3 Things To Make With Wheat Besides Bread

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Things to make with wheat, besides bread.Lots of us like to store wheat. It has a long shelf life, it’s nutritious, and you can use it to make that beloved staple of Western Civilization: bread. In fact, in Medieval Europe, all other foods – meat and vegetables – were considered, “stuff you eat with bread.” However, the ovens the Medieval Europeans used to make this bread were huge, required enormous amounts of fuel, and took most the day to heat up.

We are certainly spoiled with our nice little electric ovens that come up to temperature in less than twenty minutes, but without modern conveniences, how would you bake that bread? Most of us don’t have Medieval bread ovens out in the backyard. And even if you did, what would you use for fuel? It would be a shame to let all that wheat go to waste.

Fortunately, bread is not the only thing wheat is good for. If you have a grill, or at least a cast iron frying pan, a manual wheat grinder, and just a few extra ingredients, you can make a wide variety of meals. I’m not even going to mention cracked wheat cereal, which brings to mind thin, sad faces and Little Orphan Annie. I mean meals that you would actually want to eat, like pancakes and biscuits.

Even without a modern oven or range, you can place a frying pan over your outdoor grill or over a campfire. This method is perfect for making things like pancakes and tortillas, and can also be used for other quick breads like biscuits (you will have to flip them).

Knowing alternative ways to cook, and having the tools to do so, is important for short-term power losses and even a long-term failure of the power grid. If you’re interested in learning more about the different varieties of wheat and how to use them (with or without power!) check out this article.

Pancakes

Any pancake recipe can be converted into a whole wheat pancake recipe simply by substituting whole wheat flour for white flour. For very best results, use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use reconstituted powdered milk and add a tablespoon of plain yogurt. Here is my children’s favorite recipe:

2 Eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/5 cup milk or buttermilk

2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp brown sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients, cook as you would any other pancake recipe. Makes 6-8 pancakes, depending on size.

Tortillas

We eat a lot of tortillas at our house in the form of fajitas, enchiladas, soft tacos, burritos, et cetera. I went through a lot of tortilla recipes trying to find one I like, and this one is pretty fool-proof. I usually double it for my family of five:

2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

3 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients and mix by hand until it forms a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour a little at a time until the desired texture is reached. Let the dough rest for about twenty minutes, then divide into six portions. Roll out each ball and cook about a minute on each side. Makes 6 tortillas.

Biscuits

This recipe is adapted from a recipe book that used to belong to my great grandmother.

2 cup whole wheat flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

4 Tbsp shortening (the amount can be decreased to 2 Tbsp, but I prefer the flakier texture that comes with more fat)

3/4 cup buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients together, cut in the shortening. When adding the buttermilk, do not overmix. Instead of rolling out the dough, save time and form the dough into a log, then cut the log into biscuit-shaped slices. Allow 4-5 minutes per side on medium heat, taking care not to let them burn. For best results, cover the pan. Makes 12 biscuits.

 

You’ll notice that none of these three recipes require more than two cups of flour . That is because I assume that if you don’t have your electric stove, you probably don’t have your electric wheat grinder, either. Have you ever tried to grind six cups of flour at once with an ordinary hand-powered grain mill? It’s incredibly tedious. You’ll be having flashbacks from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter for days. Two cups at a time, however, is entirely doable. You’ll be able to finish in less than a half hour.

I hope you will be inspired to test out these recipes. I was skeptical about the idea of skillet biscuits on the grill, but was pleasantly surprised by how they turned out. What are some other non-bread ways you have used wheat in your home?

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Beth Buck lives in Utah with her husband and three children. She has a degree in Middle Eastern Studies/ Arabic, a black belt in Karate, a spinning wheel, and a list of hobbies that is too long to list here.

6 thoughts on “3 Things To Make With Wheat Besides Bread”

  1. You forgot my favorite…Noodles!!! I love pasta. I crush up some of my dehydrated Spinach and make Spinach noodles, or egg noodles, all made with shelf stable ingredients. I like to use both hard and soft wheats, which make soft or heartier noodles.
    Also, don’t forget the Bannock bread! Yum. You can add anything you like to the recipe.
    Get out there and make something good!!

    1. Good idea, Lori! I hadn’t thought of noodles before. My mom always made the best chicken noodle soup with homemade egg noodles. Mine are almost – but not quite – as good as hers. I did try homemade ravioli once, and that was less successful, but not bad.

  2. Our power goes out a lot, hours to weeks at a time. We’re in heavy forest and the power/ phone lines go thru National and State forests with no cleared area along the lines. Everything I can get manual, is. My Family Grain Mill is attached to the end of the counter, and hasn’t moved for 14 years (except for thorough cleanings). I make a couple breads that fill my 5 qt Dutch Oven, and found a couple tricks for grinding 4-12 cups hard white wheat. I either attach my Corona and medium grind, then run the coarse wheat thru the FGM, or I’ll just make 2 passes with the FGM, coarse and finest grind. It’s actually easier to grind the wheat coarsely the first time, then set it to finest grind, and it seems to make a finer flour on the 2nd pass, which is also easier to do. It doesn’t take much longer than one pass. I can get a motor for my FGM, but I don’t see any reason why.

    As far as the huge Roman and medieval ovens that are so impressive, Jas. Townsend has some great YouTube videos on how to build smaller earth ovens (and lots of historical how to cook vids). Search earth oven, ours will be about 2′ x 3′ or a little larger, as I want to bake, cook stews, pizza, etc. The fire goes inside, burns, ashes get brushed out, then you can cook & bake in it for hours. We are building it in the backyard this year, to go with the Propane grill with Hibachi grill that fits inside & my wok stove (I cook about 75% Chinese & Japanese, they are made for fast cooking over small, hot heat source). We also are building a 20 brick Rocket stove and a table for Dutch Oven cooking, also enclosing the 12″ deep fire pit for the tripod and fire set for cooking over wood coals in the 2′ high bricked enclosure. We do living history events and cook over wood coals a lot. I also have a reproduction cooking brazier from the 1700’s for a quick meal.

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