Jill Shellenberg from Hillsboro, Kansas shares her recipe for Zwiebach (also spelled Zwieback), a traditional Mennonite bread. [Updated and Edited March 9: Jill made some changes to the recipe!]
1 package yeast
½ cup water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 can of evaporated milk
Add milk to evaporated milk to equal 2 ½ cups
½ cup canola oil
3 tsp. salt
Approximately 3½ to 4 cups Flour – half whole wheat – half white
In a large microwave proof measuring cup, combine the can of evaporated milk and milk to measure 2 ½ cups. Add water, oil, and sugar and heat in the microwave for two minutes. Mix in yeast and let it rise for at least a half an hour.
In a larger bowl combine the salt and a few cups of flour. Add the yeast mixture. Add flour by the cup and knead the dough until it isn’t sticky.
Let the dough rise for several hours.
Shape the dough into zwiebach and let rise for at least a half an hour.
3 Cups rolled oats (I use old fashioned but quick oats will make a lighter cracker)
2 cups Turkey Red Organic flour
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water
Mix ingredients and roll out onto 2 greased cookie sheets. You will need to experiment with how thin or thick you like your crackers. Sprinkle with salt and press it in. Cut into squares. Bake at 350. Check in about 15-20 minutes and remove individual crackers
as they turn golden brown and hard. I like to prick them with a fork to give them a cracker look but it’s not necessary.
If your dough is too wet to roll out, add 1/4 cup of flour at a time until the dough does not stick to your hands, but be careful not to knead the dough very much or you will get a tough cracker. This looks like a simple, easy recipe but you will want to
make it couple of times to get a feel for how you like them.
Friends of the farm Dan and Jenny Kapernick made this amazing whole-grain pizza dough on Superbowl Sunday.
Here’s the Recipe:
18 oz. whole wheat flour
11 oz. water. 1/2 oz. yeast.
2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons olive oil
Mix by hand, dough should be wet and sticky while kneading. Lightly flour counter top and shape dough into a ball. Let rise for at least and hour in a warm spot covered with a floured tea towel. Divide dough in three, knead a second time and form into a balls again. Allow dough to rise once more while you prep pizza ingredients and warm oven to 470. Shape dough into a 9” crust, top with whatever is local and tasty! Slide pizza into oven and reduce heat to 460, cook for 10-12 minutes.
Whole wheat bread: made with 100% Ben Penner’s Whole Grain Wheat Flour. Actually, I didn’t make it..my mother in law, Joannie Schwartz made it in her bread maker. And it is SO good! It’s a little on the heavy side, which I love, and moist and has good texture meaning it doesn’t crumble or fall apart, nor is it too dense. I couldn’t wait to get home and have some with my Wild Grape Jelly and loads of butter!
This morning as I drove onto my farm, I noticed that most of my 1874 Turkey Red Winter Wheat was lying flat on the ground. It was planted in the most protected area of the farm. Most storms and wind come from the West here and there’s a hedgerow to the West, but this was must have blown in a bit more from the South.
Just the other day, it looked more like this.
And a few days ago, it was blowing nicely in the breeze, like this.
As I began to assess what to do next, I thought that maybe it would be best to just process what was happening. To acknowledge that this was happening, and just to sit with it for a while.
So that’s why I’m writing this post.
My farm is built on the assumption that while agricultural knowledge through science is vast, there is still something to learn about how agricultural systems (and economic and cultural systems) as a whole work together. This is knowledge that could be called ecological, or cultural or sustainable.
And so the bedrock value of my farm is experimentation, learning and and the resulting knowledge gained from success and failure. My hunch is that in the tension between success and failure (however defined) is the beginning of knowledge, and the essential part of learning.
So, for now, I will sit with this fact, and see what I can learn from it.
UPDATE: 12 hours after this was written, the wheat stood back up (for the most part). See standing “resurrection” wheat below.
Ben Penner Farms is a 36 acre certified organic farm located in Belle Plaine, MN. I grow alfalfa, hard red winter and spring wheat, food grade soybeans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans and organic vegetable starter plants. If you are interested in buying organic whole grains and beans, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.