Saturday, November 2, 2013

Back to Work

After a two month break I reopened the bakery yesterday. I was a little nervous, since it doesn't take much to tire me out. But oh, how wonderful, to be back in the saddle again. My grain shipment was delayed, so there was no bread on the menu. I have quinoa and plenty of oats, so I milled the quinoa into a very fine, earthy flavored flour, and made sweet stuff. Vegan quinoa and oatmeal cookies, quinoa banana nut muffins, quinoa oatmeal muffins, quinoa brownie mix and a bunch of our usual almond raisin granola.

Quinoa is not a grain, but a seed, related to swiss chard, beets and spinach. It originated in Central and South America and has been used in those cultures for thousands of years. I found a website that said Quinoa has been nominated the grain of the year. Cool, huh? It is considered a complete protein and is quite nutrient dense. Quinoa has no gluten, so it is not suitable for making yeast breads, but works well for cookies and quickbreads. It is quite costly, and because of the current gluten-free food fad (I'm certainly not talking about folks with celiac, but our culture does seem to flow from one food fad to another, and currently gluten-free is the one), the demand has taken a toll on supply. I have heard that folks who have used this as a foundational part of their diet have been having a hard time purchasing it because of the inflated prices.

Don't know what the answer to that problem is. I hope that as its popularity grows people will find the increase in demand will be good for local economies. And that we won't complain too greatly as the cost of this wonderful, nutritious food source increases, so that producers will be paid a fair wage.

I don't care to offer gluten-free products in my bakery since I mill all sorts of grain in my mill and don't want someone hurt from cross contamination. But it is fun to tinker around with alternative grains and seeds, creating nutrient dense snacks that are high in fiber and protein. Not to mention lots of vitamins.

Oh, by the way, it sure was great to see customers coming back to my door. Yes, I was pretty tired at the end of the day, but felt better than I have in quite some time. Thankful to be on the mend.