I love homemade bread, like way too much. I’m pretty sure one of the reasons I originally fell in love with my husband is because he could make homemade bread like no one I had ever known.
You know the kind of bread I am talking about. It’s crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, full of air, and smells so good it moves you. Then, when you put it in your mouth, it tastes so delicious you have to make some kind of noise to let the world know you’re eating this amazing bread.
Yeah, that’s how much I love bread. But it really is the stuff of life. There’s something so powerful about the smell of fresh bread baking in a home. Bread means home to me.
And, as a part of our whole “learning to be self sufficient” movement, my husband and I ordered some wheat in bulk to see if we could grind wheat ourselves. We’re still not sure about growing our own wheat because we don’t have too much land. Plus, you can order wheat in giant buckets that are sealed so the wheat lasts for twenty years. I’m not a “doomsday prepper” or anything, but I do worry about the state of things. So having wheat around seems like a great idea to me.
But, of course, we needed a way to grind this wheat. We did our research and bought a sturdy but “spendy” wheat grinder. After reading the reviews on these products for many months, it became clear that, as with most things in life, when it comes to wheat grinders, you get what you pay for. So, even though we’re trying so hard to be frugal in every aspect of our lives, we saw the investment in a good wheat grinder as, well, an investment.
What we did not anticipate was that it would be such good exercise.
You have to turn the wheel many, many, many, many, many times to get a decent amount of flour. I made it about fifteen minutes, and I was like “I need a break!” Our youngest gave it a go and lasted about five minutes. Our teenage son walked by and said hi.
My poor husband ended up doing the bulk of the work. I think he must have been grinding wheat for about an hour. It was a total workout, but as much as I love to eat bread, my husband loves to make bread. We’re a great match that way. Anyway, he says you have to sweat a little for your bread to be good, so I don’t think he minded the wheat grinder workout at all.
Since my husband won’t hand over the official loaves of bread making task to me (He won’t share his techniques with me. He says he has given me his biscuits, his sauces, but he’s keeping the bread.), he set out to make bread from home ground flour for the first time. Apparently, there are some issues with the gluten not being as good when you grind the wheat yourself, so there are tricks to get the bread to rise the way it would with store-bought flour, but I thought the first go at home-homemade bread was a success.
We got four loaves that were denser than usual but still amazingly delicious. Bread is beautiful to me, but these loaves were especially so because they were a part of our process of learning to be self-sufficient. We’re getting there.
My husband says that, next time, he has to adjust the recipe for the difference in the gluten, but, for now, we have four loaves of bread that cost only a couple of dollars total compared to three dollars a loaf. Of course, that’s if you don’t count the cost of the grinder, and since we made it a Christmas present to ourselves, I decided not to. Plus, the nutrition is so much better than most store-bought breads.
Now, the next plan is to keep grinding our own wheat but try making bread without using yeast to raise the bread; we’ll have really nutritious bread. Apparently, using the yeast takes away some of the amazing nutrition of the wheat, and we’ve just pretty much removed all of the excellent nutrition of the wheat in store-bought bread. What a waste, right?
I’ve been reading Michael Pollan again, and I think I’m going to try the bread with no yeast thing myself. It sounds challenging, but if I can get the nutrition to go along with the amazing taste of homemade bread, it seems like it’s worth a try. I’m trusting Michael Pollan that it can be done. After all, he’s an English major like me.
Hopefully, I’ll have recipes to follow. In the meantime, if you get the chance, eat some homemade bread today, and while you’re at it, put a little real butter and local honey on it. The goodness is in the small things. I know this part for sure.