Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Daily Bread

Oh, did I say Food Class back on Thursday? Well, ahem...I had some breaking news yesterday at this time. Shane's request to move to the inmate work crew division of the Sheriff's Office was granted. This means for the first time in three years, he'll be on the day shift. As an added bonus, he'll have three day weekends every week (he'll work 4 ten hour days) and holidays off! I'm a little excited. Just a little. Now, let's move on to Food Class.

A few years ago I read an article in a mainstream magazine that said the most nutritious change you can make for your family is to start making your own bread at home. As a wife and mother, I do want the best for my family. As I've learned more about flour, I've finally purchased a grain mill to grind grain at home. It was a purchase I'd contemplated for several years and I'm so glad I took the plunge last month.

There is a great satisfaction from making my family's bread. I don't even do it all the time yet, but when I do present a loaf warm from the oven, it just feels very right. Grinding the grain that made the loaf is even better.

Why would I do this when Wal-Mart sells flour of many sorts for my use?

Read this article to understand why, as well as to learn about enrichment. By the time flour gets to the store shelves, it's at least void of many nutrients if not rancid.

There's a lot of grain out there besides wheat, y'all. Many of you with gluten allergies know this. Right now in my kitchen I have quinoa, barley, spelt, wheat, and a seven grain mix. There are so many more! I've been giving Audrey quinoa as baby cereal and she loves it. I'm about to make a couple of loaves with my seven grain. It's fun to learn about different grains and figure out how to use them in our diet.

I am not a good bread maker, but I play one on TV. My family loves my bread even though I am working on perfecting it (and I have a long way to go!). Don't be afraid, a little butter and honey will cover most of your mistakes. A friend and I ordered the wrong kind of flour for bread making and our bread turned out to be fine bricks. She wisely used hers for bread pudding (while I just dumped more honey on mine until I gave up and tossed it in the trash).

Does making your own bread sound like a huge time investment? To minimize this, I use a recipe that makes 5-6 loaves at once. I have tried to do my baking on Sunday afternoons, then throw some of it in the freezer for later in the week. I've also considered delegating this task to an older child (it's not that hard, and I'd be on hand to help). Once you taste the bread, you'll know it is worth it to make the time for it.

You can find small quantities of grain at health food stores. Large quantities can be bought by a distributor from this company. Health food coops in your area may also be able to help you reduce shipping by ordering together. We have a distributor about an hour and a half away, so those of us who grind our grain put an order together and one of us goes after it.

You might need to research the most cost effective way for you to grind it. I've read that you can do it in a blender or food processor, but I've never tried. If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, KitchenAid sells a grain mill attachment for about $100-$120 (but they aren't being produced again until Fall). I have a Champion Juicer so I bought a grain mill attachment for it at only $60. If you want to buy an actual mill and not an attachment, go for a Bosch. It's an excellent product (but it's not cheap). Look around, if you keep your eyes open you can find something that will fit your budget. A Google search for grain mills will turn up a lot of options.

In the mean time, if you're local to me, I'll be glad to grind for you. Someone did it for me for a while before I was able to buy my mill (thanks again Jennifer!).

Speaking of bread, I'm going to put Missy Audrey in the Ergo and go try my hand at a new batch! Come on over for a slice-but hurry before it's gone!


Jennifer said...

Have you tried seven grain bread yet? It's by far out favorite although we still like wheat too. I can't believe Audrey like quinoa. It's definitely not my favorite grain unless I mix it into bread. Quinoa pancakes are are not so good either, although if it's all I had I would eat it. It's a super duper grain though and worth eating...just not plain for me...only in bread. You said you don't make good bread? What's wrong with it? Do you need a bread lesson? I'm sure it tastes good. It does take practice though, but at least you're making it and not giving up when it's not up to par. Let me know how your seven grain turns out. That's on my list of to do's this week. I have made two batches for other people so there hasn't been much time for making some for me. Hopefully this week.

Wendy said...

I've used a lot of my 7 grain. I've made 10 loaves with it so far (two break making sessions). I made cereal with it today, like a malt-o-meal cereal, but it was a bit too hearty tasting. We added frozen strawberries and that helped.

I think my bread problem was my recipe. I was using one for the KitchenAid, but I switched back to Carol Elliot's recipe, which is by hand and uses 5 lbs of flour. Now I'm much happier with it. My mother in law approves as well :)

I've not tried my spelt yet...I'm afraid it won't taste good-the name is so funny, so I'm assuming it's going to taste funny. I need to just get over it and try it.

Yep, Audrey loves quinoa. I have pity on her and mash a banana in with it, but she doesn't mind it a bit when I'm out of banana! I'm sooo glad since it's so good for her.

Vicki said...

I just came back from vacation but I will catch up on your blog! I have a great recipie for cream of ______ soups!!! Super easy to make and I use it all the time! I'll have to post it soon. And thanks for the award!!!

Brandi said...

when your bread comes out a little less than perfect don't toss it! THere are a couple of great things you can do that will help your stewardship as you continue to learn and experiment. slice teh bread, season with a bit of butter and garlic powder and cut into 1/2" cubes and make croutons. bake in a 150-200 degree over until crunchy. Another thing you can do is make bread crumbs. slice the bread, lay out to completely dry. Crumble the bread and put in a container with some of your favorite seasonings. Basil and Thyme are great for making Italian bread crumbs. HTH, Brandi