Adding wheat germ or ground flaxseed to recipes

lilacs_of_mayOctober 7, 2008

I'd like to add wheat germ or ground flaxseed to things like bread recipes to make them healthier. Do I just add, say, 1/2 cup or should I replace the same amount of flour? How would I do that? I've been making peach bread and zucchini bread out of my harvest, and I'd like to add some wheat germ or ground flaxseed to them.

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The grains can be added without concern. If the dough seems a little dryer, add a few drops of warm water. Wheat germ spoils (rancid) easily, so keep it in the fridge. I like adding not only what you mentioned, but also several other grains. Whole wheat berries, should be either chopped or soaked in warm water an hour or so. Oats, millet, sesame, Many grains are described as 'cereal mixes', and also contain things like sunflower seeds, poppy, rye flakes, etc. The more grains added the healthier it is! Usually a half cup is fine, but I go a bit more here, as I like a lot of texture and crunchy grains. These are YEAST breads, right?

Here is a link that might be useful: KIng Arthur flour

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 1:17AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Ken - Been lurking here. Appreciate the information about keeping wheat germ in the fridge.

Learn something new every day.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 2:01AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

If you add flaxseed or wheat germ you may find the ratios of fat and liquid will change. It's something you have to be willing to play around with. Dough goes by feel anyway.

It's just SOP that all whole grains and germs need to be refrigerated or frozen. Otherwise they go rancid. So flax seed, wheat germ, wild rice, brown rice, whole wheat flour etc. fit into that category unless they're bought in small amounts and consumed quickly.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 4:27AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

What amount of shelf life would be safe for these products, then? I'm rapidly reaching the full freezer space and my fridge is also filled with things like sour dough starter, yeasts, gourmet cheeses, etc. Not to mention food picked fresh from the garden.

Either need to buy a bigger fridge or freezer - oh woe! - what a crazy world we live in - especially when we embark on food growing/preservation - love it, all that fresh taste - and never realized the differences between home grown/canned and store bought before.

My GD brought home some chicken sausages the other day - we all noticed the "preservatives/additives" right away, when I cooked them.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 8:23AM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Agree with Carol about the added grains.
Sometime when I play around with different grains I have to either add or subtract water or milk in the recipe. Wheat germ, in particular sucks up ALOT of liquid I have found.

Also agree with the freezing of such, let me tell you, the chickens and pigs eat very healthy when I get lazy or forget!

I'll locate my Great Grandmothers recipe for Oatmeal Bread, as I am in the process of getting out holiday recipes. I have often replaced some of the oatmeal in the recipe with other grains with no problems. That bread toasted is the best in the world I have been told.

BTW, I add wheatgerm, bran or ground flax seed in meatloaf or meatballs and regulary to muffin recipes.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 10:40AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

You can store in the fridge or freezer any grains mentioned. Here, because my dad was a person who believed in having plenty of food, he had bought two freezers at different times. One, I sold as it lost its self defrost feature and the ice buildup was severe enough that it forced the shelves out the front, preventing the door from being closed. In any case, I now have two freezers again, but the latest one was bought because my single older one had power up problems. It had a power conserving device attached to the plug, and after many years, it simply would not allow the freezer to start the compressor. I had a freezer alarm that went off at 6am, looked inside and it was almost all nearly thawed. I ran out, rented a truck and bought a new freezer that same morning. It was up and running within 10 hours. Talk about cutting it close. After I found that the power saver device was bad, I plugged in the old freezer and it started working again. Its about half full as is the newer one. I placed many of those freezer gel packs on the top shelf of both, so it can help slow down a cooling loss. Both freezers are uprights and take up a small space in my basement. I have pasta flour in there as well as a few other grains. Most items in there are meats, garden vegetables, and some baked goods.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 11:38AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I know. Freezer storage space is an issue. Even with a second freezer it's sometimes a matter of priortizing because not everything I'd like to put in there will fit.

It's easier in the winter because I can move some of the grains (well-sealed) out of the freezer into the cool garage.

I'd love to see the oatmeal bread recipe. I have an old one I can post also if it's different from yours. Now that we're moving into fall I should be activating my starter.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 2:17PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Bejay, how fast do you go through your grains? I'm lucky to live near a natural food store so I can buy in small amounts. The more oily things will go bad faster. The only grains I refrigerate are whole grain flours (wheat and rye), wheat germ, and flax seeds. I keep my brown rice and other whole grains in the pantry.

I believe hard wheat keeps very well. Don't end-of-days people keep big barrels of it to make bread with when the time comes? I remember reading a bunch of web sites like that around the year 2000.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 10:27PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Melissa -

Actually, I've only recently started buying rice, flours, beans in bulk - thanks to having more time since retirement, and "getting involved" in new things - sour doughs, canning, etc.

Yes, I have a store nearby (Henry's - was Wild Oats) that I purchase small amounts of things - like wheat germ, wheat berries, soy, buckwheat, etc., and have not purchased those in bulk. So far, they are kept in my cool pantry in jars. The only thing I refrigerate in that category - is my sour dough starter, and yeast (large pkg), as I was doing a lot of baking when weather was cool.

Of course, I am now trying to "move" stuff so run my kitchen like a full time job - almost, in order to - not only serve decent meals, with more variety, but organized so as not to waste. Running a kitchen that way, can be well worth it in the performance of the good wife. Personally, I feel we women could take a lesson here. I worked many years, making money, but a well-run kitchen can prove it's worthiness in a successful marriage.

Whee - what a sermon.

I spent some years on my uncle/aunt's farm in the Dakotas - around circa 1930-35's, and they raised almost everything they needed. I try to recall - I do remember sauerkraut in a cool - 55 degree or so basement and with no refrigeration, they stored potatoes, kept cream, butter, eggs, etc., in that basement. I try to recapture some of those memories - they had hard times - tho, and we didn't always have fresh stuff - and even weather permitting and money - stuff to can. BUT - my aunt made the best potato bread with fresh grown hard wheat - I can't begin to imitate - but I'm improving.

We did have flax - but the only memory I have of it - was putting some in boiling water - to make a gel and curling our hair with it for the usual Saturday nite - go to town - mostly for trips to the co-op to exchance grains for whatever they had. We kids went to movies for 10cents, doubtful whether anyone noticed our curled hair in the theater, tho. LOL.

Sorry - guess I got carried away. I do buy big rice and flours - tho, and wonder if I should put a few sprigs of basil (to thwart bugs??) does it work?


    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 8:34AM
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Basil? I've always added bay leaf to my pantry to keep away the bugs and it smells really good but basil would be very nice too.

I also add ground flaxseed to my breads, what germ, ground wheatberries, various seeds and nuts, whatever suits me and I happen to have on hand. Occasionally I get carried away and get a doorstop that looks like a loaf of bread, LOL, from too many grains and not enough gluten. I try to remember to add some vital wheat gluten but I don't always do it.

I agree with Carol on both issues. I bake all my own bread and I do it by feel. If it feels dry, I add more liquid. Too wet and it gets more flour and I'm never afraid to have a failure, it's just bread. I'll make more. (shrug)

Whole grains get stored in the fridge for the short term and the freezer long term. I don't buy large quantities because although I have two freezers I tend to fill those with local fresh produce, garden vegetables and homegrown beef. However, I don't have much of a selection locally so sometimes I have to freeze things. I buy yeast in those two pund packages at Sam's Club and store them in the freezer, I can use up one in about 2 or 3 months....


    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:26AM
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I was actually talking about quick breads rather than yeast breads, although I might start baking yeast bread again if I can find my bread machine. I used to do yeast bread by hand, but I think I've gotten both lazier and busier in my old age. :-)

I've been keeping my wheat germ in the fridge. How long does it stay good for if kept refrigerated? My flax seed is still in its unopened package. I have to buy a grinder for it.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 6:39AM
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Lilacs, I buy flaxseed already ground, and I use the grains in the refrigerator within weeks, so I don't have a storage timing issue. I have kept wheat germ up to three months without a problem in the fridge.

Quick breads? I think those are actually easier to "tweak" than yeast breads are. I'd replace flour with wheat germ or flax seed to start, and see how it comes out. You will have to limit the amount of whole grains but I'd start with 1/4 cup and go up.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:55PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Once you do yeast breads, give sourbough a try too. I have been keeping a culture going since my Polish grandfather had the bakery in VT and made lots of sour rye bread. Its got to be at least 100 years old now. I also used a few black carraway seeds as they give a nice old world taste, even in bagels.
Wheat germ, once opened, will probably keep in the fridge for about 3-6 months, you could also freeze it in an aire tight container. If you want to grind the flax, you can try a small food processor or a blender type coffee mill. Grain mills are a bit pricy.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 1:00PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

I've kept wheat germ in the fridge for at least six months, maybe longer. It will get rancid eventually, and I guess with any grain product you should check for signs of mold, but I don't really worry about mine. It still tastes great for months. I buy it from a store where it's sold refrigerated, which probably makes a difference. Health food stores do a lot more volume of it than the grocery store, too.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:41AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Tasting it after several months of storage miy give you an indication if its turning rancid. The jars sold in supermarkets are vacuum packed. If I were to store it, I would also add it to a canning jar and lid, and pull vacuum on the jar, the refrigerate. Lately, flax has beening getting some very good reviews.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 10:20AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

I tried very hard to make my sourdough starter do the entire job in getting the "good rise" - unfortunately, it never seemed to work when using the San Francisco sourdough recipes, found on the "net."

My mother-in-law left me a stack of cookbooks when she passed. She didn't like me very much, but guess no one else was much interested. I found an old Cornell Bread Book in the pile, and as it was well-written for the begining baker, gave it a try. I'm happy with it. However, the sourdough recipes adds extra yeast in addition to the starter, and this proved helpful.

Also I purchased some extra "vital wheat gluten" and also purchased a large bag of flour that was advertised as high in gluten (I assumed it might be for the pizza business trade.)

I make bread now in a mixer (Delonghi - great little machine), and getting a "feel" for it. When the hook takes up the dough from the bottom of the bowl, I then take it out and knead it - again until that "feel" is reached.

In addition, have found the food dehydrator - purchased this "cool" summer, is handy for raising the bread. The microwave works pretty good - putting a glass of hot water in to help hold warmer temps.

So - I do add other stuff - wheat germ, etc., but I think that the mixing itself will tell you when it's ready - when it picks up the dough from the bottom of the bowl - I just add more white flour until that stage. Then knead as directed on a floured board (that feel again). Sounds simple, but to a beginning bread maker, that thing called "feel" is pretty perplexing.

P.S. Also on heavy flour - darned near broke the Delonghi when I added a tad too much rye the first time. LOL.

My 2 c's.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 11:38PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

There are a few recipes that use only a sour dough culture yeast. It takes about 5-6 days and you make a 2-3 batchs of sourdough starter, and refeed each batch you have started. after a 5-6 day period at room temps, there should be 3 or 4 small batches, at different stages of development. These get mixed and allowed to bubble more, with added flour. My starters are never like batters, but more like a very sticky dough. The wheat gluten is great and I use it even making pasta. If I want a long lasting bread, I use some potato flour too. ascorbic acid will help hey yeast grow better too. The addition of some sour cream at the final stages of flour and kneading, will also help the sour taste. There is a lot ou can do with just wild yeast, If its still viable. I recall a TV show where the baker just added flour and water to some whole grapes. Dug out the grapes the next day and proceeded to make a bread. Thats a wild yeast for you! My mixer has two spiral dough beaters, that act like squeezing the dough through your fingers.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 1:39AM
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I've been using ground flax in place of shortening in biscuits (I'm trying to keep cholesterol numbers down, I do not even keep any shortening in the house). Here's my recipe:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk

Mix the flours, flax, baking powder, salt together. Add milk and mix. Knead a few times on floured surface, roll and cut out biscuits. Cook at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 12:56PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

There are a few margerines out there that are decent too.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 5:43PM
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Here's some info on flax seed. I just recently purchased some, and have added a little to some wheat bread and to some raspberry jam bars. I just bought wheat germ today, so I haven't used it yet.

Flaxseed Information

INGREDIENTS: Flaxseed Meal

Flax Information Sheet:

Flaxseed Meal in Recipes-
You can use BobÂs Red Mill flaxseed meal as a stand in for some or all of the oil or shortening called for in a recipe. Cooks recommend a 3:1 substitution ratio. For example, 3 tbsp. Of flaxseed meal added to a recipe can replace 1 tbsp of the butter, margarine or cooking oil. When flaxseed meal is used instead of oil, baked goods tend to brown more rapidly.

Vegetarian Baking-
BobÂs Red Mill Flaxseed meal mixed with water can replace an egg in selected recipes like pancakes, muffins and cookies. These baked goods are gummier and chewier than usual, and the volume is decreased. When using replacement formula, test a recipe first to determine if it meets your expectations.

Egg Replacement Formula-
1 tbsp BobÂs Red Mill flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg
Mix BobÂs Red Mill flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and let sit for one to two minutes. Add to a recipe as you would an egg.
A 3-1/2 ounce serving of flaxseed provides 21g of protein, which is similar to that of soybean. While flaxseed is rich in protein, research suggests the health benefits of this seed probably have more to do with its fat and fiber profile.

A healthy diet-
Scientific evidence now confirms that flaxseed has three main health benefits: a high content of alpha-linolenic acid, as essential omega-3 fat; large quantities of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber; and the highest plant source of lignans.

Nutritional Information-
3-1/2 ounces
Food Energy 450 calories
Fat 41 g
Total Dietary Fiber 28 g
Protein 21 g

Although about 42 percent of flaxseed is oil, very little of that fat is saturated. More than
70 percent of the fat in flaxseed is of the healthful polyunsaturated type. In fact, a unique feature of the polyunsaturated fats in flaxseed is the high ratio of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fat) to linoleic (an omega-6 fat).

If you click the link, and scroll down the page, they have some recipes there too.

Here is a link that might be useful: bob's red mill flax recipes

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 1:04AM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

I read an article in the paper the other day about flax seed, and this thread made me go dig it out of the recycle pile. I actually found the article on the web, should you care to read it (scroll down a little, it's the second "food" the article refers to).

Anyway, to para-phrase, it says some studies have linked high concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid (which is high in flax seed) to a higher risk of prostate cancer.

I don't know who the author is or what studies they're referring to - just passing it along for your information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flax seed article

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 1:15PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

It all boils down to the fact that too much of a good thing is sometimes bad. Today, unless there is US government bans, we must all be on the alert if there are safety issues that are not known, or can be proven beyond any doubt. Interestingly, Saccharin has been found to be linked to cancer, and its still being sold. That was one reason Cyclamates were banned here, but in ost other countries its stil being used and sold. I would make special trips to Canada just to get some. Its sweetening has less aftertaste and has not been 100% proven to be cancer causing.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 1:51PM
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