Bread and Baking

The Other Difficulty with Wheat

I’ve been a bit under the weather for the last two weeks and I missed posting.  The heat hasn’t helped as summer has finally arrived where we live.  I will be out of town for the next month, visiting my daughter, so posts may remain hit and miss.  Regardless, I will be adding more links in this post and some of the others once I’m settled in.

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer.

In my last post, I talked about the difficulties with processing wheat into a usable flour and how it removes the nutrients in most cases.

Still, it’s perfectly possible to create a whole wheat bread that is healthy and highly nutritious.  You just can’t do it through mass production.

Whole wheat flour is obviously made from the whole grain, which retains the grain’s natural oils.  Oils which go rancid almost immediately once the grain is ground.

Prior to industrialization, grains were harvested and stored.  They were ground as needed in the local mill and used quickly in the daily baking.

Before that, grains would be hand ground immediately before use, so the flour never had a chance to become rancid and it retained almost all of its nutritional value.  This is how wheat became the “staff of life”.

Nowadays, our wheat is harvested, sits in hot silos for who knows how long, is eventually processed into flour, which sits indefinitely on a store shelf or is baked into bread that sits in a warehouse or on a store shelf for weeks.

The only way to avoid this is to grind your own wheat, immediately prior to baking.

Various types of wheat are available for mail-order.  A good source of grain mills is Lehman’s Hardware Store in Kidron, OH.  They have a website and offer both hand cranked and electric grain mills. They can be contacted at  http://www.lehmans.com or 877.440.9354.

Obviously, fitting this type of baking into our busy modern lives isn’t always easy, but it can be done.

It requires the above equipment, a good cookbook and a freezer.

My favorite bread cookbook is the Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown.  It’s basic recipes make several loaves apiece and it offers a wide range of recipe ideas.

(Links coming next week)