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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: wheat

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For me, store-bought sandwich bread lacks good flavor and texture and usually contains way too many preservatives. The recipes in this post are easy to make and will reward you with great tasting bread for sandwiches and toast. Most ingredients are easy to find, however the ingredients for the rye bread include rye and pumpernickel flour. If you cannot find pumpernickel flour, use all rye flour in the recipe. I also use a flavoring made by the King Arthur flour company called deli rye flavor. If you do not have access to this ingredient, just substitute dried onion.

To always have fresh bread available, I slice each loaf in 1/2 inch slices and place them in a freezer ziplock bag. Bread slices can be removed, a slice at a time, and they defrost within a half hour. This is so handy.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain bread improver or vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in an electric mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, mixing until a shaggy dough forms.

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Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes. (this step helps the gluten develop.

Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough until fairly smooth and slightly sticky.

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Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise until almost doubled, about 90 minutes.

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Gently fold the dough over a few times on a lightly floured work surface.

Shape it into an 8″ log, and place it in a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

Cover the loaf and let it rise until it’s crowned 1″ over the rim of the pan, about 60 to 90 minutes.

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Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and a digital thermometer inserted into the center registers 205°F to 210°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, let it sit in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool.

Seeded Rye Sandwich Bread

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Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1/4 cup pumpernickel flour
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Deli Rye Flavor or dried onion
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in an electric mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, mixing until a shaggy dough forms.

Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes. (this step helps the gluten develop.

Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough until fairly smooth and slightly sticky.

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Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise till doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and shape it into an oval.

Place the dough in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, tent it with lightly greased plastic wrap and set it aside until doubled in bulk and risen 1 inch over the lip of the pan, about 1 hour.

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Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and tests done (the interior of the loaf will read 190°F on an instant-read thermometer).

Remove the bread from the oven, remove it from the pan, and cool completely on a rack.
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Sandwiches are one of the most popular midday choices for lunch and, for some, even dinner. They are quick, delicious, and, if properly portioned, an option for losing weight. But if you aren’t careful, a few ingredients can add hundreds of extra calories and make up more than half your daily limit of artery-clogging saturated fat. So make sure you know what hidden calories are hiding between those bread slices. If you make smart choices you’ll create a delicious and healthy sandwich for yourself.

Smarter Choices

Start with whole grain bread slices, a pita, an English muffin or a tortilla. Look for the words “whole grain” near the top of the ingredients list, not just “whole wheat.” Good choices have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Some breads are fortified with extra fiber and contain as many as 12 grams of fiber per serving, helping you achieve the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber a day.

Good sandwich fillings include chicken, turkey, ham, lean roast beef, tuna, hummus and reduced fat cheese. Check the sodium levels in prepackaged and deli meats, since most of those products run high. Cut the sodium by slicing meat you have roasted at home or by asking specifically for meats lower in sodium at the deli.

Vegetables add both nutrients and flavor. Tomatoes, fresh greens (the darker, the better), red onion and peppers are all good choices. Roasted red peppers are especially good and it you like things spicy, sliced banana peppers can do that for you.

Condiments don’t need to be high in fat to have a lot of flavor. There are low-fat, healthful choices that will give your sandwich extra flavor, such as:

— Mustard

— Salsa

— Italian vinaigrette

— Light salad dressings

— Greek Yogurt flavored with herbs and lemon

Crispy Chicken Sub

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Serves: 4

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, divided

Sandwich

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • Four 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 thin whole-grain sandwich buns, toasted
  • 2 cups arugula or shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, dill and lemon juice. Season with 1/8  teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg whites, Dijon mustard and remaining 1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.

Place panko crumbs in a shallow pan. Place flour in a second shallow pan.

Dredge each chicken breast in flour, shaking off excess, then in egg white mixture. Press cutlets gently into the panko crumbs and transfer to a baking tray or plate.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet on medium-high and saute chicken until golden brown and fully cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.

To assemble the sandwiches:

Split buns and spread yogurt-lemon mixture evenly onto cut sides of the bread, dividing evenly between the four sandwiches. Layer the bottom half of each bun with 1 chicken cutlet and even amounts of lettuce, cucumber slices and roasted peppers. Cover each with the top half of a the bun.

Smoked Salmon Flatbreads

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4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces reduced fat tub cream cheese spread with added chives and onions
  • 4 multigrain flatbreads or pitas
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon, sliced into strips
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • Ground black pepper

Directions

Spread one ounce of cream cheese evenly on one side of each flatbread. Top with shredded lettuce. Add salmon strips, radish slices and capers to each sandwich; sprinkle with pepper. Fold in half and serve.

Meatball Pitas

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Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 whole grain pita breads
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 (6-ounce) cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 1 small garlic clove , minced
  • 1/2 cup grated peeled seedless cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup finely sliced romaine lettuce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a small baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the top third off the pitas. Tear 2 of the tops into small pieces with your fingers and place the pieces in a small bowl; save the remaining 2 pita tops for another use.

Add the milk to the bowl and let the bread soak until very soft, about 15 minutes.

Combine the beef, onion, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt in a medium bowl.

With your hands, gently squeeze excess milk from the pita tops; add the bread to the bowl with the meat; discard the milk.

Mix with your hands or a rubber spatula until well combined and form the mixture into 16 balls, each about the size of a ping-pong ball.

Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning the meatballs over halfway through baking, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Combine the yogurt, feta cheese, garlic, cucumber and lemon juice in a small bowl. Fill each pita with tomato, lettuce and 4 meatballs. Spoon yogurt sauce on top and serve.

Mozzarella and Tomato Panini

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4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 slices whole grain country bread
  • Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 slices
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • Balsamic vinegar

Directions

Coat one side of each bread slice with olive oil cooking spray.

Place bread slices on a work surface, coated sides down.

Arrange tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil on four of the bread slices. Cover with the remaining four bread slices, coated sides up; press together gently.

Preheat a panini grill or heat a large skillet over medium heat.

Add sandwiches to the hot panini grill or skillet; cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is beginning to melt, turning once if using a skillet.

Serve with balsamic vinegar for a dipping sauce.

Mediterranean Sloppy Joes

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6 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 oz  lean ground lamb or beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 large  garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup canned stewed tomatoes, undrained and cut up
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
  • 3 whole wheat pita bread rounds, cut in half
  • Toppings: crumbled feta cheese, cucumber slices and chopped Kalamata olives

Directions

In a large skillet cook ground lamb or beef over medium heat until the meat is brown using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks.

Drain off the fat and place the meat on a paper towel lined plate.

Wipe out the pan and add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until softened. Add the browned meat, beans, tomatoes, wine, bay leaf, oregano, mint, salt, thyme and marjoram.

Cover and cook on low-heat for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

To serve: spoon the sloppy joe  mixture into the pita bread halves and add the toppings.

All things previously thought to be good for us are in fact harmful to our health.


Pumpernickle wheat bread

Working with Sourdough

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sourdough crockSourdough starter begins with a combination of flour and liquid. The proportion and type of flour and liquid can vary dramatically, from a stiff starter made entirely with flour and water to a liquid batter of milk and cornmeal and everything in between. Friendly bacteria present in our natural environment and the wild yeast living in flour work with one another when flour is mixed with warm water. The result: a sourdough starter. These tiny living creatures generate byproducts that cause bread to rise and give it a complex, rich flavor. Once you’ve created your starter, it needs regular feeding.  Feeding once a week is ideal, but your starter can also survive much longer stretches between feedings. I store my starter in a crock in the refrigerator and it is available whenever I need a starter for a recipe.

Read more about sourdough on King Arthur’s site.

Sourdough Cracked Wheat Rolls

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Yield: 8 rolls

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup cracked wheat
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1 cup of the flour with the yeast, cracked wheat, salt and sugar. Stir.

Combine the water and the oil. Add the water mixture and the sourdough starter to the dry ingredients. Beat for 4 minutes on medium speed. Gradually add the remaining flour, about ½ cup at a time. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease the top. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

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Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently press or “punch” down to remove air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough into a 4×6-inch rectangle; then, starting with the longer side, roll up each rectangle tightly, pinching the edges and ends to seal.

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IMG_0173Place shaped rolls onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen toweland let rise until doubled again, about 1 more hour. Near the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. With a sharp knife, make a lengthwise slash down the center of each roll and brush or lightly spray with cold water. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a cooling rack.

Baking in a Cloche Pan

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If you like crusty bread – this method is for you. The La Cloche natural clay stoneware baking dish and domed lid will simulate a hearth oven in your kitchen. The moist dough within the cloche creates the steam needed to produce a delicious bread with a crisp, golden crust and light crumb. You will not have to spritz your bread or pour water in a hot pan in the oven to get the crust you are after.

Pumpernickle wheat bread

Pumpernickel Wheat Bread

Makes 1 large round loaf

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup pumpernickel flour
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 teaspoon Deli Rye Flavor (purchased from King Arthur or other bread baking supply stores)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients and mix together in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Switch to the dough hook and knead until the dough is elastic and slightly sticky.

Let the dough rise in a lightly greased, covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours; it should become puffy.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface. Gently deflate it and shape into a ball.

Place the shaped loaf into a round stoneware baker (e.g., La Cloche), and cover with the lid.

Let the loaf rise for 60 to 90 minutes until it’s almost doubled in size.

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Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Slash the loaf diagonally in several places.

Bake the loaf for 35 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes. When done, the bread will be crusty and a digital thermometer inserted into the center should read 190°F to 200°F.

Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.

Making Sandwich Bread for Everyday

Great sandwich bread should be tough enough to hold up to a moist filling, but pliable enough to bite through easily. It should have some crunch on the outside, but be soft in the middle, so that it is easy to chew. Sandwich bread, when fresh, adds flavor and just a tinge of sweetness to any filling.

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Oatmeal Honey Sandwich Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk

Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a dough that holds together.

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Switch to the dough hook and knead  the dough for 5 minutes or until it is smooth. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for 1 hour. It will become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk.

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Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it crests 1″ to 2″ over the top rim of the pan.

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Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking.



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