March 08, 2016

Homemade Wheat Bread - (grinding my own wheat berries means healthy bread and no digestive problems!)

One of my own personal Holy Grails...  the elusive homemade wheat bread.  One that isn't heavy, condensed, rock hard, flat, underdone in the center or any other undesirable finished product.

It only took me, oh... about 15 years!

Apparently all I really needed to do was grind my own wheat berries.  Bingo.  I did it.  I got a homemade wheat bread with no chemicals or preservatives of store bought bread.

Here is what I find interesting and important about making my own breads:  the lack of digestive issues.  I've been doing low carb 'detox' off and on since 2002 and when I would completely give up eating breads or wheat products it's amazing how great I felt - but when I'd eat a biscuit, bread or bun again... ouch!  Gas pain and bloating.  Slowly it began to dawn on me that when I ate certain bread products or homemade breads, I didn't have any problems at all.  Why were they different?  Then I figured it out.  They were always artisan style 'old world' breads, or homemade with a minimum of ingredients and of course, nothing I couldn't pronounce.  Just try reading the ingredient list on the bread you have in your cupboard right now.  Scary.

There is a much longer post in my brain about this topic including the chemicals used in commercial baking, the 2 hour start to finish, bagged and out the door processes, wheat that is so modified it resembles nothing of the wheat our parents and grandparents ate and the use of chemicals upon chemicals in the growing process...  but this post isn't about that.

It's about a wonderful whole wheat bread I can make myself that is so soft yet sturdy that we can use it for sandwich bread (I invested in a restaurant quality square bread pan), toast, sliced with butter with dinner or just rip a corner off, grab a hunk of cheese and call it lunch.  This recipe makes 2 loaves and I only had enough money to purchase 1 square heavy duty bread pan so far ($22-24 each) so I bake one square and one in a traditional open loaf pan.

NOTE:  I grind my own wheat now using organically grown, heirloom non-genetically modified wheatberries.  I have soft white, hard white and hard red berries on hand; I use hard white for this one or 3/4 hard white with 1/4 soft or red mixed in. 

Wheat Bread 
double loaf

3 c warm water
1 T instant/quick yeast
1/3 c oil
1/3 c honey or sweetener
1 T salt
6 c hard white whole wheat flour mixed with;
1/2 c rolled oats or quick oats
1/4 c vital wheat gluten with vitamin C

Combine water, yeast, oil, honey and salt.  Add about 5 cups of the flour and star to mix slow in a heavy duty mixer with a bread hook.  Add 1-2 cups more flour as needed so it forms a nice ball of dough.  Let it knead about 8 minutes.  Coat your hands with a bit of oil and turn dough out onto an oiled or parchment lined surface.  Divide and form 2 loaves.  Place in greased bread pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and let raise in a warm area for about 45 minutes until doubled in size.  Bake breads at 350 for 25-30 minutes in a regular open bread loaf pan or about 45 minutes for a heavy duty, restaurant style pan with lid.  Remove and cool. You can rub butter on the top surface of the bread in the 'open' traditional style baking pans for a softer crust with a nice flavor.

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