I don’t remember the first time I ate a strawberry. Do you?
I wonder if I liked it right away or if it took some time. I wonder if it was like tomatoes, where at first I hated the texture, and then I had some sliced on pizza and didn’t hate them, and soon started to want them (on pizza, on sandwiches, growing more plants every year). I kind of feel like I always liked strawberries, but who knows? I mean, some things take time to warm up to.
For example, I do remember the first time I soaked flour, and it was no strawberry. Remember that bittersweet soaked whole grain bread experience, the one where I was never quite sure if I’d done it right and the yeast plus my inexperience added up to ho-hum? I could have given up right then. I could have said no more soaking! It’s not easy to like! But then again, where would that attitude get me? I’ll tell you where: to a world without tomatoes, cherries, cheese, kefir, eggs, exercise and, heck, even some of my favorite people.
So I persevered. And go figure! I think I’m finally getting it.
Now let’s talking about soaking flour. If you’re new to the term, soaking simply refers to a do-ahead step of mixing the flour for a recipe with warm water/liquids and an acid (kefir, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, buttermilk), then letting that mixture soak, usually overnight (or for 12 to 24 hours) on the counter. The process breaks down the phytates and makes the grain easier for your body to digest: this is good for your health as well as good for the texture of your grain, as it tends to get softer while soaking.
So jumping back into the ring, I made muffins. Berry muffins. Berry muffins with a soaked spelt base, a few simple add-ins, and bunches of blueberries and chopped strawberries. Because I like to hedge my bets though, I also added a crumble topping—not just any crumble topping, the crumble topping, the one from that coffee cake I couldn’t stop raving about last summer. To be fair, there’s some flour in the topping and that flour I didn’t soak but otherwise: this recipe was a big win for soaking grains. And how!
These muffins are golden on the outsides and incredibly moist on the inside. The berries add a nice tartness and extra texture, and the crumble topping puts the whole thing over the top. Originally I made these around July 4 (red, white and blue!), but I made them again a few days later, just because they were that good and, like so many things, at least I like this method now.
For more on adapting recipes for soaking flours, check out this post at Passionate Homemaker.
Soaked Spelt Berry Muffins
Adapted from Life Fitness Academy, Nashville
The second time I made these, it was in mini-muffin tins, and that proved to be a little problematic in terms of muffin + berries + topping. It was too much. If you want to make minis, by all means do, but see if you can adjust proportions accordingly. Enjoy!
1 1/4 cups soaked spelt flour
3/4 cup warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup raw honey
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
For the crumble topping:
1/3 cup raw sugar or Sucanat
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, chopped into little pieces
3/4 cup spelt flour
Mix flour with water and yogurt, and let stand overnight. After it’s soaked for 12 to 24 hours, mix together the crumble topping in a bowl and set aside. Add all the remaining ingredients to the flour mixture, except berries. Pour into well–buttered muffin tin about half to three quarters full. Place a couple blueberries and strawberry pieces on each muffin, add about a teaspoon of crumble topping. Berries will fall partway into the muffins.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 15–20 minutes.
Note: The original recipe says kamut or whole wheat flour could be used in place of spelt. Also, 1 cup buckwheat flour or cornmeal may be used in place of 1 cup of whichever other flour you use.