Cooking

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A few weeks ago Stewart walked into the house with a package and declared “Hey, I think this is your book!“. I think I was standing at the stove, deep into the canning of a large longhorn bull. One or two of the children was also under the weather so I was a bit preoccupied. It was exciting, of course, but I was tired and busy so it sort of took a back seat to more pressing things and I am actually really grateful for the perspective that has granted.

Overnight Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

Overnight Wheat Sourdough Pancakes leavened solely with sourdough starter – no baking powder or baking soda! Mix up the batter the night before and in the morning you simply preheat the griddle and carefully ladle the bubbling batter onto the pan.

Sourdough Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten-Free, Flour-Free Sourdough Oatmeal Cookies. These are crisp and sweet right out of the oven with a nice hint of tang since the oats get a 12-24 hour fermentation.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Boule

Gluten-Free Sourdough Country Loaf

I flipped through it immediately, of course, mostly to see how the photos printed. I actually had no idea how they would translate to print so I was truly curious and very grateful for the wonderful job Meg and the design team at Page Street did. And of course to my editor, Elizabeth, who put up with way too many questions and a manuscript with dirty toddler fingerprints on it.

One thing I really wanted to include were some basic recipes for Gluten-Free Sourdough baking without the use of xanthan or guar gums. Most of my gluten-free baking I do for Annabelle who, like her Mama, seems to be sensitive even to long-fermented organic wheat. I don’t know that I would bake these loaves if it was just me but she likes her bread and pancakes and since I bake Wheat Sourdough Bread on a regular basis for the rest of the family, I’m happy to make something her and I can share.

Fluffy Gluten-Free Sourdough Pancakes

Fluffy Gluten-Free Sourdough Pancakes

We also whipped up the Wheat English Muffins and the Gluten-Free Sourdough Dinner Rolls last week and it was handy to have these recipes that we enjoy right in one place.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Dinner Rolls

Gluten-Free Sourdough Dinner Rolls

In the book I talk a lot about the need for fermentation in preparing breads, both for health and sustainability. I really wanted this chapter to be accessible for everyone whether they are gluten-free or not. I realized, after we made those Gluten-Free Sourdough Dinner Rolls again that they are also egg- and dairy-free for those who need them. And they are probably Annie’s favorite gluten-free bread.

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After thumbing through it and baking from it, I plunked Traditionally Fermented Foods onto my cookbook shelf. We planted summer squash and cucumbers last week, so I may go back and look for the Summer Squash Cortido recipe when the time comes. And while the goats are nearly dried up, a few months from now may bring enough milk for regular kefir so I may throw together the simple Kefir Buckwheat Muesli that bubbles when you serve it.

As far as I know, it will be made available to all on May 9th. And if you’re really enthusiastic, you can pre-order now and get the book for less than $13 once it prints.

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Sometime last year I came upon several boxes of bagged dried beans. These were fairly old and, after trying a few pounds, I found them quite tough even after a long simmering.

At this same time I happened to have a neighbor coming over to help out with household chores (ahem, dishes) while I was recipe testing. She mentioned that her Mom had canned a bunch of old dried beans and that the long cook in the pressure canner softened them right up.

Well, it wasn’t until fall that I finally got around to it and it isn’t until several months later that I am now sharing this process with you all. (Have I ever told y’all that I procrastinate a lot and forget continuously and that you do not want someone like me in charge of anything that requires attention to detail or any type of precision… at all?)

Thankfully I have not had a canning endeavor go south thus far so I tell you that because I forgot to write down my process, not because we all got botulism. Again, thankfully.

I was talking to Susan about this a couple of weeks ago and confidently told her I filled the jars with approximately 1 1/4 cups of soaked beans. Confidently. And then I dug through the photos and found photographic evidence that I can’t remember a thing. Those jars were filled to at least two cups, y’all!

I now think that the 1 1/4 cup amount was used for canning dried beans but that is when no soaking is employed (see below).

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So, instead of throwing out a tutorial I will first share my basic process and then several resources that got me through canning boxes and boxes of dried beans with nary a case of botulism.

My Process for Canning Dried Beans

  1. Soak beans in plenty of filtered water for 24-48 hours.
  2. Drain beans.
  3. Loosely pack into jars and fill remainder of jar with water (broth would also work), leaving head space.
  4. Process in pressure canner according to directions below.

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Canning Dried Bean Resources

These are the main sites I looked at and, as usual on the internet, there is conflicting advice.

By the way, I have also skipped the soaking method when time is short. If you assume most dried beans triple in size once hydrated and cooked, approximately 1 1/4 – 1 1/3 cups of dried beans can be packed into jars, covered with water, and processed as is. In both the soaked and unsoaked methods I have found the end result to be a tender bean ready in a pinch on those days I’ve forgotten to start soaking a pot the night before.