Trever and I both grew up in families that had to penny pinch- so we hate seeing food go to waste. This was a problem in our first 18 months of marriage, and that’s largely in part to the affair that I had with Netflix. I would spend most of the day snuggled in the sheets, trying to figure out a way to make the battery life last just a little longer because ecstasy was just one. more. episode. away.
You’ve been there before, right? Tell me I’m not the only one. . .
There are just those days where we are either wildly unmotivated or the day just gets away from us. In this situation, it was a little of both because I was going through a funk when we first moved to Pittsburgh. I didn’t have friends, a job, a means of transportation, and I was adjusting to my new role of “wife”. It was overwhelming. So, on the good days when I got up and actually made supper, anything that was left over was priceless. Keeping a stash of back-up food in the freezer is part of how we got through the bad days.
Sometimes though, you end up with that odd amount of quinoa that you just can’t do anything with, so this grain and seed bread is perfect for those days when you have a little too much barley, or you need to use up that brown rice.
The trick to freezing grains is to make sure there isn’t any liquid left over. This doesn’t mean that your grains need to be dried out, you just don’t want to be pouring liquid into the container with your grains or your grains will stick together and become a solid block. This happened to me last time I froze barley, and I stood over the mini-glacier of grains with a meat mallet chipping pieces off for 15 minutes until I had enough to use.
If you freeze your grains correctly, you should be easily able to press the grains apart from each other.
To freeze grains:
- Cool. Let completely cooked grains cool.
- Strain. If there is any excess liquid in the pan, strain out the liquid using a sieve or colander. This is the trick to avoiding freezer burn. Freezer burn happens when there is excess moisture, so make sure when you’re straining that you really stir around those grains and remove as much liquid as possible.
- Seal it. If you’re using plastic bags for storage, place desired portion of grains in a single layer. Press out the air and spread out the grains so they can freeze flat.
- Put a lid on it. If you’re using a a container with a lid, place your grains in a single layer on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Place in the freezer for 2-4 hours, then remove from freezer and and scrape desired portion amounts into container for long term storage.
- Date. Write date of cooking on the plastic bag, or on masking tape to put on container, so you know how long to keep them. Frozen grains are good for around 6 months.
What kind of grains freeze well
The heftier the grain, the better if freezes. Some examples grains that freeze well include:
- Wheat berries
Thawing and Using Frozen Grains
One of my favorite things about this grain and seed bread is that you don’t have to thaw the grains if you don’t want to. As long as they’ve been frozen correctly, you should just be able to get a scoop and pop it right into the dough.
If you want to put your frozen grains right into something else you are making, like soup, make sure to adjust for the drop in temperature. While this doesn’t usually cause problems with the final result of your soup, be aware that it will slow down the cook time.
If you would like to thaw your frozen grains before use, I recommend these four options
- Overnight. If you know you are going to be using your grains tomorrow, pull them out of the freezer, place the container in a dish (this is to catch the condensation as the container thaws – nobody wants the shelves of their fridge to be flooded) and leave in the fridge overnight. Your grains should be in tip-top shape by morning.
- Countertop. A bag of frozen grains can thaw if left on the counter for about an hour. If you have a heavy duty container, it may take up to two hours for them to thaw – this can be helped along a little by removing the lid.
- Stovetop. If you’re looking to thaw them quickly, heat a small pot on low with 1/4 cup of water for every 2 cups of grains. Empty the grains into pot and stir every few minutes until the grains are reheated.
- Microwave. Place the frozen grains in a microwave safe container (ziploc bags are not microwave safe) and add 2 tablespoons of water for every cup of grains. Heat on high for 2 minutes, stir, and reheat further if necessary.
Skills & Techniques
Don’t forget to brush up on your knowledge of how to make stellar dough, and understanding the different types of flour before getting started to make sure your grain and seed bread turns out the best it can!
Grain and Seed Bread
This simple grain and seed bread is an easy – intermediate bread recipe. A mistake a lot of people make is that they don’t wait long enough for the flour to completely incorporate. If you feel like it is taking longer than you expect, and the walls of your bowl still have a lot of flour on them, give it about three more minutes, and if the condition still hasn’t changed, add in one tablespoon of water to help the dough out.
Have you ever had (or are you currently having) an affair with Netflix? What does it keep you from getting done? Tell me below.0