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the COVID-19 Cook Book

 
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After a couple amusing adventures in the kitchen, I thought that maybe we could share some kitchen recipes, stories, and the like while we find interesting things hiding in the pantry...

To start, my wife's parents lived through the great depression and where children in the 1918-1919 flu pandemic.  My great-grandmother died not to long back, and I even remember getting to meet one of my great-great-grandparents when I was small.  That great-great-grandfauther was a small child when the Civil War started -- I remember meeting him and a couple of the stories because as a small child I was fascinated by the magical toilet paper roll that played music (similar to  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSZuZNruH4s)   I do not remember the song, but even though I was only about 4 years old when I met him, I still remember staring at it and listening as I pulled another foot or two off the roll -- it was MAGICAL!  I also remember getting scolded because I wasted 3/4 of the entire roll listening to it play...  Whenever I tell that story my wife always says: "the apple did not fall far from that old tree".  

Anyway, our elders always stressed keeping a pantry -- because you never know when something comes up and you fall on lean times.  Most say you want 3 to 6 months worth of staples, but no matter how much food you have in the pantry there comes a time when you go through it, and now is just one of those times.  So I invite people to share their recipes, stories, and adventures into the pantry dive.
 
Ebo David
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One of the first adventures started when my wife was on a telecon for work.  She works as a senior research ecologist for one of the four-letter federal agencies.  Anyway, during the call her supervisor asked if there was anything that people wanted to say or ask.  She asked him if this was work-only related questions, or if she could ask ANYTHING.  She was given the go-ahead, so she asked if anyone had any suggestions on what to do with cooking Kelp Noodles...  While her intent in part to break the ice and give people something to chuckle about, this was a genuine question.  I mean what Do you Do with someThing like this...

Anyway, we decided to have them with some lentils.  While my wife was working on the lentils the top on the curry spice can popped off and A LOT OF CURRY POWDER BLOPED IN.  This was definitely one of those -- "there is not much you can do to fix this" moment.  So, we scooped some of the over-spiced lentils over the kelp noodles and you know, they were actually rather good combination.  Kelp noodles had the consistency of a bean sprout, and the lentils almost like a pasta or spaghetti sauce.  It was definitely one of the lest 'planned' meals we have had during the self-quarantine, BUT it was still yummy and nutritious.
 
Ebo David
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one of the other adventures happened when my wife was looking for something, she came across an apple juice box.  She asked me if I would like it for lunch.  I thanked her and poked the little straw into it.  It tasted a little funny, not bad but kinda stale.  I was drinking some of the juice when I noticed that it had a "best used by" date of Dec 19, 2002... and i had one of those "you know, I think it is time to go through and clean out the pantry" moments.  Yep.  Time to clean the pantry...
 
Ebo David
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I am rather gluten intolerant, and it is always hard to find a good bread recipe (OMG, if anyone can post their favorite gluten-free bread mixes I would be SO happy).  Anyway, we really like Pamela's Gluten Free Bread mix, and it works well in our automated bread maker.  There is only one problem.  The little 1-loaf bags of Pamela's come with yeast, and the big ones (which make 2 or 3 loaves), do not, and if you forget to purchase yeast, it is a bit of a problem.  Anyway, while we were pondering on that dilemma she remembered propagating bread yeast while she was a grad student back in the 80's doing her field research in the rural Rajasthan (India).  While her technique is a bit different than the following WikiHow on Grow Your Own Yeast, it has allowed us to basically stretch one of those little yeast packets for 4 or 5 loves so far and cook some great fresh made gluten free bread.
 
pollinator
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Ebo David wrote:While her technique is a bit different than the following WikiHow on Grow Your Own Yeast, it has allowed us to basically stretch one of those little yeast packets for 4 or 5 loves so far and cook some great fresh made gluten free bread.



Great! I do have some fresh yeast in the fridge and some frozen, but I use very little or none when I make my normal bread.
Currently there are several (German) sites which explain how to start and maintain a yeast water starter (with raisins or elder flowers), and my favourite German baking author has remodeled his website and dedicated a whole page on how to bake in times of Corona: https://www.ploetzblog.de/2020/03/28/brotbacken-in-krisenzeiten-eine-uebersicht/
What to do when there is no bread flour or yeast, what to observe if you add buckwheat, chickpeas, potatoes, pasta (cooked), how to better preserve bread, how to bake without electricity etc. He is one of my personal heroes :-)

Baking without gluten is another challenge, and in the latest book of the above mentioned baker (Lutz Geissler) there is a chapter on non-wheat sourdoughs, namely based on rice (Sakadane) or the mexican Birote (made with beer and egg) and a recipe for a gluten free sourdough bread (with rice, soy, corn starch, potato starch and psyllium husks).

All in all, I feel pretty confident making great tasting bread with the flours and ingredients I have - we love a bit of cooked potato in it!
Here is a loaf from this week made with no yeast at all, we only needed one day to finish it!
Sauerteig_mit_Kartoffel.jpg
sourdough bread with potato and spelt
sourdough bread with potato and spelt
 
master steward
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This thread has a recipe for making a Sourdough Starter that does not require yeast or a commercial started. It is just flour and water.  I used it when I was learning to make sourdough and I had great success with it.

https://permies.com/t/97835/kitchen/Sourdough-Project

This could be called using wild yeast. The thread also has a lot of suggestions on making starter or making bread.
 
Anita Martin
pollinator
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Thanks a lot for linking that thread! I will take my time to read it through, seems like lots of valuable information.

Anne Miller wrote:This thread has a recipe for making a Sourdough Starter that does not require yeast or a commercial started. It is just flour and water.  I used it when I was learning to make sourdough and I had great success with it.

https://permies.com/t/97835/kitchen/Sourdough-Project

This could be called using wild yeast. The thread also has a lot of suggestions on making starter or making bread.

 
pollinator
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Just pasting this here even as I have not actually tried it yet.  The most common laboratory media from growing baker's yeast (Saccharomyces species) is YEPD (abbreviation for Yeast Extract, Peptone, Dextrose):

"YEPD typically contains 1% yeast extract, 2% peptone, and 2% glucose/dextrose in distilled water."  -- Wikipedia

I'm pretty sure the common item closest to Yeast Extract would be nutritional yeast flakes or powder and Peptone is hydrolyzed protein.....again, I think this can be found commonly in health food stores or sections either as hydrolyzed casein or alternatively hydrolyzed soy/plant proteins.  Many such stores or wine/beer specialists will sell dextrose if I'm not mistaken.  Just in case some wish to experiment....I'll probably try an initial batch using table sugar (sucrose) and no peptone since the yeast extract will have a lot of amino acids in it already.  You should be able to take residue left in the bowl from your most recent bread to inoculate the broth.  This YEPD broth should do a pretty good job of growing baker's yeast given the appropriate temperatures and conditions already mentioned.
 
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