Thursday, May 8, 2014

I Make It Myself: Bread

It is time for another "I Make It Myself" post.

I make my own bread.

I started making my own bread several years ago.  Sometimes I will stop for a while and buy bread and then start up again.  Home-made bread is just so much better tasting and better for you, than store bought. 

I started out just using whole wheat bread flour to find a good loaf that my family would eat and that would work for sandwiches.  The basic recipe for wheat bread in the bread machine directions ended up being the one I use all the time, even though friends, who also make their own bread, sent me a bunch of recipes.  I do make sourdough bread as well.  

Yes, I use a bread machine.  Is that cheating?  I use it to do all the kneading and rising for me on the dough cycle then I put the dough into loaf pans to get that normal loaf shape.

I start by grinding wheat berries.  I found out the hard way that to make bread, you need to use HARD wheat berries - hard red wheat berries or hard white wheat berries.  My first batch of berries were soft berries, I looked at a bag of a friend's berries, and bought the same thing.  She didn't tell me that those were for pancakes and cookies, not bread.  All of my bread loaves came out flat! What was I doing wrong?  Finally, someone, who makes their own bread asked me what kind of berries I was using and said, "oh, you use that kind of berry/flour for quick breads and cookies."  

I bought my current HARD berries in bulk from Wheat Montana, in a co-op order shipped to the East coast.  A friend of mine went to MA to pick up the order for us.  You can find them in many natural food stores and cooperative stores.

I did a lot of research before buying a grinder.  A friend has a "Whisper Mill" but she said, don't let the name fool you, they are all loud.  So, I bought the same one that another friend uses, the Kitchen Mill by K-Tec, now known as Blendtec.  You may remember their goofy ads for their blender called, "Will it Blend?"  Where they blend everything imaginable.  I digress.  Anyway, it is a good mill and besides I won the bid for a good price on eBay.

About once every few months, I grind a bunch of wheat into flour and then put it in my freezer for future use.  That way I am not grinding wheat every time I am making bread.  I freeze the flour, because unlike store bought flour, mine still contains the germ, which has oils that can go rancid.  That is why they remove the germ, so that most flour has a longer shelf-life....but less nutritional value.

I wear my husband's chainsaw ear protection when I grind wheat and send everyone out of the kitchen.

It takes about 15 minutes to grind 15 cups of flour.  Maybe not even.

Then I just use my whole wheat flour in whatever bread recipe I am using.  I have been using about 1c. of store bought bread flour lately to increase the gluten, this makes for an airier loaf (cheating?).  You can also add Vital Wheat Gluten to improve the texture of your loaf as well.  I have Bob's Red Mill.
I should also mention that I am using SAF yeast - fast acting and long lasting.  A noticeable difference compared to those little Fleischmann's packets.

After I run the ingredients through the bread machine dough cycle, I put the dough (I make the 2 lb recipe) into two loaf pans like this one below.  I also have a regular glass pyrex loaf dish, that's fine too. I let it rise about an hour on top of my stove covered with a clean towel and then bake it.

 Then I have bread.  :)

Some recipes from my Sunbeam Bread machine booklet:

French Bread - 2 lb loaf (or 2 - 1lb loaves)
1 1/3 c. water
2 tsp. butter (not margarine, yuck, why would you use margarine?)
4 cups of your wonderful ground whole wheat flour (substitute 1 c. white bread flour for extra fluff or a few Tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten)
5 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. yeast

Whole Wheat Bread
1 2/3 c. water
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
4 2/3 cups of your wonderfully, healthy, ground whole wheat flour  (substitute 1 c. white bread flour for extra fluff or a few Tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten)
3 tsp. yeast

And a Sourdough Recipe from the King Arthur Flour website King Arthur Rustic Sourdough

Sourdough Bread - I have the King Arthur Sour Dough Starter.  I keep it in my fridge until I want to use it.  The day before I want to use it, I "feed" it and then use it the next day.  It has never died and I have gone for long periods of time without using it.

I put all ingredients in the bread machine and then bake it in the loaf pans or as shaped loaves on a cookie sheet as they instruct in the recipe (linked above).
1 c. "fed" starter
1 1//2 c. luke warm water
2 t. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
5 cups of that nutrient-rich ground whole wheat flour (of course, the recipe says to use King Arthur Flour.  I substitute about 1 c. of the 5 with KAF.)

No comments:

Post a Comment