Complication or Mise en Place? and Shortbread

 
“So soaking flour brings out the chemicals in the grains which keep them from sprouting. And, as those chemicals are hard for humans to digest, soaking the flour makes it easier to digest,” I say to my husband, proudly expounding this latest baking-game-changing fact. His wry smile says “so you’re making our lives more complicated again?!” 

Yes and no. 

Soaking flour does mean planning ahead. I no longer bake anything without soaking it for at least 12 hours, so gone are the days of think, bake, eat. At first it was frustrating. The kids wanted a snack and I had nothing ready. But I soon realised that all I needed to do was plan it in, and instead of feeling like this is a burden I have found it feels much calmer because I am organized. 

It is like a larger scale mise en place – the words chefs use to mean having everything prepared and ready.  Each evening I think about the next day’s snacks – do we have any? If no snacks are ready, then I think what have we had recently? And what can I make? I make something and put it in the fridge. The next day I am ready. I can pull out the snack, bake it, and voila, we are set for the day.    

I’ve been doing this more and more. I make sure we have frozen sourdough pancakes and waffles in the freezer, oatmeal soaking in milk for my daughter’s breakfast in the fridge, some vegetable fermenting on the shelf,  flour soaking for bread, and meet defrosting for dinner. It is a lot to think about but keeping my mise en place going is what keeps our stomachs happy and full and that comfort is worth the preparations. 

Shortbread

  • 5.5oz whole wheat flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-3oz chopped nuts (pecans, cashews almonds, or any other nut or seed you like)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (4oz)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2oz honey

Rule

Melt butter. Add honey and vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl mix flour and salt. Add chopped nuts/seeds and combine. Pour over the butter mixture and stir well. Press into a greased pie pan with the back of a metal spoon or Saran Wrap. 

Refridgerate over night. 

The next day bake at 350F/180C for 15 minutes until brown at the edges. 

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