I made biscuits!

Following my last experiments, I've been trying to put my bean/oil/eggshell mush into a more convenient form. I'm now eating this stuff for all my meals except breakfast each day.

At first, I tried baking using just the bean powder. The results were too crumbly to be practical, so I added wheat flour. A family member suggested that, instead of dehydrating the cooked beans and then re-baking them, I could just mash the cooked beans in with the other ingredients before baking them. That also saves the trouble of grinding them. I tried it and got this:

A cooling rack with about 16 lumpy biscuits on it

(The colors are a bit off in that photo; the one on the far right is the closest to their actual color.)

These were pretty good - they're crunchy and a bit hard to chew, but I currently like that. I can still improve upon them, but the basic idea works great.

My recipe for this batch was:

  • 3 cups cooked beans
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • eggshells (see below)

Mix together the ingredients in a bowl and mash them up (I used a tough pastry cutter for that). Knead thoroughly, roll and fold in thirds repeatedly, fold in half and roll into about 1/2 inch sheet, cut into biscuits and bake at 250°F for 2 hours. (Biscuits are usually cooked at a higher temperature, but we think the higher temperature might destroy some of the nutrients, and there's no particular reason to do it.)

I used about one eggshell for this. Later that day, I received a milligram scale that I'd ordered, and massed an eggshell. It was about 6.1 grams, which should be about 2.2 grams of calcium1. This batch was about a day's food; the recommendation is one gram of calcium per day, and not more than 2.5 grams. Getting 2.2 from the eggshells is pushing it. Before I measured it, I had mistakenly thought the eggs had about half that much calcium. Well, good news: I can now use half as many eggshells, which is a closer match for how many eggs my family eats anyway!

The beans would otherwise become 1 cup of dried bean powder, so this recipe is essentially using a 1:1 ratio of bean to wheat, by volume. The beans are more calorie-dense and nutrient-dense per volume, though. Earlier, I tried using less wheat, but the biscuits were still too crumbly. However, in those tests, I was also still using the gritty bean powder instead of whole moist beans, which might make a difference. More tests are in order.

The salt is a bit less than my formula calls for; I haven't been getting the recommended 1.5g/day of sodium, and my body hasn't been craving more. Maybe that's appropriate because I sweat less than the average person, both physically (I overheat fast because I don't sweat much in the heat) and behaviorally (I'm fairly inactive and I avoid heat as much as I can). I've heard that the body is fairly good at regulating its salt intake, so I might start craving salt if I actually need it. I'll pay attention to whether that happens as time goes forward.

– Eli

  1. Eggshells are at least 90% calcium carbonate, and calcium carbonate is 40% calcium by mass. 6.1g eggshell * 0.9g CaCO3/g eggshell * 0.4g Ca/g CaCO3 ~= 2.2g Ca. back
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