Saturday, January 17, 2009
Wheat flour and baking bread
Let's talk bread, self sustained living style. Flour is what we need to bake bread and the main grain for flour is wheat. Hard wheat, soft wheat, red or white, winter or spring. Even a cheap grain mill will give you flour you can use to bake bread. Growing wheat is pretty easy and you can get quite a bit from small growing areas.
Okay, we've got our wheat and it's ground up into a nice batch of flour. Now what? Now we get out our bread recipe. Measure carefully then mix your ingedients. Kneading your dough pulls the bread together and makes it so the dough can trap the bubbles that give the bread structure. It makes for a good texture and ensures your bread won't turn into the heavy, flavorless brick. Now for the rise time. This is when the yeast feeds on the starches in your wheat flour, releasing gases giving your bread it's lift. Let it double in size. Now, the punch down which is what remixes the yeast and allows it to find new "food". Gently press down on the dough and fold it over on itself. Form your loaf and set it for it's next rise before baking. When it's risen to what you want, bake that bread.
I personally like a pizza stone on the bottom rack of my oven. It holds heat more evenly than the oven does on it's own. Makes a better crust. I suggest removing your bread from the pan right away and cooling it on a wire rack. It allows the moisture to escape during cooling, preventing a soggy bottomed loaf.
I found a bread recipe over at the Hillbilly Housewife website I have linked on the sidebar, it is the basic beginners bread recipe and it works out extremely well with home ground flour.