Wheat Free Baking from WWI
Gluten Free Recipes from the First World War
During World War One, the United States asked the "patriotic women of America" to cut back on the use of wheat flour. Wheat was urgently needed to ship overseas for the troops and for starving civilians in war-torn areas.
Recipes in magazines and in booklets like the one shown here offered alternatives to wheat flour for baking. Everything from cottonseed flour to dried pea flour was used by American housewives as part of their war effort. Wheat was the only grain that could withstand the long shipment time to Europe, according to the booklet.
(picture from a vintage booklet owned by Virginia Allain)
My Grandmother with Her Cow - Around 1918
Muffin Recipe Using Cornmeal and Mashed Potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Fat
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Egg
- well beaten
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1 Cup Mashed Potatoes
- 1 Cup Cornmeal
- 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- Mix the ingredients in the order given. Put in a greased muffin tin. Bake forty minutes in a hot oven.
- Makes 12 muffins.
Keep in Mind...
that muffins in this era were more bread-like and not the cake muffins made today.
The WWI Housewife Probably Used a Cast Iron Muffin Pan
These are still available today.
Take Good Care of Your Cast Iron Cookware
- How to Refinish Old Cast Iron Cookware - Learn how to restore vintage cast iron pots and pans to their former non-stick glory. Follow along with step-by-step instructions and pictures.
- How To Take Care of Your Cast Iron and the History of Cast Iron -This page is about the care and cleaning of cast iron. It was the first non-stick cookware. How you care for it will affect how non-stick it is.
- Seasoning Cast Iron - Cast iron cookware is the old-fashioned way to achieve a meal that is lower in fat. If conditioned and properly cared for, cast iron cookware will obtain a slick, non-stick, consistency that is perfect for cooking without adding any oil or butter.
Wheat Substitutes Used during the First World War
- Barley flour
- Corn flour, Corn-meal, Eatable corn-starch, Corn grits, Hominy,
- Dried pea flour, Chickpea flour, White bean flour, Soy-bean flour,
- Rolled oats, Oatmeal
- Rice, Rice flour
- Potato flour
- Sweet potato flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Cottonseed flour
- Milo flour and meal
- Kafir flour and meal
- Cassava flour comes from a root and is widely used in Africa.
- Carara flour
- Chestnut flour
- Kaoling comes from the sorghum plant.
- Peanut flour
- Banana flour
- Dasheen comes from the taro plant and is used in the tropics.
- Feterita flour and meal was introduced in 1906 and 1908. It's listed in this booklet as a substitute for wheat flour. It is derived from grain sorghum which grows well on the great plains.
- Middlings - I had to look this up on Wikipedia which says, "Wheat middlings (also known as millfeed, wheat mill run, or wheat midds) are the product of the wheat milling process that is not flour." Apparently, it is a good source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
- Shorts - This is similar to Middlings. As part of the milling process for flour, shorts and middlings are produced. The historic Old Stone Mill in Canada explained it this way, "Middlings & Shorts: this is the flour from our coarser screens (50 and 30 mesh) which contains the germ, coarsely ground endosperm, and some finely ground bran." This would probably make a very high fiber bread.
More about Wheat Free Flours
Here's a look at eight types of flour and what they work best with- Non-wheat flours: by Ellen Jackson
Food Will Win the War
Back cover of the Wartime Recipes booklet
What patriotic housewife could refuse the appeal to aid the war effort. Her mission was to substitute other flours for wheat flour. Along with this message, she was asked to minimize wasted foods.
A Recipe From a 1918 Newspaper
Housekeepers hare been serving wheatless bread for months In the form of quick breads. Many housewives, as well as many hotel-keepers, pledged themselves to serve no wheat until next harvest. The need for a wheatless bread that could be kept in hand and be used for toast or for sandwiches was felt by all who took the pledge. This 100-per-cent bread will help meet this need:
1 3/4 cupfuls liquid
1 tablespoonful corn syrup
1/4 cake yeast
2 teaspoonfuls salt
3 3/8 cupfuls barley or 2 3/4 cupfuls ground rolled oats and either 2 1/8 cupfuls rice flour or 2 1/2 cupfuls corn flour
Make a sponge of first four Ingredients and one-half of mixture of substitutes. Let stand In a warm place until light, at least two hours, When the sponge Is light, work in the rest of the substitute flours and the egg slightly beaten. Shape the dough at once and place in loaf pan. Brush top of loaf with melted fat. Let rise to double the bulk and bake In a hot oven for 1 1/4 hours.
Housekeepers hare been serving wheatless bread for months In the form of quick breads. Many housewives pledged themselves to serve no wheat until next harvest. The need for a wheatless bread that could be kept in hand and be used for toast or for sandwiches was felt by all who took the pledge.
These breads are real victory breads. Use them for the cause of liberty.
A 1918 Recipe for 75% Wheat-Free Bread
Flours Made from Brown Rice, Coconut, Tapioca, Almonds or Millet
Your local grocery store might not stock a wide range of these. You can order them online from Amazon.
What Gluten Free Baking Do You Want?
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WWI Poster about Food for the War Effort - with a quote by General Pershing
My Grandfather, Clarence McGhee, in WWI
My Grandfather Was in France During World War I
- Clarence McGhee - My Grandfather's WWI Years
My grandfather served in France in the 1st world war. Here's his experience and the family memorabilia from this momentous time in his life. I'm sure it parallels that of other young men of the time.
My Great Uncle, Albert Vining, in WWI
My Grandmother's Brother Was Also in France in WWI
- Albert Vining in World War I
The earnest young soldier in this photo is my great-uncle, Albert Vining. He served in France during World War I and this page is to honor his service to his country. Albert and his wife, Vina Vining had no children so when they died, their...
More Alternative Flours - if you don't want wheat flour
Flours made from mesquite, arrowroot, peanut, chick pea and potato.
Have You Tried Garbanzo Flour?
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A Glimpse of World War One - Vintage Documentary
Will You Try an Alternative Flour for Baking?
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© 2012 Virginia Allain