Goin' With The Grain - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 288406

Home on the Range

Goin' With the Grain 
Nov. 11, 2012 8:52 am 
Updated: Nov. 26, 2012 4:53 am

Living as far as we do from town, freezer space is at a premium, so I make all our bread from scratch as it’s easier to keep the ingredients around and besides nothing is more delicious than fresh homemade bread.

There are a few things in my kitchen that in my mind, make life a LOT easier. A stand mixer, several sizes of glass measuring cups for liquids, (multiple 1 cup, 2 cup, 4 cup and 11 cup)several sets ofstainless steel measuring cups for dry measure, a danish dough whisk for stirring dough and a couple sets of measuring spoons. These all get used frequently and are kept out within reach, either on my open shelf, in a crock or hanging from the cabinet. A grain mill is a handy thing to have as well, as I have recently begun to mill my own flour and keep 3 kinds of wheat berries in large food safe buckets with  a bay leaf inside and gamma lids. They will store this way indefinitely and I mill flour as I need it. The bay leaf keeps weevils at bay. If I am going to do a lot of baking, I will mill a week’s worth of flour and keep it in the fridge, but let it warm to room temp before using. I also have on hand, loaf pans,  various sizes of baking stones, a clay baker and a couple of different brotforms (dough basket) and a pastry cloth.

For some of the bread I make, I will need to feed my sourdough starter. I keep a pretty good sized jar of it, so I will just put 1/2-1 cup of flour in with 1/2-1 cup of warm water to feed it. I’ll cover it back up with the cloth I keep on it (you don’t want to cover sourdough with a non permeable lid as it needs to draw yeast from the air). I use a widemouth canning jar with a square of cloth and a canning ring or rubber band. This keeps everything out of it, but allows a free exchange of air. Most of the time, I have my starter in the refrigerator. I take it out and feed it several hours before I need to use it and let it warm up to room temperature. I don’t keep it out all the time as I would then have to feed it everyday, and it would also interfere with cheesemaking. Never make bread and cheese the same day, as the yeast in the air will cause problems with your cheese.
Sometimes you might have to pour out some of the starter to make room for more flour and water. Anytime you use your starter you are going to get some build up on the side of your jar and inside the rim. Every now and then I take this buildup, set it aside to dry completely then put it in a baggie in the freezer. I've also been known to spread some thinly on wax paper and set it out to dry. This way if something should ever happen to my original starter which is now several years old, I can rehydrate this and continue on as before. I can also ship it to friends who would like to start making some sourdough of their own. There are tons of horror stories about someone cleaning out a refrigerator and dumping out the starter thinking it was something old. Some starters may have come West in wagon trains and it would be a shame for them to go out of existence this way. Mine was started about 10 years ago in my kitchen, but it improves with age and I have no desire to begin all over. *note Keep starter in a non metallic crock & use non metallic spoons, etc to stir it.

While the starter gets happy and starts to party, I mill some Hard WHITE or Hard RED Wheat flour. I am currently still learning to work with 100% whole wheat breads so I have been using 50% whole wheat flour and 50% commercial bread flour in order to get a nice rise out of my bread without dough conditioners or added gluten. I experiment with those as I have extra time.

Real home milled whole wheat flour has the bran, the germ and the endosperm. With commercial flour, even commercial flour that claims to be whole wheat, the wheat germ is removed. This is to prevent the flour from going rancid so quickly. The truth is, that hours after milling, the nutrients in wheat begin to dissipate. If you have ever bought whole wheat flour and found it smelled like cardboard, it’s gone bad. Typically, commercial flour has had all the beneficial nutrients removed in order to enhance shelf life. The bread you buy today isn’t much more than filler, without much nutritional benefit at all. All manner of things have been added to it from wood pulp to a product derived from human hair, to make it more cost efficient.
By milling your own flour, you save money, have a fresher healthier product with lots of fiber and vitamins. The first thing we noticed when using our own flour was that we don’t eat as much. The real whole grain bread products are so filling we consume only about 1/2 as much as we do with stuff I used to make with commercial flour. The flavor is superior. Instead of the bitterness found in commercial whole wheat flour, there is a sweetness. There just is no comparison.

Hard Red Wheat makes a darker and more deeply wheat flavored bread. I like it best, but Randy likes the Hard White Wheat, which is a bit lighter. Soft White Wheat is low in gluten and is considered Pastry Flour, used for cookies, cakes and things of that nature. My grain mill doesn’t grind as fine as what you might buy in the store and my flour absorbs more liquid so I sometimes have to make adjustments for it. My pastry flour I actually grind twice and sometimes I will sift the pieces of wheat germ out of it to be used in something like cereal.

One recipe we like is adapted from a King Arthur Sourdough recipe online. It calls for 5 cups of flour, so I will mill about 2 cups of wheat berries. 
The 2 cups of wheat berries, once milled, gives me about 3 3/4 to 4 cups of flour. I put 2 1/2 cups of the flour into a quart glass measuring cup and add 1 cup of plain yogurt. Yogurt helps keep bread moist and soft. I almost always have yogurt on hand because I use it for different things and having the cow and goats around, I usually have a good supply of milk. The yogurt mixed with the fresh milled wheat will help to break down the phytic acid, making nutrients more available to us. It will also help to soften the wheat germ which tends to break the gluten strands when bread rises, leaving it flat and heavy. If I don’t have yogurt on hand, I can use buttermilk, milk, whey, or water with a little apple cider vinegar in it. I just like the results with the yogurt the best.

I mix the yogurt and flour with the dough whisk, cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside for a few hours, or overnight.

After I get the dough made, I knead it on my pastry cloth which I have sprinkled some flour on. It makes it a lot easier to clean up if I use the pastry cloth for kneading dough, cutting out cookies or making pie crust. All I need do is sprinkle it with flour, or in the case of cookies, powdered sugar, do what I have to, then shake it over the trash can to let the excess fall off, fold it, and put it in a freezer until I need it again. It’s a great little timesaver.

After rising it in a bowl, I put it in a well floured brotform to rise the second time. I use a piece of parchment paper to flip it from the brotform onto a baking stone and bake it. Once out of the oven, I butter the top because Randyman likes his crust soft. This makes a huge loaf of bread. I cut it in quarters and freeze 3 of them until we are done with the remaining one. 
I might throw together a sponge with my leftover flour and some more sourdough for making waffles in the morning. This is some seriously good stuff!

Sourdough Loaf

2 1/2 cups fresh milled WW flour
1 cup yogurt
1 cup sourdough starter
2 tsp yeast
1 TBL sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Soak WW flour overnight in yogurt.
Put room temperature starter in mixer with sugar, water and yeast to proof yeast.
Add salt, yogurt mixture. Mix and slowly add bread flour until dough pulls away from bowl. Knead by hand or with dough hook.
Rise til double in warm place
Deflate, fold in thirds and stretch into a ball and place in well floured brotform, or shape into loaves and put in loaf pans.

Rise for second time then bake at 425 for 30-45  min.

Nov. 11, 2012 9:21 am
Oh my gosh! I wish I could taste that!! I laughed at your comment "when I have extra time." LOL! I can't imagine when you have extra time. My next purchase will be a grain mill! They've been too expensive so far.
Nov. 11, 2012 9:30 am
I bought a fairly inexpensive one that is electric but also has a hand crank. It was about $250. However, if I was to do it again, I'd opt for the better one, because I use it a LOT. You can buy attachments to roll your own oats, and make cereals with them as well!
Nov. 11, 2012 10:11 am
I would love a bit of that starter and get back into making bread this time of year. I don't grind my own flour but your recipe and bread looks yummy!
Nov. 11, 2012 10:16 am
Great Flying Pigs!! (ROFLMAO!) Another awesome blog! Thanks Petey! Beautiful. I could just smell that loaf (made me think " muffelletta")
Nov. 11, 2012 10:27 am
I'm really looking forward to doing this. This blog post might actually convince my wife that a grain mill and freshly ground wheat is for us! Excellent post!
Nov. 11, 2012 10:33 am
Petey, looks so very delicious! I kept reading.... was waiting for the Flying Pigs to make an appearance. LOL. Maybe next time; thanks for another great blog, enjoy them
Nov. 11, 2012 10:37 am
Petey-your bread looks delicious! You never cease to amaze me-milling your own flour. You are truly the Little Red Hen come to life! Wonderful Blog!
Nov. 11, 2012 10:41 am
ibbz, i'd be happy to send you some starter if you want to email me your addy. You can reach me @ yetep@medotcom
Nov. 11, 2012 10:47 am
thanks doc, I love my grain mill. Wish I had gotten it a long time ago! LOL@ Misty & the flying pigs! Lela, I never thought of myself as a little Red Hen before, maybe because I am no spring chicken!
Nov. 11, 2012 11:00 am
You continue to amaze me. Starter scares me a bit and I am anxious to try breads using it. I am afraid I'll poison everyone! LOL Would love to see you do a blog on the care, feeding and use of starter. Do you recommend any particular wheat berries and can you share a reputable source for them? I am a complete novice. I grind my own meats and it is time to move onto flours now. Great blog!
Nov. 11, 2012 11:04 am
Wonderful read as always,you are a very busy lady.I make my own bread,but i don't mill it.The way you describe the bread,i wish there was smellavision.Thanks.
Nov. 11, 2012 11:05 am
I'd be happy to do that, WFDM. I'll make a note of it. I'd be happy to trade sourdough recipes for sausage recipes! :)
Nov. 11, 2012 3:20 pm
Very interesting blog! I always admire your willingness to try things! It wears me out just to read all that you do! I must say, though, that my favorite part of this blog is the opening photo!
Nov. 11, 2012 6:50 pm
Hmmm, I have never added yeast to my sourdough loaves. I've used it when making English muffins. Bet it can't hurt to try some like that. I'm with Marianne, loved the first pic!
Nov. 12, 2012 3:50 am
Is there any real estate available in your area? like right next door to you? I am just learning to make bread and your making flour!!! Amazing
Nov. 12, 2012 6:30 am
Petey!!!! You are one amazing woman. I wish I knew how to make bread. Truth is, I've never made it and never learned. I am a bit confused by some of the terms and scared. Your knowledge and talents are enviable to say the least. The pics of your bread look wonderful. I gotta learn. I want to try. I must tell you that the pic of your dog at the top is beautiful. Thanks. Have a great day Petey.
Nov. 12, 2012 8:22 am
Icooknow-you are so funny! that made me laugh and boy I needed to this morning! LOL Let me see...next door to us would be about 20 miles to the next ranch, or 110 miles to the first town...Good luck with the bread making. It's a learning curve but failures are usable in french toast, croutons and bread crumbs! Keep going until you nail it!
Nov. 12, 2012 8:24 am
oh Rosebud, it's not really that hard. When I first began, I told myself that pioneers did it for generations and we can too. Thinking of paying several $ a loaf against pennies helps too! Like I said above, failures in bread making aren't all bad! :) Thanks so much for stopping by to comment!
Nov. 12, 2012 12:09 pm
petey, while working out this morning I caught a cooking show, not so keen on the "chef", but the recipe she showed and then "re-made" I thought you and I would both like. Million dollar chicken. It was herbed and then roasted on two thick pieces of sourdough bread brushed with creme fraiche and broiled to give it a nice crunch. I'm going to try it and I'm going to play with my sourdough using some yogurt that needs to be used. Can't wait to see what happens later this week with this attempt!
Nov. 12, 2012 1:10 pm
Oh, how in the world do you make a sourdough starter?? I would love the sausage recipes too please! I have a nutrimill, and use it a few times a week. I love it! I am very lucky to have a bosch kitchen machine, which is one of the favorite things in our kitchen!!!
Nov. 12, 2012 1:51 pm
Wow, what I wouldn't give for a slice of that bread and some of your homemade butter right about now.
Nov. 12, 2012 4:44 pm
rita there are recipes to make the starter from, but if you can get some from somebody its better. The older the starter, the better it is. I'd love to have a bosch! I think it would be cool if people who homemill their grains would post some recipes of the stuff they make with them. There is a lot of trial and error and it would be great to use what works for other people!
Nov. 12, 2012 4:45 pm
Oh char- I'd gladly share! It's hard sometimes not to eat more than my share, especially when its still hot!
Nov. 13, 2012 12:19 am
Petey: Is there anything you can't do? (Jaw dropping)
Nov. 13, 2012 5:19 am
Petey, I too grind my own wheat and make our bread. Prairie Gold wheat from Wheat Montana makes a fabulous 100% wheat loaf. I grind it as I need it, and the loaves rise tall and are light and delicious. I get the best results by far using that wheat. I can pick it up inexpensively at an Amish market about an hour away, but it can also be ordered online. You may want to give it a try.
Nov. 13, 2012 7:25 am
I have heard it is good Maryb, I will have to look online for it. Thanks for the tip. I wish we could all collaborate on our WW recipes!
Nov. 15, 2012 6:23 am
Favoriete brown bread 1 cup oil, 3 eggs, 2 tbsp. suger, 1 tbsp salt, 3 cups warm water, 2 tbsp. vinigar, 1 crushed vitamin c tablet, 5 cups fresh ground whole wheat. Put in bowl, and start mixing.Add 4 tbsp SAF yeast. Add 2 cups white flour, and the rest whole grain flour, and mix for ten min. Shape into loaves or buns, let rise, and bake at 350, for 30 min. for loaves, and 20 for buns. Makes 6 loaves or 5 dozen buns! Enjoy!
Nov. 15, 2012 6:27 am
Hello, I have started a sour dough starter on Monday, so today I hope to try your recipe. Wish me luck! I also will try a sour dough punpernickle bread with some rye flour and Molasses. Hope I have a good bread day, as my children like there daily bread to be a little soft!
Nov. 15, 2012 6:52 am
Thanks Rita! I will give this recipe a spin!If your starter doesn't work out, let me know, and I can send you some to rehydrate :)
Nov. 16, 2012 12:01 pm
petey, your sourdough starter is dried? I was wondering how you would ship it in the mail. My sourdough lurks in a corner of the fridge. The only people I have been able to share it with are locals. How did you dry it?
Nov. 16, 2012 3:33 pm
Just take some and spread it thinly on a piece of waxed paper. It will dry out in a day or so. Then break it up, put it in a baggie and stuff it in an envelope. I keep a few baggies in the freezer all the time. I grind it up with a pestle and mortar before I rehydrate it, but here is some directions for rehydration http://mercantile.firelightheritagefarm.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=70:rehydrating&catid=79&Itemid=476
Nov. 16, 2012 6:22 pm
"Oh, Petey"... (she said when she picked her jaw up from the ground!) SERIOUSLY, have you done all these wonderful things since you were a little girl?? Did you learn from your Mom or Grandma?? Or did you learn-as-you-went once you worked on the ranch?? I kept waiting to see which animal did what to your starter... or which one stole a loaf of bread... the picture had me *hoping*!!! Amazing stuff as always!! And we continue to thank you for sharing with us!!!!
Nov. 16, 2012 8:29 pm
Nope, I didn't learn anything, actually from my family. But I did learn some from an old French farmer when I was in my 20's, had my first cow then (and lots of failures) but I have learned the most since I got 'sick' and had to quit training horses. Internet is amazing and you gotta do something with your day! :)
Nov. 17, 2012 6:04 am
Thanks, petey! I'll have to try that. I was picturing sending a jar of starter and the mess could make. Never would have thought of drying it!
Nov. 17, 2012 6:44 am
I probably wouldn't have either but a few years back I bought a book on sourdough and there were references to where you could order some shipped to you. I investigated that and found out its easy! It has been successfully rehydrated by some of my friends too, so I know it works :)
Nov. 17, 2012 4:28 pm
Well, then I should send you some of mine to experiment with. Not like you aren't busy enough anyway :)(:
Nov. 17, 2012 4:29 pm
Again thanks for all that info!
Nov. 17, 2012 8:10 pm
As usual, a great blog. When we were little, my folks brought a very old sourdough starter back from Alaska. We had all fallen in love with my Alaska aunt's breads, so we were really looking forward to enjoying the fruits of this much coveted starter. One day, my mom noticed that almost all the starter was gone. My dad said he would not be using the starter for his pancakes anymore in response. He said those pancakes were way tooooooo sour. Come to find out, my dad was just cooking the sourdough starter for his pancakes. We still laugh about it......sour pancakes!
Nov. 17, 2012 9:44 pm
LOL@ mauigirl!! Our boss did the same thing! Only he used ALL of it up. Luckily I had mine so his wife was able to come and get a restart.. too funny. I bet that was some awesome SD coming from Alaska. I bet it was some old stuff!
Nov. 18, 2012 8:27 pm
Petey great blog!! You are an amazing woman...not many like you left in this world! A true survivor if there ever was one. :)
Nov. 19, 2012 7:12 pm
Thanks Cliff, you are a prince! LOL
Nov. 21, 2012 6:27 pm
I'm making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I'm my own boss. This is what I do, Cloud68.com
Nov. 26, 2012 4:53 am
I wanted to raise my own cows and beef and pork and goats, and chickens anducks and geese and turkeys and gather the egg year around and go get the chicken duck goose or turkey and get it ready from coop to the roaster or fryer or grill and raise a good size garden too but neighbors complain 4 miles out of town and don't even want me to have a dog or cats Some be nosey when they should tend to their own animals and garden instead of raiding my coop and garden. I tell them I do as I please and if it bothers them then move to the city.
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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