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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trying some new flours & baking

My little sis, who is actually taller than me is dating a man who can't have gluten.  Well being a country girl raised on flour I didn't understand this, so had to dive into some research.  I decided for a yule gift to give her a big lot of gluten free items as well as a gift certificate so she could get some of the stuff she wanted to bake. I came across coconut flour & tapioca flour that seemed really interesting to try...  thank goodness I am in a really great Co-op & able to get both at a better price than in the stores. 

I will tell you right now if you have never tried or used coconut flour, you have missed out on something wonderful.  It really doesn't have the coconut taste but the smell alone is heavonly.  It is expensive, about $5 a pound but you don't use it like you do with flour.  Instead of cups of traditional flour in a bread you use less than a cup so it balances out in the price...for me anyway.

It also has a high amount of protein...20% so added with the eggs in the recipe you are creating a very high protein item, which I really like.

I really was surprised by all the wonderful recipes I was able to find, that didn't require weird ingredients that I didn't have. Plus the good thing for me is that I can't make tradional bread very well.....I tend to over knead bread like its a lump of clay & its so hard the birds can't even peck any crumbs off of it.  These recipes didn't need any kneading, just mix them up & dump them in the bread pans!  In a half an hours time I was able to mix up & get in the oven: one coconut bread loaf, one coconut pumpkin bread loaf & a batch of coconut muffins.

Now the tapioca flour also called white yam flour or casava flour ran $1.60 pound.  I have read that if you don't have Tapioca flour you can make your own grinding the tapoica pearls. I have yet to use it but am excited to see how it turns out & tastes.  I ate casava while I was in West Africa, its like a very dry starchy potato that is used there.  The casava chips (Fries) were great & I ate a lot of that while I was out in the markets there.  Anyway I already know that it will have a blander taste & smell but think that some of the Jamaican recipes will be fun to try with it.

So I thought I woulld share some of the recipes I found & tried with the Coconut flour.

basic coconut bread-1 small loaf

3/4 cup of Coconut flour
1/2 cup of melted butter (can use melted coconut oil)
6 eggs (or 3 extra large eggs)
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Mix all but flour together, then beat in flour.  place in greased bread pan & let set 5 minutes to thicken.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

This bread was great but very flat...only about an inch high so I recommend doubling the recipe for a larger loaf & leaving it in the oven a bit longer checking it often until done.

Honey Muffins- makes 6 small or 3 large muffins
I love this recipe & plan to use it often

3 eggs
2 tablespoons of melted butter ( or melted coconut oil)
2 tablespoons of milk
3 tablespoons of honey
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I used orange extract instead...good taste)
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
*** can also add 1/3 cup of nuts, raisins ect (I added raisins to mine)

Mix all but flour together & beat in flour.  Pour into greased muffin tin & bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
These lasted maybe 10 minutes after I got them out of the oven so next time I will double the batch!

Coconut pumpkin (or zucchini) bread- 1 loaf

3/4 cup of pumpkin (or zucchini)
8 eggs (or 4 extra large eggs)
1/2 cup of melted butter ( or melted coconut oil)
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
3/4 cup of coconut flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of chopped nuts or raisins

Mix all but flour together then beat in flour.  Put in greased bread pan, smooth the top & let set 5 minutes to thicken then bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes

this is a good thick bread with lots of flavor...will definitely be making this one again.

I think you have noticed the amount of eggs used for these.....it is said on the recipe website that the eggs give the extra protein & weight to the breads.  thank goodness I have my hens & lots of eggs to work with.

This coming week I am planning on doing some more of the pumpkin bread since I froze quite a few quarts of it this fall. What I don't use in the recipes I give to the chickens in their morning wet fed.  That is one of the reasons I froze so much pumpkin, the chickens sure enjoy it.

Since it is cold here my chickens have pretty much stayed in their coops & napped.  I did have to put down one of my older girls today.  She was brought in a few days ago because she was very slow moving & just not right.  Well she had lost a lot of weight but her belly area was swollen & hard.  I checked her to make sure it wasn't a stuck egg, which it wasn't but she had something inside her that didn't feel right...possibly a tumor that was growing.  though she was eating & drinking she was in a bad way so tonight i put her down with cloriform.....she went very quickly thank goodness.  I hate doing that but I hate it more when they are fighting & straining while dying.  It breaks my heart to see them in pain.  they say a chicken cn live up to 15 years but I am not sure I will ever see that happen.  I would love to have my 'kids' that long but they are so fragile & it takes very little to hurt them or make them sick.

For now though all the other chickens seem to be doing well so I am thankful for that.

I hope that you can use the recipes I have put in this time.  I would like to as time goes on add more recipes, especially some of the old-time recipes I use for food, medicine & first aid.
I so enjoy being able to create & use the things my ancesters used.

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