Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

My good friend Melissa introduced me to the concept of grinding your own grain to get freshly ground flour. I have been making homemade bread for quite some time now. But with all the ooh's and ahh's I get and the comments such as "Oh, I could never do that", I thought it was time to do a post on how I make bread.  I am sure that it will take me longer to create this post than it did to make these two loaves of bread!

Start with 3 1/2 teaspoons of yeast. 

Then two cups of water.  This looks like more than 2 cups, but really it is actually 2 cups.
 There is some optical illusion that happened with my camera that I could not seem to overcome. 

The water needs to be quite warm, about 90-110 degrees F. 
Just the right temperature in my microwave is a bit over a minute.

Meanwhile, a minute is about all you need to scoop out 4 cups of wheat. 
I prefer hard white for bread.
Dump the warm water into the yeast.  It needs to sit for a few minutes so the yeast can proof. 
So I let it sit there proofing away while I do the next few steps. 
Or if you are a preschooler then you would say POOF everytime the yeast expands!
Then turn on the grain mill and dump in the 4 cups of wheat.  It is quite loud when you first turn it on so if you have small children then you should give them a "BIG NOISE" alert because if you forget then you will scare them.  And I have not found a good way to make bread and deal with screaming children.
And, yes, I leave my mill set on the finest setting even for bread. 

While the yeast is proofing and the grain is grinding I pour 1/2 cup of oil.

On top of the oil I pour 1/2 cup of honey.
By now the grain mill has done its job - yes it truly only takes a few minutes to grind the grain!

And the yeast is done proofing so I add 2 teaspoons of salt.

Pour in the oil and honey.

Add 3 cups of flour. 
This flour is super fluffy so I tend to pack it down in the cup a bit.
Then turn on the mixer.
Meanwhile I get my sink ready to wash dishes and by the time I have the water ready...

the flour is all mixed in and it is nice and smooth.
Then add in a heaping teaspoon of dough enhancer. 
The directions say a tablespoon, but I figure a heaping teaspoon is close enough.

and add two more cups of flour.
At this point I change the beater to the dough hook and let it mix for a minute until all the flour is mixed in.

The dough is starting to form, but it is still way to sticky so we have to add more flour!
I have never measured how much I add, but my best guess is about a 1/4 cup at a time.

My mixer has a timer on it, so at this point I set it for 15 minutes. 
This is enough time to get the dough into a ball and for the mixer to do enough kneading.

After the flour has mixed in, if it is still sticking to the sides I add a bit more flour.
Sometimes when I stop to add more flour I also scrape the sides

or sometimes I will push the dough off the dough hook.
I don't know why, just something that I do

Finally you will get a ball of dough that does not stick to the sides anymore.
Then I let the mixer do the kneading until the 15 minutes is up.
I put any leftover flour into a ziploc bag and store in the freezer.
I often use this flour for making waffles or muffins.

I also turn on the oven light to make it nice and warm in the oven.
Then while I am waiting for the mixer to finish I am doing the dishes. 
When the mixer is done I form the dough into a ball and put it into a bowl. 

Then the whole bowl goes into the oven.  Do not put this kind of bowl into a preheated oven!
The only warmth is from the oven light. It needs to rise until double, so I usually set the timer for 1 hour 45 minutes.

Up to this point I have spent maybe half an hour in the kitchen. Yep thats it, only half an hour to mix the dough and do the dishes!

This is the ball after 1 hour and 45 minutes.  I punch it down and knead it slightly before cutting it in half.

Form the two halves into basic loaf shapes and back into the oven to rise again, which should take about 1 hour 20 minutes. I also cover the pans with a dishcloth, don't know why...

After the second rising take the pans out of the oven so you can preheat to 350.
Then the pans go back in to bake for 25-30 minutes.  My oven is best at 29 minutes.

Here are the baked loaves.  Usually I get more rise out of my dough, so I am not sure what happened that day.  Maybe taking all the pictures threw the routine off.

After 10 minutes out of the oven I dump the loaves out of the pans and onto a cooling rack.  The great part about the cooling rack is that it leaves lines on the bottom of the loaf which happen to be perfect guides for cutting just the right thickness of a slice of bread.
So there you go.  A recipe and picture instructions for making homemade bread with freshly ground flour.  If you have a mixer and invest in a grinder and some wheat you can do this too.  I won't even start on the health benefits right now because I need to go have a piece...too bad you can't smell the house when it is baking or taste that end piece when it is still warm enough to melt the butter YUMMM


I have just realized that the recipe you are using and the recipe I am using is slightly different.... hmmmm.... maybe that's why mine isn't as good as yours.