The internet provides an endless wormhole of recipes from everyone, their hypermasculine perfectionist bro, and their lifestyle mommy blogger cousin, and I don’t mean to distract from that journey. These are a few recipes I use for my grains in their whole wheat form.
A note on using Wit Wolkoring and Chiddam Blanc de Mars: they can be substituted for all purpose flour 1-to-1, even as a whole grain flour! They are freshly harvested soft white wheat, which means they have a slightly higher moisture content than store-bought flour and has a thinner bran than hard red wheat. So, when you see a recipe call for all purpose flour, don’t worry about adjusting water/hydration/fat when using Wit or Chiddam.
For those baking naturally-leavened bread, the hydration proportion is 70-75% rather than the higher proportions called for when using hard red whole wheat flour.
How To Cook Tender, Chewy Wheat Berries
1 cup wheat berries
Olive oil (optional)
Baking tray (optional)
2-quart sauce pan with lid
Bowl for tossing (optional)
- Toast the wheat berries (optional). Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spread the wheat berries on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until lightly colored and aromatic.
- Cook on the stovetop. Transfer the wheat berries into a sauce pan and add 3 cups of water and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover the pan.
- Check for doneness. At about 30 minutes, start checking for doneness by scooping out a few berries and carefully tasting after they’ve cooled a bit. They should be chewy but not tough. If not quite done, continue cooking and check the wheat berries every 5 minutes. You may need to cook them up to 25 minutes longer depending on the exact variety of wheat berry you purchased and their age.
- Drain. Drain the berries in the strainer and transfer to a bowl. Toss with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Store in refrigerator. If not using right away, store the cooked wheat berries in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Gently reheat in a frying pan over low heat until hot, or serve at room temperature.
- Check the pot on occasion to be sure there is enough water. Add more hot water as needed.
For extra flavor, toss warm wheat berries with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt just after draining. These additions, plus lemon or vinegar, make them ever more flavorful.
Toasting wheat berries bring out the nuttiness, but isn’t necessary
Soft White Wheat Recipes
Orange-Mint Wheat Berry Salad
Cook time: 1 hr
1 lb Wheat Berries — could be any, though I prefer Sonora
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1. Cook wheat berries in lightly salted water until soft, about 45 min. Let cool.
2. While berries are cooking, prepare dressing by juicing 2 oranges. Remove mint leaves from stems. If you don’t have a blender, mince the leaves. If you have a blender, put all dressing ingredients and pulse.
3. Dice carrots, spinach, green onions. Place in large bowl. Pour dressing over these ingredients.
4. Once wheat berries are cooled, mix with other ingredients.
I used this recipe for my baby’s first birthday cake. The result is a fluffy, moist, and not-too sweet celebratory treat.
- 1 cup oat flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of nutmeg
- 1 cup dates, goji, and/or jujube, pits removed, slivered, and soaked in warm water
- 1 large banana, mashed
- 1/3 cup thick oil like coconut or butter
- 1/3 cup milk of some kind, animal or nut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Oil for greasing muffin pans (or one cake pan)
- Seasonal fruit (optional, for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or one 9-inch round cake pan
Sift flours, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg together and set aside. In the bowl of a high-powered blender (I used a Vitamix) or food processor, blend the dates or whatever dried fruit you chose, banana, oil, milk, and vanilla extract until they form a smooth consistency. Get it as smooth as you can, blending on high speed for about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and blend until eggs are incorporated.
Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients. Use large paddle-type implement (wooden spoon or spatula) to gently mix together. Use as light a touch as you can: this keeps the cake soft and airy. When your batter is uniform, divide it between the greased molds.
Bake for about 20 minutes, a little more if in a cake pan and a little less if in a muffin pan. Check at 12 minutes to see how much longer you have to go. Cakes are ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I put these in muffin tins and they turned out very moist!
- 3 ounces/85 grams whole pecans (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) or whole almonds (about 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 2 ¼ cups/290 grams whole wheat flour, plus 2 teaspoons
- 1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
- ⅔ cup/135 grams granulated sugar (I use barley malt for a far less sweet cookie)
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon if using fine salt like Morton’s)
- ⅓ cup jam, jelly, or cajeta
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts out on a small baking sheet and cook in oven, shaking several times, until toasted, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Once cooled, dice the nuts or use a mortar and pestle to crush into fine pieces.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Add egg yolks and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl a few times as needed.
- Add 1/2 cup ground nuts, the salt and the remaining 2 1/4 cups flour; beat on low speed just until combined, then increase speed and beat until dough starts to clump together. Scrape the bowl and fold a few times to make sure everything is well mixed. Wrap dough in reusable wax cloth or plastic bag, flatten into a disk, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off small pieces of dough the size of a rounded tablespoon (about 20 grams each) and roll the top half of each one in the remaining ground nuts. Place a few inches apart on parchment- or silicone mat-lined baking sheets. Make thumbprint and chill in the freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.
- Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and add filing. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, and nuts are looking toasty but not burned, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets and transfer to wire racks to cool. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Hard Red Wheat Recipes
Red Fife Biscuits
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 – 6
2 cups Red Fife flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 scant tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, preferably European style
1.25 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 425. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.) Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
- Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Lemony Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6
1 c. red wheat berries
3 c. vegetable broth
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 large shallot, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 c. walnut pieces
1 tbsp. lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
salt + pepper to taste
- Combine wheat berries and vegetable broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until tender, about 50 minutes. Drain off excess liquid. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- While wheat berries are cooking, start Brussels sprouts. Toss Brussels sprouts, shallots, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned, stirring halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and stir in walnut pieces (they will toast on the hot baking sheet!).
- Whisk together lemon juice, zest, remaining oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add wheat berries and roasted vegetables; toss to combine, then serve.
South Asian-inspired Savory Pancakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 – 4
1.5 cups Red Fife flour
0.5 cup mint, packed
1. Mix all dry ingredients for pancake, then add the wet ingredients. The batter should be viscous such that it sticks to your stirring implement, but not to the point where it’s ripping when you pull up your implement. Add water if it seems too thick. Let the batter sit while you make the sauce.
2. Put all sauce ingredients into a blender or food processer and puree. Add water, a teaspoon at a time, if it does not blend easily.
3. Heat a skillet to medium-high. Add butter or oil. When the skillet is heated, pour a cup of batter onto the skillet. Leave it until you see bubbles pop on the surface. Once you see the bubbles, flip the pancake to cook the other side. Repeat for the rest of the batter.
4. This can be eaten warm or cool. You can also cut the pancakes into slices to make into a finger-food.
Mushroom Wheat Berry Salad
Cook time: 1 hr
This is a great fall and winter salad when mushroom season comes around. Any kind of mushroom works for this recipe. You can add garlic and replace the olive oil with butter if you prefer.
1 cup Red Fife wheat berries
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white onions
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped (fresh) rosemary and sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large pot, combine the wheatberries in 2 1/2 quarts of salted water and cook for approximately 50 minutes.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high, then add mushrooms. When mushrooms are slightly browned, add the white wine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add rosemary and sage, stir for 1 minute. Add the onions and mushrooms to the wheatberries in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.
Rye and Parsnips
From Homegrown Whole Grains
Cook time: 30 min
3 cups peeled and diced parsnips
1 cup water
2 cups cooked rye berries
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup Sonora flour
Parsnip cooking water and enough milk to make 2 cups
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cook the parsnips in the water until they are tender but not mushy. Remove the parsnips but retain the cooking liquid. Mix the parsnips and rye berries and set aside where you can keep them warm.
To make a thin-to-medium sauce, melt the butter and stir in the unbleached white flour. Cook over medium heat until golden. Whisky in the milk and parsnip cooking liquid. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is hot and smooth, the stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese and the salt. Stir until the cheese melts. If the sauce seems thick, thin it out with a little more milk; for this recipe, the sauce should not be too thick.
To serve, pour the hot sauce over the warm rye and parsnips and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the chopped chives. Serve very hot.