I decided to make up my own acorn bread recipe since we were playing around with acorn processing. Acorns are ready here a bit early this year, just like the apples were.
Did you know you can eat acorns? Not many people know that anymore. It was the main plant food of the Chumash Indians once upon a time. They processed them and used them for mush, for soup or for bread daily. They may have harvested from the same trees we did, which is entirely possible since some of the oaks are over 500 years old. Gives me goosebumps.
Then you remove the shell and pick out the acorn meat. Taste it. It tastes terrible! Spit it out. Acorns have a lot of tannic acid in them that must be leached out before they are edible. Those tannins are great for natural dyes though!
We blended them in our blender and then added boiling water. After a few hours the acorn sludge sunk, leaving the icky brown tannic water on top that I sucked off with a turkey baster. And then we did it again. And again. And again. It took us two days to fully leach these. How do you know they are fully leached? Taste the mush. It was finally mildly sweet and nutty tasting.
We fully intended to dry ours in the California hot sun just like the Chumash did...but it was raining. So out came the food dehydrator. In an oven on low would work too but I just know I'd forget and burn it. After days of acorn processing I was not going to risk that.
Here is my acorn bread recipe. Since I don't really know what I'm doing, I just based it on a bunch of other normal bread recipes and I tweaked it to include the acorn flour. I was too chicken to do it 100% acorn flour since it took us so long to process it. That flour is precious! It made a nice crusty bread that is slightly sweet. Perfect for topping with honey butter.
- 1.25 cups water
- 1 packet of yeast
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons sugar (we used brown)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups flour
- .5 cup acorn flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water, honey and sugar and set aside. Mix all the rest of the ingredients. Combine your wet with your dry and mix and knead. Place dough into an oiled pan (we oil with coconut oil) and cover with a wet towel to rise for 45 minutes. Punch it down and let rise covered with wet towel for another 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
By the way, yes indeed, the Chumash had to process and leach their acorns this same way. Although without the blender, dehydrator and oven! Good grief it was a lot of work even with my modern appliances. I imagine dealing with the acorn processing was a fulltime task. Talk about slow food. I'm so glad we tried this!
PS - Different acorns taste very different. Some are actually very sweet after processing, but all of them need to be leached to remove the tannins. Once you learn what kind are in your area you can find out how best to process and eat them.