Back in May we purchased an electric grain mill and a Bosch mixer and I started making homemade whole wheat bread for my family. I did a bit of research and was amazed to find that wheat flour goes rancid quickly after it is milled and therefore, the wheat flour on the shelf at the grocery store is already rancid when you buy it. Milling my own grain at home when I am ready to use it gives me fresh, healthy flour, full of the nutrients that our bodies need. I also researched grain mills and mixers and felt confident that the Nutrimill and Bosch mixers were the best choice for my needs.
The recipe that I have been using to make our bread comes from the Joyful Living website. We purchased our appliances from them, as well as our grain and a number of the ingredients for making the bread. It is a simple recipe that has turned out well for me. I set everything out on the counter before I start so it is handy when I need it. Wait a minute! What’s that chocolate frosting doing there? I must have been baking a cake the day I took these pictures – just pretend you don’t see that! -
I start with grain – this is Prairie Gold Hard White Spring Wheat (which you don’t see in the above picture because it is in a huge tub on the floor!) -
I grind about 8-10 cups of wheat berries in the Nutrimill -
It turns out soft and fine – about 12-15 cups of fresh whole wheat flour -
Here are the rest of the ingredients in the recipe (minus the chocolate frosting) -
Into the mixer (with kneading arm installed) I put -
5 1/2 cups warm water (140 degrees)
2/3 cup oil (I use Safflower oil)
2/3 cup honey (we get ours straight from the beekeeper)
2 Tablespoons sea salt
I mix these together very briefly (a few seconds) -
I then add 5 cups of fresh flour and mix again briefly -
I then add -
2 Tablespoons Instant yeast
2 Tablespoons Dough Enhancer (optional)
About 5 more cups of flour
I turn on the Bosch at a low speed and while it’s running, I continue adding flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl -
I then knead the dough in the mixer on low for about 6 minutes – that’s all it takes to get it thoroughly kneaded. I oil my hands and form 5-6 loaves, placing them in oiled loaf pans as I finish each one -
I let the dough rise once in the pans until doubled in size -
Then I bake the bread at 350 degrees until a hollow sound is heard when thumped (at least 30 minutes) -
I like to brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter right when it comes out of the oven -
I am still in the learning process of bread making, and am not an expert by any means. My first try using this system resulted in flat topped loaves – I think that I let it rise too long and it fell. I hope to improve my skills as I go along. Kristy Bell has some wonderful variations for this recipe on her Joyful Living site – pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, herb bread, sticky rolls. I fully intend to make use of these in the near future.
Another great website to learn about bread-making that I like is The Urban Homemaker. Marilyn has a great recipe there for homemade bread, and she also has the instructions for kneading it by hand if you don’t have the big mixer.
I used to make our bread using a bread machine, and I did like how it turned out, but I could only make one loaf at a time with it, and my family could (and would) eat that loaf up in one meal. Now I can make 5-6 loaves at a time and freeze some to pull out as we need it. I don’t need to bake it as often this way.
There’s not much to rival the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven – except maybe eating the homemade bread, spread with butter, fresh out of the oven!