Sunday, July 24, 2011

Let the Angels of God Prepare your Bread!


There is a surreal quality to this humble loaf. Hands down my favorite bread. So simple with only two ingredients, wheat berries and salt, no electricity and no need to grind your wheat. When I eat it I feel so amazed, I can hardly believe it's really bread.

Years ago, when I first made this bread, I used a food mill to process the sprouted wheat by hand. Now I use my food processor and it is much easier and faster! Also, even though I bake this in my crock pot I have had good results using a simple home spun solar oven, food dehydrator or the oven with a pilot light.

Essene bread originates with the Essene Monks of 2nd century BC. The technique is found in  The Essene Gospel of Peace,
Let the angels of God prepare your bread.
Moisten your wheat, that the angels of water may enter it.
Then set it in the air, that the angel of air may embrace it.
And leave it from morning to evening beneath the sun, that the angel of sunshine may descend upon it.
And the blessings of the three angels will soon make the germ of life to sprout in your wheat.
Then crush your grain, and make thin wafers, as did your forefathers when they departed out of Egypt, the house of bondage.
Put them back again beneath the sun from its appearing, and when it is risen to its highest in the heavens, turn them over on the other side that they may be embraced there also by the angel of sunshine, and leave them there until the sun sets.
For the angels of water, and air and of sunshine fed and ripened the wheat in the field, and they likewise must prepare also your bread.
And the same sun which, with the fire of life, made the wheat to grow and ripen, must cook your bread with the same fire. For the fire of the sun gives life to the wheat, to the bread, and to the body. But the fire of death kills the wheat, the bread, and the body.
And the living angels of the living God serve only living men. For God is the God of the living, and not the God of the dead.

Over the years this bread has somehow become confused with the formula from Ezekiel 4:9 in the Bible. Ezekiel bread is a nutrient dense combination of legumes and grains, however there is no mention of sprouting. The instructions state,
Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof; Ezekiel 4:9



Essene Bread
3 cups wheat berries, or grains of your choice
1 tea sea salt

Soak wheat berries for 8 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain the berries 2-3 times a day for 32 hours or until the wheat berries have sprouted ¼ inch tails. Do not rinse the sprouts the morning you plan to make the bread or the sprouts will be too wet.

 Sprouted Wheat

Place the sprouted wheat berries into your food processor with the S blade in place and mix until the berries resemble a smooth bread dough that forms a ball around the blade.

 Almost there

 Perfect

Shape loaves

Remove the dough from the food processor. Shape the dough into 2 small hearth loaves. Place the loaves into the crock pot and cook on the lowest setting for 6-8 hours. If you keep the heat under 115F you will maintain the integrity of the enzymes in the sprouts and the bread would be considered a raw-living food.
During the sprouting process, starches convert to sugars. This gives the finished bread a rustic, dark brown color. The top crust may crack and will be quite thick but the inside will be moist, dense and somewhat sweet. Allow it to cool, then slice and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.



There are many ways to vary this bread. Try adding dried fruit, nuts, seeds or spices. Or, play with the shape. Try bagels, flat bread and pretzels! There are also hybrid versions of this bread which incorporate flour with yeast or sourdough starter.

I hope you will add this wonderful bread into your repertoire. It is simple to make, delicious, high in protein, and extra nutritious because of the sprouted wheat. 


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kombucha


If you know me at all, you know I have an affinity  for fermentation and an appetite for ancient food. Though popularized in 19th century Russia Kombucha, a fermented tea touted to be an elixir of health and healing, has been around for over 2000 years. To me it tastes like sparkling cider but not everyone is fond of the taste.

To make Kombucha you will need a scoby. Scoby is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It is a light colored disk often mistakenly referred to as a mushroom. When placed a jar of sweetened tea the scoby converts the simple sugar, tannins and caffeine into a probiotic, vitamin packed wonder drink.

Some benefits of drinking Kombucha
  • Cleanses toxins from the system
  • Improves eyesight
  • Boosts energy, both in the long and short-term
  • Regulates digestion by replenishing intestinal flora
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces systemic inflammation
  • Heals bladder infections
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Detoxifies the liver
  • Helps ease fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
  • Clears up skin problems including acne and eczema
  • Improves overall feeling of well being
  • Much, much more 
To make Kombucha dissolve 1 cup of sugar 3 quarts of boiling water. Remove from heat and add 5 bags of black tea (or 3 green and 2 black). Steep for 15 min., cool to room temperature, add the scoby, ferment at room temperature for a week.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sourdough English Muffins


Baking rings give these muffins their characteristic shape. English muffins are not traditionally cut.  Instead, the sides of the muffin should be perforated with a fork so they can be pulled apart. If you prefer crumpets, simply add the salt, soda and sugar to just 1/2 cup flour and pour batter directly into the oiled rings placed ready on the hot skillet. Cook for 4-8 minutes over medium heat, until dough looks somewhat dry and bubbles appear over the entire surface. Remove the ring, turn the crumpet over and cook an additional 30 to 60 seconds to brown the top. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

The night before,
Combine 1 cup of Rye Starter (or sourdough starter) with 2 cups whole wheat flour and 2 cups of milk
Cover, let stand overnight

In the morning,
Combine 2 cups flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 tea baking soda and 1 tea salt
Add mixture from the night before
Knead 4 min. dough will be tacky
With lightly oiled hands, turn dour onto a lightly oiled board dusted with cornmeal
Press dough to 1/2 inch and press into muffin rings, dust with cornmeal
Cover and proof 30 min. until dough reaches the top of the rings
Preheat cast iron skillet
Bake on med-hot lightly oiled iron, 5-8 min. on each side, cool on wire rack
Makes 18 English muffins



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dry Skin Brushing



Detoxification is the underlying principal behind ancient healing practices. You may not realize it but you skin is an organ designed to aid in detoxification of bodily systems. Did you know 25% of all toxins are released through the skin? Always use a natural bristle brush for dry skin brushing. Both classic and functional natural bristles do not scratch the skin like synthetic bristles. While this type of brush offers gentle deep pore cleansing as a bath brush, brushing wet skin does not offer the same therapeutic effects as dry skin brushing. It is recommended to choose either dry or wet use for the brush. Once the bristles become wet they are no longer suited for the purpose of dry skin brushing. Cleaning a dry brush is recommended at least once a week using rubbing alcohol and a cotton cloth.


Dry Skin Brushing Benefits
Tones and Tightens Skin,
Aides Digestion,
Stimulates Circulation, 
Promotes Cell Renewal,
Cleanses Lymphatic System, 
Removes Dead Skin,
Strengthens Immune System,
Helps with Detoxification,
Diminishes Cellulite,
Allows Body Systems to Perform at Maximum Efficiency
Takes less then 10 minutes a day

Brushing Basics
 Use a series of approximately 7 light, quick, short brush strokes for each area
Brush the sole of the foot from toes to heel and top of foot from toes to ankle
Continue up the leg from ankle to knee and from knee to thigh all around the leg
Bush upward over buttock and hip areas
Brush across front of hip toward groin
REPEAT ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE
Brush the palm of the hand from fingers to wrist, repeat on the back of the hand
Brush from wrist to elbow, front and back
Continue from elbow to shoulder, front and back
Brush down through armpit then across armpit
Brush from shoulder to sternum then brush sternum in a  circular motion
Brush under the breast in a semi-circle toward the sternum
REPEAT ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE
Brush abdomen in a counter clockwise motion
Finish torso and back  with upward strokes 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Best Birthday Cake Ever


When it comes to birthday cake everyone in my family has the same request, a quadruple layer hybridized German Chocolate Cake! It may look impressive but it is easy to make. I use the Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake recipe, but make 4 8" rounds and alternate chocolate butter cream with coconut pecan frosting.

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake
Ingredients 
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
   
 Directions
 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2 Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Grease and flour four 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk

 Directions
Combine all ingredients with an electric mixer


Coconut Pecan Frosting
 Ingredients
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 beaten egg yolks
1 tea vanilla
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Directions
Toast pecans on a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat, set aside
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a low boil, cook for 10 minutes, remove from heat
Add vanilla, coconut and toasted pecans
Cool completely before applying to the cake


Monday, July 4, 2011

Sourdough Waffles


Waffles are so much more than just a pancake with nonstick tread! Served around the world, each country has its unique variation. Sourdough waffles fall into their own genre. They are neither yeasted nor leavened with baking powder. There is no need for beaten egg whites, the light crispy texture is achieved by  a reaction between the sourdough and soda.

The night before,
Combine 1 cup of Rye Starter (or sourdough starter) with 2 cups flour and 2 cups water
Cover, let stand overnight

In the morning,
Preheat waffle iron (electric or cast iron)
Add 2 eggs, 4 Tblsp oil, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tea salt
Beat well
Combine 1 tea baking soda with 1/4 cup flour
Stir gently into the batter
Batter will rise to double in volume

Bake immediately on hot greased iron.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bringing up Baby

This year I set up a new feeding system for my kids, and wow did they grow!! I bred 9 does this year and had 3 sets of twins, 5 sets of triplets, and 1 set of quads. There were 12 doelings and 13 bucklings for a whopping total of 25 kids!!
Here are the three doe kids I kept this year. They were born between March12th and15th. They are15 weeks old in these pics.

 Lilly
Seal
Josephine