How to Make Bread

Posted by  | Wednesday, September 10, 2008  at 9:18 PM  
Now before I even start let me just say I feel totally unqualified to post anything this week. My goal is to one day learn how to sew. I got so frustrated with the sewing machine in my high school home economics course I've never tried to learn again. But, there are so many awesome things that can be made with just a little patience and perseverance that I really want to learn. . . one day! So as I was emailing with the other POH authors and saying I didn't have a creative bone in my body nor knew how to make anything, they encouraged me to post about something I make in the kitchen. So, for all you truly creative people, I am in no way trying to equate making bread with making the rest of these awesome projects this week. But, just in case anyone wants to learn how (and why) to make their own bread from scratch here goes.

Things you'll need

  • Grain mill to grind your wheat (This is the one I have)

  • Bread Machine (Not a must, but really, if you don't have this, are you going to spend an hour kneading dough for every loaf you make?) There are mixers that hold up to kneading bread, like the Electrolux, but they run about $500. So, I "cheat" and just got a cheap bread machine from Target (like $50 - you could probably find one even cheaper at a garage sale)

  • Loaf Pan (preferably non-aluminum)

  • Wheat - I like hard red or kamut and I order them through a Breadbecker's Coop

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Sea Salt*

  • Yeast (Buy a bulk bag at Sam's; it keeps in the freezer for a year)

  • Raw Honey*

*I also order these in bulk from Breadbecker's - it's much cheaper.

Before we get to the "how's" (it is really easy) let me talk briefly about the "why's." Here's some interesting information:

  • A kernal of grain is made of 3 parts - the bran, germ, and endosperm

  • Flour (usually even "whole wheat") from the store has the bran and germ removed. What's left is the endosperm which has no nutritional value and is metabolized like sugar by your body

  • Wheat, once ground into flour, oxidizes 90% of its nutrients within 72 hours! This means, even if you were to find true "whole wheat" flour in the store (and most has had the bran and germ removed, with some bran and/or germ then added back in but not in the same proportion as God put in the wheat kernal so it is not digested the same way) that flour is still totally rancid.

  • Around the turn of the 20th century, when flour started to be ground, stripped of the bran and germ, and sold in stores there was an immediate rise in 2 debilitating diseases. The US government researched the problem, linked it back to the milling and stripping of flour, and required flour then be "fortified" - hence the reason if you look on your pack of bread at home you will see it fortified with certain vitamins. While this helped the immediate 2 diseases (scurvy and I can't remember the other) the effects can still be seen today as the rise in so many debilitating diseases began to occur around this time. (I believe the stripping of flour was one of several culprits to the rise in so many new diseases in our day and age, and seeing them at younger and younger ages.)

  • The reason bread was "fortified" rather than just not stripping away the bran and germ was that they had found a market for the bran and germ and didn't want to lose the extra $$. Farmers would buy it for their cattle. One farmer was asked what would happen if we gave the cattle the white flour rather than the bran and germ. Without missing a beat he responded, "They'd die."

  • Flour removed of its bran and germ has an almost indefinate shelf-life. Okay girls, in my book, if "food" can sit on a shelf for years and years, what is it doing in our body?!

  • I've just touched on a few reasons that I can remember off the top of my head. Breadbecker's has an EXCELLENT and FREE CD they will send you about this. If this has piqued your interest, check out their website and order one for yourself.

Okay, now to the fun part. . .

How to Make your own bread (1 loaf):


Wheat - 2 c. unground

1 c. water

1/4 c. EV olive oil (I sometimes substitute coconut oil, just use a little less)

1/8 - 1/4 c. raw honey (preference; I use 1/8 c.)

1 t. sea salt

(I usually grind flax seed and millet in my coffee grinder and throw some in - maybe 1/4+ c.) - this is optional

1 3/4 t. yeast


Mill 2 c. wheat

In bread machine, add wet ingredients, then dry. Make well in center and add yeast. Put on "sweet" setting and let bread machine do mixing and rising for you. (You'll need to experiment with what setting works best on your bread machine.) Before the final rise, take bread out of bread machine. Shape on counter (reserve a tablespoon or two of milled flour for this) and put in loaf pan. Let it do final rise in pan, then bake in oven for 25-30 minutes on 350 degrees. (Hint: While I'm shaping the loaf I turn my oven on. Then I turn it off and put the bread in to rise. It just warms up ever so slightly but enough to make it rise well in about 25-30 minutes.) While this whole process usually takes 2 1/2 hours, I just need to be around the house. It takes me less than 10 minutes to get it all in the bread machine, 2 minutes to later get it in the loaf pan, and 2 seconds to turn on the oven.

The milling of the wheat adds maybe 30 seconds to making a loaf of bread, but changes completely the nutrition your family receives. Although a mill is an investment, it will last a lifetime and, it is actually cheaper to mill your own wheat over the long-term. I do not have a single bag of store-bought flour in my house (haven't for years) and use milled flour for everything - cakes, cookies, muffins, waffles, pancakes, thickening sauces, breading meat. . . everything.


Mark'sMeg said...

Thanks for your post. I've just started grinding my own grain and making bread. I love the idea of saving time by using a bread machine! However, I've been reading about how much better it is for you if you soak your grain overnight first, and I wondered if I could still do it in the bread machine after soaking and if the directions/ingredients would change any. If anyone has made bread in a bread machine after soaking the grain, please share :)
Meagan DeLong

Rachael Davis said...

Thanks for this post. Krista! You made it sound so easy that I think I'm going to look into this some more...

ChezDeshotels said...

Thanks Krista for the great post the grinder is on my wants list I am saving money for it as we speak...Also just another question on nutriiton. I have a juicer but I have been making juice and it gets a little pulpy and think is there somethingi am doing wrong or do I need to strain it etc.... Any advice????


Hollie said...

Yeah for making bread!!!!

Krista said...

You should be able to still mix your soaked bread in the bread machine. I would definately try it and see. I soak most everything I make (muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc.) except my bread. I've tried making sourdough, kefir dough, and soaked loaves but we just enjoy a light, fluffy, healthy slice of bread. (Although you are right, if you soak grains before eating it reduces the phytates and makes it easier for your body to digest.) If you have a loaf bread recipe you really like (that you soak) I'd love to get it from you!

It really depends on what type of juicer you have. It sounds like you just need to strain your juice if it is too thick for your taste. Also, (and this has nothing to do with the pulp) make sure your juicer does not heat the fruits/veggies as it's juicing as this is equivalent to pastuerization and you will lose your nutrients.

Robin Baker said...

Yeah! I needed this! I DO know how to sew (a little - I can make a blanket) and scrapbook and a few other crafty things, BUT I DON'T know how to make bread! Thanks =)
P.S. God gave us all different gifts, we need not all be 'cookie cutter' crafters =)

The Eckerts said...

I've never had a mill, but am looking to ask for one for Christmas. Would you recommend this mill to others? Is there anything you don't like about it? Thanks!

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