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Making a 100% whole wheat loaf when you do not have a sourdough starter and time to make one.

Let me start by mentioning where I got my inspiration on for the first time. The perfect loaf. This amazing blog by Maurizio Leo, who is so hands on and knowledgeable about all things baking. Past five years I have followed his blog, methods, and awesome Instagram page for inspiration. If you want technicality of hands-on baking, there is where you find it.

But if you are like me, a mom, homemaker who love to add sourdough to your weekly meals. Want to make one yourself or not a fan of supermarket made sourdough bread, then this post is for you my friend. I bake weekly for my family and we have stopped buying bread from the store for the most part. It has taken me several years to get here and have baked many stone hard loaves while learning my lessons. Thank god now I am in a much better place. Let me share my tips with you too. Let us read on!

First and foremost, I should emphasis that even if you do not have a sourdough starter you can still bake a good loaf. You just would have to do a longer rise. We are going to use active dry yeast, not the instant yeast and the wet dough /no knead method. Next, let ‘s talk little bit about main ingredient which is flour. It is vital to use freshest flour available to you depending upon where you are. this is hands down best way to ensure flavor. In northern new England, my most favorite brand of flour for baking is King Arthur flour. They are local to the region and always comes out fresh. Another good brands I have used in the past is bobs red mill, and great river milling which has a great selection of flours. I have heard that great river milling flour is not very consistent in quality, but that has not been my experience. Every time I ordered from them, I got great quality product. I always try to buy flours made for bread, because that ideal protein level is key to good crumb structure.

Having said all that I am also exited to share that my husband got me a grain mill for last birthday! Yay! Chat I love you forever! I love my new KoMo XL plus and I have been doing lots of multigrain baking since then. My KoMo mill enables me to buy my grains fresh in bulk suppliers grind my own flour whenever I need to bake. Yes! I have a baking operation going on my household baking. Let us talk all about mills that I researched on another day.

stoneground whole wheat flour

Next l will mention a little bit about fiber enrichments. I add wheat bran and flax seed meal to bring up the fiber level even higher and add vital wheat gluten to soften and enhance the crumb structure.  Fiber enriched loves do not rise that much and added gluten helps to get little bit more air into the dough and helps it rise more. The bread We are making today is still going to be denser and hearty because of the wheat bran and I want it that way to have a loaf which will release that energy slower, thus curbing the glycemic peaks. It has helped me curb my not so good habit of snacking between meals completely.

Another important tip is how to store your freshly baked bread. Home baked fresh bread does not last on counter longer because they do not have the additives to help extend the shelf life. I do like to make and bake my loaves weekly in one go so I need to store bread to last them long. Once baked I cover them with a clean towel and let it cool down completely. Then and store them in freezer in zip top bag until you are ready to use. Place the bread on the counter on the night before and you are going to use it to thaw out and get to room temperature. If you want to freeze the dough that can be done as well. But I have not personally tried freezing the dough. If you do this, I would love to hear how it turns out after baking.

Finally, I bake my loaves of bread in cast iron Dutch oven and in extremely hot oven. I mean extremely hot. But for my friends who do not own cast iron Dutch ovens, I do have a work around. Place a metal baking pan or an empty bread pan in the lower rack of the oven while preheating. As soon as you put the bread to bake on the top rack, pour a 1 cup of water carefully to the empty pan and close the oven door. extra moisture from the steam will help the bread rise and expand faster yields deliciously crusty bread.

Now that I have shared all my bread baking tips with you lets move on to the recipe.

100% whole wheat fiber enriched bread my home style

Dinner of the happy mom baker 🙂

Yields four 850 grams loaves. (serving size 56 grams)

  • 900 grams of soft white wheat
  • 900 grams of hard red winter wheat
  • 2 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • ½ cup of wheat gluten
  • 2 tbsp of wheat bran
  • 2 tbsp of flax meal
  • Enough water to make a wet dough.

Mix dry ingredients and whisk together few times. Add water to make a wet and sticky dough. Do not have to knead it. Cover and let the dough double in size. Time for the dough to rise varies on humidity, temperature, and type of yeast and how fresh the yeast is. Mine took about 3 hours in the oven light on. Best way to know if it has fermented enough is to poke the side of the dough gently with a finger. If it bounces back and does not hold the indentation, it is ready for shaping.

that beautiful yeast action

Dust your hand and counter with enough all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out and divide in to four pieces. Do not punch the dough down. Work gently so as not to over mix or deflate the bread dough. Work little bit more all-purpose flour if the dough is too sticky. For me it took about scant handful of all-purpose flour per loaf.

Gently fold the corners, tucking them in to the center and shape in loaves. Shape into loaves by pressing in and pushing up motion gently.  Cut four parchment papers and put the loaves on top and let it rise to double or nearly double in size, under a moist paper towel or kitchen towel. (if you are using bread pans second rise can be done in them.)

Preheat the cast iron pots and oven to 450 degree. Once heated carefully open the pans to drop the bread with parchment paper and quickly close the lid.  Bake for 35 minutes until bread is golden and crispy.

Enjoy with your favorite topping or curry on side.  

*this article contains the affiliate links to all the ingredients that I use for my baking.

Quick lunch while family is out planning my birthday surprise!

Daddy and daughters have been “whispering” to each other for few days now, about surprising mommy on her birthday. Of course, “I didn’t know anything about it”, what they are planning and where they will be going, when they went out leaving me behind. Besides, I was so glad to have the day to myself, read my favorite book, enjoy my coffee without a toddler sitting in the lap trying to kick the cup out of my hand. Now, do I mind having belayed birthday treat? I certainly not , not today.

Having some me time, also meant making myself quick and flavorful lunch. So, I made this super yummy skillet fried chicken inspired by one of the recipes from stellar chef Rick Stein but using South Asian inspiration. Best part is I will be watching Inauguration of our 46th president Joe Biden and first ever Indian Jamaican vice president ( first women vice president! how cool is that !) while enjoying my lunch. What a splendid way to spend the afternoon.

Skillet fried chicken and black-eyed peas with green onions

4 Chicken tenders

Marinade

1 tsp Turmeric

Amchur powder (Dried mango powder, you can get this from any Indian grocery shows or via amazon)

Half a tsp of Coriander powder

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste.

 1 tsp of Soy sauce

Splash of White wine

Splash of Apple cider vinegar

For the Side

One cup of black-eyed peas previously boiled.

One cup of green onions

Stir frying

Tsp of Crushed garlic

Tsp of Chopped ginger.

Tsp of crushed coriander and cumin

Tsp of mustard seeds

Red pepper flakes

Preparation

Place the chicken tenders in zip top bag. Pound with a rolling pin or a pounder until ¼ inch thick. Carefully place in a plate. Mix all the marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Let it marinate for fifteen minutes to half an hour.

Heat a skillet on high and fry the chicken, about 3 minutes per side. I love to do this part in my cast iron skillet. Set aside to cool. While chicken is cooling prepare the side.

Add some more oil in the same skillet add the ginger, garlic, and spring onions. Add seasonings and sauté until soft and add precooked beans. Add the seasonings and adjust salt and pepper to your taste. Make sure to scrabe that gorgeous flavor on the bottom of the pan too, while you are sautéing.

Enjoy! lets make a cup of tea and watch the inauguration ! history in making ! Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Here are the link to my amazing skillet. (this text contains affiliated links to products that I love, use everyday and stand by on them. If you click on the links I will earn a small commission if I qualify)

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Do you like eating chili? Here is a different way !

The Spicy Vegetable Chili

Feels like I have been making chili since like forever. I have made so many of them I cannot even keep a count. because you know? it is one of the best comfort foods that not only amazing in the winter but in summer too. May it be the bowl of chili topped with sour cream and bread sprinkled cheddar on top. Over your favorite pasta or to make Nachos with it just could not get any better.

Over the years I have made many versions of this dish, with different beans, some with white beans, garbanzo beans or red kidney beans and different meat and veggie combinations. It comes out so much nuttier and flavorful with red kidney beans. I guess you could say I have my favorite.

Red kidney beans are so full flavored, and it look gorgeous whenever you cook with it.

However, beans are that special ingredient that I like to take my time preparing. Also, it is not an everyday cooking ingredient for me. I know this sounds like way over the top, but I gave up buying canned beans for a quite a while ago. Don’t get me wrong they are super convenient and very handy when you are rushing through the day.  But trust me when I say buying dried beans from fresh sources is really key when it comes to the flavor. I buy mine bulk from local supplier. I soak at least 4 cups of dried beans at one go and par boil them and freeze them for later use.  Having said that if that is not your cup of tea, canned beans work too. definitely. Texture and flavor, you get might be different.

Because I am going to use the beans that I previously boiled, I will share my way of prepping them with you.

There are two types of red beans, red adzuki beans are the small and darker red toned ones. They are soft and quick to soak and cook compared to red kidney beans. Red kidney beans take longer time to soak and if you really take that time prepping the beans it gives its best flavor. I always soak mine with little vinegar or baking soda. Soak for 12 hours and drain, rinse and refill the water to soak another 12 hours. After 24 hours, drain and rinse again and boil until about 75% of the way cooked. Beans should be soft but with little bite to them. Drain and completely cool them before dividing in to portions and freezing for later use.

Once we have the beans ready to go let us get the rest of the ingredients prepared for this delicious curry-based chili.

Ingredients

Red bell pepper  1 cup

green bell pepper 1 cup

one red red onion

2 jalapeno peppers

3 Cloves of garlic

One inch piece of ginger

One sprig of curry leaves

2 cups red kidney beans (2 cans of red kidney beans drained and rinsed)

Flavoring

One piece of dried gamboge (dried Garcinia Cambogia fruit)

One inch piece of cinnamon

1tsp of mustard seeds

1tsp of cumin seeds

1 tsp of turmeric powder

1 tsp of Spanish paprika or cayenne pepper

1 tsp of cumin powder

2 tsp of coriander powder

2 heaping teaspoons of Jaffna roasted curry powder

2 tablespoons of tomato puree

2 cans of tomatoes (crushed or diced)

Two cardamom pods

Few cloves

1 tsp of black pepper

Salt to taste

Preparation

Heat a stock pot in high heat and add some olive oil in it. When the oil is hot add some mustard seeds and let it crackle.

Into that add ginger garlic paste and when it is fragrant add the vegetables. Let the vegetables soften a little bit, mix all the powdered spices together and add it to the vegetables, toss to coat. Add in the beans, can of tomatoes and tomato paste. Add 2 cups of water. Mix well and turn the heat down to medium low. Add gamboge. Simmer it on stove or in the slow cooker for 2 hours.  If you are cooking on stovetop add more water if the curry becomes two thick and does not have enough water to absorb. Also, scrape the bottom of the pan for prevent burning from time to time.

Turn the heat off once vegetables are soft and beans become soft. Let it cool down completely. This recipe is going to yield 8 cups of chili. Enjoy over your favorite pasta or rice.

Tips

Garcinia is a fruit that is dried and used in many spicy curry preparations in south Asia and far East. You could get it form amazon or nearby Asian grocery store.

Jaffna curry powder is a Sri Lankan curry spice blend that is used mainly in seafood and meat dishes. It tends to be spicy. I buy mine form amazon

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