Thursday, April 30, 2009

What to do with this stuff?? Gluten, bran and starch

Ok, so...we now have a container of bran and starch and a handful of gluten. NOW WHAT?

Well, if you don't want to fool with it, you can pour the contents of the fluid container down the drain. You are pouring off fiber and nutrition, but it's your choice as to what you want to do. No food police will come cart you off if you don't use it.

First off, the bran will last 4-6 days in the fridge or you can freeze it for later use. Do yourself a favor and sack it up in portion sizes. That way you only have to work with a portion worth and not unthaw the whole mess.

The starch water will spoil a WHOLE LOT quicker. It needs to be refrigerated as soon as possible.

To separate the bran from the water:
To use the bran and starch water you need to let the water settle for about an hour. I have a glass "sun tea" jar that I bought to separate some organic raw milk I was able to get. It has a large opening at the top and a small spigot at the bottom. I'm going to put my bran/starch water into it and let the bran settle out to the bottom. I'll then use the spigot to drain off the bran and some of the water. How liquid I take out much depends on how thick I want the bran or starch to be. The more water that goes with the bran, the thinner the bran will be and the thicker the starch water will be. The less water I let go with the bran, the thicker the bran will be and the thinner the starch will be. First draining will be to remove the bran. Then in another container, I will drain off the starch portion. The water that is on top will be used to water my plants with.

So you don't have a sun tea jar and don't want another do-dad in your house. If all you have are canning jars, a bowl or pot, then you will do it differently. Let it settle down so that the 3 layers (bran, starch and water) separate. The pour (or use a turkey baster or meat injector to suck off) the layer of water. Pour or suck off until you start to get some milky fluid. Now you're down to the starch layer. Put the water aside in another container. Now gently pour or suck off the starch layer. When you start to see the brown bran flakes, stop. Put the starch in another container and put the bran in another container. Unless your going to use the starch right away (as in NOW), put it in the fridge and work with it later (as in another hour or more). You may find that the starch needs to be separated from the water a couple of times (3-4) for a thicker starch or just let the water sit overnight in the fridge and you can do it in one pouring.

You can water your plants with it, pour it over the dog/cat/goat/pig/chicken's feed or use it in place of the water in your bread, powdered milk, soup or stew recipes.

Starch water:
You can also water your plants with it, pour it over the dog/cat/goat/pig/chicken's feed or use it in place of water in your bread or powdered milk recipes with this. You can also use it to thicken sauces, gravies, puddings, soups and stews or anything else that you would use flour, cornstarch, arrow root or tapioca to thicken with - with the exception of tapioca pudding - for obvious reasons. lol You can make drinks both hot and cold with it. You can also make hand lotion, floor wax, a paste for matting or hinging art work, a paste to fix torn archival papers and artifacts, and use it to bath the baby.

Thick starch:
Gravy: 4-5 tbs to thicken 2 cups liquid
Stews: 6-7 tbs to 2 cups liquid
Other: use as you would cornstarch. It has a clearer and more delicate flavor than using regular flour to thicken foods.

Tip: After the water has been poured off and before you use it, stir the starch well.

A little different way to make and use gluten and it's byproducts:

I've searched for DAYS (well, since I starting this particular post) and can not find more uses for the starch - like how to use it on your floors. Perhaps someone can post that for us. So, I'm dropping the search for now and I'm going to continue on so this gets posted!

Ok, so now what to do with the bran? Well, you can freeze it to use or work with later.

Thin Bran:
Best for making bran flakes out of it. After the bran has settled, leave at a minimum 2" of the liquid on top of the bran.

Thick Bran:
Best for adding to other ingredients. Let the bran settle, then pour off as much liquid as possible or use a turkey baster or meat injector to suck the liquid from the top, leaving the brown flakes behind.

Dehydrated bran:
Dry on cookie sheet or in dehydrator. Powder in food processor, blender or nut mill. When ready to use, rehydrate or mix in with rest of ingredients.

Bran is good for crackers, cereals, and drinks. It's also good when used in breads, pies, pancakes, waffles, cakes, cookies, muffins and other baked goods.

Bran is good to use if you're "bound up" or if you have the "reverse". One of my girlfriend's twin daughters had GI troubles from the time she was born. The older ladies she knew kept telling her to give the child some bran muffins or bran cereal. She kept think, no! The baby has diarrhea and the bran will make it worse. Dr. after Dr. gave her prescriptions - to no avail. FINALLY, she gave up and tried what the old ladies told her to do. Guess what? A problem that the child had had for the first two years of her life went away! In a couple of days! For free. And the child would not have suffered for the better part of 2 years if mom had listened to the grannies who kept telling her what to do.

Moral of the story, many times Mamaw knows what she's talking about. Unless they're telling you to use something toxic, give it a try, can't hurt and will probably fix the problem. Granny didn't have the money to run the kids to the MD's every time they skinned a knee or had a stomach ache. How many of you remember how you're supposed to deal with a child with measles? Or mumps? or chicken pox? Yeah, the kids are all immunized against this stuff, but what's going to happen when, as they get older, the immunity wears off? My prediction is that we're going to see a whole lot of very sick people! Hopefully, I'll be wrong. I'll be thrilled to be wrong.

Bran can be used at 1/2 cup bran to 2 cups flour without altering the recipe. If it's already wet. If it's been dehydrated, then the bran will take up some of the liquid in the water. So look at your batter/dough as you're making your product. If it looks a little dry, add a tad more water - until it looks like is "should".


Milk group:
1 Cup fresh buttermilk (yoghurt or kefir will probably work too!)
1 Cup sour milk
1 cup water (+ recommended buttermilk powder to make 1 cup buttermilk will be added to dry ingredients. Saves you the time of mixing it together.)
Put 2 tsp vinegar in the bottom of a 1 or 2 cup measuring cup and add milk, evaporated milk, reconstituted powdered milk or 1/2 and 1/2 to make 1 cup and let it sit for about 5 mins to sour.

Egg group:
1 egg
1 Tbs Knox unflavored gelatin + 3 Tbs water. Mix together.
1 Tbs ground Flax seed + 3 Tbs water. Mix together.

Oil Group:
2 Tbs Oil, Melted shortening, butter, margerine (Regular Mayo NOT Miracle Whip, may work. It does in biscuits)
2 Tbs applesauce

To one of the milk group add one of the egg group and one of the oil group. Add 1/4 cup thick, raw bran.
Stir in the following ingredients into the wet mixture:
If you used water above, now add in the necessary buttermilk powder
1 cup whole wheat flour (AP flour will work too)
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt

Stir until just barely blended.

Cook on heated griddle.

2 cups from Milk group above
Add to milk:
1/2 cup from Oil Group above
3 eggs or equavelent from above
1/2 cup thick raw bran
2 1/2 ww flour
1 cup powder whey (from Health food store OR use your own whey from cheese making and reduce milk choice by 1 cup)
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
3 tsp baking powder

Mix all wet ingredients with electric mixer/beaters. Add dry ingerdients. Stir well but don't overmix. It should still have little lumps

Bake in preheated waffle iron.

When I make pancakes or waffles, I use more than one pan/appliance. If I'm making pancakes or waffles, I double or triple the recipe. I cook pancakes in 4 cast iron pans (all going at one time). If I'm making waffles, I use both of my waffle irons. I cool and freeze leftovers for later breakfasts or snacks. This lets me get done faster! (Is anyone else bored to DEATH watching pancakes or waffles cook?)

Cold Cereal:
2 cups thin raw bran
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar (raw, brown, white, honey, Blue Agave, whatever you like)

Mix ingredients. Pour a bit of the mixture paper-thin onto an oiled cookie sheet or on the fruit leather tray of your dehydrator. Tip cookie sheet pan from side to side to coat pan evenly. Bake 20-25 minutes at 300 degrees. Lfit sheet of bran from pan right away. Let it cool and break it into pieces. If using dehydrator, tip tray and make a thin layer of batter on it. Put tray(s) into dehydrator and let dry. Remove dried bran from trays, let cook and break it apart.

Part-way through drying times, you can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over pan/tray, or other topping of your choice over partially dried batter. (jello would work too!)

This is good for cold cereal or for use in granola.

Vital Wheat Gluten aka "wheat meat", bran and starch

Back in one of my first posts I have a recipe for "foldable" whole wheat bread. I mentioned Vital Wheat Gluten as a component of the bread - the one that lets the bread rise higher and lets it fold without crumbling. I'm just now getting around to giving you the recipe to make your own gluten, also known as wheat meat. By making your own, you also get bran and starch to use. Yes, this is the same bran as in what you buy in the stores. You can add some sugar to it and make a cereal out of it, if I look around, I can probably find a recipe for Grapenut Flakes.

Homemade Vital Wheat Gluten aka Wheat Meat


Flour: Whole wheat is best. You get brown gluten, bran and starch from it. AP white flour works and you get a larger yield of white gluten. BUT you don't get any bran with it AND you lose the vitamins that come with whole wheat. Other flours don't work - they don't have much gluten, which is why, for instance, you can't make bread that rises out of all barley or all rye.) Remember to leave out 1 cup of flour and mix the dough well. Then look at the dough. Does it NEED the extra flour. I live in a very humid area (Georgia). I usually need more flour than the recipe calls for. The flour has absorbed the humidity in my house, so it can't absorb the water in the recipe. HOWEVER, if I pop a #10 can of wheat that was canned out west and then immediately grind and use it, I don't always need all the flour a recipe calls for. Since it's easier to add flour than water in a dough. I err to the side of leaving out some of the flour. Then I can always add more flour. This is true for whatever type of baked good I'm making, not just for making gluten.

if it's safe to drink, it's safe to cook with.

Methods: There are several methods for making gluten. Mixing with a bread mixer, portable mixer, bread machine, by hand or by letting the water and wheat flour sit for several hours after mixing it together. I'll touch on all of these methods.

Bread Mixer: Tried this method years ago, works great. (Yields 2-5 cups raw gluten, depending on protein content of flour)
This is nice if you have a Bosch, Kitchenaid, etc. Can't use it if there is no electricity to power the machine.

11-14 cups flour
7 cups of water

Using dough hook, you can either put all the water in and then dump all the flour in the bowl at once, or add the flour in increments. Turn on, knead for 10 mins. When all of the flour has been added and is moistened, knead another 5 mins. Or knead for 15 total mins. Rest of instructions will follow.

Portable mixer: Tried this method years ago, worked great, BUT...since then, they have cut the power of portable (hand-held) mixers down. If you have a wimpy mixer, it's not going to work very well for you. There is a work-around that I haven't tried, but logic says should work. (Yields 2-3 cups raw gluten, depending on protein content of flour)
Saves you some work, but again, if power is out, you can't make it this way.

9 cups flour
6 cups water

Dump in bowl, turn on and mix at med. speed for 5 mins. Let the machine rest for a few minutes and then mix another10 mins. You may have to keep stopping and letting the machine rest. You don't want to burn up your mixer, so if it starts smelling hot. STOP and let it cool off! Rest of instructions will follow.

WORK AROUND for wimpy mixers: Put all the water and about 1/2 the flour in the bowl. Start mixing the flour and water together on medium speed. It should be fairly soupy at this point. Let the mixer work for a few minutes and then start adding in more of the flour. Keep adding flour until the mixer starts to slow down a bit. Kick the speed up to high. Do not add any more flour, just let the mixer run for about 5 mins or until it starts to "smell hot". Let the mixer rest for about 10 mins to cool off. Mix for another 5-10 mins by machine. You may have to let it rest some more. Then remove the beaters and start adding flour by hand. You want a bread dough consistency dough. Too wet and it's a sticky mess, to dry and it's too stiff to knead well. From the time you finish putting in the last of the flour, knead about another 5 mins. Rest of instructions will follow.

Bread machine:Trying this today as it's my invention. (Not sure of yield)
Again, the electricity is an issue. Also, my machine will allow 4 cups flour. Other machines have less capacity. CHECK YOUR OWNER'S MANUAL before trying this so you don't burn out the motor of your breadmaker! If you can't use 4 cups flour, then half the recipe and make more batches until you have the amount of gluten you want.

4 cups flour
2 cups water

Set machine on dough cycle. Let it knead until it goes to the first "rest" period in the cycle. This should be about 15 minutes. If it's not, then let it rest and knead again so you have about 15 mins total kneading time. (I would reset my machine to start, rather than waiting the 30 or so mins that the machine rests before starting to knead again. Rest of instructions to follow.

By Hand: Think I did try this some years ago, don't remember how it worked out. (Yield 1-2 cups raw gluten.)
This is time consuming and more work for you. You're basically kneading it like you would bread and for the same reasons - to activate the gluten. This is nice to know because if the power is out, you can still make gluten.

7 cups flour
3 cups water

Make a dough that is neither sticky nor too dry. You really are shooting for a bread dough consistency. So put all the water and 1/2 the flour into a bowl and then start adding more flour from there. You will need to flour the dough, your work surface and your hands to work the resulting dough.
Once the dough is a bread-dough consistency, you will either knead or pound the dough. You can use your fists, a rubber mallet or a rolling pin to pound the dough flat. (DO NOT use your good marble rolling pin on this one it WILL break!) Keep pounding the dough, turning it over from time to time and adding a bit more flour to your surface so it doesn't stick. It will take 15-20 mins to work the gluten, just like when you make bread. Rest of instructions to follow.

No-Knead: Not tried this yet. (Yield unknown)
No fuss, no muss, no worries if power goes off method.

7 cups flour
3 cups water
more water to cover dough

Mix flour and water into a dough. Cover with cold water and let it sit for 2-3 hours. Pour off water and mix until smooth.

Rest of instructions:
First, test dough to make sure that it's been kneaded enough. To do that simply take a small ball of dough (marble-size is good), flatten it out and then stretch the center of the ball out. If it just tears, it's not kneaded enough and you need to knead it some more. If it stretches and thins out, and you can start to be able to see through it before it finally tears, then it's ready to use. (Same as for kneading bread!)

Now that you have a lump of dough that has been well kneaded, your ready to wash it. You want to wash the dough to extract most of the bran and all the starch from the remaining gluten. We can save the bran and the starch for other purposes. That will be another post as will what to DO with all this goodness you're making.

Washing the gluten:
You need:
Clean pot, dishpan, large bowl, etc to set the colander inside of so you can catch the bran and starch. It needs to be large enough to hold the colander inside it and allow you to cover dough with water.

In the olden days of the 1960's and 70's, when we didn't think about "wasting" water, people just washed the gluten under running water. I reckon ya still can, but it will waste a lot of water. So I'm going to tell you how to do it with less water.

Put the colander in your chosen vessel. Then taking as much of the gluten as you can easily work with, put it into the colander. Cover the dough with warm (not HOT) water. Work the dough with an in and out movement so that you loosen the bran and starch. Keep working the dough in the same water until it toughens up and becomes the consistency of bubble gum. Repeat until all the dough has been rinsed. (Remove the worked dough from the colander before you put in the next piece.) When all of the dough has been washed, set the pan of bran/starch water aside.

Next, hold pieces of dough under a small stream of water and rinse until water is clear and dough is elastic and rubbery. You won't get out all of the bran. That's fine, don't bother trying.

Now you have gluten to make into flour or wheat meat. You have bran to use in recipes calling for bran and starch to thicken and add nutrition to foods, plus to use for pets, household cleaners, etc.

If the gluten doesn't collect or falls apart to the point of going through the colander, you have one of a couple of potential problems.
1.) Your wheat may have been soft wheat for pastries; or a "biscuit" flour like White Lily. You have to use hard red or hard white wheat. The gluten is the protein in the flour. Lower protein, lower gluten. All Purpose (AP) flour works too - if you know your brands. Anything that is touted as making biscuits tender is a pastry flour, not a hard wheat flour. The best way to get tender biscuits, muffins, pastries, etc. is to not over-handle the dough. But since too many people today have not learned how to cook from the older generation, they end up having a "heavy" hand. To fix that the baking supply industry has given us "biscuit" flour. That way, when people over-mix their dough, they don't activate the gluten as easily as in regular flour. The only problem is, most people don't realize that certain brands are using a pastry flour blend instead of regular flour. Then they have all kinds of trouble with any of the bread-stuffs that NEED to be kneaded. Low protein, low gluten = low rising of the dough. The sad thing is, they think it's their fault not the fault of the type/brand of flour they're using. So either grind your own wheat from known wheat types or read the bag of flour. You want to look at the protein content. High protein is about 11 to 18%. (Do I really need to tell you how I learned THIS fact. sigh) Bread flour will work, but it's more expensive. You may as well use bread flour to begin with and save yourself an hour or so of work.
2.) The pounding procedure was not hard enough or long enough. Both will cause the gluten to be underdeveloped. Do the window test to make sure it's been pounded long/hard enough.
3) The dough was not stiff enough (this happens when you use the mixer method or hand method.) You don't want a sticky dough. Add some more flour
4.) The dough was too stiff. This can happen when you mix by hand. You can add water into a formed dough, but it's a pain in the tush to do so. You have to really work it to get the water to incorporate. The best strategy is to not put in too much flour to begin with. You need just enough flour to make a dough that isn't sticky. No more. And if you're doing this by hand, make sure to take it out of the bowl when it's still a little sticky. The flour on your hands and kneading/pounding surface will incorporate into the dough.
5.) It was not kneaded enough. (Do the window test, even with machine kneaded dough!)

If you can, pound or knead the dough longer and test it again. Keep kneading/pounding until it stretches instead of rips. If you've already put the whole thing in water and it's falling apart, then let the mixture rest 4-8 hours and then try washing it again.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you what to do with the gluten, bran and starch.