Wise Traditions: Excerpts/Notes/Comments from Acid Reflux Article

Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

All disease begins in the gut.

Hippocrates

I am reading through the latest edition of Wise Traditions, Published by the Weston A. Price Foundation. One article in particular is quite fascinating to me. It’s by Kathryne Pirtle and entitled Acid Reflux: A Red Flag with the sub title A Precursor to Chronic Illness.

The following are excerpts from this amazing article. If you wish to read the full length version (what I share here barely scratches the surface!) you can write and request it directly from the Weston A Price Foundation. I also highly recommend anybody who is able to subscribe and become a member so that articles like these are delivered straight to your door! =)

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In the United States, sixty million people have acid reflux, or one in five. Acid reflux and related digestive disorders now constitute an epidemic, and no age group has been spared. In fact, 50% of infants suffer from acid reflux in the first months of life, and during the last few years, there has been a 56% increase in sales of medicine for acid reflux and digestive disorders in infants and children from birth to four years old!”

“The medications for acid reflux have a  poor track record. In 33% of the people taking them they don’t work at all. Sixty percent of those taking these medications continue to have problems three times a week, and 75% are double up on over-the-counter drugs.”

“According to Hippocrates, ‘All disease begins in the gut.’ An underlying principle in Chinese medicine is that good digestion is the key to good health. As a corollary Dr. Weston A. Price noted that the principle cause of disease is malnourishment.”

Acid Reflux and Asthma

“Interestingly, 41.1 percent of non-smokers who have a chronic cough and 60% of those who have asthma also have acid reflux. Asthma in children and adults is increasing at exponential rates. In 1995, almost fourteen million people were diagnosed with asthma while today that number has jumped to over thirty-four million.

How does acid reflux lead to asthma? First, acid reflux may cause people to breath tiny drops of hydrochloric acid into their lungs, which can irritates the delicate pulmonary lining and cause spasms in the airways, triggering an asthma attack. Second, frequent episodes of acid reflux may cause digestive acid to damage the esophageal lining and expose some of the nerves that are connected to the lungs. Irritation of the nerve endings may initiate a constrictions of airways, thereby causing an asthma attack. Additionally, the acid can cause inflammation of the throat and larynx.

Surprisingly, asthma medications that dilate the bronchial tubes can trigger acid reflux symptoms, as they may cause the cardiac sphincter to relax, allowing acid to escape up through the esophagus. Regrettably, the conventional treatments for asthma merely address the symptom of narrowed breathing passages. While this is a very necessary step, such treatment does not address the underlying causes.

Seven Million people suffer from ear infections every year. Acid Reflux may cause persistent ear infections as refluxed liquid enters the upper throat and inflames the adenoids causing them to swell. The swollen adenoids can block the passages from the sinuses and Eustachian tubes, and fluid can build in the sinuses and middle ear.”

Program for Recovery from Acid Reflux

STEP ONE: The first step to recovery is eating foods that are easy to digest, end the candida cycle, heal the digestive tract, and offer superior nutrition. Start with bone broth soups exclusively for the first week. Make soups with homemade broth containing a variety of vegetables and a little chopped meat or liver.

STEP TWO: The second step to recovery is inoculating the gut with foods that will build a healthy intestinal flora. This is the time to add full-fat cow or goat milk kefir or yogurt – kefir has beneficial yeasts that literally “eat” candida, and contains other probiotic bacteria that will colonize in your intestinal tracts. Ideally, you should make your own kefir or yogurt out of whole raw milk, but if you cannot find raw milk you can purchase a high-quality, organic plain whole milk yogurt such as Traderspoint, Brown Cow, Seven Stars or Stoneyfield. If dairy is not tolerated, try other fermented foods and beverages such as homemade sauerkraut or pickles, coconut kefir, beet kvass, lacto fermented sodas and kombucha.

STEP THREE: The third step to recovery is to consume a diet consisting solely of nutrient-dense, easy to digest foods that continue to heal the intestinal tracts and support a healthy flora. Your diet should include:

– High quality fats – for nutrient absorption and healing the gut lining- including raw butter, coconut oil, palm oil, and lard, goose fat, duck fat, and tallow from pastured animals. Take cod liver oil for Vitamins A and D.

– High quality animal foods including liver and other organ meats, eggs (especially the yolks) from pastured hens, wild caught seafood including fish eggs and shellfish and dairy foods like raw whole milk and cheese.

– Bone Broths in soups, stews and sauces.

– Cultured vegetables and beverages-saurerkraut, pickled beets, beet kvass, kombucha.

– Vegetables- limit vegetables, at first to those you consume in bone broth soups or saute or steam- always add butter or coonut oil.

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These are just the highlights that I found easiest to pass on. Do you or someone close to you suffer from acid reflux? Have you found any products that have offered long term relief?  Do you know of anybody who has tried an acid reflux healing diet like this?  Please share in the comments section! =)

New Twist on Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Lately I have been experimenting with what range of things soaked flour doughs can be used with. I cannot even express my delight in discovering that soaked flour actually makes cinnamon rolls of a far superior texture to anything else I have been able to create with regular un-soaked whole wheat flour. A couple of days ago I experimented with a batch of cinnamon rolls and they turned out to be what myself and all my ever helpful tasters called the best cinnamon rolls ever. Sorry Cinnabon, I think I just might have nudged you over in the tastiest, most tender, moist and all around incredible sweet flavor sensation ever.

I used a modified version of the soaked flour recipe that was published in the 2010 Beeyoutiful Catalog as the base for the dough.

Soaked Cinnamon Roll Dough

4 cups freshly ground hard white winter wheat (I use Prairie Gold)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (homemade or storebought, just make sure the store bought has live cultures/bacteria in it)
3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
¼ cup warm water
1 Tablespoon dry instant yeast
2 Tablespoons Sorghum  (Blackstrap Molasses, or honey could be used)
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Baking soda
1 (may need a bit more or less) cup unbleached organic white flour

Toppings!

1 to 2 sticks of butter (softened to room temp, spreadable texture)

1/4 to 1/2 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil (also softened)

Cinnamon and yet more Cinnamon

Rapadura, Cane Sugar or anything that you can justify as being healthier than white sugar (Shhh…Don’t tell anybody but white sugar works just fine if you really don’t care to maintain the facade of healthy with this creation.)

Cinnamon and pretending to be healthy sugar

Cinnamon and pretending to be healthy sugar

Raw Honey

Optional: Chopped Nuts and Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Powder Mix

Directions for Assembly:

Warm butter-milk and coconut oil and mix in with Whole Wheat flour.  Save the white flour for later.

Flour, Buttermilk and Coconut Oil mixed by hand and put in bowl to soak

Flour, Buttermilk and Coconut Oil mixed by hand and put in bowl to soak

Dough should not be super sticky but since this is for cinnamon rolls and not loaf bread it’s Ok if the texture is slightly more sticky than the perfect texture would be for loaf bread. Form a ball and place in the bowl, cover with cheesecloth and leave in a warm place overnight (12-24 hours).

In the morning, combine water, Sorghum, salt and baking soda in a measuring cup and mix well. Add instant yeast and cup of white flour directly to the dough and pour wet ingredients over top. Mix until it is smooth and the “elastic bands” as some call it are visible as the gluten activates. Form a nice ball and again place your dough back into the bowl and cover with cheesecloth. Allow it to rise until it had doubled in size. Pummel dough down, knead it for just about a minute. Lightly sprinkle your “rolling” area with white flour, use a bit more if the dough is still a bit sticky to make sure it doesn’t superglue itself to the surface.  It is a lot easier to manage if the dough is divided into two parts but the ambitious among us (with amazon muscle arms) and plenty of space can certainly tackle it all at once.

Now comes the workout part. Roll roll and roll some more. When your arms feel like they are going to fall off, remind yourself that this is a good time to take out any pent up frustrations out on something that needs it. Whack it a couple of times and roll some more.  Once it is all rolled out nice and thin (not pie crust thin but just barely thicker. Keep in mind this will puff up considerably in size and the flavor is better the less dough/bread there is and the more toppings so don’t be afraid of thin!)

This is my favorite part. Slap dab and smear the butter and coconut oil all over your huge spread of dough. I personally recommend hands for this because it is a lot more fun but that is just me. Those with texture issues that prefer not to get their hand conditioning treatments via cooking projects involving cocont oil and butter are more than welcome to use utensils. Once a generous (and I do mean generous here people, don’t scrimp, don’t save, don’t count calories or measure the waistline, this is the time to be liberal!) layer of fatty goodness has been successfully applied you can move onto the sprinkle and plop phase.

I tried an additional new twist to this last batch of cinnamon rolls by sprinkling Trader Joe’s Chai Latte powder over the butter/oil blend.

Trader Joe's Spicy Chai Powder

Trader Joe's Spicy Chai Powder

I really liked the extra flavor!! It is totally optional though. Follow the Chai Sprinkling with a hefty dose of cinnamon. If you skip the Chai powder add yet more Cinnamon. One of the biggest flaw’s that I have seen in homemade cinnamon rolls is a fear of getting nice and heavy handed with the cinnamon sprinkling. Don’t fear the cinnamon! This is the one part of this recipe that is totally good for you in every respect.

Follow the cinnamon up with Rapadura (or that white stuff that we aren’t going to officially endorse here).

Chai Sprinkled

Chai Sprinkled

Last but not least Dollup raw honey in random blobs over everything. If you used unsalted butter now is a good time to sprinkle a dash of sea salt over everything.

Raw Honey dollups with cinnamon on top

Raw Honey dollups with cinnamon on top

Now is the time to roll everything up into one big log of dough. Here is something else that is easy to have go wrong. Make sure you keep even “tension” as you roll and don’t allow loose or floppy areas to get rolled up. It’ll mess with the perfectly round rolls that are of course the end goal and will look funny as it rises.

Dough log and waiting greased pyrex pan

Dough log and waiting greased pyrex pan

Once it is all rolled up a long piece of unflavored floss or double up a piece of heavy duty, good quality sewing thread. We only ever have mint flavored floss around here so I end up using sewing thread more often than not. (Word of experience, don’t use the mint thinking it won’t matter. It does matter. A lot.)  The reason for using this method of cutting out the rolls is that it protects that lovely roundness and prevents the jagged and mushed look that you can get if you try to use a knife.

Phase 1 Floss/Thread cutting

Phase 1 Floss/Thread cutting

Phase 2, slicing smoothly through the dough

Phase 2, slicing smoothly through the dough

Phase 3 Gently remove from log

Phase 3 Gently remove from log

Almost perfectly round roll reminaing with that one delectable little honey dribble

Almost perfectly round roll remaining with that one delectable little honey dribble

Plop in a pre-greased baking dish of your preference. I use Pyrex usually because it’s easy to clean, has sides to keep the wondrous baked goo from spreading all over the place, and has the best visibility for my compulsive “checking” Here is a bit of a trick I figured out a while back. I dislike “crunch” with my cinnamon rolls and ended up part of the time with “crunchy” tops by the time the rest of it was done. Now I spread some softened butter over the tops of my rolls before I slide them into the oven and the butter keeps the tops nice and soft while the middles are baking.

Butter topped cinnamon rolls (this is what they look like after rising)

Butter topped cinnamon rolls (this is what they look like after rising)

Allow to rise to roughly double and slide into the oven to bake for roughly 30 minutes at 350.

I don’t have the photo’s of the finished product on my computer yet. Will edit that in later. The texture of these rolls are incredible due to it being soaked flour. Delicate, tender and moist. No hint of the course chewiness so often associated with whole wheat. This does have a bit of white flour in it as well. DELICIOUS and DELECTABLE sums it up beautifully.

Bad, Better, Even Better and Best

A friend asked me last week to write about options in our quest to feed our families the best that we can. Depending upon location, income levels and resources sometimes the ideal or best recommended foods and products are simply not a choice for many of us. So we are left wondering what second best option is, and if second best is even Ok.

In my opinion excellent, lasting nutrition lifestyle changes and good eating happens in a series of baby steps of progress. For some it’s something as basic as switching from using 100% white, bleached flour to 50/50 white and whole wheat. Others end up switching from freshly ground whole wheat yeast bread to multi grain, soaked and or cultured bread. I have determined that for myself, as long as we are moving forward, however small the baby steps happen and regardless from how far I am from the ideal or that mythical thing called perfection…Just so long as it’s forward improvement and positive lifestyle changes then I am successfully doing what I should for my family.

With that being said, there are specific health issues out there, especially in children related to gut healing that requires a hard core approach in order to see significant healing and improvement. My beloved “baby step” methodology does not apply to these situations unfortunately. I am not addressing those problems and presenting options etc. that would be appropriate for them. From my  perspective we are a typical American family without any severe food allergies or issues like Autism that we are trying to address. We just desire for our overall health to be restored to excellent from the fair to Ok condition it’s been most of our lives. But most of all that our daughter have the opportunity to have a good enough nutritional foundation that she can enjoy good health her whole life. So, the opinions I share and the options on good, bad and better are coming from that perspective. This won’t even be marginally all inclusive but I’ll try to hit on the foods I had the most questions about when I first started on this nutrient dense educational journey.

Butter and all the Not Butter Stuff

Contrast between homemade, raw, grassfed butter (The orange) and the white stick from Costco

Contrast between homemade, raw, grassfed butter (The orange) and the white stick from Costco

Bad: Not butter anything that is advertised as a butter substitute is bad. I am not personally aware of ANY exceptions to this rule. There is a plethora of information out there documenting the issues with margarine and other butter substitutes so I won’t go into that now, maybe another blog post at another time. Sufficed to say, avoid this stuff at all cost. Not a good option for anybody and certainly not healthy.

Better: Plain, unsalted, uncolored, pasturized butter from WalMart, Costco or any other bargain place you can find it. I personally advise purchasing unsalted because A) the type of salt they use to salt commercially produced/mainstream butter with is terrible for you and B) the dairy industry uses a lesser grade of cream for the salted butter than they do for the unsalted. The salt helps to cover any “off” flavors that would be too noticeable in the unsalted. Last but not least reason C) You can add your own mineral rich sea salt to the unsalted butter to ramp up the nutrient value a bit and add extra benefit to it.  The budget bonus to all of this? It doesn’t cost anymore to buy unsalted than it does salted yet you get a decided nutritional and quality advantage from it.

Even Better: Naturally rich yellow, Organic or “All Natural: Hormone and antibiotic free” pasturized butter from grassfed cow’s. An extra bonus if you can find it cultured and or seasoned with real sea salt.

Best: Raw, grassfed butter from healthy cows is hands down the best option. It goes into the realms of sacred healing food (as Sally Fallon Morell refers to it) if it is CULTURED raw, grassfed butter from healthy cows.

All things Baked

Whole Wheat Rolls

Whole Wheat Rolls

Bad: Commercially produced, white flour, sweetened anything. You find things like hydrogenated vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, bleached white flour, soy oil and a whole host of other undesirables. All baked sweets have undesirables, yes, unfortunately even most of the organic or all natural ones. Last but not least the long list of isolated vitamins and nutrients that have been thrown in to act as preservatives and also to boost the nutritional facts box so they can more effectively market the end product as healthy. These are often in the very worst forms imaginable for the body to actually be able to get anything beneficial from them and sometimes in a form that actually causes harm to the body.

Even most breads, and sadly, yes, this goes for most organic as well have multiple undesirable ingredients in them. If it is at all reasonably possible making your own baked goods at home is going to be an improvement over most things you can buy from the store.

Better: Anything made at home, even if you use nothing more nutritious than real butter and white, unbleached flour and (gasp) yes, even refined within an inch of it’s life white sugar. While it may not be packed with good nutrients and be anything close to nutrient dense, it’s going to have the lions share of really bad stuff absent that you will find in commercially produced food stuffs.

Exceptions to this would be if you can find an Artesian bakery that specializes in sourdough breads and other classic, old world style breads. These usually have far fewer preservatives and bad ingredients. If you build a relationship and have a standing weekly order they may even be willing to make special order loaves or baked goods to your specifications.

Even Better: Home baked goods using freshly ground, organic or all natural whole wheat (or other grains) with no refined sweeteners, artificial colors or hydrogenated oils.

Best: Sprouted or soaked, all natural/organic multi grain baked goods made from scratch with wholesome organic/all natural nourishing ingredients like farm fresh eggs, raw cream, milk, raw chocolate, sucanat, raw honey, Grade B Maple syrup etc etc etc . This goes for crackers, cookies, cakes, bread, biscuits, rolls and everything else.

The Fats of the Matter

Lard

Lard

Bad: Hydrogenated veggie oils, canola oil, corn oil, rape seed oil, cottonseed oil, Crisco, soy oil,

Better: Regular pasturized butter, regular-non organic coconut oil, Peanut Oil,

Even Better: Imported Olive Oil, Organic Peanut Oil, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil,

Best: Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sesame Oil, Sunflower Oil, Grapeseed oil, Safflower Oil, Lard and Tallow from pasture raised all natural animals, Ghee (clarified butter) and last but certainly not least Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

Side Note on Oils: Fats and oils are one of those food subjects that everybody should spend some time self educating and researching. Myths abound about fats and there is a lot of confusing information out there about them. At the end of the day what can decide the difference between a high quality, beneficial to the body oil and one that can wreak havoc is something as simple as the heat level during extraction, or how fresh it is. Most of the oils on the Best list have very short shelf life and are considered fragile oils. Fragile meaning, if they are not extracted in the right way they can be very harmful to the body. I highly recommend anybody confused about fats to read Mary Enig’s  Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol. Her work is highly controversial and flies in the face of what is generally accepted as the gold standard for long term health maintaining diets. I find her to be extremely well researched. The woman knows the subject of fat and the complexities of the science behind fats better than anybody else I have ever come across. It is literally her life work.

Truly Meat

Bad: Commercially raised (ie factory farm conditions, or feed lot) Chickens, pork and Beef. Farm raised Fish, particularly those fed corn or soy. Hot dogs, Fish Sticks, Sausage, Ham, Lunch Meats packed with nitrites, processed chicken patties. Pretty much pre-processed anything that is in a ground up form with a layer of something on top and lots of seasonings to hide whatever original flavor it might have once had.

Better: Pasture raised Beef even if it has been on antibiotics and finished out on grain. Chickens that have been grown out in humane conditions and allowed exposure to sunlight. Wild Caught fish. Processed meats that are preserved with citric acid and are “Nitrite Free”

Word of Caution: Some certified organic meat now is made from animals raised under identical horrid and inhumane conditions of their very much not organic counterparts. The only difference is they are fed certified organic soy and corn biproducts for feed instead. The only improvement over getting this meat certified organic is a certain amount of time from the last use of antibiotics until it is processed and the knowledge that it has not had a steady diet of a pesticide sprayed diet. The diet however is still poor quality, and still results in less than healthy animals and far less than optimal nutrition to pass onto the consumer.

Even Better: All natural, Antibiotic Free, Hormone Free, Organic, Free range/grass fed anything. Beef that has been primarily raised on pasture, even if it is finished off on an all natural grain mixture is a drastic improvement over feed lot cow’s any day. Same rule of thumb applies to chickens and pigs.

Home Processed Venison

Home Processed Venison

Best: Wild raised meat of any kind from an obviously healthy animal. Purely grassfed (on all natural pasture) domesticated animals. Poultry of all kinds are considered incredibly beneficial on a nutritional front. Lamb and goats meat is becoming increasingly popular due to how easy it is to grow them out without a whole lot of acreage required.

Aaaaaaand that’s all folks. We can call this round one because there is a whole host of other food categories I didn’t have time or room for. More than willing to answer any clarifying questions about why something or other ended up in the category that it did, or to clarify one of the many fuzzy points here and there. I’ve been working on this post off an on for days now so off it goes!

Soaked AND Fluffy: The Biscuit Triumph

A recent challenge for me has been trying to figure out and conquer the world of sprouted and soaked grains in an effort to make our beloved grain based baked goods easier to digest and more nutrient dense. I am at heart a perfectionist with my baked goods. Transitioning to Whole Wheat only for my baked goodies was rather painful until I figured out ways to keep it from being dark, dense and coarse. Now the increased challenge is to somehow preserve the textures I think of as normal and expected. There won’t ever be anything 100% like white bleached flour biscuits of Philsbury fame but the general ballpark is my goal.

First of all I had to figure out a type of whole wheat that would work. My all purpose whole wheat of choice is a hard white winter wheat called Prairie Gold. I’ve been told by someone that owns a substantial homemade bread making business that no matter how great the variety of grain is the quality can vary to an extreme from one year to the next. He buys small batches of several of his favorite varieties every year and whichever one is best for that year will then order by the pallet load. Since it never occurred to me that there could be quality variations like that by harvest I am very thankful that the pallet of wheat I bought and stockpiled was a good year. Remember me mentioning that buying in bulk has ended up being what I do for a lot of items in order to save in the long run? A side venture of ours last year was ordering two pallets of wheat. We sold about half of it at cost to local friends and family to defray the amount we had in it and also to cut down on how much we would have to stockpile. I am very grateful to now have a few years worth safely stowed away in 5 gallon food grade buckets. A post for another time will be how to safely store bulk grains in buckets without the use of expensive oxygen eaters.

So back to texture management. After finding my all purpose wheat of choice I had to figure out how to get it ground down fine enough. This boiled down to finding a grinder that has a super fine “pastry” setting. While there are some breads that need the course grind for that hearty country texture and flavor that just isn’t what I desire to use in a pie crust or with cookies. Even with the Pastry setting on my grinder I still sift the flour through a super fine mesh strainer. It’s more fine than a sifter is. This catches all the “hull” particles that tend to be a bit bigger than desired and the end result is a super fine, pale flour that is as close to unbleached white flour as you can get and it still qualify as whole wheat. My adventure in multi grain cooking is in it’s embryo stage so I don’t have much experience yet to share about that yet. Maybe in a couple of months!

Even with my almost white wheat flour my soaked biscuit experiments have ended up being flattish with a tough and chewy texture. Not bad if that is what you expect from a biscuit. I want fluffy AND soaked! How hard can it be to achieve fluffy??? Very hard, for me anyway. Today wonder of wonders I had soaked biscuit triumph. And wouldn’t you know, consistent with my luck in life (or maybe that should read: fly by the seat of my pants and forget all about documenting anything when I’m inspired) I didn’t write down a thing I did or measure any of it at all. I’m going to write up what was done from memory though so that maybe…hopefully…one day I can replicate these marvelous creations.

First of all I dumped all the flour I had on hand ground up from a previous project into a ceramic bowl. In hindsight and guesstimating I think it was in the ballpark of 12 cups but I couldn’t be sure. I then added the last bit of my store bought, all natural buttermilk (with live cultures) and mixed it in. It was dryer than what is ideal for soaking flour so I added a few dollups of plain whole yogurt. Mixed this into something that resembled the consistency of a very thick, dense, dough. Basically to the point where all the flour was barely in contact with moisture and then patted it down in the bowl and covered with a damp hand towel. Into the pre-warmed oven it went to spend a lonely night. The plan was to get up the next morning and bake biscuits but I didn’t end up getting to them until early afternoon. Into the base of soaked “dough” I put 2 sticks of grassfed butter diced into small cubes with sea salt sprinkled on top. A few interruptions later involving an employee that ran off the Interstate in our super rare TN snow storm this afternoon I came back to the dough and the now room temp butter. You homemade biscuit connoisseurs know that one of the cardinal rules of good biscuits is that the butter stays cold or else any chance for excellent texture is ruined. Refusing to give up hope yet still quite distracted I plunked the whole thing,  bowl, dough and butter together into the fridge where it chilled out for about two hours. Retrieving the now thoroughly chilly dough and butter blob I tried figuring out how I was going to work in the baking soda, baking powder and the smidge of rapadura or (gasp) white sugar I always add to my biscuits.  It’s the secret ingredient to end all secret ingredients and part of me is more than a little horrified that I just wrote that out on a public blog. The dough texture from soaking didn’t seem to need any extra moisture and if anything was a wee bit on the moist side for biscuits. Debating on whether or not to pull out the food processor I finally decided against it, worried that if I used a food processor or the Bosch dough hook mixer it would over mix and activate the gluten which could be very harmful to the desired fluff.

Sprinkling a bit of flour out on a cutting board I dumped the blob out on it. In a small bowl on the side I mixed some extra sea salt (figured I hadn’t sprinkled enough on the butter earlier) about a tablespoon or so of Baking Powder and probably in the ball park of 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda. To this I added a couple tablespoons of flour so it would be more spreadable. Something I learned about good biscuits long ago is that contrary to what many cookbooks tell you  “knead a few times before rolling out” is that you never should knead whole wheat biscuits. If you are using a super low gluten flour you might be able to get away with it but with a full gluten bread flour it’s just too risky. Instead the method that is most effective is to gently “fold” it over on itself and pat down flat. In this way I sprinkled several layers of the leavening mix and “folded” it in.  This also finished distributing the butter lumps more or less evenly throughout the blob. Halving the blob I gently patted out the first half. That is yet another tip, never ever “roll” the dough with a rolling pin. It’s too forceful. After a few foldings take your hands and just pat it out until it is the desired thickness. Grabbing a kitchen glass that does double duty as my biscuit cutter I began to extract the biscuits from the blob. This leads me to yet another tip: Do not twist as you cut out biscuits. Straight in, straight out. Twisting motions on the sides can keep biscuits from rising to their true potential. A properly cut biscuit should look like this on the sides.

Cheesy Soaked Flour Biscuit, perfectly cut side

Cheesy Soaked Flour Biscuit, perfectly cut side

I slathered some Organic Extra virgin Coconut Oil on my stainless steel insulated cookie sheet and laid out the first biscuits. Yet another tip (tired of those yet??) Put your biscuits close enough that they can touch. Biscuits rise better pressing up against each other rather than spread out all on their own all over the pan.

Biscuits

Soaked Flour Biscuits

With the second half of the blob I decided to try something I haven’t tried since I moved to TN. In NM back when I used to think I was exceptionally healthy by cooking with organic unbleached flour I made a creation using green chilles, sharp cheddar cheese and a dash of cayenne resulting in biscuits that tickled the heat and flavor lovin’ palate of MyMan. Getting my hands on decent green chilles is impossible here in TN but I decided to try the cheese twist with these biscuits anyway. I folded in a couple of cups of sharp shredded cheese into the blob before patting it out flat. Once flattened I lightly sprinkled the top with the lightest of dustings of cayenne. You can see the rather largish lumps of butter in the blob really well in this shot.

Cheesey Cayenne Biscuits

Cheesey Cayenne Biscuits

The Cheese biscuits were put on the pan with their plain compatriots and were promptly slid into the oven that was a flaming 425 degrees. My goal was to speed the baking time up because traditionally soaked flour goods require quite a bit longer to bake than their unsoaked counterparts. My theory was if they started off at a higher heat it might speed the process up. They still ended up taking close to 40 minutes to bake vs. the 20 or so my normal whole wheat biscuits take.  After the first 15 minutes or so I backed the heat down to 350 out of concern that they would get too well done on the top before the insides were done.

Confession: Yes, I am one of those cooks that compulsively checks the experiment every five to ten minutes. I can’t help myself. That’s why it’s called a compulsion. That miiiiight have something to do with why my baked goods average needing an extra five to ten minutes of baking time compared to every other baker out there regardless of what oven I use. (ahem) This time my frequent progress reports put a bigger and bigger grin on my face. They were RISING. They were FLUFFY. Finally I couldn’t bear it and pulled off a segment of one of the outlying biscuits. Oh.My.Goodness. It tasted just as good as it smelled and looked. Perfectly golden and crunchy on the outside with an incredibly fluffed interior flavored with the generous gobs of butter that resulted in a velvety softness in every bite.  As MyMan said later they are truly the “Biscuits that eat like a meal” Especially the cheesy ones. If anything they over-rose and grew beyond their bounds. I’m totally Ok with that. In hindsight the dough was probably a bit on the moist side of perfection. I’m also Ok with that as well but will file it away as something to modify slightly in the future.

Documentation of the tastiness.

Fresh Soaked biscuits fresh out of the oven with golden brown, crunchy tops

Fresh Soaked biscuits fresh out of the oven with golden brown, crunchy tops

Close up of cheesy golden biscuits

Close up of cheesy golden biscuits

Fluffy, moist layers created by folding

Fluffy, moist layers created by folding

If I am ever able to replicate this with actual measurements and other helpful and specific odds and ends like that I shall do another post in a more concise form. If anybody uses these general guidelines and actually measures and experiences success PLEASE pass it back to me! I’ll be forever grateful. =D  In the meantime, I think it’s time for a bowl of beans and another buttery biscuit.

Note from Nancy

A dear friend of mine wrote a lengthy and educational note in response to my MoneyMoneyMoney post of a few days ago . I think it deserves it’s very own post!  Nancy is a veteran of healthy eating and has been in my mental Hero’s Hall of Fame for quite a few years now.  She also recently became our local Weston A Price Chapter leader.  Below is Nancy’s note.  Enjoy!

Hi Stephanie!

LOVE your enthusiasm!  This will be a fun blog to follow.  We’ve been privileged to sample some of your concoctions, so I know you’re up to the task!

Just as I’ve learned everyone’s definition of what constitutes a “family-safe movie” is relative, so is people’s perception of being “financially tight”.  There are those of us who would love to buy in bulk but don’t have the cash flow to do so.  From my experience in that mode, I will add to your bargain-gathering ideas:

Make friends with gardeners.  They get overwhelmed with their abundance and will be glad to unload extra produce (especially cucumbers and tomatoes!) on you.  They’ll also love to have you “glean” when they are sick of picking and dealing with green beans, etc.

For healthy meats: Make friends with hunters.  I put a tiny sign on the bulletin board of a country store where hunters register their kills.  It said, “If you don’t want to fool with the deer you just got, our family could really use the meat.  We’ll do the processing.  Call 123-4567.”  Hunting season just concluded, and we were given SEVEN deer, just from that little note!  (Even if you live in an apartment, you can do this.  Hunt down a private stand of trees somewhere to skin and quarter the deer. Stick it in a large cooler and do the rest in your kitchen.  There are guide books for this, but I still just fill our freezer with “mystery hunks” in ziplock bags.  Works fine in the crock pot!)

Even in many suburban neighborhoods, one can keep discreetly a couple of milk goats (I suggest Alpine.  Nubian goats “talk” a lot.  Both have lovely butterfat and sweet milk.)  This would entail bringing in lots of hay and maybe some freshly fallen branches full of green leaves (for treats), being diligent with herbal wormers, and an area the size of a small backyard.  Bucks (man-goats) stink, but does (lady-goats) are quiet and gentle and clean.  They could be taken for a “fling” at a goat producer’s when breeding time came.  This would provide raw milk and wonderful compost!

Same goes for chickens.  Google movable chicken pens online.  Great photos of backyard chicken pens designed so they can get fresh grass and bugs everyday!  And you get fresh eggs and meat!

A drive to the area outlying a city will usually reveal a local meat processor or two.  I’ve found they often will have bones for free or cheap.  You can ask to reserve them when they know the animal was grass-fed.  Healing bone broths for soups and cooking liquid for grains are the result!

In hardwood parts of the country, late summer/early fall woods are full of hickory and black walnuts.  They’re a pain to pick out, but nuts are so expensive, it might be a good source.  Country roadsides and old fields often offer blackberries and elderberries the birds will eat if you don’t.  (Just be sure it’s not a polluted or sprayed area, and wash them well.)

One more: Get a book on eating from the land.  Especially in the springtime, the land is ABUNDANT with green edibles!  I’m still learning this art, but last spring, we made delicious smoothies in the blender with plantain, chickweed, clover, violets, and more along with avocado and other odds and ends thrown in.  A good blender breaks down the cell walls of the greens to make all their goodness available to us.  The most organic produce from Whole Foods doesn’t have half the nutrition of these greens!

The hard part about all this food scrounging is that it take time and extra work.  The reward is a deep satisfaction of having participated in bringing it in and the surety of its healthfulness.

Blessings,

Nancy