Archive for March, 2012


Soaked and Sprouted, Three-Grain Essene Bread (Dehydrated)

[ Equipment: food dehydrator or low-temperature-capable convection oven, an 8-inch square cake pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths. ]

The Essenes were a religious community that lived in various locations in the Middle East. According to the Wikipedia, Essene bread is a low-temperature-baked bread made with sprouted wheat. I found several recipes for it on the web, baked at temperatures ranging from 115F to 300F. Like flour soaking, sprouting the grain helps release nutrients and neutralizes phytic acid. My version of Essene bread contains sprouted and soaked grains as well as an optional solid leavener – puffed wheat. Without the puffed wheat, the bread is 100% raw.

The 3 grains are wheat, oats and lentils. Typically, Essene bread is made with sprouted wheat. I had whole wheat flour in the food bin. This is my first raw recipe made with raw wheat flour, soaked for several hours in an acid medium. Soaking frees up nutrients, takes away the raw taste and softens the grainy flavor of whole wheat. Lemon juice can substitute for the vinegar. If the flour soaks at room temperature (typically how it’s done), it darkens a little. The color stabilizes if the batter chills in the refrigerator.

Lentils are beans but I’ve seen them in Essene bread recipes. The trick with sprouted lentils: don’t let them sprout too long or they turn too bitter for a raw bread – at least for my palate. They’re best (munchable and sweet) when the root tails measure between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. Oat flour: buy raw or make by grinding oats in a food processor. I like a coarsely ground oat flour for dehydration baking.

The picture above is a close-up of the holes in the bread from skewer pressings and the expansion of the puffed wheat. As the bread dehydrates, small spaces develop around the grains of puffed wheat to aerate the dough. The puffed wheat expands when moistened and then shrinks when dried, leaving gaps. Re-dried puffed wheat tastes crunchier and adds a toasted flavor to the bread.

Makes 6 servings
– 120 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: 125°F/51.7°C

  • 3/4 cup coarsely ground oat flour
  • 1/2 cup lentil sprouts (1/4 cup dried lentils) or other sprouts
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper or chili powder
  • 3/4 cup puffed wheat

1. In a medium bowl, soak 1/4 cup lentils for 8 hours. Drain, rinse, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 16 hours. Lentils should have sprouted with roots about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, water and vinegar. Let sit for at least 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Taste the soaking liquid. Soak is ready when the liquid no longer tastes tart or acid.

3. In a small food processor, pulse chop the puffed wheat until grains are about 1/3 size. Alternatively, put the puffed wheat in a small plastic bag and crush them to about 1/3 size. Set aside.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt, garlic and chili powder until well combined.

5. In the small bowl of a food processor, puree soaked flour (with soaking liquid) and 3/4 cup of lentil sprouts for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth.

6. Add the sprout-soaked flour mixture to the oat flour and mix until moistened.

7. Add the crushed puffed wheat and mix until evenly distributed.

8. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Drop dough into pan in chunks. With the back of a spoon, press dough into bottom of the pan.

9. With a 1/8-inch skewer, perforate the dough to the bottom, the holes spaced about 1/2 inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. Dehydrate at 150°F/65.6°C for about 30 minutes. Reduce to 125°F/51.7°C and dehydrate for another 30 minutes.

10. Cut bread into 6 slices. Lift each slice with a spatula. Turn over and transfer to a baking sheet covered with a silicone mat. Perforate each slice with a skewer and continue dehydrating for another 30 minutes at 125F/51.7C.

11. The bread is sturdy enough to hold the sandwich by hand, but it’s even neater when wrapped in wax paper.


Apricot Chamomile Scones (Dehydrated, Low Sugar/Fat)

[ Equipment: food dehyrator or low-temperature-capable convection oven, an 8-inch round cake pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths. ]

After my dehydrated lavender brownies, I wanted to try a dehydrated pastry with a denser, more crumbly texture. Once again, I thought about using the dough from one of the dehydrated cookie recipes, but even a spoonful of that dough without the solid leavener contains enough calories to wreck a healthy eating habit. A regular blueberry scone from Starbucks coffee house weighs in at 120 grams and 460 calories. An equivalent weight apricot chamomile scone from this recipe contains 384 calories. Neither scone would qualify exactly as diet food, but the apricot scones have a lovely soft texture, with lots of raw grain (if made with raw oat flour) and fruits, with a surprising sweetness that really satisfies.

Apricots and chamomile complement each other’s flavors, both mild and sweet. The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of chamomile flowers. These are the whole flowers for a strong cup of tea. I made the coconut flour by coarsely grinding dried, unsweetened coconut flakes in a food processor. The coarse grind gives a crumbly texture to the dough, reminiscent of a baked scone. The sugar is a blend of regular brown sugar and sucralose. An equivalent amount of regular white sugar or powdered sucralose (packets) should work just as well as the specified granulated version. The rice squares function as a solid leavener and help aerate the dough and build volume. They’re totally optional, because the scones are delicious without them.

Makes 8 scones (approx. 80 gr. each)
– 240 calories per scone
– Oven Temperature: 125°F/51.7°C

  • 8 dried apricots
  • 2 heaping teaspoons chamomile flowers or 2 chamomille teabags
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups oat flour (coarsely ground – see text)
  • 1 cup coconut flour (coarsely ground – see text)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sucralose or sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rice squares cereal (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins

1. In a small bowl, infuse chamomile in the boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Add apricots and soak for about an hour.

2. Remove apricots. Drain liquid, discarding chamomile flowers. Set aside apricots and liquid.

3. In a large bowl, mix the oat flour and coconut flour until well combined.

4. In a small food processor bowl or hand blender cup, puree the apricots, egg white and chamomile tea.

5. Add sucralose and brown sugar and blend.

6. Add vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt and blend until smooth.

7. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and mix until thoroughly moistened.

8. Add raisins and mix.

9. Add rice squares cereal and gently mix until well combined. Try not to crush the cereal.

10. Pat the dough into an 8-inch cake pan. Perforate the dough by pressing a 1/8-inch skewer all the way down into the dough at 1/2-inch intervals.

11. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 30 minutes.

12.  Bake at 150°F/65.5°C for 30 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 125°F/51.7°C and continue baking for 3 hours.

13. Invert scones onto a cookie sheet with a baking mat. Perforate the dough again at 1/2-inch intervals.

14. Bake at 125°F/51.7°C for another 3 hours.

15. Slice scones into 8 wedges and serve.


Triple Floral Red Earth Cake (Baked, Low Fat/Sugar)

[ Equipment: convection oven (preferred) or other LTB oven, a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 (inch) loaf pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

Compared to the mini red earth cake I made back in 2010 as a tribute to the American South of Gone With The Wind, the “triple” in the title of this cake refers to its size (3 times the size of the mini) as well as the 3 kinds of flowers that color and flavor it. In the original, a hibiscus infusion tinted the deep brown cake with a rusty tinge spotted with flecks of red hibiscus petals. The texture of that cake could sometimes taste dry, so I reformulated it recently with greater moisture retention in mind. A small amount of oat flour (coarsely-ground rolled oats) absorbs water more efficiently than wheat flour. The cornstarch has been replaced with more baking powder – which has a cornstarch base and helps soften the crumb. For this reason, the baking powder MUST have a cornstarch base (check the label – it should be the first ingredient). I’ve tried as much as 3 tablespoons of baking powder, because the hibiscus seems to reduce the lift, but 3 was too much. The cake has more fat (in the form of oil), but still earns the title of low fat at around 5 grams per serving.

A tri-part bouquet infusion subtly flavors the updated cake with hibiscus, roses and lavender. The color is lighter and redder, due to the slightly higher concentration of red and purple flowers and acidified natural cocoa powder. A traditional red earth (like a traditional red velvet cake) rouges from red food dye and the acidification of natural cocoa powder. My mini cake from 2010 contains dutch-processed cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa) that never reddens. In this cake, the tartness of the floral blend is the main acid in the batter, and I mix in some lemon juice to fix the color of the cake and restore brightness to the flavor.

Since I put in more oil, I take out calories by replacing the sugar with a sucralose-sugar blend. I grind the flower petals and buds with real granulated sugar, but sweeten the rest of the cake with granulated no-calorie sucralose. Although granulated sucralose weighs less than sugar, I did run a test with it as a grinding medium for the flowers, and it works fine. In general, I prefer the taste of sucralose-sugar blend, but this cake could be made with 100% granulated sucralose or 100% sugar, for that matter.

In one of the pictures, I garnish the cake with a “sugared” nut. The coating is actually granulated sucralose, which bakes into a whitish shell. The nuts are quite tasty, so I include the recipe for them below. By the way, I should emphasize that this cake was made with granulated sucralose throughout, not powdered sucralose – the kind in the packets. Powdered sucralose could work too, but with a slight change in the texture of the cake and in the appearance of the nuts.

Makes 8 servings
– 165 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: 250°F/121°C


  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (see text)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered coffee bean or instant coffee crystals (see text)
  • 1.2 oz. dried hibiscus flowers (approx. 4 tablespoons powdered hibiscus, see text)
  • 2 tablespoon dried rose petals
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (see text)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sucralose
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated milk, skim or reduced-fat
  • Fat-free Cool Whip topping or whipped evaporated skim milk (sweetened)

Sugared Nuts:

  • Assorted large nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sucralose or sugar
  • 1 egg white

Sugared Nuts Method:

1. Cover cookie sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Rinse off nuts of any oil and salt and dry.

2. In a small dish, light beat the egg white. Dunk nuts in egg white and allow excess to drip off.

3. Roll nuts in sucralose or sugar until evenly coated.

4. Place nuts on baking sheet.

5. Bake at 250°F/121°C for about 25 minutes or until sugar coating is dry and has turned lightly golden.

Cake Method:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk all-purpose flour, oat flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.

2. In a small food processor, add 1/4 cup sugar, hibiscus, rose petals and lavender buds. Process until contents have turned to powder.

3. In a medium bowl, mix boiling water and floral powder. Let infuse for at least 5 minutes and until water has cooled. Add coffee crystals/powder, cocoa powder and lemon juice. Stir and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, vanilla extract and evaporated milk until well combined.

6. Mix in 3/4 cup granulated sucralose. Mix in hibiscus infusion.

8. Mix in flour mixture in 3 or 4 portions.

9. Pour into 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. Cover top of loaf pan with aluminum foil, crimping down edges. With a scissors or the pointed end of a bamboo skewer, cut out a rectangle in the foil, leaving a 1-inch border. With scissors, at each corner of the rectangle, snip a 1/2-inch diagonal cut.

10. Bake at 250°F/121°C for about 20 to 25 minutes or until cake almost touches foil. With 2 spoons or forks, peel back foil flaps on all 4 sides. Continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes (total baking time: 35 to 45 minutes). Cake is done if a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

11. Let cool. Unmold.

12. Slice and serve. Below are two ideas for serving the cake: whipped cream topped with a sugared nut or whipped cream, a sprinkle of cocoa powder and topped with a sliced strawberry.