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Flax seed has been called a modern miracle food. It is rich in many nutrients that help lower cholesterol and fight heart disease and cancer. In order to enjoy these benefits, it must be ground before it is added to food, because whole flax seeds almost always pass right through the digestive system.
Shopping for Flax Seed
Flax seed can be purchased in most grocery stores, especially those that sell organic foods and health foods. One form available is milled or ground flax seed, but this type must be used quickly and kept in the compact refrigerator to keep it from becoming rancid. The best choice is to buy it whole and grind it at home. You can grind it with a specialized grain mill, or a general food mill. We recommend the former.
There are two types of flax seeds on the market. The regular kind are a brown color and will contribute that dark color to whatever they are added to. Golden flax seed has the same dietary benefits as the brown kind, but is lighter in color and may be more aesthetically pleasing, depending on the recipe to which it is added. The cost of golden flax seed is usually slightly more than the regular.
Grinding Flax Seed
Flax seed is easy to grind as needed. The best coffee grinder will do the job in less than a minute, producing a nicely uniform flax seed meal. Whole flax seeds can be stored in an air tight container in the pantry, and any unused ground flax seed can be kept in a small plastic bag in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
A towel or other soft, dry cloth can be used to wipe out the inside of a burr grinder each time it is used, to keep it clean and avoid getting bits of coffee in the flax seed, or flax seed meal in the coffee. In a home where the coffee grinder is used frequently, a second coffee grinder may be purchased to use for grinding flax seed.
Using Flax Seed in Casseroles
Ground flax seed can be mixed into many casseroles that are made with a creamy sauce. Two or three tablespoons of ground flax seed will add nutrients and a slightly nutty taste without being noticed by most who eat the casserole.
Sprinkling ground flax seed on top of any casserole that calls for a bread crumb topping is another option. The flax seed can be used instead of the bread crumbs, or mixed with it, depending on preference. This will result in a darker topping than when bread crumbs alone are used. There is the added benefit that the oil in the ground flax seed may make it unnecessary to mix butter with the bread crumbs. Again, this depends on individual preference.
Baking Bread with Ground Flax Seed
Three tablespoons of flax seed can substitute for a tablespoon of oil in a bread recipe. This will work for both quick breads and yeast breads, as well as dough for rolls , buns and pizza from your pizza oven.
Adding ground flax seeds to a bread recipe is a great way to add fiber and other nutrients. As much as one-quarter cup can be added to most baking recipes, even if they are not specifically a flax seed recipe. Baking with ground flax seed is especially well-suited to baking wheat bread or quick breads such as banana bread in your best bread machine, where as much as a half-cup or more can be substituted for white or wheat flour.
Easy and Nutritious
Ground flax seeds add omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants to baked food. Grinding them at home is a quick and easy way to make your baked foods healthier and more nutritious.
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