Since visiting Castle Valley Mill I have been having fun finding new ways to use their wonderful products. In the past baking had been intimidating for me, but a few classes at Drexel, especially the one I am taking now with Marc Vetri and his baker Claire Kopp McWilliams, have brought me around. I now enjoy the whole process of baking a loaf of bread or a batch of rolls. Kneading it until it is just right and watching it rise is fascinating. Since I have been using the flour from Castle Valley I have developed a new respect for the different textures and flavors that whole grain products bring to the bread.
The flours that I bought were rye, whole wheat and a strain of corn they call Bloody Butcher. This flour is ground from a strain of corn that is red, and it gives the cornbread a tinge of color. Castle Valley has quite a few recipes on their website to help you get started using their product. I made their cornbread, two different ones, and they were both delicious. I enjoyed the one that uses dried rosemary just a bit more and I can envision swapping out the rosemary for thyme or sage depending on what I am eating it with.
I also made a rye bread from a recipe on David Lebovitz’s website. It is hearty and chewy with great rye flavor. No, it doesn’t taste like caraway, which is what most people think of when they think of rye bread. It’s fine to want that flavor — for example, these rolls from Martha Stewart are delicious — but I also think it’s important to appreciate the rye for what it is on its own.
I think my next venture with this flour will be pasta. I just ordered Mastering Pasta by Chef Vetri and then the fun will begin.