Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Small Problem

I've been running into a bit of an issue in the kitchen lately.  Namely my zeal exceeds my skill and my pocketbook.   I just wrote a post on the importance of soaking and souring our grains (and legumes) for consumption in order to get the most from them.  The problem is this: when wheat (or spelt, kamut, rye......) is ground into flour the nutrients immediately start to break down, so buying even organic flour in the store is practically worthless.  I don't want to exclude grains, but I can't justify buying an expensive grinder yet.  To me it would be a foolish purchase without experience in breadmaking first.  But what is the point in making bread when you know that there are few benefits to be had?
So I finally had to make the decision that something is better than nothing.  I can exclude things all day, but if I can't replace them with better things, there's no point.  All we'll do is starve.  So, I'll use store bought flour and prove to myself that I can do it.  I'll get the hang of the processes and the time it takes, and when I'm confident and I've saved enough, I'll buy a grinder.
A main concern I've had  is breakfast.  Cold cereal, even Kashi or Annies organics cereals are formed by a dangerous process called extrusion, which makes the pretty shapes and flakes.  So we cut out cereal, but that has really messed with our schedule.  Eggs are a great breakfast for the weekends, but on school mornings we need something without a lot of prep work or clean up. 
Here is the definition of and reasons for food extrusion by Ohio State University:
Extrusion is defined as "shaping by force through a specially designed opening often after previous heating of the material." Extrusion is the continuous forming of plastic or soft materials through a die. Several types of extruders include ram or piston types and screw or worm types (Harper, 1981).
Cooking extrusion combines the heating of food products with the act of extrusion to create a cooked and shaped food product and is a process in which moistened, starchy, proteinaceous foods are cooked and worked into a viscous, plastic-like dough. The results of cooking the food ingredients during extrusion are:
1 ) gelatinization of starch
2) denaturation of protein
3) inactivation of raw food enzymes
4) destruction of naturally occurring toxic substances
5) diminishing of microbial counts in the final product.
Upon discharge through the die, the hot, plastic extrudate expands rapidly with loss of moisture and heat because of sudden decrease in pressure. After expansion cooling, and drying, the extruded product develops a rigid structure and maintains a porous texture.
Advantages of food extrusion are versatility, high productivity, low cost, product shapes, high product quality, energy efficiency, production of new foods, and no effluents or waste.
In addition, the extrusion process renders these foods toxic. So, I made cereal yesterday.  Once I made the decision is was easy to do.  I got the recipe from Eat Fat, Lose Fat.  The boys haven't tasted it yet, but I'm optimistic. :)


Eat Fat Lose Fat

Nourishing Traditions

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