Posted By Steve the Bread Guy


Last night I made a whole wheat bread out of some whole grains of emmer wheat my wife had given me for my birthday. This is an ancient strain of wheat, one that used 9,000 years ago in the Middle East. The grains are the seeds of the wheat plant, the stuff thaemmer wheat
t goes to a flour mill for crushing into flour. I suspect many people just use them as seeds to give their bread a little crunch. I wanted to do something different - make some flour at home.

Home milling used to be a lot of very hard work. We know that for thousands of years the task usually fell to women, who ground hard wheat seeds in between two stones, crushing them into a coarse flour. In the Middle Ages, European lords owned most of the mechanical mills, where horses or oxen served as the muscle, turning large milling stones to create flour. Peasants were often not allowed to mill their flour at home, they had to take it to the Lord's Mill. Here it could be ground into flour once, or, for a finer flour ( which cost more), twice. The latter technique was often used when creating the whiter flour rich people liked, and the poor seldom tasted.

Well, thanks to coffee grinders, we can all be our own millers now. Last night I used a twenty dollar coffee grinder that I reserve for making flour ( I never put coffee beans into it). I used about a cup and half of the emmer seeds, grinding them in 1/3 of a cup batches. It helps if you shake the grinder periodically so that what's on the bottom is brought to the top, allowing less ground seeds to get closer to the blades.

Coffee grinders are not ideal milling machines - the flour is still pretty coarse. I have tried to make pure whole wheat, home-milled bread in the past, using nothing but the ground flour, salt, yeast and water. The result was a very heavy, dense bread which I didn't like much. The flour was so heavy that the yeast had a hard time making it rise. So last night I used about 2.5 cups of white flour along with the home-milled flour. I also added about half a cup of the raw grains. The result was two very nice loaves, which rose quite well. I gave them about two hours for each rise, to compensate for the heaviness of the flour.

I have attached a picture below of one of the loaves. The bread is nice and crunchy, with a good, hearty flavour. Definitely worth doing again. In the future, I will be releasing a video of some red rice bread that I made by home-milling the rice into flour. Watch for that one in the next month or so.

The Recipe:

In case you are wondering about the basic recipe I used, here it is:

2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 cups warm water - mix and leave for ten minutes until a scum develops on top.

2 tsp salt
2.5 cups white flour
approx 1.75 cups home-milled emmer grains
.5 cups of  whole wheat emmer grains

Mix together gradually until you need to use your hands to knead and form a dough ball.(If you need more guidance on how to do this, watch my whole wheat video, which will show you the technique, but not the same ingredients).

Let rise for two hours.

Punch down, then shape into loaves. I made two, one round, one baguette.

Let rise for two hours.

Heat oven to 425, with a pan of water so the oven gets steamy.

Slash the tops of the bread with a wet serrated knife. Do the cuts very quickly, so knife does't get caught in the dough

Place breads in the oven for 30 minutes.

Yum!


 
Posted By Steve the Bread Guy

As winter starts to remind us that it is on its way, our breads are going to notice, too. Most of the recipes you find in cookbooks assume that you have a nice hot kitchen when you make bread. Professional bakers work in very warm environments thanks to their many ovens, and that affects how their yeast reacts. Yeast is a fungus that likes warm temperatures, roughly akin to a hot summer day. But many of us have homes that are not heated that way in the winter, and this will affect how long it takes yeast to react and for bread to rise.

 

One simple answer is to just give the yeast more time. In most bread recipes, including my own, we suggest that you let the bread double in size for each of its two rises. In warm conditions, I find that this usually takes about an hour (with the exception of sourdough breads, which take longer). But when my house is cool (68F, or 18 or 19C), that doubling takes longer, sometimes as much as an hour and a half.

 

If you don’t have time for that, there is an alternative. Turn you oven into a warming chamber for the rising dough. Preheat the oven to 200F, but turn it off before it gets there. Open the door to let some of the heat escape. Stick your hand in a few minutes later. If it isn’t too hot for your hand, it will be okay for the dough’s yeast, too. It should feel like a hot summer day, but not a scorcher. Place the rising dough in their for an hour. Insure that you cover the dough with a damp towel, since the heat will dry out the top surface of the dough otherwise. Check on its size 45 minutes later, to see if it has been rising faster than expected. I find that this works quite well. Some ovens even have breadproofing settings for exactly this purpose.

 

Good luck with you winter baking!

 

Steve the Bread Guy.


 
Posted By Steve the Bread Guy

I have received a number of emails from people who were amazed that I had added salt to the yeast/water mixture that is the start of each bread I make ( with the exception of sourdoughs, of course). They told me that salt kills yeast, and that this would affect how high the breads rose.

 

So, recently I decided to do an experiment. I made two loaves of identical white bread, but in one batch I added salt to the water mixture, and in the other, I added the salt to the flour, then added it to the water mixture. I kept them in separate bowls, and followed all the normal steps until they were done. ( if you would like to see how I make a regular white bread, please watch the video at www.takebackthebread.com/white.html)

 

The result? The two breads were exactly the same. Same height, same consistency, everything. So, in my experience, adding salt makes no difference at all, except to the taste. If you don't add any salt at all, that shows up in the flavour of the bread. I prefer it with salt, so I am going to keep using it, and I see no risk in adding it to the water/yeast mixture.

 

Steve


 
Posted By Steve the Bread Guy

I like to experiment in the kitchen, so lately I have been messing around with using rice in my breads. The other night I had some cooked white rice and some corn niblets leftover from dinner, so I decided to try to make a bread out of it. It turned out quite well, so I thought I would share what I did with you.

The recipe is the same as a basic white bread, but with a few substitutions:

Add 2 tsp of instant dry active yeast into a large bowl, added two cups of warm water. Let it sit until it gets scummy on top, about then minutes.

Then I added:
2 tsp salt
2 cups white flour
four handfuls of cooked white rice
1 cup of mashed up cooked corn niblets

I mixed that together, then added another 2-3 cups of white flour until I had a good dough.

From then on, it was a regular white bread recipe:

I took the dough ball out of the bowl, oiled the bowl with some vegetable oil, placed the dough ball back in, flipping once.

Covered it with a damp tea towel.

Let rise for an hour.

I came back, punched down the dough. In this case, I rolled it out into baguettes, but I could have simply kneaded it in the bowl for two minutes, then placed into an oiled  bread baking pan.

( If you want to know how to make baguettes, go to the website, where I have two videos that show you how to do it, with and without a special baguette pan: www.takebackthebread.com/baguettenopan.html

www.takebackthebread.com/fiveminute.html
)

So, after kneading it for a minute or two, place in a bread pan to rise for another hour, covered under a tea towel.

The bread rose really well after that hour. So I simply preheated the oven to 425 ( since I was doing baguettes - 400F for a regular bread pan), placed some water in a pan so oven would get steamy.

I baked it for 30 minutes.

The crust was lovely, nice and crunchy. Inside, you could see the rice if you looked really hard, but the taste was a bit like a heartier white, but with a really light consistency.

Well worth doing again.

The reason this worked is that rice, like wheat, is a grain. Having cooked it already, it was nice and soft, so the two hours of rising and then the cooking softened it up even more.

Very yummy, and a great way to use some leftover rice.

Give it a try!


 
Posted By Steve the Bread Guy

Hi Everyone,

 

I have decided to start a blog so that I can share what I have been up to in my kitchen, and so I can answer more of your questions. Everyday I get emails from all over the world, so this way all of you can find out what other people are asking about, and the answers that I give. I also like to improvise in the kitchen as I make bread, and this will be the place where I share the recipes and results of my latest creations.

 

Some of these may turn into videos later on, some not. For now, you can share in the creative process. Please feel free to send me your ideas, too, I am always on the look out for new ideas for bread.

 

Take care,

 

Steve


 

 

 
Google

User Profile
Steve the Bread Guy

 
Archives
 
Visitors

You have 64956 hits.