My thing…is grains.
I’ve always enjoyed baking, but the more I learn about whole grain flours the more interested I become. They all have such unique histories, flavors and nutrient compositions.
Given this fact about my interests, it’s likely no surprise that when I came across the cookbook Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy!
I was out walking pug a few days ago and I noticed the UPS guy had left a package by the garage. I was pretty sure I knew what it was, and I literally opened the package right there in the yard. I’m sure if any of our neighbors were watching, they had to be wondering what gift had been bestowed upon me.
As I balanced a retractable leash in one hand and the envelope in the other, I flipped through the pages of the cookbook. The smile began to spread (and I might have even done a mini happy dance) as I saw amaranth, buckwheat, barley, Kamut, spelt and teff; each with its distinct section, utilized in some of the most delicious looking baked goods I’ve had the pleasure of viewing.
The author, Kim Boyce, was a pastry chef at the well known Spago and Campanile restaurants before she left to raise her kids, and then embark on creating whole grain baked goods for her family to enjoy. The book is filled to brim with 75 recipes of cookies, cakes, waffles, pancakes, breads and tarts made with 12 different whole grain flours.
The author shares information on the baking equipment and ingredients she considers essential. You will find yourself sharing her journey of balancing flour combinations and perfecting flavors, while you learn a great deal about whole grains and how to use them.
I will mention that since the author’s goal is to create the right structure for the grain products she does use all-purpose flour with the whole grain flours, as well as refined sugars. But as you will see in the recipe below, these things can be altered a bit if you choose to do so. In fact, she encourages you to try different combinations just as she did to develop the recipes.
While the Muscovado Sugar Cake and the Cornmeal Blueberry Cookies are on my list to make, for this review I made the Honey Amaranth Waffles. Taking the author’s suggestion to heart, I was modifying right out of the gate. Mainly because I was hoping amaranth flour could be found in the bulk bin of our Whole Foods, but no such luck. I ended up using spelt flour instead. In addition, I don’t use much all-purpose flour at all anymore, so I substituted white whole wheat for this, and then used the whole wheat the recipe calls for. I also used mascavo sugar in the dry mix.
The result? Seriously the best waffles I have yet to make. They were as light and fluffy as any standard white waffle with that deep rich flavor from the whole grains and a mild sweetness from the honey. I needed no toppings at all for these, but tried adding the Greek yogurt suggested in the recipe and a bit of blackberry jam I had made.
If you have any interest in baking with whole grains, this is one cookbook that needs to make it on your shelf. I have a feeling I will be baking from it on a very regular basis.
Honey Amaranth Waffles
From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce, reprinted with permission
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, for the waffle iron
¼ cup amaranth flour
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Greek yogurt, optional
Turn the waffle iron to its highest setting. Even if you don’t usually heat it this high, these waffles come out best when cooked at high heat. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. Using a spatula add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. The batter will begin to bubble and swell as the baking soda begins to react with the buttermilk.
Brush the waffle iron generously with butter; this is the key to a crisp crust. Use a ladle or measuring cup to scoop ½ cup batter onto the spaces of the iron. Promptly close, and listen for the iron to sigh as the batter begins to cook. The smell wafting from the iron starts out like a freshly kneaded loaf of bread, then becomes toasty. Remove the waffle when the indicator light shows that it is done, or when a quick peek shows that it’s turned a dark golden-brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the hot waffle with a fork, and repeat with the remaining batter.
The waffles are best eaten right off the griddle, with a bit of butter, a drizzle of honey, or a hearty spoonful of Greek yogurt, as desired.
P.S. The book says it makes 9 waffles, but I got 8.
Disclosure: The review copy of this cookbook was sent to me free of charge. I was not under any obligation to write about it on my website and I did not receive any compensation for doing so.