We all know that herbs can add a dash of flavor to your dishes. But did you know that herbs, especially medicinal ones, can offer a whole lot more than just taste when used in baking? They can boost the health quotient of your home-baked goods, transforming them from mere treats into powerful health aids.
Health benefits of baking with medicinal herbs
Herbs have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Whether it's the calming properties of chamomile, the digestive aid of peppermint, or the immune-boosting prowess of echinacea, herbs have a host of benefits to offer. By incorporating these medicinal herbs into your baking, you're adding a healthy twist to your recipes, while also enjoying their subtle flavors.
So, how can you get started with baking using medicinal herbs? Here are some tips and tricks to guide you.
Choosing the right herbs for baking
It's important to choose the right herbs for your baking needs. Here are a few medicinal herbs that can be easily incorporated into various baked goods:
- Chamomile: Great in cakes, muffins, and bread. It's known for its calming properties and can help with sleep and digestion.
- Peppermint: Perfect for cookies, cakes, and brownies. It aids digestion and can also help with migraines.
- Lavender: Ideal for cakes and biscuits. It can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
- Rosemary: Excellent in bread and rolls. It can boost memory and improve digestion.
- Thyme: Good in bread, cakes, and pies. It's known for its respiratory benefits.
How to incorporate herbs into baking
Now that you have selected your herbs, the next step is to incorporate them into your baking. Here's how you can do it:
- Infuse the herbs: This is the most common method. Simply steep the herbs in a liquid like milk or cream that you'll be using in your recipe.
- Chop and add: Some herbs like rosemary and thyme can be finely chopped and added directly to the dough or batter.
- Make herb sugar: For desserts, consider making herb-infused sugars. Simply blend the herb with sugar in a food processor and use it in your recipe.
Sample recipes to get you started
To get you started on your journey of baking with medicinal herbs, here are some recipes you can try:
Chamomile muffins Ingredients:
- 1 cup milk
- 2 chamomile tea bags
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- Heat the milk and steep the chamomile tea bags in it for around 10 minutes. Allow it to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the chamomile-infused milk, melted butter, and eggs.
- Gradually add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
- Fill muffin cups about two-thirds full and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Baking with medicinal herbs not only adds flavor to your desserts but also introduces a host of health benefits. It's a simple way to make your baked goods more nutritious. So why not give it a try?
Remember, the key to baking with herbs is to experiment. Don't be afraid to try different combinations and see what works best for you.