Something New

A few weeks ago, on a visit to the city, we purchased hard white wheat berries. The Bulk Barn sells hard white wheat berries, I haven’t found any other supplier as yet, so I thought we should give them a try. While there we picked up a small bag of sprouted spelt berries as well.

After struggling to consume about 3 gallons of whole wheat flour that was past being pleasant, I decided that i wanted to mill my own whole wheat, on demand, when needed. Wheat berries keep for a long time, and they will keep even longer in the freezer. To that end we recently purchased a flour mill, the WonderMill, for grinding our own flour. My expectations have been low for this project, as I’ve not had stellar results baking 100% whole wheat bread. My 100% whole wheat bread is acceptable, but nothing to write home about, particularly of late, baking with older-than-desirable flour.

The adventure began this morning. The wheat and spelt berries were taken out of the freezer early in the morning, to give them a chance to thaw before it was time to mill them. Hydro becomes much less expensive after 11:00 a.m., so using electric appliances is postponed until after that time. The milling process is simple, and it took a while because after milling the wheat, I let the mill cool down before milling the spelt.

After measuring out the amount of flour for the days bread baking, the remaining flour was stored in mason jars, and placed in the refrigerator. There is enough stored for one more batch of bread.

I’ve been using the dough setting on the bread machine lately, then shaping the dough into two small loaves, placing them in the pans to double in size, then baking. To my great surprise, the rise on the dough was perfect, far superior to that achieved by the whole wheat flour I had been using up until now. The second rise was equally impressive. And the aroma of this bread was wonderful, as it baked. And taste, well, what can I say, other than it was the best loaf of whole wheat bread I have ever made in my life. Perfect on every score.

While we were on our weekly grocery run tonight, we picked up some fish burger patties, pre-made, as an indulgence, along with some tartar sauce. This gave us an excuse to sample the first loaf of homemade bread, fish sandwiches. Oh my, they were so good!

Now I have to buy more hard wheat berries! I’ve finally hit my stride with bread baking.

Research into local, bulk quantity, wheat berries, or other whole grains, have yielded no good results. Only two sources have been found so far in Ontario. One, a farmer, does not respond to my email messages, and I think that is because he sells his product to bakeries, and I am too small potatoes to be bothered with. The other supplier caters to businesses, will sell to individuals, but is located three hours drive away. Shipping is impossibly expensive, so it is out of the question. The search continues.

Also on our shopping trip this evening, we purchased 26 lemons for $4.00, they were slightly aged, and had just been marked down. Attila is squeezing lemon juice, 4 full jars, which we will freeze for cooking and baking. He is having a good time, listening to his favourite music, saving money on high quality food, and adding to the food supplies. And last but not least 11 organic bananas were marked down to $1.00, I snapped them up; they will be peeled, set on cookie sheets, frozen, and packaged for banana smoothies and baking.

Food, preparation and preservation, is our main mutual recreation.

Worldly

Weather

-2°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Monday 18 March 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.5°C
Dew point: -2.6°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SSW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -5
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Her grandmother, as she gets older, is not fading but rather becoming more concentrated.”
Paulette Bates Alden
1947 –

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14 Responses to Something New

  1. WendyNC says:

    Maggie, this sounds like a wonderful process. How I’d love to try it! I don’t see retirement in my future, but I do see moving home with my business someday and I know that bread can rise in the background just fine while I’m working. I’m generally satisfied with the whole wheat bread I make, but I know it would be much better with freshly milled grain. Bon chance on your ongoing bread adventures.

  2. meriset says:

    I’m glad you’ve had baking successes!

  3. Wendy, I am just tickled with the grain mill, and quality of the flour that it grinds! I am tempted to let the whole process play out in the bread machine, which is a really handy kitchen appliance, add the ingredients, push the button, come back when it calls you to remove the pan and the loaf of bread. Our bread machine makes loaves a little too large for our needs, it was on sale at an unbelievable price, so I couldn’t resist it, even though it is too large. The freshly milled flour is amazing, I am so imporessed. And I can’t wait to try other grains, like the spelt, rye, buckwheat, kamut, and ancient kinds of wheat like einkorn. All in the future. Life just never gets old.

  4. Thanks Joan! I have not had access to freshly milled flour before, and I have to say, it is very much superior to any whole wheat flour I have ever purchased! I love grains, so I am glad that I can now process whole grains, which are fairly good for me.

  5. Teri says:

    That’s great, that your fresh flour exceeded your expectations. Enjoy!

  6. Bex says:

    You could teach the World in how to conserve!

  7. Thanks Teri! Some surprises are good surprises, the home milled flour is certainly one certainly falls under good surprises.

  8. Bex, necessity is the mother of invention, 🙂

  9. Sandy says:

    The fish sandwiches sound delicious! You are conserving but you’re also eating in such a healthy way. The oranges and bananas reminded me of a company. I think it’s called Ugly Fruit? Something like that. You can subscribe and get a monthly shipment of fruit or veggies that look weird in terms of shape, but are still good. In our society we often want everything to look perfect, even if appearance doesn’t always equate to tasting good.

  10. Sandy, the fish sandwiches were great! That is as close to fast food as I can get, and the fish “burgers” we purchased were “Blue Menu”, a brand here in Ontario where the product is supposedly more nutritious than usual… but still, at the end of the day, not terribly healthy compared to homemade.
    I’ll look at “ugly fruit” here in Canada, some of the best ideas don’t make it this far north, rats… but I spoke too soon, there is a brand in our grocery stores here called Naturally Imperfect, which is a similar concept product.

  11. Now that I’m having trouble accessing 10kg bags of whole wheat flour here, we have to get serious about finding a supplier or buying a mill or both. Glad you put the link to the WonderMill; thank you! -Kate

  12. You are welcome Kate! I’d like to try Daybreak Mill in Alberta, unfortunately to get the grain here, the shipping costs more than the product. Now that we know what fresh ground flour is like, there is no going back!

  13. I bought fresh-ground (supposedly) organic whole wheat flour from a small private business, but my loaves turned out heavy and beery so I didn’t buy it again. It will have been my own shortcoming as a bread baker, not the mill, that was to blame. I never make just one or two loaves but always six at a time, but maybe should’ve scaled down till I got it right. I was too cocky! -Kate

  14. Kate, I found great variation in whole wheat flours. The last bulk batch, which we are trhowing out, was more like sand than flour, and even when it was fresh and sweet, it didn’t make good bread, or anything else or that matter. It is gamble. Now that I know I gran mill it myself and get a product I want to use, I’ll stick with grinding my own. Six loaves! Your loaves are beautiful. We would eat less than one a week, so six would get us through a month!