Sunday Baking with Almond Meal and Dehydrating Yogurt — Experiments In the Kitchen

Ever since my pie-baking experience some months ago, I’ve been encouraged to try out a few more recipes here and there, especially since being introduced to a couple of cool all-natural and healthy ingredients. Having discovered that her daughter has trouble digesting dairy products, my sister started baking and cooking with coconut oil instead of butter, and turned me on to it for some recipes, too. And sick of buying almond milk with all kinds of additives in it, we started making our own, but then we needed to figure out what to do with the extra meal. So a few Sunday baking sessions later…

Homemade granola bars fresh out of the oven.

We of course have made more granola cereal and bars with LoonSong Garden oats. The bars are much better now that we use coconut oil instead of olive oil!

To make almond milk, we just pretty much follow this recipe, though we’ve tinkered just a little to make it ours. Mostly we’ve found that soaking the almonds for about eight to twelve hours in the fridge yields the best-tasting and longest-lasting milk (usually 5 days). We’ve never used dates as a sweetener, but we do use a combination of agave nectar and pure all-natural vanilla extract.

Dehydrated almond meal on a dehydrator tray

We dehydrate the leftover ground almond meal, and once I tried to make crackers, but that was gross, so we fed those to the dogs and tried again with banana muffins and zucchini bread. The first time around didn’t go so well for a few reasons. First, I tried just a bit too much substitution of certain key ingredients, I think. I found all kinds of info about baking without eggs or baking powder, for example, plus I only used almond meal and LoonSong Garden Red Fife wheat flour, which ended up being too heavy for egg-less recipes. Second, I didn’t melt the coconut oil before trying to mix it in with the other ingredients, which took forever, was really hard, and ended up being lumpy. The results were rather oily and a bit too flat. So I didn’t take pictures of those… (winky face).

The second time I tried banana muffins and zucchini bread (from our garden last summer, grated and frozen), I mixed the almond meal with organic, unbleached all-purpose flour in addition to the LoonSong Garden Red Fife wheat flour to soften the texture. I also experimented with our own dehydrated raspberries and sesame seeds in the zucchini bread and sunflower seeds and chocolate chips in the muffins. Oh, and I used fresh farm eggs from Graywalk Buffalo Ranch this time (we’ll be getting our laying hens in June). I always use organic cane sugar, not white sugar, though I think this time I might have used some maple sugar, too. And since it’s me, I reduced the amount of sugar in both recipes. It all turned out great!

Since we were headed to Killarney on a trek, we wanted a fridge-free way to bring along some dairy, so I dehydrated vanilla yogurt and made roll-ups. Yum! When we got back, I decided to try it out with our frozen raspberries (thawed first). It took a couple hours longer…

See how the colour concentrates after it’s finished dehydrating? The vanilla yogurt did that, too. The dehydrated version was a light buttery yellow. And it’s the same with the flavour!

I’m really starting to like our Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator! We bought it solely thinking of the berries we pick, but now we’re also dehydrating almond meal and yogurt. I’d like to buy extra sauce trays to be able to make more at a time. I can see how useful it could be for making so much of our own trail food! I’m sure we’ll be coming up with new ideas to try out soon enough…