Saturday, January 29, 2011

More on Waffles - or - Mid Winter Blues

It's easy to get the blues in the middle of the winter, when all around you the world looks like this:

Why not make something cheery for breakfast?

I know I've already written a post about making waffles, but I want to share a new recipe I came up with. We bought a grain grinder a few years back, and I've dabbled in baking with fresh ground wheat, but have a long way to go before I master it. One thing I really want to accomplish this winter is baking bread with fresh ground wheat. But before I dive into that adventure, I decided to play around with quick breads first. This is a picture of my faithful KitchenAid stand mixer. It really gets a lot of use around here. Hubby gave it to me for Valentine's Day about nine years ago... back when we had a bit more money and were more extravagant with gifts.

When we went shopping for a grain grinder, we thoroughly researched our options. There are so many grinders available, and a wide range at that. You can spend anywhere from $140 all the way up to $1,400! Someday I would love to own something like this:

Diamant Grain Mill

But for now, we own the Family Grain Mill, which works very well for our purposes and has interchangeable meat grinding, grain rolling, and food processing attachments to mount on its universal base. Here's a link to my friend's store, where you can buy one of them for yourself, if you want:

Amazing Graze General Store

She has such great prices on so many wonderful things, and has great customer service, and is just a wonderful person, so I'm tooting her horn here on purpose! If I'd known Marci before I bought my grain mill, I'd have bought it from her, but I didn't. Oh well, I shop the Amazing Graze General Store now, and I guess that's the important thing.

Shortly after buying my grain mill, I discovered that there is an adaptor for my KitchenAid, so I can fit the mill into this spot on my mixer....

... plug it into the wall, and let it do the grinding for me. Don't get me wrong... I really like grinding by hand, but sometimes, I want the wheat quickly, or I need a big amount, so I like having this option to electrically grind my wheat. Here is the grinder, attached and ready for action!

And here is a close up of the mechanism attached with the adaptor to the motor of my mixer:

This is a bucket of hard white spring wheat, with bay leaves for pest-deterrent...

and here is the wheat, up close and personal...

I'm not going to provide a link for that, but if you research food coops in your area, I'm certain you can find a good, local source for wonderful wheat. Hard white spring wheat is great for quick breads, whereas hard red winter wheat is better for yeast breads. If you would like to learn everything you could possibly want to learn and more about wheat and successful grinding and baking, I highly recommend this book:

Flour Power, by Marleeta F. Basey

There is an amazing amount of information in this book. All the way down to the chemistry of protein and effective baking. There's a really good chapter on grinders and choosing one for your needs, too, so it's a good book to check out from your library if you are considering milling your own grain at home.

Anyway, get yourself all set up, fill the hopper with wheat, and grind between 8 and 9 cups of flour. Here's mine in action:

While you are waiting, gather the rest of your ingredients. Here is the recipe:

Suzanne's Prairie Waffles
8 to 9 cups fresh ground wheat
6 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
6 Tablespoons sweetener (I use dehydrated cane)
6 to 8 eggs
7 cups milk of your choice
Grated rind from 2 oranges
6 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons vanilla

A word on quantity, here: My recipes are BIG. I like to make a LOT. Because then I get a stack like this

that I can freeze and save for quick breakfasts. All you have to do is pop them in the toaster and you have a fast and nutritious and home made breakfast.

So, back to baking. Grate the zest from two oranges onto a plate. Use a microplane grater, if you have one. I love these things. Believe it or not, hubby found mine at a thrift store! Yippee!

I want to thank my son for doing this job and allowing me to photograph him in the process. And please be careful when microplane grating anything... it's easy to turn orange-infused waffles into finger-infused waffles. Yuk.

Here's the finished zest:

Your grain is probably ready by now. Start with the dry ingredients in a big bowl. I like to start with about 8 cups of flour. That way, if I need to adjust the thickness of the batter later, I have a bit leftover:

Sift them all together and then get out a slightly smaller bowl for the liquid ingredients. I'm showing my bowls side-by-side, to give you an idea of how big these bowls are. The pyrex bowl is a 4-quart mixing bowl. The stainless steel jobbie is huge, and also came from hubby's thrifting action.

Sometimes it's important to step back and think about thrifting. There is such an abundance of material goods in the world. Why go buy new when you can find gently used things so much cheaper? I feel good about saving money, but I feel even better about giving unwanted things new uses. I think it's the ultimate in recycling. That gorgeous pyrex bowl was just 2 dollars at a thrift store! Celebrate!

Anyway, back to the wet ingredients. Start with the eggs. I say 6 to 8 eggs for this recipe because the size of the farm eggs we get locally vary a great deal. If they are regular grocery-store sized eggs, use 8. If they are huge, like ours often are, use 6. Use your judgment. You can always thicken the batter with additional flour later, if you need to.

Whisk those eggs and add the rest of the wet ingredients, including the orange zest. Whisk it all together very well. I'd like to mention at this point that grated citrus zest can turn almost any quick bread into a gourmet baked good. Just try adding the zest of a grated lemon to your favorite blueberry muffin recipe, or grated orange zest to banana bread. You'll see what I mean. In fact, when we have citrus in the house, I try to grate all of it before it gets eaten. Then I put it in little jars and keep it in the freezer. That way I have zest whenever I want some.

About the milk. Use whatever you like. Whatever you have. I actually used all three of these in this recipe, just 'cause there were partial boxes of all three in my fridge that needed to be used up...

Also note, I'm not completely local, right? None of these milks are local! I'd prefer to use local raw milk, but that's against the law in Ohio. Crazy. Don't get me started. My oranges come from Texas, but they come straight off a truck and into the arms of my local food coop manager, The Good Shepherd's Fold so at least I'm supporting local business.

I'll keep whisking while I finish this topic. I'm using vanilla from Mexico...

My mom goes there several time each year and always brings me sarongs and vanilla. How lucky is that? At least she's supporting locals while she's there.

Keep whisking all of this together and then add the wet stuff to the dry stuff...

As a final note on the local thing, it's a goal. Some things, in fact very many of the things, that I make use ingredients that came from within 50 miles of my home, while the bulk of our produce comes from right outside my window, namely from our garden. It's a process, an evolution. Treat the land right, treat your neighbors right, and they will treat you right!

Now, while you are frying those waffles (see my previous post on waffles for details on the iron and the magic of making waffles in the iron...), slice up the oranges for a garnish, and to eat later with your breakfast.

Put them on a plate and arrange them nicely. No one will even notice that their skins have been shaved. Let the kids eat some while they are waiting on the waffles. They will make people happy, with an added boost of vitamin C!

Finally, if you happen to have some blueberries around, get them ready to serve with the waffles. In season, I always can a boatload of blueberries in apple juice to use during the winter months. They are so good this way. The juice combines with the natural pectin in blueberries and makes a lovely syrup during heat processing. I dump jars in yogurt, on waffles, mixed with other fruit. Anyway, I like to warm up a half pint while frying the waffles. With this lovely fruit, you almost don't need any syrup.

Finally, serve it all on a plate and wait for everyone in your family to get down on their knees and kiss your feet! Seriously, my son did that once, after eating about 7 waffles!

I've been taking the time to photograph some of my favorite recipes and will share them with you here. Next up will be "Suzanne's Better-Than-Marshmallow-Cream Yogurt." But first, I need to go eat some waffles!

Enjoy! And thanks for stopping by...


  1. They look delicious!!! I will have to try that with the blueberries. That sounds really good too.

    Thanks for the plug!!

  2. Those waffles are really good. I am a lucky Husbeast...

  3. You're welcome, Marci. Blueberries are super easy to can that way and so useful. I think you'll like them.

    I'm glad you like my waffles, Joe...