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Grinding Whole Grains for Flour and Breadmaking

Grinding whole wheat berries with the Kitchen-Aid

As I mentioned previously, we started buying whole grains from a local, organic farmer to feed our goats (Windy Acres is the name of the farm, if you live in TN and want to check them out. We love them.). We sprout the whole grains and that’s what our goats eat on the milking stand. Sweetbreads wrote about the process last week.   

But enough already about what the dang goats eat, this post is about human food. 

It so happens that the local grain farmers also sell cleaned grains for human consumption. We use whole grains in our daily cooking (wheat berries, spelt, barlety, etc.) Wheat is the most consumed grain since we make bread using wheat flour. So the last time we were out at the grain farm we picked up a 50lb bag of whole wheat berries and bought a Kitchen Aid attachment to grind them with.

I tried making 100% whole wheat bread and it turned out to be a bit of a brick when it came out of the oven. I finally got my recipe to work after I substituted one cup of all-purpose white flour, reduced the water by 1/4 cup and increased the yeast by 1/2 a tablespoon. 

Making bread can be intimidating. This recipe makes it easy. 

The finished product

The Recipe

Note, I use an off-shoot of the “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes” recipe. I make a loaf every day or two for us, and more frequently when we have guests. Sounds like a lot, but this recipe really makes it easy to keep up.

1.) Grind whole wheat berries. I use the finest setting on the Kitchen Aid attachment and run it for about 10 minutes before giving it a 10 minute rest. Usually I run it when I’m doing something else around the kitchen since it’s very slow. I'd suggest looking into a better grinder if you can afford it and plan to make bread frequently. (or just use whole wheat flour from the store)

2.) Heat up 2.75 cups of water to body temp

3.) Add the water, 2 tablespoons of yeast and 1.5 tablespoons of salt to a Kitchen-Aid mixing bowl and stir it a bit. Don’t worry about stirring until everything’s dissolved, just give it a good stir for a minute.

5.) Add 6.5 cups of flour. I use 5 or 5.5 of the whole wheat and 1 or 1.5 cups of the white.

6. ) Mix in the Kitchen-Aid at the slowest speed with the dough hook. If you don't have a KA you can use a wooden spoon, it doesn't take very long to mix it. 

7.) Mix until the dry spots disappear. Add water very slowly if it looks dry. This should only take a minute or two. If it looks clumpy add a little water until it evens out.

8.) Leave the dough in the bowl and cover it for 2 hours. Leave a crack so the dough can rise, but air can escape. Make sure you use a mixing bowl at least 3x the size of the original mixture.

9.) After two hours put the dough in tupperware containers or something else for storage. Leave a crack for air to escape and and leave head-space for the dough to continue rising. The dough should keep for around two weeks. It will get a nice sourdough flavor after a week or so.

Baking Day

1.) I’ve found it’s best to use a bread loaf pan for this particular recipe. In the regular "Artisan Bread in 5 Mins per Day" recipe it's better to use a pizza peel and a bread stone, but with the whole grains I think the loaves turn out better in a loaf pan.

2.) Either way, take enough dough to make a loaf the size you want it. Form the dough into a ball and fold it inside out a few times before placing it in the pan. Don't knead it.

3.) Once it's in the pan (or on the peel) cover the top with a dusting of flour and let it rise for 20 minutes.

4.) After the first 20 minutes of rising set the oven to 450 degrees.

5.) Once the over hits 450 put the loaf in for 28 minutes.

That's it, you should have reliably good bread without spending very much time at all preparing it. 

We haven’t purchased bread in over 3 months. Each of these loaves costs <$1, so it amounts to a meaningful savings over the course of a year, plus you know exactly what's going into your bread and it's always fresh and delicious. You'll never go back to store-bought bread. 

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