Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yummy, yummy Bread

The kids and I have been making bread since April.  In April we bought a wheat grinder and lots of wheat berries and really nice buckets with Gamma Lids.  Now, I have to tell you that Andy and I were not originally sold on the idea of the wheat grinder and baking bread.  We really did not see how it could be cost or time effective.  We've had many homeschool mommy friends who have shared with us about this over the last 10 years and family members who brought it up and we still weren't convinced.  However, a Mommy friend of mine shared with me about how she did it and loved it and it prompted me to do more research on the matter.  So, I did and well, now we own our grinder and have used it SO much.

Our wheat grinder is a Blendtec K-Tec Kitchen Mill wheat grinder and we bought it at Harvest Essentials.

We bought our wheat locally, but you can find better sources online.

We grind our wheat to make pancakes, bread, cookies, and anything else that can use flour.  Another idea is that you can also grind beans and put the flour in with your other flour to add protein to whatever you're making.  We have not tried this yet.  However, I did recently purchase some corn that I want to try to grind and make cornbread.  I'm sure when I do, you'll be the first to hear about it.

I soon discovered that the quality of the wheat we had, while definitely edible, was not the highest quality for baking.  But, we had 100 lbs of it (which only cost about $30) so we determined we would use it all up before trying to get more.  When we buy more, I will buy bread quality hard red wheat as well as soft white wheat since I will use both for baking bread and other things.  It's a little more costly, but when you figure that 1 cup wheat berries makes a cup and half of flour AND that 1, fifty pound bag of wheat (about $30) will make approximately 90 loaves of bread.  That makes 1 loaf of whole wheat, natural bread without unnecessary additives cost about 60-70 cents or less (compared to over $2 in the store).  Plus, a bag of whole wheat flour costs over $3 in the store and literally would cost about 50 cents.  It really makes it worth it.

We've baked bread all year-approximately 60-70 loaves-trying a few different recipes and finally, last week, we hit upon THE recipe that works for us and works great.  I've made 3 batches of it that worked wonderful.  I tweaked it to fit what we wanted out of bread and got these results:

So, not that many people will get as excited as I am, but I decided to share THE recipe I found that works for us.  I would still like to try this with substituting honey for the sugar-but 3 T sugar over 2 entire loaves of bread is really not a big deal to me. And, later, I will buy soft white wheat for grinding so I can use that instead of the storebought.  But for now, this is our family bread that we will be eating.   Because I have tweaked this to suit US I am naming this MY bread recipe...haha.  I have listed the ingredients as I have used them including our changes.

Ryan Family Bread

5 1/2-6 cups Flour
(I use 3 cups fresh ground wheat flour, and 2 1/2-3 cups unbleached white flour-storebought)
3 T Sugar
2 envelopes Active Dry Yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
2 T butter or margarine

Place 1/4 cup warm water in a large warm bowl.  Sprinkle in yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar; stir.  Let sit 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy on top.  Add remaining water, milk, butter, sugar, salt and 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup white flour.  Mix well using the medium speed of an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining white flour to make a soft dough.  The white flour also helps to pull the bread away from the sides and form a "ball" in the mixing bowl.  Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes (I knead it in the Kitchenaid).  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.  Cover; let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

Punch dough down.  Divide dough in half. Roll each half to 12X7 inch rectangle.  Beginning at the short end of each rectangle, roll up tightly as for jelly roll.  Pinch seams and end to seal.  Place, seam sides down, in greased 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 loaf pans.  Cover; let rise in warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 45-50 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until done (my oven does about 25 minutes) Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.

Voila!!  You have wonderfully delicious, VERY soft, savoury bread!!

"But he answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4

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