Wheat flour prices are set to increase and by extension the price of every commercial food item with flour as an ingredient. There has been a national outrage as people voice their rage on social and in the traditional media.
But let’s face it, flour prices have been increasing globally since the pandemic, and they will not decrease any time soon, if at all.
What can we do about this? From my perspective why sweat an uncontrollable situation? Ours is a diet built on flour – bread or roti for breakfast, doubles for an early-morning snack, lunch may comprise a wrap-roti, a fried chicken sandwich or a shark and bake sandwich, and let’s not forget bakery items of cakes, pies and pastries for snacks.
So yes, many will be affected.
This situation of increased flour prices can do us all good too, we can simply choose to consume less flour. Switch-out the bread item on your plate and replace it with nutritious provisions or green figs. Cassava, sweet potato, dasheen, yam and even green figs are all very worthy carb replacements for flour. They are delicious, sustaining, much healthier for us, (low-glycemic index, high fibre and no fat). Even better, they are more economical as well.
I could suggest a switch to alternative flours like cassava, plantain or sweet potato flours, all manufactured locally and available but the price is a bit high to make economic sense. However , if you are willing to spend more for even greater health grains you can experiment with the alternative flours and mix them with regular flour.
There is also the option to make your own breads. Compare the cost of one 5 lb-bag of all-purpose flour at approximately $18 with the cost of one loaf of commercial bread, at approximately $18 too; that 5 lb-bag of flour will yield 4 to 6 loaves of bread at a cost to you of $10 per loaf when you factor in the other ingredients for an enriched loaf. That makes economic sense, you are getting more for your money and you are also in control of what goes into your body.
Made from scratch, bread does not need any special equipment and you can make a loaf of bread with ingredients you have on hand.
If you are willing to learn the art of bread making which will enable you to create many different types of breads from your $18-pack of flour, take a bread baking class.
I will be hosting one on January 22, 2022, see you there!
Here are some flour alternatives for you to add to your diet.
Cassava Flour Empanadas
A perfectly delicious alternative to traditional flour pastry pies.
2 cups cassava/yucca flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
⅓ cup softened butter
cool water to mix
1 lb ground beef or chicken
1 tsp ground garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 small onion chopped
2 tbs Portuguese thyme or marjoram
1 tbs Spanish thyme, chopped
Season beef with garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt.
Heat oil in a sauté pan, add onion and sauté until fragrant and translucent add beef and cook until brown. Add Portuguese thyme and cook for a few minutes more.
Add the chopped Spanish thyme and add to beef, stir well.
Remove from heat; turn out into a shallow bowl, chill.
Combine the flours with salt and butter; rub the butter in with your fingers until a mealy consistency is achieved.
Add water gradually and knead to a soft dough.
Wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Roll out dough to ¼-inch thick, stamp out 3-inch rounds.
Place 1 tbs filling onto the bottom centre of each round and fold the top portion over the lower portion, covering the meat, seal with a little water.
Heat some coconut oil in a frying pan, fry empanadas until golden and cooked through.
Makes about 12
Sweet Potato Hash Browns
A great alternative to bread at breakfast time.
This recipe uses boiled sweet potatoes, simply peel and cut into tiny squares.
Chop some onion, garlic and pimentos, have ready some chopped chives and celery.
Heat oil in pan, add onion and garlic, and pimentos sauté add sweet potatoes; cook mashing then a little so that they come together. When they start to brown, add herbs and cook for a few minutes more, season with salt and pepper.
Oven-roasted Sweet Potato Chili Fries
Perfect with burgers of any type, you won’t miss the burger bun!
1½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
Preheat oven to 450 F
Combine all the ingredients except potatoes in a bowl.
Add cut potatoes to bowl and toss to coat evenly.
Place potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 35 mins until golden brown.
Sticky Cassava Pone
Satisfy your sweet craving with our beloved pone.
1 lb cassava
1 dried coconut meat only
¼ lb pumpkin, grated
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbs butter
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp bitters
¼ cup water (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F
Peel cassava and grate finely.
Finely grate coconut.
Combine cassava with coconut then add pumpkin.
Add sugar and stir.
Rub in butter then add spices.
Stir together well.
Add bitters and stir.
If mixture seems a little dry add water, just to moisten.
Mixture should be very thick but not slack in consistency.
Press into a well-greased 9x9-inch baking tin.
Bake for about 30 minutes until golden.
Makes one pone.