Good to the Grain: A review.. mostly.
I was planning on going to karate last night when something hit an emotional trigger.  I'm pretty sure I figured out what it was, but while I was in the throws of it, things were pretty ugly in my brain. Despite the fact that LB bought me a surprise, (more on that later) I was miserable. I was vacillating between anger and fear and overwhelming sadness. It wasn't pretty. A long time ago, I learned that when I feel like someone snuck a dose of "instant depression" in my drink, it does me no good to mope around. It makes me more miserable and the longer I sit and stew, the more I feel like a powder keg. Not surprisingly, it makes it not fun to be around me. I grew up with that kind of bottled anger and I don't like subjecting my loved ones to it. So I put my laundry away... and I cleaned off my desk.. and I looked around for things to do. None of these things worked. So, I did what makes me happy. I baked. Despite the fact that I'm working hard to keep the sweets out of the house, what I wanted to was to bake cookies. I'm sure that this inspiration came from the surprise that LB had waiting for me when I got home.
Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours by Kim Boyce
Evidently this book won a James Beard Award, which is how she found it. I have always loved baking and since we've been eating healthier, I've been making whole wheat bread and really learning to enjoy it again.    You get an entirely different flavor with whole grains and honestly, white bread doesn't taste good to me anymore. After a quick perusal of the meager staples in my baking pantry, I realized that I had ingredients for the chocolate chip cookies.  I had just 9 ounces of chocolate chips on hand.  We keep them for when we want a little bit of chocolate..  a few chips and some walnuts and we are good to go. ..   I had butter in the freezer because we use it for fried eggs. The chocolate chip cookie recipe in here is straight forward.. it's pretty much like any other recipe.. butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.  Toss in some chocolate chips and   Poof.. cookies. What I did not anticipate was how wonderful these cookies are. They are about the size of your palm and they are the right proportion of sweet to salty, they are crunchy at the edges and chewy in the middle.. the butter adds a beautiful richness and the whole wheat flour?  it adds a subtle nutty flavor that will make every other cookie made from white flour pale in comparison (pun intended)
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie
But enough about the cookie.. what about the book? Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce covers grains that I've only heard about in passing.  Initially, I assumed that there would be your basic wheat and rye recipes, but I was pleasantly surprised... although I suspect that I'm going to have to special order a few of these.  Kim Boyce has 5 or 6 recipes for each of the following flours:
  • Whole Wheat
  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Kamut
  • Multigrain (she gives you her multigrain blend recipe which you can make yourself)
  • Oat
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Teff
She also has a few recipes for jams and compotes to go with your creations. I do think a few of these recipes are kind of a "cheat" or filler.  I mean, one of the recipes for the "oat flour" is Steel cut oats.. uh..  the only difference between what's on the box is that she has you toast the oats first... intriguing.. but I don't think I'd call that "baking".  The tagline for the book is "Baking with Whole Grain Flours". Steel cut oats are not "flour", either.  There is also a section on kitchen tools and pantry basics (eggs, butter, etc etc), that for anyone who knows their way around a kitchen, will find less than useful. But, to be fair, there are some inspired recipes in here that aren't really baking either.. I mean I'm so ready to try the pear and buckwheat pancakes.  Doods, you GRATE the pears into the batter.. I'm all over that.  And Strawberry Barley scones?  Yes please. Overall, the book is well written and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.  I wish there was a recipe index however.. recipes are broken down by "flour".. which is cool considering the goal of the book is probably to get you looking at new flour types. If you are interested in finding new grains to bake with and don't mind trying things are a little unusual, I say pick up a copy. If you just want to make whole wheat stuff, this is not the book for you.  

8 thoughts on “Good to the Grain: A review.. mostly.

  1. You inspired me! 🙂
    I made cookies this evening.. whole wheat oatmeal with honey & craisins for the boys (okok, I had 2, saved some for Gary).. the rest are gone! The boys inhaled them..think I do need to find another oatmeal recipe & follow it… would have used agave nectar, but we were out…

  2. I’m pretty sure you can get all those flours over at Honest Weight… if not in the grocery section, certainly in the bulk area.

        1. I was there a few years ago.. did they expand at all? it was very cramped and busy when I was there last.

          1. Yep, they expanded. Things are less cramped now than when I started volunteering there. The front grocery section is still a little close, but there’s more room around pretty much everything else.

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