Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Whole Wheat Wednesday - Wheat Meat
This post is definitely the one that I have put off doing the longest. Not because I don’t think it is important and a wonderful option, but because I have worried about how to present the concept and do it justice. In a class I helped teach on making wheat meat years ago, so many of the people turned up their noses and weren’t even interested in trying it. I was disappointed but not surprised. I firmly believe that even though you may not make wheat meat and eat it as a main staple in your diet, someday, if you learn how to do it, you will be glad you can make it.
I’m a firm believer in storing meat. I have always cooked with meat and nearly all my main dish recipes call for some kind of meat. However, being the realist that I am, I know that no matter how much meat you store, you will someday run out. Then what? I’m not sure I’d go out and shoot something and prepare it and eat it. I’d rather be able to prepare wheat meat and make it taste good; and you can!
I hope that those of you who have not made it or eaten it, will at least copy these instructions or other instructions for making wheat meat and file it away, just in case. I just don’t believe you can be too prepared. I can also tell you that those who do this regularly and have practiced and perfected the methods they use, say it is very good. Many have eaten wheat meat not knowing that is what they were eating.
Wheat meat is also called wheat gluten. It is made through a process using simple flour and water which extracts the gluten from the flour. There are many benefits to having the know-how to make wheat meat. Some of these benefits are as follows:
1) Money – I just paid $2.99 a pound for ground beef this last weekend – on sale. We know it’s only going to get worse. Considering the price of 50 lbs of wheat, it’s pretty obvious how much you can save.
2) Storage life – As mentioned before, meat will only last so long but wheat has a very long shelf life.
3) Nutrition – I know as well as anyone that the meat I buy at the grocery store is probably full of pesticides, fertilizer, antibiotics, steroids, dyes and a certain amount of bacteria. I still buy it and eat it but it is a no-brainer that the wheat is going to be better for me. It contains essential vitamins and minerals is more easily absorbed and digested by the body.
4) Preparation time – In an emergency, time will be of the essence and it is much quicker and easier to prepare wheat meat than real meat.
5) Digestion – The human body has to use 80% of its energy to digest meat. Wheat meat requires much less energy, giving you more energy reserves for use in an actual emergency.
6) Versatility – There are so many ways to use wheat meat that it becomes as versatile as regular meat; the only difference is that from one batch of wheat meat, you can make many different kinds of “meat”.
7) Peace of mind – There is a certain sense of security and peace of mind that comes from knowing that because I can make wheat meat or gluten I have endless possibilities with that wheat on my shelf aside from just baking bread. I don’t need to worry about keeping it refrigerated or having it spoil if it isn’t used up quickly.
8) Bran – An awesome byproduct of making wheat meat is Bran. You should end up with about 1 cup of bran for every pound of wheat meat you make. You can use the bran to make bran muffins or cereal. How cool is that?!
9) Nutritious water – the water left over from the process of making wheat meat is packed with nutrition and can be used in several ways which will be listed later.
There are many resources out there that teach you how to make wheat meat but I’m going to tell you about just a couple and try to simplify it as much as possible. There is a book called “Feed a Family of Four for as Low as $10 Per Week and enjoy a nibble of independence” by Marlynn, Jenny and Venecia Phipps and Jan Woollery.
A whole chapter in this book is dedicated to making wheat meat and they do such a good job. There are different recipes depending on what kind of meat you want to make; ground beef, hamburgers, hot dogs, roast chicken, roast beef, meatballs, chicken nuggets or even shrimp.
Whole wheat flour varies a bit from one type to the next, depending on the quality of your wheat and its protein content. Hard red wheat produces the most gluten but hard white wheat is also great for making chicken and other lighter color meats. The equivalents vary a bit but here are the basics.
Today I’ll post the recipe for basic wheat meat then share some variations in later posts. The basic recipe will yield about 3-4 cups of raw gluten. This can then be baked into about 8-9 cups of ground gluten and will be equal to about 2 ½ to 3 lbs. of ground meat. This can also be used to make about 12 dozen meatballs, “beef” roasts, chicken nuggets, beef steak, roast chicken, shrimp or tuna, hamburger patties, or sausage. The possibilities are endless.
12 c Flour
6 c Cold water (about)
Use wheat flour for beef and other red meats; white flour for chicken, shrimp, or other light meats.
Mixing (Mixer Method)
Combine flour and water in mixer. Using dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. It should be the consistency of bread dough; add more flour or water as needed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a towel to keep the dough from drying out and let rest in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes. If desired it can be covered with cool water and left in the fridge overnight. Proceed with the washing instructions.
Mixing (Hand Mixing Method)
Start with 7 c. flour and 3 ½ c. Cold water
Mix together in a large mixing bowl adding more water, if needed to achieve a bread dough consistency. The consistency you want to end up with is flexible. It should look a lot like your bread dough does before being completely kneaded. You don’t want dry, or watery. You want it to look a bit rubbery. You can adjust the amounts of flour or water after your initial mixing in order to get the consistency you need. It will not require kneading if it is covered with plastic or a cloth and allowed to rest for at least 30 minutes. If desired it can be covered with cool water and left in the fridge overnight. Proceed with the instructions for washing.
After the dough has rested, divide into 1/4ths and work with one portion at a time, keeping the remainder covered as you work. Place a piece of the dough in a strainer which is placed in a large bowl of cold water. While keeping the dough immersed at all times, stretch and compress the dough to wash out the bran and starch. The volume of the dough will diminish considerably during this process but keep your dough in one lump. In a few minutes of working your dough, it will begin to resemble over chewed bubblegum in texture. Kind of like pulling apart a well chewed piece of bubble gum.
Rinse the now rubbery glob of gluten in a fresh bowl of clean water and leave it under water while you repeat the process with the remaining 3 pieces of dough.
DO NOT throw out the water you used to wash your dough. Instead, pour it into a gallon jug or pitcher and place in the fridge overnight. If it is allowed to sit it will divide into 3 distinct layers. The top layer of clear water can then be poured off and used to water houseplants, pets, or used to mix your powdered milk, or make bread with it, etc. It has much nutrition in it.
The second layer is starch. It can be used to thicken gravies, stews, sauces, etc. Just use 4-7 T. of raw starch for every 2 c. of liquid in your recipe. Warning: the starch will only stay good for about 2 days in your fridge. To store it longer, place in the freezer.
The final layer is bran. Rinse the bran using a strainer and cheese cloth. It will stay good, when well rinsed, 4-6 days in the fridge. To keep it longer you need to freeze it or powder it. You can use it to make bran muffins, or to make bran flakes for cold cereal.
In your bowl with clean water, you now have your raw wheat meat, or gluten, which can be used to make ground beef, roasts, chicken chunks, shrimp, etc. depending on how you prepare it.
Next time we will talk about making Ground Beef from your gluten or wheat meat.