Grind Your Own Wheat, Bake Your Own Bread
What Does It Take to Make Bread Truly from Scratch?
You've got wheat for your home storage, now how do you translate that into fresh, nourishing, homemade bread?
It's not all that difficult a process, but you do need to begin by milling that grain into flour. So, if you have not already done so, the first step is to select some sort of a wheat grinder or grain mill. There are many from which to choose. Many opt for an electric mill which is fast and efficient, and, of course, makes the work easy.
Price, of course, might be an important factor in making that choice, but there are other factors that might also be considered:
- For what else might you use it? You're selecting a wheat grinder, but corn, popcorn, rye, rice, barley, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, kamut, peas, mung beans, garbanzos, and lentils are other possibilities. Do a little comparing. Make sure the mill you choose will do all that you choose it to do.
- Are noise levels a factor? Some grinders do run quieter than others.
- Is the grain mill advertised as being easy to take apart and clean? Most are pretty good, but make sure you have not selected one that is an exception to the rule.
- Do you prefer a hands on experience? If so, you might want to change your choice to a hand operated or manual mill. The job will be slower, but will it be more fun? How often do you plan on grinding your wheat? Occasional use may not warrant a more expensive electric grinder.
On the other hand, you may want to consider both an electric and a manual mill. If your grinding of wheat and other grains is being considered for emergency storage purposes, then will you also need something that will function during times of power outages? This, of course, needs to be made a part of your planning only if you have the means of processing that freshly ground flour during times of power outages. If you will be baking that bread in an electric bread maker, or an electric oven, then that lack of electricity will mean having the ability to grind flour at such times is no real advantage.
If, however, some sort of a solar oven or other non-electrical device is available, then that advantage can become real.
If you have not yet obtained your own wheat, take some care in locating the right source. Chemically treated seed wheat, for instance, is NOT what you want to use for home baking. Check with bulk food stores, health food stores, or the occasional grocery store with bulk food bins. Farmers may also have wheat and other grains available for sale to the public, but, then again, they might not. If they do, it may not have been commercially cleaned, leaving you with the possibility of finding a bit of dirt or small pebbles mixed in with the grain. That's not something that you would want to put through your wheat grinder. Your mill would likely be able to handle the odd bug or two, but you probably wouldn't want to find those in your freshly ground flour, so opt for good, cleaned wheat if you can.
If your bread and bun baking is a part of your food storage program, then it would also be a good idea to ensure that you have adequate supplies of other needed ingredients on hand. Yeast, powdered milk, eggs and whatever else your favorite recipe might call for needs to be on hand in the event of shortages or even non-availability.
And, speaking of recipes, a good recipe book or two, or access to a collection of good bread recipes, might prove most useful, especially if you consider yourself a bit of a novice when it comes to being a baker.
Home baked goods can save you money. They are usually more tasty and more nutritious that those goods you find in the local grocery store, and there is nothing like the aroma of freshly baked bread scenting the air in your very own kitchen.
Only grind as much flour as you plan to use. Although unmilled grain, properly stored, often keeps indefinitely;
freshly ground whole grains get rancid very quickly.