Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Toxic Talk Tuesday: Lawn Care

It’s that time again! Chris and Andrea Fabry delighted us with yet another broadcast of Toxic Talk Tuesday, and this time, the topic was lawn care–just in time for summer!

Definition of the Day

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for:

  • preventing,
  • destroying,
  • repelling, or
  • mitigating any pest.

First, let’s start off with the quiz of the day.  To take the quiz yourself, click here.  I have listed the questions, answers, and more information to help set the stage for understanding pesticides.

1. Which of the following is NOT classified as a pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Pledge Furtniture Spray

While Pledge contains hazardous chemicals, it does not fall into the pesticide category. Products containing chlorine bleach, triclosan (hand sanitizers), and mold/mildew remover are all classified as pesticides. According to the EPA:

Many household products are pesticides. All of these common products are considered pesticides:

• Cockroach sprays and baits.
• Insect repellents for personal use.
• Rat and other rodent poisons.
• Flea and tick sprays, powders, and pet collars.
• Kitchen, laundry, and bath disinfectants and sanitizers.
• Products that kill mold and mildew.
• Some lawn and garden products, such as weed killers.
• Some swimming pool chemicals.

More information here and here.

2. Which herbicide product is represented a label containing 2,4-D, a chemical used in Agent Orange during the Vietnam era, which according to the EPA is “reported to result in blood, liver, and kidney toxicity”?  Ortho Weed B Gone

Roundup, Touchdown, and Kleeraway are all trade names for the chemical glyphosate, which is also hazardous.

According to the organization Beyond Pesticides, 2,4-D has been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, and much more. Because it is widely available, the health effects “are of particular concern.”

More information here and here.

3. According to the EPA, children are exposed to the chemical 2,4-D through lawn care products. If a child is exposed to 2,4-D indoors, the exposure most likely comes through: Dust on shoes of person applying the product.

According to the EPA’s TEACH Chemical Summary on 2,4-D:

Children are most likely to be exposed following application of 2,4-D as a residential lawn care product. Exposure is most likely to occur via inhalation of indoor air and house dust generally subsequent to lawn care application of 2,4-D, or via contact with 2,4-D-treated grass or turf. Hand-to-mouth activity can also contribute to exposure from 2,4-D-contaminated house dust in younger children. The dust on shoes of the person applying the 2,4-D to lawns may be the greatest contributor to indoor 2,4-D contamination. Exposure of children may also occur from diet, drinking water, and swimming in lakes treated with 2,4-D (with highest concentrations of 2,4-D occurring within 24 hours of lake treatment).

More information here.

4. This pesticide category accounts for 70% of all agricultural pest-control products used in the United States: Weed Killers

According to the EPA:

A pesticide is a chemical used to prevent, destroy, or repel pests. Pests can be insects, mice and other animals, weeds, fungi, or microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.

The USDA article linked below traces the history of pesticide use in this country, stating:

During the 1960s, agricultural pesticide use was dominated by insecticides, accounting for about half of all pesticides used. The quantity of insecticides applied fell as the organochlorines (DDT, aldrin, and toxaphene) were replaced by pyrethroids and other chemicals that required lower application rates. Today, 70 percent of the quantity of pesticides used in agriculture are herbicides.

More information here.

5. An organic household pesticide may contain harmful ingredients if its material safety data sheet contains what? Propietary blend of emulsifiers and solvents to 100%

The use of essential oils in pest control is positive. When coupled with toxic chemicals contained in the “inert” ingredients, however, a product’s safety may be compromised. This product may or may not be just as hazardous as a product with no essential oils.

According to the EPA:

Inert ingredients are “other” ingredients that do not control the pest, but serve other purposes such as dissolving the active ingredients or affecting how the product works.

Up to 3,000 chemicals may be classified as inert and are not subject to regulation due to business confidentiality.

More information here and here.

6. The EPA says this plant oil is effective for repelling mites, fleas, and mosquitoes: Euclyptus

Recommended for use on cats, dogs, humans and their clothing, and in homes.

For a list of other natural repellents, see the EPA’s Plant Oils Fact Sheet.

7. The first Roundup Ready crop (able to resist applications of the weed killer Roundup) was first marketed in 1996. This biotech soybean was genetically pieced together using this vegetable/flower combination: Cauliflower / Petunia

From the Organic Consumers Association website:

A gene from a cauliflower virus acted as a master control switch. It activated the bacterial enzyme that was able to fend off Roundup while still producing adequate growth proteins. A snippet of petunia DNA made sure those proteins were ferried to the proper location within the soy plant. Another strand of DNA from a different type of bacterium served as a molecular stop sign, preventing overproduction of the proteins.

A good word picture on genetic modification: Suppose you have a preschooler and you get home a letter saying, “We would like to conduct an experiment on your daughter. We would like to feed your daughter 1/4 tsp. of pesticide to your daughter every day until she is 18.  We have no reason to believe this will be harmful.” Would you be willing to allow your child to do that?  We do not have 100 years of study to see what these things are doing to us.  What we do know, is that some of these chemicals have been used to kill humans in the right doses, so is it not logical to ask the question–is this good for us?

More information here.

8. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), originally designed to provide better pest control, are produced by inserting the DNA of one species into the DNA of an unrelated plant or animal. Because living organisms have natural barriers, the DNA must be forced in some way. 

Marker-assisted selection (MAS) is a non-invasive, natural approach to plant breeding.

According to the Institute for Responsible Technology website:

Because living organisms have natural barriers to protect themselves against the introduction of DNA from a different species, genetic engineers have to find ways to force the DNA from one organism into another. These methods include:

• Using viruses or bacteria to “infect” animal or plant cells with the new DNA.
• Coating DNA onto tiny metal pellets, and firing it with a special gun into the cells.
• Injecting the new DNA into fertilized eggs with a very fine needle.
• Using electric shocks to create holes in the membrane covering sperm, and then forcing the new DNA into the sperm through these holes.

More information here and here.

9. “Biosolids” is the term given to fertilizer derived from which of the following? Sewage sludge

Biosolids is a term used to refer to treated human waste. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a study of biosolids found 25 active chemicals in each biosolid sample tested. The study raises questions about the “transport, fate, and potential ecological effects of these contaminants once biosolids are applied to agricultural fields, garden plots, and landscaped plants and shrubs.”

More information here and here.

There are a couple more questions on the quiz, but I only included these eight.

Know that there are more chemicals than just what it says on the label.  Why? Any label has not only active ingredients, but it also has inert ingredients.  Up to 3000 chemicals are classified as inert ingredients and can make up over 90% of a product.  They are not required to list these because of trade secrets. If you have concerns about what chemicals may make up inert ingredients, go ahead and call the company and ask. Be proactive!

For any weed or plant you do not want try this recipe to get rid of it:

Homemade Natural Weed Killer 

  • 1 gallon white vinegar
  • 1/2 c. liquid soap
  • 2 tbsp. salt

Combine and shake. Place in spray bottle and spray leaves and stems of weeds only. Avoid surrounding plants.  This really works!

For your garden, plant chives to keep the deer away and marigolds to deter the rabbits.  Here is a great website on various companion plants to keep away pests and pesky animals.

The EPA offers these tips for safe lawn care:

  1. Keep grass at a height of 3 inches.
  2. Make sure mowing blades are sharp.
  3. Water 1 inch per week on average.
  4. Allow your lawn to go dormant in July/August.
  5. Consider non-chemical pest/weed control methods.

Consider grasscycling–leaving the grass clippings. It is very nourishing.

Dandilions are very nutritious! Studies are being done on a possible health benefit for cancer!

I can hardly wait for the next Toxic Talk, airing in June.  Their topic will be safely ridding our home of pests! You can be sure I will be posting the summary of that as soon as it airs!

For more recipes, check out this blog.

Check out Andrea’s blog, MomsAWARE!

Andrea also has a detailed blog post about Natural Lawn Care.

Check out the original broadcast!

Read other Toxic Talk posts!

 

GAPS Homemade Chocolate Chips (Grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free)

If you’re anything like me, you simply have to find a health alternative to all things chocolate.  Since cocoa powder is allowed in the GAPS diet once digestive issues have been righted, I knew I had to come up with a source of chocolate that was sweetened with only honey.

The result was mouthwatering chocolate bliss.

Simple Homemade Chocolate Chips

2/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil

2/3 cup raw cocoa powder

2 tsp raw honey

Melt coconut oil over low heat on stovetop. Remove from heat. Add in cocoa powder and honey. Mix to incorporate.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Pour chocolate mixture evenly over paper. Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove from freezer and place hardened chocolate onto cutting board. Using a large cleaver, chop chocolate in rows one direction, and then the other, forming chocolate chunks (whatever size you prefer).

Voila! A healthy alternative to a delightful treat! Keep in freezer until just before use, as they begin to melt quickly at room temperature.

Note: These melt when baked into cookies, so just be aware they sort of ooze out of the bottom of your cookies a little–but not too bad!

March Chemical Elimination: Deodorant

In an effort to progressively rid our home of harmful toxins and chemicals, March’s goal is to replace one of our personal care products, deodorant, with a natural, safe alternative.

Most of us wouldn’t think of the personal care products we use on a regular basis as harmful, let alone toxic.  But the sad truth is, these products do not undergo the same testing as food and medicine do, and do not have the same requirements of safety since they make no health claims. Deodorants, like most personal care products on the market, contain a handful of harmful ingredients. Most deodorants on the market contain aluminum, a toxic metal which can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked with mental illness such as Ahlziemer’s Disease and autism.  Many deodorants contain parabens, a toxic petroleum derivative.  For more reading on harmful chemicals to avoid when shopping for deodorant, click here.

Although it can be discouraging and overwhelming to learn of the presence of so many harmful ingredients in the products we use and love every day, the purpose of this post is to encourage you with finding other, safer options.

Because each of us has different body chemistry, personal care products vary in their effectiveness.  That es why one deodorant may not work for you, but it may work for your spouse.  It is also why it usually takes some trial and error to find what works for you.

Following are a wide range of options to replace toxic forms of deodorant with natural, safe alternatives.  I have included both products available in the store and homemaking options.  If I have tried any of the options, I will include a personal review in italics.  But again, keep in mind that each person is different, so what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.  Be inspired by how many different options you have, and don’t give up!

Safe Alternatives to Anti-Perspirant:

Meleleuca offers safe, aluminum free options.  This option did not work for me. I have friends who love it, though!

Tom’s of Maine has safe, though pricey, alternatives.  Look carefully at ingredients, though, as some contain aluminum.  They can be found in most stores.  This option did not keep me odor-free, either!

Homemade Deodorant Recipes

We use this recipe from PassionateHomemaking.com with some variations. I am eager for my husband to try it after his current bar runs out. We are going to try this method of putting it in his old stick.

Mix in a small bowl:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil, partially melted
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

Directions:

  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and stir it with a spoon.  Allow coconut oil to set up, stirring occasionally to ensure equal distribution.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

-Zinc oxide is a natural anti-perspirant.  Including it in your homemade deodorant will most likely help relieve any odor.  For a simple recipe as well as a plethora of variations, For a simple recipe to make your own, click here. I am excited to try this one, too.

Homemade Deodorant Spray

(From MomsAWARE.org)

Make a baking soda spray by blending 3 tsp. baking soda with 1 c. water in a spray bottle. Add 3-5 drops tea tree oil for added protection.

This is what I used and worked fine until after the birth of my daughter.  My hormones must have changed, because suddenly, for the first time in my life…I am very sweaty! This no longer cuts it for me.  But if it works for you, simply spray some on your hands, rub it under arms, and allow it to dry. I added the tea tree oil.

Queen of Hungary Water

(This can also be used as a toner and as hair care!)

Originally used in Europe as a perfume, Queen of Hungary Water is revered for its many healing properties and is widely known as a cure-all.  It can be used as a toner, astringent, a deodorant, a hair rinse, and can even be ingested to help soothe a sour stomach, among other things.  Here is my recipe, but you can really use whatever herbs you have on hand:

Combine in a large Mason jar:

3 TB. Peppermint leaves

2 TB Comfrey leaves

2 Tbs chamomile

4 TB Rose leaves

2 Tbs Lavender leaves

2 Tbs Nettles

3 TB Calendula/Marigold

1 TB Lemon zest

1 TB dried rosemary

1 TB dried sage

Cover with organic, raw apple cider vinegar and leave in a sunny spot for 2-3 weeks. After 2-3 weeks, strain out the herbs and place in fresh, clean bottle.

To each cup of herbal vinegar, add 1c. total extra liquid (I used witch hazel extract).  Add several drops of essential oil, if using. Stores indefinitely.

That list of herbs may look intimidating, but most of them can be found at your local health food store, or you can place an order at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Or you can ask me for a sample size, and I can mail you one for a small price.

I hope one of these options works for you and your family! I, for one, am glad I have found something that works and saves us from chemical exposure while also saving us money!

February Chemical Elimination: Skin Care

For February’s Chemical Elimination, we are replacing toxic skin care with natural alternatives.  This is probably my absolute favorite replacement!

You don’t have to use half a dozen commercial products on your face and body to achieve clear, smooth skin.  You don’t even have to spend a fortune on quality, natural skin care products.  With only three simple, naturally occurring elements, you can cleanse, hydrate, and tone your skin without the risk of harmful toxins present in most commercial products.  And these things can double as your hair care and far beyond!

Here are the naturally occurring elements I use in my skin care:

Cleanse

Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay is a mineral mined in Morocco that has been used for over a thousand years for hair and skin care.  It is lauded for its detoxification properties, as well as its ability to bind with oil and dirt and wash them away.  It leaves the skin and hair remarkably soft.   When mixed with water, it forms a paste that can be applied to skin and hair. It can be used simply as a face wash, or it can be applied in a thicker paste and used as a mask. It can be purchased by the pound at Mountain Rose Herbs for $9/lb plus shipping.  Read more about the benefits of rhassoul clay here. Read more about using it as a personal care product here.

Toner


Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for hundreds of years, largely for its medicinal purposes, but also for toning, smoothing and hydrating the skin and hair.  It is important for it to be organic and raw, as this means it has not been pasteurized and has left the healthful nutrients and enzymes intact. It is especially helpful in restoring the pH balance of your skin after washing with a mineral like rhassoul clay.  You can purchase this at your local health food store. The smell bothers some people, so you can also use

OR

Queen of Hungary Water

Originally used in Europe as a perfume, Queen of Hungary Water is revered for its many healing properties and is widely known as a cure-all.  It can be used as a toner, astringent, a deodorant, a hair rinse, and can even be ingested to help soothe a sour stomach, among other things.  Here is my recipe, but you can really use whatever herbs you have on hand:

Combine in a large Mason jar:

3 TB. Peppermint leaves

2 TB Comfrey leaves

2 Tbs chamomile

4 TB Rose leaves

2 Tbs Lavender leaves

2 Tbs Nettles

3 TB Calendula/Marigold

1 TB Lemon zest

1 TB dried rosemary

1 TB dried sage

Cover with organic, raw apple cider vinegar and leave in a sunny spot for 2-3 weeks. After 2-3 weeks, strain out the herbs and place in fresh, clean bottle.

To each cup of herbal vinegar, add 1c. total extra liquid (I used witch hazel extract).  Add several drops of essential oil, if using. Stores indefinitely.

That list of herbs may look intimidating, but most of them can be found at your local health food store, or you can place an order at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Or you can ask me for a sample size, and I can mail you one for a small price.

OR

Witch Hazel Extract

For a simpler toning option, you could make (or buy) some witch hazel extract. Used by Native Americans for its medicinal purposes, witch hazel has a nearly endless list of benefits, including soothing sore muscles, swelling, and insect bites.  It is also effective in treating acne due to its anti-oxident and astringent properties.  Witch Hazel leaves can be purchased at Mountain Rose Herbs or your local health food store.

To make Witch Hazel Extract:

Place a handful of witch hazel leaves in a mason jar. Cover with 2-4 cups boiling water. Cover and let steep for a minimum of 4 hours. Strain.

Add 3-6 drops grapefruit seed extract to preserve for several weeks, or store in refrigerator.

I also have samples of witch hazel extract if you would like to try it without the fuss!

(Tip: This will also be used in our deodorant and shampoo!)

Moisturize

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been called the “healthiest dietary oil on earth.”  When ingested, it has dozens of healing properties, but it  also has a plethora of uses in personal care!  It can be used as a deodorant, lotion, aftershave, toothpaste, just to name a few. To read more about its amazing health benefits, click here.

OR

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is extremely hydrating  and repairing to the skin and hair.  It is also helpful for treating acne.  Jojoba oil can also be found at Mountain Rose Herbsor your local health food store. I purchased my  2 oz. ounce bottle for $9. Since it is used extremely sparingly, it lasts for a very long time. To read more about its benefits, click here.

It is helpful to begin experimenting with natural alternatives when you begin to get low on the products you already commonly use. That way you have a fall-back for if things aren’t working well, or if it takes a couple of days to get into the swing of using the new options. It can be easy to get overwhelmed or intimidated and need to go back to what we are used to for a bit while we get the hang of the new options!

Sample Skin Care Regimen:

1.  To wash your face, mix about 1/8 tsp clay with 1/8 tsp water in your hand. With one finger, swirl mixture around to absorb the water into the clay. Apply to face and rinse off.  To use as a mask, mix about 1/2 tsp clay to 1/2 tsp water (or whatever consistency you like!) and apply to face. Allow to dry for ten minutes, then rinse.  My face has never felt softer!!

2. Pour some of your toner of choice onto a cotton ball and apply to face.

3. Apply a small amount of coconut or jojoba oil to face to moisturize.

If you don’t have the softest skin in your life, I will be surprised! And to simplify things, these lovely products can double as your hair care!  To learn how to use these products for your hair, read more here.

Crockpot Yogurt Recipe (and Greek Yogurt!)

Yogurt is one of those absolutely amazing, incredibly nourishing natural foods.  Packed full of  nutrients and healthful probiotic, its beneficial bacteria helps populate our gut with beneficial flora, which in turn helps us in our digestive process.

We eat a lot of yogurt in our household.  Jeshuah loves it for breakfast mixed with his probiotic and elderberry syrup, and Stephen and I enjoy it with strawberries, craisins and granola.  With the amount of yogurt we go through on a regular basis, the cost can add up fairly quickly!  A few months ago, I learned about a began making our own yogurt and have found the cost savings to be astronomical and the benefits immense!

Here is the cost savings breakdown:

  • Before: we would buy Stonyfield organic plain yogurt from Wal-Mart: (at least) $3.50/quart (most places $4.50)
  • Now: I make it out of our organic raw milk from the farm: $1.40/quart
  • Savings = $2.10/quart x 3/week = savings of $6.30/week = savings of $327.60/year
I feel the need to repeat that. By making my own yogurt, we save over $300 a year!!

Some of the other benefits of making your own yogurt (besides saving a ton of money!) is that you have complete control of what goes into it.  Store bought yogurt can contain very few (or no) live active cultures and can instead have a lot of added ingredients, including sugar and artificial flavorings.  By making my own, I know exactly what is in it, and I can choose my own sweetners and flavorings.  Our favorite sweetener is organic orange juice concentrate (with no high fructose corn syrup) and organic, frozen strawberries.  I can also use raw milk, which preserves many of the nutrients on the milk.  Read more about the benefits of raw milk here.

Raw Milk Crockpot Yogurt

(I make a gallon at a time, but this can just as easily be split in half to make 1/2 gallon)

1.  Turn your crockpot on low and add 1 gallon of milk.

2. Cover and warm for 2 1/2 hours.

3. Turn off crock pot and let sit for 3 hours.

4. Whisk warmed milk and measure out 1-2 cups of the warmed milk into a bowl and add to 1 cup yogurt starter (either from previous batch or plain, store bought yogurt with live active cultures).

5. Gently stir warmed milk and yogurt together, then reincorporate into crock pot.

6. Cover with a few towels or a blanket and allow to incubate overnight, 8-12 hours. I find 12 hours to be the perfect texture/taste.  More or less time can make your yogurt thinner/thicker or more tart.  Find what tastes best for you!

Obviously, we are Steelers Fans:-)

7.  Add a natural sweetener (honey, juice concentrate), some fruit, or whatever else you like! Don’t forget to keep an extra cup plain for starter for your next batch. I also use plain yogurt instead of sour cream.  Store in mason jars or other containers in fridge.  Best to refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.

Pasteurized Crockpot Yogurt

The same as above, except in step 2, allow milk to warm for a full three hours instead of 2 1/2.

Greek Yogurt

(Thanks to my friend Jamie for coming up with this version!)

Follow the above steps for the type of milk you are using whether it is raw of pasteurized milk, with the following substitutions:

Use Greek Yogurt for your starter culture

Let it incubate 15 hours instead of 12

Use a basic bread/flour sack towel for the straining of the whey. Put the whole amount in the cloth inside a large strainer. Then bind it up and let it sit. Every 10 or 15 minutes, scrape the inside of the towel to release the more thick yogurt from the cloth. Let it sit for 45 minutes or so doing this process to thicken it. Voila!

For more tips of great yogurt every time, check out this post!

Naturally Simple Solutions: Homemade Dishwasher Soap

A few weeks ago, I began my venture into homemade dishwasher soap.  This was not really anything I ever considered an option, having heard so many negative comments on how natural dishwasher soaps simply do not work.  However, I was motivated by three main sources to give this a try. The first was reading a parenting magazine about caring for baby dishes and it just had as an aside “Do not place baby’s dishes in your dishwasher as dishwasher detergent is toxic.” My immediate thought was, “Wait, what? Then why are any of us using it?!”  The second motivation came while dumping my detergent into my washer and pausing to read the advertisment on the side “Now with bleach!” Knowing how harmful this pesticide is, why are we using bleach to clean the surfaces we will be eating off of? The third and final motivation was listening to Chris Fabry Live!’s Toxic Talk Tuesday on a naturally clean kitchen.  Andrea gave her recipe, and I decided, hey, if it works for them, I might as well try my hand at it!

There are two ways to make your own dishwashing soap: liquid and powder.  I decided to try each and choose which I preferred.  I tried the liquid numerous times and kept coming up with a very persistent residue on my top rack dishes.  But with some trial and error, I have perfected the powder for our machine and LOVE IT!

I found this recipe on Andrea Fabry’s website, Moms AWARE.

Automatic Dishwashing Powder: (all ingredients can be found at Wal-Mart in the laundry detergent aisle!)

  • 1 c. washing soda
  • 1/2 c. borax
  • 1/2 c. baking soda

Combine ingredients and store in mason jar under the sink. Use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons for each dishwasher load, depending on mineral content of water. Use 1/2 cup white vinegar as a rinsing agent.

We have a half size dishwasher, and I found that I needed to use only 1/2 Tbs of the powder and dump about 1/4- 1/2 cup of vinegar in the bottom of our washer.  This took less than two minutes to mix up and cost pennies.  The result is sparkling, clean dishes and the knowledge that they are safe to eat off of!

Soaked Whole Grain Bread

As I have endeavored to learn more healthful ways of cooking and eating, one of the things I discovered was that, not only is it important to eat whole grains, beans, and legumes, but that these things contain phytic acid.  Phytic acid is difficult for our bodies to break down and digest.  However,  Passionate Homemaking states,

“Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption. This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins and difficult-to-digest proteins, including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion.”

For more information on the value of soaking whole grains, check out this post at Passionate Homemaking’s website.

It took me a really long time to get the gumption to test out adapting my recipe for soaking. I think the first time it failed, the second time it worked, and the third time it failed again. I was so discouraged I didn’t try again for a year! But now I have tried it again and made two successful and delicious batches. I am ready to share my recipe and hope you enjoy it!  A word on whole grain flour: Milling your own flour is extremely important, as flour only maintains its nutrients for 72 hours at room temperature, after which point it becomes rancid.  This is why breads made from store bought whole wheat flour often taste bitter.  If you cannot mill your own flour, buy whole wheat flour from your local health food store if it is kept in the refrigerator and store in your freezer. Or find someone like me who would be more than happy to mill some extra for you!

Soaked Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread

6 cups freshly milled whole grain flour (I use a combination of hard red wheat and prairie gold wheat. If it was in the freezer, bring it to room temperature before using for best results.)

1 cup oats

1/4 cup raw honey

2 Tbs melted coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

2 1/4 VERY WARM tap water

1/2 cup acid medium (I used plain yogurt, but you can also use part water/part lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, whey, or kefir, to name a few. If you were using lemon juice, use 2 Tbs lemon juice and 6 Tbs water)

1/4 cup warm water

2 1/2 tsp yeast

1 tsp honey

1 Tbs salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour, oats, acid medium, honey, coconut oil, and 2 1/4 cups very warm water. Mixture will be barely moist.  Cover and soak at room temperature 12-24 hours.
  2. After soaking, in a small separate bowl combine 2 1/2 tsp yeast, 1 tsp honey and 1/4 cup very warm water. Allow yeast to “proof” about five minutes until puffy.
  3. Add proofed yeast mixture to soaked flour mixture in mixer. Add salt while mixing. You may need to add a cup or more of white flour to the mixture to get the right consistency. Dough should clean the sides of the bowl.
  4. Knead for 10 minutes until gluten is fully developed. Dough should be “springy” and stretch when pulled, not break immediately when gluten is fully developed. (Over-developed gluten will result in “gummy” bread, however, so don’t make that mistake either!)
  5. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise til doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Punch down and let rise again, about an hour.
  7. Form into two equal sized balls and punch into greased loaf pans. Let rise until about an inch taller than the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. (Rising times vary drastically depending on heat and humidity. In the summer, I cover my dough and place it on the porch and it rises rapidly. In the winter, it usually takes twice as long to rise.)
  8. Heat oven to 350* and bake bread for 28 minutes until golden brown on top.  Let cool on cooling rack for ten minutes before removing from pans.
Yields: 2 loaves
Successful bread making is a sort of art, but it is well worth the effort. It takes a bit of trial and error to perfect homemade bread. If you find yourself frustrated or confused, don’t hesitate to ask questions!
Further Reading

Adapting Your Recipes for Soaking

Milling your own flours