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Take a peek into your pantry. What's hidden back there? All kinds of flours, dried legumes, different types of sugars, various dried fruits, dried pasta and the odd lasagne sheet or two? Perfect, just what we need to start baking and cooking from scratch. By baking at home using quality package-free ingredients that you have chosen yourself you know exactly what's inside our baked goods, it's healthier for everyone and better for the environment. Baking is an excellent activity if you're feeling bored, stressed or need a distraction. Use it to practice mindfulness as you focus on the texture, taste and smells that change in every step of the process (Zen and the Art of Baking ?). Here are a few inspiring ideas, swaps, tips and tricks to help you along the way.
  • FLOURS

     

    Baking flour or plain flour is the most versatile of flours. Use for flaky pie crusts, chewy biscuits and breads. Baking flour has less protein and can be good for light, soft baked goods. The difference in white and wholewheat flours is the bleaching in white flour can produce changes in the texture, taste and appearance of flour, where unbleached flour is often denser with a tougher texture.

    Replacing bakers’ flour with plain flour will result in a slightly denser texture. Adding some cornflour to the plain flour can help reduce the density.

    Self-raising flour is a great flour to use for biscuits, muffins and pancakes. If you don’t have self-raising flour in your pantry, you can easily make your own. Turn bakers flour into self-raising flour by adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder to each cup of flour.

    Simply combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda (baking soda). You can use self-raising flour as a 1:1 substitute for bakers flour, just reduce the amount of raising agent to compensate.

     

    What’s more, not getting your calories early on might lead to overeating later in the day. You might excuse yourself for eating bigger portions or snacking more frequently given that you skipped one meal. But you might not realise that you’re consuming more than your required caloric intake, slowly piling on unwanted pounds.

  • Whole-wheat flour tends to be higher in protein and fibre due to the varying amounts of germ and bran that have been added back into the flour once it’s been milled. Whole-wheat flour will often produce heavier, denser baked goods, making it the perfect flour for healthy muffins, breads and homemade pasta. When substituting wholemeal with white flour in baked goods, in order to produce a similar texture use 3/4 cup of wholemeal flour to every 1 cup of white flour. Spelt Flour contains a significant amount of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. Its protein level is reasonably high as well. It has a flavour that is subtle and nutty when used in bread and other baked goods. If you plan to bake bread with this flour, the good news is that it contains a lot of gluten; however, it’s not like the gluten in wheat flour. Spelt flour’s gluten breaks down quickly, which means that you have to cut down on your mixing time.

    Flours are best stored at a cool temperature, to maintain maximum freshness store in the fridge or freezer as the healthy oils within them can be impacted by heat.

    Gluten-free flours are made from all kinds of grains, nuts and starches and are perfect for those avoiding gluten for dietary or health reasons. At The Source Bulk Foods, we stock almost every kind of gluten-free flour you can think of: rice flour, almond meal, buckwheat, coconut flour and more. Not sure how to substitute wheat flours for gluten-free flour? You can try our  Wheat Free Plain Flour alternatives. Ask one of our knowledgeable team members instore for recommendations or advice.

    Turn wheat-free plain flour into self-raising flour by adding 2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder to each cup of flour.

  • LEGUMES

     

    Did you find a few jars of dried legumes hiding at the back of your pantry? Or ditch canned beans and legumes for dried as not only does it help cut down on packaging waste, but they are free from added ingredients and toxins. We also think they taste a whole lot better! Packed with loads of nutrients and a good source of plant-based protein, be sure to incorporate these foods into your diet and try soaking, sprouting, and fermenting them.

    Use them in lentil patties, hummus, salads, vegetable casserole, homemade baked beans, a chickpea and pumpkin curry or delicious black bean brownies.

    Find out more about each product including which ones require soaking, how to soak and tips on cooking dried legumes and pulses by checking out each product here.

     

    DRIED FRUIT

     

    If your biscuit, slice or muffin recipe calls for dried fruit, remember this: there are no rules. Swap raisins for dried cranberriessultanascurrants or goji berries – it will all turn out delicious! Plus, it’s a great way to use up dried fruit and add colour to your baked goods. Same applies for small portions of nuts!

  • PASTA

     

    Do you know how easy it is to make a healthy and nutritious red pasta sauce? Crush some garlic and add it to a saucepan with good-quality olive oil. Grate a few fresh tomatoes in a bowl, then add to the garlic mix. Optional to add a small handful of thinly sliced Organic Sun Dried Tomatoes for an extra Mediterranean flavour. Give a good grind of salt and pepper and let simmer. Finish with oregano or parsley and remove from heat. Then, simply pour the red sauce over your cooked pasta and serve. Try our Teddy Bear Pasta for a fun and healthy meal for the kids. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, drizzle this sauce over lasagne sheets, roast some eggplant, capsicum and pumpkin, make up a simple white sauce and finish it off with cheese. Use this time at home to try out making your own lasagne or pasta. Bellissimo!

If you have any ideas for other blog topics that you would like to see please don’t hesitate to let us know on [email protected] or via the Contact Us form on this site.

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