SUCCESS! Trying to Make a Curly Dock Bread!

SUCCESS! Trying to Make a Curly Dock Bread!

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So I began my curly dock “bread” experiments this weekend, on Friday. Some out there skip the toasting step and go straight to the blender step because as one lady put it, “they’ve already dried on the stalk, no need to dry them further”. I decided to test that theory.

I did the dandelion dock bread recipe minus the milk and dandelion flowers as I don’t have the flowers at the moment, and the creator of the dock bread recipe said milk wasn’t necessary. The merged recipe however still has it in with a question mark, as I plan to test the recipe again with it added. It’s a money-saver if milk isn’t required.

For reference, the basic curly dock recipe that is said to create a sponge bread, is this:

Dock Bread – From Tracks and Roots
Ingredients
2 Cups Dock Seeds
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
4 Eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grind dock seeds.
3. Mix all the ingredients together.
4. Bake for 40 minutes until spongy.

My merged recipe from a dandelion “flour” bread recipe is edited as follows:

Dandelion Dock Bread
Ingredients
A good handful of clean dandelions to make up around 1 cup
2 Cups Dock Seeds
2 tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 Eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/4 cup of milk (? wasn’t necessary in dock bread recipe by itself)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup honey
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grind dock seeds.
3. Chop flower petals off at the head, it’s ok to have a bit of green in the mix.
4. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
5. Use a fork or whisk to whisk the oil, egg, milk and honey together until combined.
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together.
7. Pour into parchment-lined loaf pan.
8. Bake for 40 minutes until spongy.

I did the dandelion dock bread recipe minus the milk and dandelion flowers as I don’t have the flowers at the moment, and the creator of the dock bread recipe said milk wasn’t necessary. The merged recipe however still has it in with a question mark, as I plan to test the recipe again with it added. It’s a money-saver if milk isn’t required.

curly dock sponge breadWell, having forgotten where I hid the loaf pan on myself, I pulled out the 12″ pizza tray, put down some parchment paper, and poured the batter into that. The result is a very sweet, soft, crumbly texture that wouldn’t hold sandwiches very well, but might do warmed and served with ice cream, fruit purees, whipped cream, or other cream sauces. The Dandelion bread recipe calls for a half cup of honey, so I substituted with a half cup of fir syrup, and the cake-like bread is VERY sweet! Curly dock seed has it’s own sweetness already, quite reminiscent of maple syrup, so the fir syrup just added to it! The dock recipe only called for 2 tablespoons of sugar, so I either should have stuck with that, or eliminated it too. That recipe also called for baking soda rather than baking powder the way the dandelion recipe does, so maybe that’s why the added sugar. . .

The grinding of the curly dock seeds took roughly half an hour as my Ninja is limited by the power available to an RV-style tiny home. I was using the smoothie cup for more direct contact with the blades, and sifting as well, partially to get a finer flour and partly to give the machine a rest every so often. Once I was close to having the two cups, I stopped the blending and sifting and dove into the rest of the merged recipe.

Eggs aren’t cheap where I live, so one of my next experiments will be with applesauce, following the guidelines for my applesauce cake recipe. If we’re going to be making a cake, may as well go all the way. Although I have to say that when poured into muffin cups, my applesauce cake really does double as a moist muffin! So maybe I can get the curly dock (bread) cake to do the same? I know where my muffin tins are!

We need to eat this current iteration. I have pureed fruit in the freezer, so I should pull out a jar to thaw out to go with it. Running out to the freezer revealed that I’ve either buried what I have left of applesauce, or we’ve eaten it all finally. I did however, find some black current puree, so I grabbed that and ran back inside to find out if I can use that as a binder. It turns out that any fruit puree can be used as a binder, though most other fruits besides applesauce will add their own flavour to the dish. So as one blog author wrote, choose wisely! I also found a cracked jar of frozen rhubarb puree, so that’s now thawing in a bowl.

Saturday wasn’t a good day for baking. There was a ton of dishes to wash, a garbage run to do, sandwich meat to cook, and of course, thawing some fruit puree for the next dock loaf experiment.

Researching what to use for binders brought up several articles (and there are tons out there, most of them saying the same thing one way or another) that I read and made notes from for future use:

Some say to use 1/3 cup of applesauce or fruit puree per egg you want to replace while others say to use 1/4 cup. I think I’ll interpret that to mean 1/3 cup for large eggs and 1/4 cup for medium or small eggs.

Apparently pumpkin puree has been used as a binder, though mine is probably too runny due to making my puree via stovetop in a pot rather than roasted in the oven. Although, I could do what I’ve done with pancakes and bread machine recipes in the past, and use the puree in place of half or all the water or milk called for (depending on how runny the puree is or is not).

Apparently half a ripe, mashed banana equals one egg in most baking ventures, and zuchinni is a binder too! That’s useful information as I have a large ziplog bag of frozen pureed zuchinni in the freezer! If I thaw that out, I’m making oatmeal/dock zuchinni bread and it will be a marathon baking run to use it all up! (I have only found one other way of eating zuchinni that I like and it’s not puree!)

Potatoe can be used as a binder. Of course, many of these options are domestic in some way that you won’t find in North American forests or meadows. Along that line of thought, pureed canned beans work as binders too, which is good to know if you find yourself in an emergency situation where you can’t go shopping and have stocks of beans to fall back on.

Some have said oatmeal itself can be used as a binder. I use oatmeal in meatloaf and meatballs, and without egg, it can still fall apart, so I’m not so sure about this recommendation. Having said that, I’ve made oatmeal flour and successfully used that along with curly dock in pancakes in the past. Perhaps using the standard ratio of 1:2 oats to liquid (1/2 cup oats with 1 cup water) for a thick porridge as a binder for bread might work better. Soaking oats overnight at that ratio rather than making it on the stove could be useful too, as you wouldn’t be waiting for the porridge to cool down before adding it to a recipe needing a binder.

Of all these binder options, one that might work in the wild, is the fruit puree, as you can make that from wild fruit equally as well as from domestic fruit. I don’t advise making puree from wild rosehip however. Typically those fruit are so small that it is difficult to get all the hair out of the interior. It is better to dry and crush, then spin to remove what you can of the hair. If you want to rehydrate after that, its safer with less chance of irritation.

We only have bananas in the house on occasion, so I’m glad to uncover that fruit puree in general can be used as a binder. So the eggless experiment on Sunday was with black currant puree, and. . . it didn’t go as hoped. Binding did NOT occur! I forgot the vinegar to work with the baking soda for lift, and I reduced the sugar to the original recipe, so nowhere near as sweet, only slightly bitter, and a hint of the black currant flavour, but otherwise, baked crumbs! The eggs had held the batter together better.

So eggs marginally hold curly dock together, and oatmeal holds curly dock together with the oatmeal as half the flour replacement and no egg, but fruit puree does not.

curly dock with chickpea flour binderNext up was an experiment using pureed beans or chickpea flour as a binder, where egg-replacement levels are 3 tablespoons chickpea flour to 3 tablespoons water per egg you want to replace. The mixture is stirred till thick and creamy, then added to the baking. I tried this next, because if it worked, and if I were to manage to find a large enough field of lupines, I could do as the Italians do in prepping the lupine bean for food, and then use it as a wild binder. Their method of preparation is lengthy, up to a week in some articles I’ve read, and then it’s roasted as a snack much like corn nuts. I wouldn’t be roasting it however, I would be either pureeing for immediate use, or pureeing then drying for later use.

curly dock with chickpea flour binderWell, experiment number three. . . the chickpea flour to egg replacement at basically 1 to 1, was runny, so I added another round of chickpea flour, making it 2 chickpea to 1 water. This thickened up to a thick, creamy sauce so I added it and the other ingredients, mostly going on the dandelion dock recipe with half the sweetener called for. Trying to use the hand mixer balled up real fast, so I switched to a spoon. This is a good sign! I used my muffin tins again, because my loaf pan remains hidden somewhere in the pots and pans where I can’t reach very well. 40 min later, I had very dense curly dock bread! I got my binder that could potentially be wild if necessity requires and I happen to be near the required wild bean. But I didn’t get my lift.

My daughter wondered if I should change tack to cook the recipe in a frying pan instead. After all, Scottish oatcakes are dense and cooked in a frying pan or oven, and scottish oatmeal bannock is said to be lighter in the pan and denser in the oven.

Having said that though, I decided to revisit the baking soda/vinegar combo for the lift now that I have the chickpea binder. I know it’s a method of rising that isn’t wild, but decided to experiment with that, as well as discover a wild flatbread as well.  I know that these dense bits of bread WILL hold together for making sandwiches, perhaps little open-face sandwiches, but they’ll hold together.

Side note: A thought went through my head wondering if I could replace my cracker/cheese snack at bedtime with this curly dock “bread”, so I ran to my database to see what it might have for amino acids. It has 6 of the 9 essential amino acids. It doesn’t have tryptophan unfortunately, but it does have threonine. That isn’t a misspelling. Threonine and theonine are amino acids with different roles in the body. Threonine is classified as one of the essential amino acids. If curly dock had theonine, I might be able to replace my cheese at bedtime, as it is known to assist with soothing and sedation. But it is not present in curly dock.

The sweet bread version is nice for desserts and breakfast food, but it requires eggs. I’ll see if its possible to reinterpret that as a flatbread at some point, but it’s so fluffy, I’m dubious it will turn out. My weekend is now over and the week’s tasks begin Monday morning with errands and such. We are prepping for the June 9th wellness fair coming up as well. So I may not be able to do any further curly dock bread experiments till Tuesday at the earliest, and failing that, possibly not till Thursday. We shall see. But two out of three ways to bake with curly dock are now in hand or showing promise.

EDIT June 3, 2024

Curly Dock BreadCurly Dock Bread TextureMonday arrived and I actually had time for a couple more experiments after errands!  Adding both the baking soda and the vinegar to the batter lightened up the pan-style loaf considerably.  Not quite to the level of sponge bread, but definitely fluffier!  The texture is like eating something with chocolate in it.  The lady who wrote the original Curly Dock Sponge Bread recipe, says her three-yr old daughter thought her dock attempts all tasted like chocolate, including her effort with pine bark.  My own taste test of this latest round reminded me of chocolate too, and when I had my 28yr old daughter nibble a bit, she said it was the texture.

This loaf, baked in a deep dish 12″ pizza tray, should be cut into wedges and served the way you would serve cornbread.

I decided to do another batch of curly dock bread, this time with the one-to-one chickpea flour to water ratio, keeping everything else the same, and trying it in the frying pan.

Curly Dock pan biscuitsThe raw dough was softer, so I grabbed my quarter cup as a measure, pre-heated the cast iron frying pan on medium on my gas stove, brushed some oil into the pan and used the back of a spoon to push-spread it into a rough “round” if you can call it that. Eventually I realized that this should be done carefully but quickly as eventually you discover you’re trying to push/spread cooking dough!  I also discovered that it doesn’t matter how long or short you leave the dough on the pan, the curly dock WILL char!  So I did it for roughly 2 minutes per side and occasionally checking a piece as you would a pancake in the middle, flicking out a tiny section to test for cooked dough under the skin, to verify it was cooked through.

You can hold this in your hand without it falling apart, making it good for open-face sandwiches.

 

So what is the final recipe?

No-Egg, No-Milk, Curly Dock Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

2 Cups ground Curly Dock seeds
1.5 cup chickpea flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda
Dash of salt if desired
1/2 cup sugar or honey or syrup or sweetener of your choice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tblspn oil
3 tblspn vinegar
3/4 cup water

Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375F.
    2. Line 10″ deep dish pizza, corningware, or similar baking dish with parchment paper.  In the wild, you might use one or two burdock leaves for this step.
    3. Grind enough brown curly dock seeds to make 2 cups of curly dock seed flour.  Add to bowl.
    4. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Blend well.  Set aside.
    5. In a separate bowl, add the chickpea flour.  Add the water, then whisk into a thick, creamy sauce.
    6. Next we’ll add the wet ingredients to the blended curly dock bowl.  Add the vanilla extract and oil.  Then pour the chickpea flour on top.  Add the vinegar last.  Using a spoon, stir it all together quickly.  The dough may rise up and then fall before settling into it’s final shape in the bowl, so be sure you are using at least a medium-sized bowl for this.
    7. Pour batter into dish and spread out over bottom of dish.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Test in the middle with a fork for doneness.  The fork should come out clean.  Lift out of pan onto a drying rack to cool or it will begin to sweat in the pan as it cools.  Cut into wedges and serve warm or cold.

Variation for the frying pan:

Reduce chickpea flour from 1.5 cups to 3/4 cup when making the chickpea sauce.

Frying Pan Instructions:

    1. Preheat frying pan on medium.
    2. Scoop up a quarter cup measure of batter.  Brush pan with oil and dump cup’s batter onto pan.  Take the back of a metal spoon and push/smooth the lump into a rough round shape roughly half to 3/4″ thick.  Stop push/pressing when you start moving cooking batter instead of uncooked.  It will be approximately 6 to 8″ in diameter depending on how quickly you did the spreading.
    3. Cook for roughly 2 min per side.  You’ll observe the dough rising slightly as it cooks on the first side and may or may not rise slightly when you flip it to the second side.  There will be some charring.
    4. Stack finished rounds on a plate.  Serve immediately as you would pancakes, or let cool for later use as open-face sandwiches.  They are stiff enough to hold in your hand without breaking or folding.
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