The Urban Guerrilla
“Hops, it is from more than just BEER”
By Michael Jordan
A.K.A: Freyr MOJ, the Crimson JUGGERNAUT
Hops, world renowned for the use in beer, is making a big comeback for gardens and baking. I was asked what I do with hop, well I make starts every year. Hops is getting expensive, so, over the last 10 years, I have been growing my own. Yes, I do brew beer, but there may things hops is good for.
Hops are primarily used to reduce tension and aid in sleep. As a sleep aid, hops can be used in a sachet inside of a pillow. The aromatic properties of the herb will help one to fall asleep. For tension, hops can be taken to help relax the muscles and soothe anxiety. As a digestive aid, hops can help to relax spasms of the digestive system and aid in digestion
Dosage: As an infusion, drink one cup in the evening to aid sleep. As a tincture, take 20 drops in a glass of water 3 times daily for anxiety. Take 10 drops with water up to 5 times daily for digestion. As a tablet, take for stress or as a sleep aid. As a capsule, take 500 mg, 3 times daily before meals, to help increase appetite. A sachet may be made and placed in your pillow to aid in sleep.
Safety: You should not use hops if you suffer from depression. Consult your health care provider before beginning use of any herb.
The shoots that corkscrew up out of the ground in the spring are quite tender and can be sautéed like asparagus. Combs stuffs hop leaves with hop flower petals, cheeses, and aromatics before tempura-frying them to make a cheesy-herbal beggar’s purse.
One of my favorite things to make with hops is bread. The hops give the bread a distinctive, though not very pronounced, hoppy aroma, and also, as I thought it might, a bitter finish, which is quite nice, once you get used to it. You probably need to like hops a lot though. The crumb is relatively heavy for a white-flour loaf, but soft and moist; the crust is soft and chewy. The flavor and aroma is awesome. This bread helps me with sleep and tension.
Soft Hops Yeast
•3-quart sauce pan
•1 quart glass jar with lid
•1/3 cup dried hops
•6 cups quality water
•1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
•1/2 teaspoon sea salt
•1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast or
•1/3 cup good soft yeast from previous batch
1.Simmer hops in water for 1/2 an hour letting the steam escape, to make a strong tea. The water will boil down to about 3 1/2 cups.
2.Sterilize jar and lid in boiling water. I do this by pouring boiling water into the jar and over the lid.
3.Place flour and salt in sterile jar, and strain boiling tea over the flour. Stir thoroughly. It is important to scald the flour to keep the yeast from souring.
4.Cover loosely and allow to cool.
5.When it is cool (not cold) add yeast and stir to incorporate. Cover loosely and keep at room temperature. It will bubble and ferment, producing a quality yeast.
6.When it has fermented (6-12 hours), cover tightly and store in a cool place.
Yields: 3 1/2 cups soft yeast.
Keeps 2 week, properly stored. When the yeast has a strong tart smell and watery appearance, it is too old for use.
Soft Hops Yeast Bread
•¼ cup corn meal
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 ½ cups water
•2 ½ cups milk
•¾ cup soft hop yeast
•10-12 cups flour, divided
•1 tablespoon water
1.In saucepan, combine cornmeal, salt and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer ten minutes, to form a thin gruel. Transfer to a non-metal mixing bowl.
2.Stir in milk, to cool the mixture.
3.Add yeast and 4 cups flour (I use whole wheat) to make a thick batter. Mix thoroughly and cover. This is called a sponge.
4.Let sit in a warm (room temperature) place 2 – 12 hours. It can be worked again when the surface appears somewhat watery, though it is best to mix the sponge in the evening and finish making the bread the next morning.
5.Stir in 4 cups all-purpose flour, to form stiff dough.
6.Turn out onto a heavily floured surface, cover with more flour and knead to incorporate ingredients (10-15 minutes).
7.Leave dough on the work surface, to rest while you clean out and grease the mixing bowl.
8.Knead dough for twenty minutes, to develop the gluten. Return dough to mixing bowl and cover.
9.Let rise in a warm area until doubled in bulk. This rising will take 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how long the sponge was allowed to develop.
10.Knead again, divide and shape into loaves. This recipe will make three 4” x 8” loaves, or two 5” x 9” loaves. It can also be divided and shaped into rolls or hamburger buns.
11.Place the dough in greased pans, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. This rising should take no more than an hour.
12.Mix glaze and brush on loaves or rolls.
13.Bake loaves at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for 50-60 minutes, or until the bread comes away from the sides of the pan and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. – Rolls and buns are baked at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 25 minutes.
14.When bread has baked, turn out of pans onto a wire rack to cool. For a softer crust, cover loaves with a hand towel while they cool.
Note: This dough tends to rise up and not out, so make the base of the loaves or buns the desired size of the final product.
Yeast Cakes from Hops
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup potato water
1 cup flour
1 cup dried hops
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 cups corn meal (approx.)
1 dried yeast cake (optional)
Boil 3 or 4 peeled potatoes in unsalted water. When done, drain the potatoes and mash them well, but save the potato water to use later. Cover the hop blossoms with water and bring to a boil. Drain off the water and save it, too. (Ella’s mother dissolved a dried yeast cake left from her last batch into this water as a booster.)
Put flour in a pan and slowly stir in the potato water you saved. Be careful not to use too much water. Mix slowly so that the flour won’t be lumpy. If the mixture is too runny, it might be necessary to cook it until it is a thick paste-like dough.
Add mashed potatoes and sugar. Mix well and then slowly add the hop water until you have a medium soft dough. Let rise double. Then punch down and work in enough corn meal to make a stiff dough. Roll out the dough on a board to about 1/2 inch thick and cut into cakes. Let the cakes dry, turning them often to make sure they dry evenly. When you think they are good and dry, hang them up in a muslin bag for a few days to make sure they won’t mold. After this you can store them in fruit jars or however you wish.
We followed this recipe using the called for amounts of ingredients and found it made two large pans of yeast cakes. Whereas this amount would be fine in a large family where bread is made often, it was much more than we needed. You may want to cut it down some, especially the first time you make it.
So then next time you plant something, try some hops. Not only will you have a great vine plant to weave in and out of your trellises, you have a plant that you can use to make something more than beer with.