Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Trial and Errors of Bread Baking

Well, one recipe down and many more to follow.  I should say I have a delicious tested recipe from a friend that I have made a few times but it is for a different type of loaf than what I am trying to achieve.  That being said I am still pressing on for an everyday recipe.  I have decided there are many variables to making bread that I hadn't thought of before.  Yeast being one, and the flavor and texture of my wheat flour being the biggest variable.

I spent a considerable amount of time grinding wheat berries for the bread.  We discovered that when we use the grinding stones on the wheat berries which are small stone like granules compressed to make one stone, that  the little stone granules were falling off into our ground wheat flour.  I will contact the manufacturer and ask them what they suggest.  I bought our grain mill second hand and do not know if this has to do with the age of the stone or not.  I will know more later.  I switched to using the steel blades for grinding the wheat berries but found that they are not nearly as fine and leave almost a half a berry of the wheat after it has gone through the mill.

After nearly a half an hour or a bit more of milling the wheat berries I finally have enough to begin making my bread dough.  I ground about 3 1/2 cups not including what I had to dispose of due to the granules of stone in the wheat at the beginning.

After a bit of trial and error or I should say testing with the yeast which I believe is not in it's peak the result was a beautiful bread dough, which rose perfectly.  I am testing two types of bread pans to decide which I prefer bread from.  The first a stoneware pan and the second a glassware pan.  I did not draw a conclusion yet from them.

And here we are... not the most gorgeous loaves I have ever seen but they made for a perfect test run.  However, again the wheat berries not being ground fine enough does interfere with the taste of the bread overall because it seems too coarse when eating the bread.  They are nearly gone though so they aren't too awfully bad or they would be still sitting on the counter top nearly intact.  I have already picked out my next recipe to try tomorrow.  In the mean time until I can speak with a representative from the grain mill company I purchased ground whole wheat flour.  I am excited to bake two more loaves.

And finally dinner tonight..... a tried and true recipe for delicious spinach and chicken quiche topped with Colby Jack cheese.  Very good!


Anonymous said...

It would have been helpful if you had told us the make of your grinder and what later the manufacturer said about it. I am thinking of buying one and was curious. Do you find hand grinding with this one to be satisfactory or would you rather have an electric one? do you still use this one? The bread looks delicious!!! :) Sarah

prairieharmony said...

Sarah, the brand of grinder used here is a Lehman's Best. Shortly after posting this I discussed the problem of the stones with an experienced bread maker who said that sometimes the glue that holds the small bits of grinding stone to the actual stone fall off. The grinding stone is not a solid stone but a stone made of compressed bits to make a stone for grinding. The solution is to replace the stone grinding wheel's or use the metal ones that are with the unit. A problem easily remedied. All things age. I found the grinder to work wonderfully however for me personally since this is a hand crank mill it is very difficult for my hands to grind for extended periods of time. I have gifted this unit to my Aunt and will be exploring different options possibly electric with a new grinder. That being said, I do highly recommend Lehmans products and have been researching another mill on their site with rave reviews. I hope this is helpful, best wishes on your bread making endeavors. It is a very rewarding skill to master. :)