I enjoy playing around with wild flours: acorn flour, Jerusalem artichoke flour, and now, roasted dock seed flour. Not because I have a problem with gluten (I don’t) but because it’s fun. And each of these flours brings something different to the things you bake with them.
Most people appreciate dock for its plentiful greens. They’re tart, tasty, and you often get two crops per year: one in spring and one in fall.
In summer, small white flowers are held on tall (2-3′) branching stalks, and those flowers are followed by green seed heads. In late summer the seeds dry to a vibrant reddish brown; that’s when it’s time to harvest. Each plant produces multitudes of seeds, so it’s easy to collect enough for several cups of flour in a short time.
There are some foragers who winnow dock seed. I am not one of those foragers. Winnowing is hard. And tedious. And hard. Fortunately, you don’t have to winnow dock seed. Use the entire seed head and thank me later for the extra fiber.
How to Harvest Dock Seeds
Strip the seeds from their stem by holding it over a paper bag and running your hand along the stem, allowing the seeds to fall into the bag. When you get home, spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet and pick out any leaves and bugs that may have come along for the ride.
If your seeds aren’t 100% dry, give them a few hours in the dehydrator. Or if you live in an arid place, as I do, let them dry in the sun between two screens. The screens are important as the seed is very light and could easily blow away.
How to Make Roasted Dock Seed Flour
Once the seed is dry, you can grind it and use it as flour. I’ve used it this way, and it’s perfectly fine. But why settle for perfectly fine? Roasting your dock seeds adds a whole ‘nother dimension to their flavor, and it only takes five minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350F and spread the dock seeds on cookie sheets in a thin layer. Let them bake for 5 minutes, then pull them out of the oven and let them cool. You’ll be able to smell the difference. The scent is rich and dark with hints of caramel. It’s kind of irresistible.
Pour the roasted seeds into the dry grains canister of a Vitamix (for a big batch) or a coffee bean grinder (for a small batch). Both work well. Pulverize those seeds like there’s no tomorrow. You want them to be as fine as possible to use them as flour.
Once you’ve ground your roasted dock seeds, transfer the flour to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, and store it out of direct sun light. You can use this with traditional flour (1/2 – 1/2) in breads, cakes, and muffins, or alone in brownies, cookies, and crackers. Because roasted dock seed flour doesn’t contain gluten, it doesn’t rise, and it also doesn’t bind as well as traditional flours do. This is less of a problem with crackers, cookies, and brownies, so if you want to go full force with the foraged flour, start with one of these.