Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fresh Bread, Hot Out of the Bread Machine

When I get my act together, I like to mill (grind) my own flour for making bread.  I start out with a package of Organic Hard Red Winter Wheatberries, easily found and purchased at any health foods store.

There are various machines on the market that will grind your wheat berries for you, but DON'T USE YOUR BLENDER or your FOOD PROCESSOR.  (you would burn out the motor)  I have a Champion Juicer with a mill attachment. Although I've milled my flour in the kitchen, recently I have been much happier being able to set up on a table in our basement store room.  My equipment is very heavy, so it's advantageous to find a place where it can be left out all the time.

The Champion motor is the big white thing in back, the hopper is the beige bowl on the top, and the white bowl with the red rim catches the flour when it comes out of the metal parts.

About 1 cup of grain will yield 1.5 cups of flour.  I wanted about 3 cups of flour, so I poured 2 cups of grain into the hopper.

The reason I mill my own flour is for the freshest possible product.  If you read the health and nutrition books, flour gets stale very quickly, especially when it's sitting on the grocery store shelves.  White flour, especially has been robbed of it's most important nutrients, which is why it's so -- white.  With a home mill system, the homemaker can grind only as much as she plans to use.  I could do more than what my bread recipe calls for, and refrigerate the rest, but this process is so easy, there's no need to do that.

Experience has taught me to enclose the hopper, metal milling parts, and the receiving bowl with a white plastic bag to keep down the dust. After that is put on and tucked  in, the switch at the back of the machine is turned on.

This takes just a few minutes and a lot of noise; then  I've got fresh whole wheat flour! That round wheel/knob on the metal part is for adjusting how fine I want the flour.  I make it as fine as it will go (like pastry flour), making the end result (the bread) softer and easier to chew.

Please forgive me, but I completely forgot to take snapshots when I was putting the bread ingredients into the bucket of the machine!  

This is where I keep my bread machine (white, on the right), in the family room, beside the electric mixer. (Yes, I have a cute matching dust cover for it, too.)   I do carry the mixer into the kitchen when it's being used; but the bread machine is fine to sit on this table as it runs.  And oh my, does it make the house smell gooooood!

Here is the finished product, about 2.5 hours later.  After removing it from the pan (I called it a 'bucket' earlier), I let it rest on a cooling rack for 45 minutes before slicing into it.

Beloved and I celebrated the end of his work day with a slice of the bread.  Yum-O!

Here is the recipe I used:

100% Whole Wheat Bread
(This makes a 1.5 pound loaf)

1 cup + 3 Tablespoons water at about 80 degrees F
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons dry milk
3  1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2  1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (I used Fleischmann's BreadMachine Yeast from a jar)

My machine is a Breadman Ultimate, and I've had it for over seven years.  I love it.   If you are using a bread machine, be sure to follow the amounts and directions that are appropriate for your make and model.

I've had the Champion Juicer for maybe twenty years but didn't buy the milling attachment until about 8 years ago.

If you are interested in any of these machines, the best thing to do is to research on the Internet to find the brand and prices you are willing to pay.  There are mills available that are not as cumbersome as mine, Bosch being one.

Note: not all bread machines can handle whole wheat flour.  If you want to use whole grain flours, be sure your machine has a setting for whole wheat.  This is important for a successful loaf of bread.  Take it from one who knows.  My first bread machine (that died after many years of service) did not get along well with whole wheat flour.

Freshly-baked bread makes a house smell like H-O-M-E!

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