Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baking with Whole Wheat

I have forgotten how to bake with all-purpose flour. I learned how to bake with nothing but. Now it seems that even recipes I try to make with even 50% all-purpose flour turn out tough as a brick! When I met Andy six years ago, he challenged me to make my first whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. They were okay, a little tough. A year later, everything had to be made with 100% whole wheat. We were living together and I made every meal except for breakfast sometimes. Five years later and I can take any recipe and convert it to whole wheat with a 95% success rate. I still haven't been able to get pie crust just right.

One of my main jobs on the farm is being a baker. I bake all of the bread that leaves the farm, date bars, cookies and granola. My mother-in-law is the other baker. She makes the good stuff.. brownies, killer pumpkin (marble grown of course!) whoopie pies, awesome muffins, quiche, fruit pies, all whole wheat! We believe that just by adding whole grains to your diet you can really improve your health. By eating a PB&J sandwich on whole wheat bread, the fiber in the whole wheat slows the rate at which the sugar in the jelly is absorbed into your system. It means that the sugar high (you know, the one that gets the kids sometimes literally bouncing off of the walls!) is evened out. You don't have the high or the inevitable crash afterwords which is so miserable! My favorite thing to hear from customers is "my child loves your bread!!" It makes me feel like I'm making a difference. That is my understanding of it, but I'm not a health expert. that's Andy, hence the ban on white flour.

You can find my bread at the Better Living Center in Farmington, the Tuesday Farmers Market in the BLC parking lot, or the Saturday Farmers Market in front of the courthouse. Or you can go online and order it online at for pick up or delivery in the Farmington area. Or you can e-mail me at and I'll figure out a way to get some whole wheat deliciousness to you.

Anyway, the real reason I wanted to write about whole grains is because I wanted to give you an easy recipe to try as a transition for at-home bakers into the whole wheat world. I have been making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies since I was a kid. I remember the big bag of Ghirardelli chocolate chips that my mom and dad used to get from the bulk store, I think it was called BJ's. When I was probably 10 I cut a recipe for oatmeal chocolate cookies off of the bag and kept it and made it over and over. These and biscuits were my the only things in my baking repertoire. Well, now I make them twice a week, only with my own recipe that I have built upon since the very beginning of my baking career. I would like to share the recipe with you. It is THE RECIPE for Marble Family Farms oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I prefer to use King Arthur white whole wheat flour for this recipe, but you can use what you have on hand. I know you will have success, and I hope it inspires you to use more whole grains in your own baking recipes! Good Luck!!!

Sarah's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Canola oil

2 Eggs (preferably fresh!) at room temp.

2 Cups whole wheat

1 Cup quick oats

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 Cup (heaping) Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together sugars and oil. Add eggs and mix until well blended. In a smaller bowl, mix dry ingredients together, and stir into sugar mixture until just incorporated. The batter should not be dry, it should hold together. Add 1Tbl. milk or water if you think it needs it. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoon (or cookie scoop) 12 cookies onto a cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 9 minutes or until slightly browned and puffy. Let cool for a minute and transfer to cooling rack. Once completely cooled store in an air tight container at room temp.

Let cool, or eat hot with a glass of milk so the chocolate chips are melty! Just don't burn yourself.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring in the Greenhosue

Spring has arrived in the Greenhouse for sure! I have spotted many spiders, flies, and even a few earth worms. It is very satisfying to be out there soaking up the sun rays in a tank top, jeans and rubber boots, knowing that it is only 30 degrees and snowy on the other side of the plastic that surrounds me. One of the greenhouses is full of spinach, most of which is ready to pick. I have been bring an abundant supply to the farmers market on Saturday Mornings at the West Farmington Grange Hall. The other housed happy chickens this winter up until a bit more than 2 months ago. It has been tilled and watered, and tilled and watered again, and is about ready for beets and salad greens to be planted. The soil is getting darker and richer every year. Now we just need to get the weeds completely under control!

That brings me to the next topic of interest. Spring means that our summer plans have been made and are about to be played out in reality. At the end of last fall, Andy and I felt like we we had been run over by the vegetable train and needed to sleep the rest of the winter to recover. It made us take a very close look at what is most important to us, and how we can continue to farm (which without question is on the top of the important list) without completely wearing ourselves out. We have a long list of ideas; what we need to cut out, what we need help with, and what we want to do more efficiently. We are looking forward to this season and are entering it with renewed passion and excitement.

If you're looking for CSA information, we will have it ready by next Saturday's market... Hope to see you there!!