In a message dated 10/6/03 11:46:55 AM, Gloria writes:
I'm really enjoying your book, hooked on raw. I've been a raw foodist now for 2 months and am loving it!! I'm wondering about my Excaliber Dehydrator. I have made a few attempts in making breads and crackers. Right now I have a recipe for you blueberry muffins in my dehydrator. I put them in Sunday at the temp given in your book – 90 degrees. But for some reason (it may be my dehydrator which is new) they smell a little "sour" and are still too gooey when I checked them this morning. I had to squish them down from the rounded cookie shape. This same thing has happened with bread I tried. Very quite gooey on the inside even after a day of being in the dehydrator. The muffins recipe says it only required 2 – 4 hours. It's been two days.
What do you suggest I do?
I'm glad you like my book and have discovered the joys of the raw food lifestyle – thanks for telling me.
The blueberry muffins will never get to the texture of cooked blueberry muffins (I'm sure you already know that) but they should dry up a bit on the outside. After two days, they are probably too fermented now to be enjoyed. When I make them, I make them smaller than regular muffins and flat. Perhaps try increasing the temperature on your dehydrator. Instead of the 95° F that I suggest, you could increase it to 100° or 105° F. Test your dehydrator with an oven thermometer to find out how accurate the temperature in it is. I place the muffins straight on the mesh trays, not on Teflex sheets.
Also, sometimes the ambient air temperature has something to do with the dehydration process. By ambient air, I mean the air and humidity in the room where the dehydrator is. I've dehydrated foods in NY, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, CA, FL, etc., and the results were different in each place, so you have to be flexible and adjust. I once took some Brazil Nut Wafers (recipe in my book) to Florida and they went mushy on me. In New York, they stayed perfectly dry and crisp. I was staying with a friend who had a dehydrator, so I put them back into the dehydrator and they dried up again, but an hour after I took them out, they were soft again. Finally, I figured out that there was just too much moisture in the air in Florida to be able to keep these wafers crunchy at room temperature, so I put them into the freezer where they stayed fine and then served them straight from the freezer, and they were crunchy. But in NY, probably because we don't have all that moisture in the air, my Brazil Nut Wafers stay crunchy at room temperature. I'm telling you this as an example of the effect that ambient air can have on some of our dehydrated foods.
Try some of the bread and cracker recipes in Juliano's book, Raw. I think he has the bread mastered, at least from what I've tasted at his restaurant.
Below is a really good recipe for flax bread or crackers which will be in my next book. To make the bread version you grind the flax seeds in a blender to flour – to make a cracker, you leave them whole. I think you'll enjoy this one and won't have any trouble with it. Also, have you tried my Savory Nut Crackers? – most people tell me they enjoy that recipe.
To your health and good eatin',
FLAX BREAD (OR CRACKERS)
Based on a recipe by Igor Boutenko
2 cups golden flaxseeds (or use brown)
the golden flaxseeds have a milder flavor than the brown ones
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 medium cloves of garlic
1 tsp. caraway seed
1 tsp. coriander seed (or ground)
1 tsp. celtic sea salt
dehydrated garlic flakes
1) Grind 2 cups of flaxseeds in a blender or Vita-Mix. Make sure the blender jar is completely dry – if it is wet, it will not grind the flaxseed to a thick flour consistency. Transfer the ground flaxseeds to a bowl. (If you are making crackers instead of bread – DO NOT GRIND the flaxseeds – leave them whole.)
2) In a blender, put the water, onion, celery, garlic and spices and blend well.
3) Add the blender mix to the ground (or whole) flaxseeds and mix well, kneading with your hands.
4) Cover the bowl with a cotton cloth and let sit 4 hours or overnight (or longer) to rise. it won't rise too much. The longer you let it sit the more fermented will be the flavor – I prefer 4 hours but you could just let it sit 1/2 hour too)
5) When ready, knead the dough again and spread out with your hands into a flat bread (or cracker) on Teflex dehydrator sheets. (this amount uses two large dehydrator trays. ) To make the dough easier to spread out, wet your hands with water.
6) With a soft edged knife, score the bread (or crackers) into the size pieces that you want.
7) Before putting the bread (or crackers) into the dehydrator for 24 to 36 hours at 95° F, sprinkle with dehydrated garlic flakes and/or sesame seeds. Turn the bread over at the half way point and put directly onto the mesh dehydrator screens. You can dry these to the soft (flexible) or hard stage, depending on how long you leave them in the dehydrator.
Keeps at room temperature in a covered jar for up to a month.