Thursday, July 10, 2008

MAKING BREAD


One of the almost daily routines I have is to make bread. I have tried 
many different recipes over the years and some I have kept, some I 
have thrown out. For awhile I even tried a bread machine because it 
was so much easier to just put the ingredients into the machine and 
push some buttons.

I don't know if it was my bread machine or the recipe I was using but 
it never really tasted very good. The loaves were small and the crust 
tasted like cardboard. But hey--it was homemade!

Growing up, I remember my mom always making bread. In fact, she 
has a newspaper clipping with a picture of her in our kitchen with her 
bread. We had fresh milk from a friend's cow, deer meat my dad and 
brother shot, fresh smelt from Camano Island, clams that we dug, etc. 
I recently made clam fritters for the first time ever with some of the 
clams my family dug on a weekend. They were delicious--just like I 
remember mom making.

My kids are not picky eaters, just like my brothers and sister and I 
weren't. If there is food on the table, you eat it. Recently I had the 
neighbor girls over for dinner. They don't have a mom and their dad 
was out of town so I thought they might like a home cooked meal. We 
had moose burgers (not gamey--better than beef by far) grilled outside 
on the BBQ, fresh cantaloupe and baked beans. The burgers had melted 
cheese, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise, mustard--whatever
you wanted!

They took one bite and didn't want them. I was so shocked by that. They
do eat at McDonald's at least 3-4 times a week, so maybe my burgers 
were not what they expected? They wrapped them in napkins and said 
they would eat them later, but I have a feeling the other neighbor's dog 
was a very happy camper that night. It's not the first time I have had 
young people over to eat that didn't like things made from scratch. Is it 
possible their tastebuds are so accustomed to processed, packaged and 
flavor enhanced foods that they truly don't know what real food is sup-
posed to taste like?

Speaking of real food--my brother let me borrow his wheat grinder so 
I can make my own flour. I went to the health food store and ordered a 
50 pound bag of organic hard red winter wheat. The price doubled since 
the last time I bought it! The store owner was so apologetic, but it's not 
his fault the fuel prices are soaring and causing everything to go through 
the roof. I bit the bullet and ordered more since I figured it's not getting 
any cheaper. The longer I wait, the more I'll pay. I like the fact that I have 
food stored that I can just walk out to the garage and get if I need it. My 
nightmare is to walk into the store after some sort of crisis or catastrophe 
and see empty shelves.

It has been fun grinding my own flour and making bread and rolls. I also
learned about dough enhancers that help to make the whole grain breads
softer and store better. I have been using vital wheat gluten and it makes
a huge difference. Vitamin C and Lecithin also work to improve the quality
of the dough.

I have several wheat bread recipes I use, but I found a good one a few weeks 
back on my friend Sharon's blog The Sheperd's House. It is excellent! The 
bread is tasty, the recipe is very easy with only 7 simple ingredients and 
it makes 2 loaves so you can give one away or freeze it for later use. It is the 
kind of recipe that a first time breadmaker can use and have success with. 
Give it a try--you may never buy bread from the store again!


50 pounds of organic wheat berries to grind. These keep for years if stored 
in a cool place with an airtight cover to keep the varmints out. I use 50 gallon 
buckets with tight fitting lids.


Magic Mill wheat grinder. It is LOUD! I guess it has to be since it is grinding 
the wheat berries that are literally hard as a rock. it only takes about 5 minutes 
to grind 10 cups of flour.

The resulting flour is very nice--unbleached with all the good stuff 
where all the nutrition and fiber is. The bread rises very fast when using 
freshly ground wheat because the grinder works so hard it leaves the flour 
very warm--yeast loves that!

My trusty Kitchen Aid doing all of the hard work for me. I don't even knead 
much anymore since getting this appliance. It's great for my sore shoulder!

The dough after the first rise in a warm spot. I warm up my oven for 2-3 minutes 
and leave the pilot light on. It seems to work great and it only takes about an hour for 
the dough to double in size.

2nd rise after punching dough down and shaping into loaves. This rise usually 
takes about 25 minutes.

Yum! Tasty and very nutritious to boot. After eating this the bread from the 
store tastes like paper. Maybe that is because I read that there is a certain amount 
of sawdust allowed by the FDA in commercial bread dough for use as an extender. 
Has anyone else ever read that?


DELICIOUS WHOLE WHEAT BREAD

2 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey (raw if you can get it!)
1 T. yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup wheat gluten flour
5 to 7 cups whole wheat flour

In a large bowl or in a large mixer combine the water, yeast and honey.
Let it sit for a few minutes  to give the yeast a chance to start working.
Add the salt, gluten flour and 3 to 4 cups of flour with mixer on low. 
Continue to add more flour until the dough does not stick to the sides 
of the bowl and it does not feel sticky to the touch. Knead for 7 to 10 
minutes in a mixer like Kitchenaid or 10 to 15 minutes by hand.

Grease a bowl and place dough into bowl, turning it over to grease the
top. Cover with a damp towel or plastic cling wrap and set in a draft-free
warm place to rise to double in size. This usually takes about an hour or
so. I use my oven that has been warmed for 2 to 3 minutes first.

Punch dough down and divide equally in half. Shape into loaves and place
in greased bread pans. I use metal pans because they give a nicer crust. Let
these rise again in the slightly warmed oven until the dough is 1/2 inch above
the rim of the pan.

Turn oven to 350 degrees without taking the bread out (I love this part!)
and set the timer for 30 minutes. Bake until golden brown and if you want
a soft crust, cover the tops of the loaves with butter as soon as you take
them from the oven. That's it! Very simple and the bread is beautiful.

Cool for 10 minutes in the bread pans and then turn the loaves out of the
pans and let cool completely on racks. Bread can be packaged once it has 
cooled completely.

Makes 2 loaves


10 comments:

Caution said...

I'm going to try this, but we'll need to alert the local EMS. I have a bit of a history of baking troubles.

LadiesoftheHouse said...

Email me if you have any questions or need any help. It is almost foolproof-- I think you'll do great!

Kris

Laura ~Peach~ said...

OK THATS IT...I have adoption papers and I oficially want to come be yours :D I do come with Baggage my hubby is an awesome carpenter and would fit in well but being from the deep south he is terrified of snow and will have to adjust .... the kids are for the most part good people and i think being away from this area will so do them good... And then there is me... I just want to be near someone who cooks REAL food and does not deal with all this procesed crud and I am easy to teach and I am a pretty good nurse or so I have been told... so please send me some specific directions on how to get there... cause I just can't take it any more... BREAD is my weakness and moose burgers just the thought has me drooling... sigh ...

LadiesoftheHouse said...

O.K. Laura--I'll get everything ready for you guys. You do have heavy coats to wear, right? Boots too? And you said you can shoot a gun, so I guess we're set there. Oh, and you'll need your passports to get through customs. You can leave your sunglasses at home because you won't be needing them anymore.

Directions: Head northwest from Georgia up through the U.S., continue north through Canada, take a left to Prince Rupert, grab the ferry when it shows up and just climb off when you see the mountains. That's it! See you soon! :-)

Kris

Erin said...

I do believe you made two loaves. One for "SHARING" I am waiting.. Jana

mary said...

I love, love wheat bread! I can't wait to try this recipe. I have been looking (coveting) wheat grinders, and just haven't wanted to make the financial commitment yet. Maybe when we sell our house, I will get a new house-warming present for myself! Have a wonderful weekend in beautiful Alaska!
Mary

LadiesoftheHouse said...

Jana--now I heard you make a killer Asparagus/Lemon pasta dish that can be shared too...

Mary--I would like to have one of those hand wheat grinders with the big wheel that can be hooked up to electricity if you want. They are about $350 before shipping, so I haven't taken the plunge. I was so happy when my brother offered to let his live at my house for awhile. Let me know what you think of the bread!

Kris

Laura ~Peach~ said...

heavy coats... ummm no will have to buy...boots... Umm I wear sandals pretty much year round unless at work LOL... again need to buy... passports ... dang alaska is in america...6 weeks wait there...maybe longer. Mike told me he was chicken to come but I can come LoL he said its one heck of a long drive... I told him he is only chicken cause he is afraid he will love it and his southern boy card would be revoked LOL. thank you and who know maybe someday I really will be able !!! that would be an awesome vacation! and to get to meet you too! YEP YEP YEP! He said his boss has several thousand pounds of moose meat and he cant give it away... I am gonna be speaking with mr andy and see if he will send me a couple pounds I think they just dont know how to cook it!
will let you know if I get my hot little fingers on some!
HUGS Laura

theshepherdshouse said...

Dear Kris,

I tried a bread machine too and just didn't really like it! It was a gift and I felt bad giving it away. I love this recipe because after the mixing and kneading there really isn't much left to do! It's so easy!! Thanks for the link! :) Now, when I have to buy bread from the store, I am always disappointed. It's so neat that you're getting to borrow the wheat grinder ~ I would love to have one! We do have one store here where you can grind the wheat and I love doing that! Your loaves look delicious!!

Thanks for a great post and pictures!!

Blessings,

Sharon

LadiesoftheHouse said...

Laura--well if Mike is too chicken to come you'll just have to come solo! We will show you around and fill you full of seafood. If you do get your hands on some moose meat (cook a little first to make sure it's not gamey) let me know and I'll pass along some really good recipes. It is very lean, so you have to be careful not to dry it out.

Sharon--that is so neat you have a place to grind your wheat without having to invest in a grinder! Now I am wondering if Craig's List has any used grinders for sale?

Kris