try for quite some time. My husband was born and lived his early years in Uganda, and he was eager to introduce me to some of the flavors of his home continent.

I was immediately enthralled and delighted by the basket of soft, spongy flatbread that was brought to our table to use as an edible utensil for our meat stew.

Never having experienced the light, slightly nutty flavor of teff before, I asked the waitress about the bread’s origins. She proudly explained that injera is a traditional fermented bread made from teff flour that is a staple in Ethiopia.

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Soaked Oatmeal Benefits Without the Soaking?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

soaked oatmeal with no soaking_mini

Those of us with grandparents born prior to World War II may well remember that they made a practice of soaking rolled oats in a pot of warm water overnight before cooking it up the next morning.

In fact, prior to the 1950’s, Quaker Oats used to include an overnight soak in the instructions printed on the box!

Somehow, this healthy, traditional practice was gradually abandoned as the popularity of convenience foods such as quick oats and microwave oatmeal packets gradually took hold with Baby Boomers and later generations.

The truth is that soaking oatmeal overnight before cooking it up in the morning makes it infinitely more digestible and nutritious as the practice helps to break down toxins and anti-nutrients like phytic acid. These anti-nutrients are present in all grains and very effectively block mineral absorption in the gut and can cause gastric distress or bloating in sensitive individuals. Oats contain the highest amount of phytic acid of any grain, so proper preparation is very important.

The thing I most enjoy about a bowl of soaked oatmeal in the morning is that it fills you up all the way until lunchtime, unlike those enticing and so incredibly convenient microwave oatmeal packets or a bowl of quick oats which (have you noticed?) leave you hungry and looking for a doughnut fix by about 10 am.

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Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

bubbling sourdough starter

When I first got into Traditional Food nearly 14 years ago, I pretty much had to make anything and everything myself because there were few companies (and none in my local area) that made the type of food I was seeking – let alone understood what I was even talking about!

Nowhere was this paradigm disconnect more apparent than the art of breadmaking.

“Isn’t using yeast the proper way to get bread to rise?   Isn’t this the way it’s always been done?” they would blankly ask.

“If the bread is organic, isn’t that good enough?”

Uh, no, no and no!

Yeast for breadmaking is relatively new in the grand scheme of human history.  In fact, when baker’s yeast was first introduced as an alternative to true sourdough starter in France in the mid 1600’s, it was strongly rejected because the Renaissance scientists of the time knew that this quicker, more convenient approach to breadmaking would negatively affect public health.

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Kefir Soaked Bread Recipe

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

kefir soaked bread recipe

A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that I was trying a new soaked bread recipe. Quite a few of you commented or emailed asking for the recipe, but I wanted to get it just right first before sharing. Making traditionally prepared bread (as opposed to modern, difficult to digest yeasted breads) can be a bit tricky to master and no one wants to waste quality ingredients not to mention precious time on failed attempts!

To make a long story short, it took me a little trial and error to get the recipe to work, but the results are awesome (you can even slice the loaf for sandwiches!) so I thought I’d share for those of you who enjoy baking traditionally prepared bread for your family.

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