Baking With Freshly Ground flour
One of my goals this year is to grind 100% of the flour we need. I figure we’ve got the wheat, we’ve got the grinder, why in the world should I buy a bag of flour, or pre-made bread/dough products, when I can (and should) do it myself?! Not only is it much cheaper to grind your own, but the fresh wheat is so much better for you too!
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that up until now we’ve still been buying flour and most bread products at the store. Cans of refrigerated biscuits, crescent rolls, sandwich bread, frozen pizzas, and tortillas are frequently on my grocery list. The problem really boiled down to one thing… procrastination.
Baking bread takes planning. Grinding flour takes time. Two things I am so bad with most days. I’d start my weekly menu with good intentions, really I did. I’d purposely leave off any bread products from the grocery list so that I’d be forced to make it myself. But at the end of the day I’d always end up calling my husband and asking him to pick up this or that at the store on his way home, ’cause we were out and I didn’t have time to make more.
So, determined to really tighten our food budget belt this year, I’ve purposed in my heart that I would not, under any circumstances, fall back into my old habits of procrastination. Store bought flour is strictly forbidden. And I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking to this goal.
Okay, so it’s only been 11 days since the New Year. But hey, I’ve made a lot of progress!
My first attempt didn’t turn out so great though. My husband is an avid breakfast biscuit eater. Every morning he has got to have a turkey bacon and cheese biscuit.
I hate making biscuits.
Biscuits are my enemy.
Every time I try to make them I end up with so much dough stuck to my hands that it quickly becomes impossible to function, let alone try to knead the mound of glue-like goop, and I just wanna throw the whole glob across the kitchen and scream!
This is why we bought several cans of biscuit dough weekly. So that the children never have to witness their mother freaking out. However, I am determined to beat this. I will master the fine art of biscuit making.
I think I know what my problem was this time though. I used pastry wheat, soft white wheat, instead of a hard wheat. It didn’t rise at all, and the biscuits ended up being dry and crumbly. No good. At least the chickens enjoyed them.
But I was not to be discouraged.
My next attempt was whole wheat crescent rolls for our favorite chicken roll-ups. Again, I used the pastry wheat. They turned pretty good though! You could definitely taste the “whole wheat-ness” of them, but surprisingly the kids gobbled them up as usual. I think I’ll try hard white wheat next and see how they turn out.
For breakfast this morning I made whole wheat pancakes. (Sorry no pics… they didn’t last long enough!) I mixed the pastry wheat half-and-half with hard white wheat. You could taste the whole wheat flavor, but they weren’t hard to get used to.
For lunch we had homemade pizza. I used hard white wheat and pizza dough yeast. It turned out SO yummy!! Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, beef pepperoni, baked in a cast iron pizza pan… so much better than a frozen grocery store pizza!
Next on my list was whole wheat tortillas for the burrito bake I made for dinner. Again, I used the hard white wheat. They came out good… though I think maybe I rolled them too thin this time, they weren’t quite as soft as usual.
And last but not least, I made a loaf of bread for sandwiches tomorrow. I used my mother-in-law’s delicious dinner roll recipe. But instead of pinching off the dough to make individual rolls, I made one big loaf in my cast iron bread pan. I also used the hard white wheat in place of the bread dough. Normally, I would have added vital wheat gluten to make it softer, but totally forgot. When I realized my mistake I was afraid the bread would be hard or too dense.
We were all very pleased though to find this loaf absolutely perfect!! Even the dog had to sample it. (Bad dog! This explains why two sides of the loaf are cut off. At least she only got a nibble.) I was relieved that it was soft, and fluffy, and super good. The kids could hardly wait for it to cool before they dug in and wanted more. And I felt really good knowing that the bread they were eating was made from fresh, wholesome flour.
So you see… I’m really, fervently trying! Now, if only I can get my hands on an electric wheat grinder!! Thank goodness Jerry was home today and helped me grind all of this wheat. It would have taken me FOR-EV-ER.