Acorns From Field To Table, Part 3: Cooking With Acorn Flour!

in #homesteading4 years ago

This is the third post in a series of how to turn foraged acorns, a near-ubiquitous, totally under-utilized food resource, into delicious food for you and your family. In the first post, we talked about the history behind foraging acorns, how to gather them in the wild (it's not hard, haha) and how to store them until its time to process them (find it here: https://steemit.com/foraging/@slhomestead/acorns-from-field-to-table-part-1-foraging )

In the second post, we shared the long but not intimidating process of sorting, drying, leaching, grinding, and drying the acorns into useable flour. (find it here: https://steemit.com/homesteading/@slhomestead/acorns-from-field-to-table-part-2-processing )

Finally, in this third post, I'll be sharing my recipe for acorn sourdough bread, as well as some links to other fantastic recipes using acorn flour!

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The first thing to know about using acorn flour is to know how it tastes, of course. I found this flour to fall slightly to the side of sweet. It reminds me of a mixture of maple and the smell of freshly-fallen oak leaves, in terms of flavor. I know that is a pretty froofy description, but it's really how it tastes! Wild, nutty, and very pleasant.

Also, I like to think of the hot-leach flour that we made this year in the same context that I think of cornmeal. Since acorns lack gluten, like corn, the flour that I made will not make a cohesive dough that holds together without the inclusion of some wheat flour (or similar flour).

So, without further ado, lets get to the first recipe!

Ingredients

3/4 cup sourdough starter (if you don't have any, you can easily make your own! Check out my YouTube series on the process HERE--> https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJf5xvt40NPaiODPKPyRu2g5nfqYTQTDw )
1 ½ cups warm, filtered water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup coarse-ground acorn flour
(Note: The amount of flour you need to use varies depending on the day’s humidity. I find that I use far less flour in the summer than I do in the winter.)

Directions

  1. Add sourdough starter and filtered water to a large bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hand.

  2. Add salt, then flour, one cup at a time, and continue to mix with your hand. The dough should be wet. If it is dry or hard to work with, add more water.

  3. Let the dough rest 10 minutes.

  4. Wet your hands and knead the dough in the bowl. It may seem counter-intuitive, but whole wheat needs to be kneaded with water, not flour. Trust me on this one! Knead the dough in the bowl for 4 minutes, wetting your hands as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. If it is hard to knead at this point, you’ll want to introduce more water, about a teaspoon at a time, until it is workable. It's okay if it feels slightly “too wet.” It will soak it up, guaranteed.

  5. Allow to rest another 5 minutes.

  6. Wet your hands again and knead for 4 more minutes. You’ll probably notice that the dough is now smooth, supple, and not as sticky.

  7. Form into a round, cover with a towel, and put someplace warm for the next 3-4 hours.

  8. The dough should have risen quite a bit during this time. Punch down, then gently shape into a round ball by pulling the edges into the center.

  9. Line a large bowl with a linen towel, then dust the dough liberally with flour. Lay the dough in the bowl and put back in the warm place to rise again for at least 2 hours.

  10. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

  11. If using a baking sheet, both grease and scatter flour over the surface before gently flipping the bread onto it. If using a pizza stone, dust your pizza peel with flour before turning the bread out onto it.

  12. With a sharp, serrated knife, score the top of the bread to allow for expansion during baking.

  13. Slide the bread into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  14. Lower the temperature to 425F° and bake another 20 minutes.

Your bread is done if the internal temperature has reached 200F°. You can check with a meat thermometer or use the traditional method of tapping the bottom and listening for a hollow sound. If you can resist the urge, allow the bread to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before slicing so that it can finish internally steaming. Full disclosure: I very rarely do this step. The house is full of breadsmell and I am hungry.

Serve with butter and a fruit preserve.

Once cool, wrap in a towel and store in a cool, dark place. It should stay good for about 4 days.

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Here's some other recipes worth checking out!

Acorn Porridge: https://sustainabledish.com/the-acorn-a-never-to-be-forgotten-food/

Stew, Bread, Pancakes: http://www.thepeoplespaths.net/NAIFood/acorns.htm


Let me know if you give it a shot! I love teaching folks how to make sourdough bread, so don't hesitate to ask any question you might have.


Other places to find Simple Life Homestead Online!

Blog: http://www.simplelifehomestead.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwDzB6sjt8sZfB9hVUojxrQ
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SimpleLifeHomestead/
Twitter: @SLHomestead

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What a great end-product for a reward after all those steps! I wouldn't have been able to wait on the last 'rest' either. Fresh baked bread smells are not to be ignored.

I love making bread! We haven't bought sore bread for such a long time. And yeahh...Andrew and I haven't let the bread steam for about two years now.

This is awesome. I used to have a salad in Mexico with acorns in it and I loved it! When I would tell people it had acorns, they would say no, that wasn't possible because you can't eat acorns. So I'm glad to see this post. I don't have any acorns around me here in Panama though, sadly. Cool that you can make a bread with it. Thanks for sharing. (And congrats on the blocktrades upvote - I got one a month ago on one of my homesteading posts as well.) :)

A salad with acorns?? That sounds fascinating!

It's so funny to me how many of us were told that acorns weren't food--so many people once depended on them, across the world.

I was a little shocked at that upvote, too! Who is blocktrades, and how does their vote hold so much weight?

Blocktrades is a whale and that's all I know! So, congratulations on catching a whale!! :) Yes, the acorns in the salad were so yummy. We always asked when we went to make sure that they really were saying acorn in Spanish. ;) Yummy.

This is a post I've been watching for! I'm so excited to try this! I'll let you know how it goes.

Yaay! That makes me so happy to hear. I would love to hear how it goes.

nice work friend , good luck

I know the amount of flour you need for a recipe can vary a lot but I never connected it to the humidity! It seems like a no-brainer though, now that you've pointed it out.

I didn't realize it until I read about it in Baking With Natural Yeast by Melissa Richardson and Caleb Warnock (a highly-recommended book, btw!). Then it seemed so obvious, haha.

Thank you for sharing a very well-detailed recipe blog! The finished product looks so fine and delicious!!! Yum! Post more please. lol

Oh, thank you so much! Very kind of you to say. We have lots more recipes on our blog, www.simplelifehomestead.com. If you're interested, here's the link to all our recipes! http://www.simplelifehomestead.com/blog/category/homestead-kitchen

At a guesstimate, how many acorns does it take to make a cup of flour? (Or - what weight of unshelled acorns gives you how much flour?)

And in your experience, how long does acorn flour keep?

Your photographed bread looks delicious. :)

Ohh...that's a toughie. In order to have the half-gallon jar of acorn flour that I have on my counter, I'd say I went through a 5 gallon bucket of acorns? That's taking into account the ones that had weevils/were rotten too. So to make a cup of flour...I would get enough acorns to cover a cookie sheet. I think that would be enough, once processed.

I do know that fully-dried acorns can keep for years on end. I imagine that as long as the flour is kept in a dry, air-tight container, it would probably last years as well!

Thank you, that definitely gives me a rough idea, and I now know I have more than enough to do some experimenting with. :D

Oh good! Do let me know if I can help at all. I'm no expert, just excited.

This is really cool. I was looking up some recipes using acorns a month or two ago. Oaks are one of the trees I want to plant a lot of on our land. They don't grow wild around here but they will grow.

I will have to read the other two posts you made on this subject. Thanks for the information.

So glad it can be useful! It took me a long time to just finally try this process, but I'm so glad I did. I'm so surprised there aren't tons of oaks in Canada! I've always been surrounded by them in Ohio and Missouri. How interesting.

Happy planting!

There are a lot of Oaks in Eastern Canada but in Western Canada where I live there aren't.

I am so excited to try this. I love finding new ways to use what we have about us, and acorns for flower, I would not have guessed. I am now following and going to check out your acorn porridge next!

This makes me so happy to hear! I love learning new things too, and figuring out that there was abundant food...everywhere like this was an amazing discovery this fall. Please let me know how you like it!

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@slhomestead, I've really been enjoying your series on foraging and preparing acorns! I want to let you know that I've linked to your post from Cryptocurrencies Are Just Like Mother Nature's Seeds - An Essay of Abundance, Diversity and Collaboration

What a cool, "cross-disciplinary" approach to explaining that! Thanks so much for thinking outside the box and including us, haha. I'll check it out right now, and thanks for linking our article!

Awesome thank you! It's all about nature's abundance :)

This is very interesting! I've never had anything with acorns. I wonder if we have any acorns in our woods... 🤔. Following!

Aside from eating them during recess when I was seven (we were weird kids), I'd never eaten them before this year either. Totally worth trying! If you live anywhere in the continental US, I bet you have oak trees close-ish.

As a kid, I didn't think they were edible. We do have oak trees, but I haven't seen acorns on them.

Most oak trees have on and off years. You'll get tons from a tree one year, and then it will go on "vacation" and make a rather poor showing the next. I bet if you watch those trees, you'll find acorns under them eventually! You don't actually harvest them from the branches--its all gathered from what they drop to the ground.

Oh! Ok. I'll have to keep a lookout for them.

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