Q & A: Wheat

by GettingFreedom on August 27, 2009

Earlier this week when I posted on Grinding Wheat, there were a flood of questions that came in. Instead of answering them all by email, which is what I usually do, I decided to do a post since a lot of the same questions were addressed. If you still have questions, fell free to ask in the comments, on BlogFrog, or even Facebook.

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on my dilemma of holey bread. Here are some of your tips:

  • Anonymous: To keep my bread from having holes in it, I form the loaf and then slam (and I do mean slam) it on the counter to get rid of air bubbles. Just keep shaping and slamming until the loaf makes a deep thud. You’ll notice the difference in sound after a few times. Then pop them in the pans and bake! I’ve always heard that making bread is a good stress reliever! Thanks for your help!

  • Miriam: For the “mouse hole” in your bread, I used to have the same problem (mom’s bread was notorious for them). I knead the dough a bit before I divide it into loaves, and then instead of just shaping the loaf, I knead it into shape. I also don’t use any oil on the dough at any time, so there’s no oily surfaces preventing the dough from sticking to itself inside the loaf. I don’t know if that was the problem with your loaf, but that’s what I do :) I hope it makes sense. Yes, that makes sense. Looks like I haven’t been kneading enough…

  • Lynn: I love my Nutrimill. Fresh ground wheat is so much better. Did you see my post on the book about whole grains? You would probably really enjoy it. Thanks, Lynn! That book sounds interesting.**If you are not familiar with Lynn’s blog, you really need to check her out–her recipes are amazing!**

  • Jena: I don’t have much interest in grinding my own because I’m very lucky and have access to organic stone ground flour that is grown just 2 miles down the road. (Jealous!) I’ve been struggling to consistently make good loaves of bread with it for about a year now. My results are much better since reading “Laurel’s Bread Book” which is entirely dedicated to baking with whole grains. My first single loaf made from the book turned out well but when I tried the double recipe they were pretty block like again. They either rise well and then not much in the oven or the rise a ton and collapse. Oh well, I’ll get there! :) Is this the book you are referring to? You’ll get it down in no time, at least it is fun and tasty to practice, huh? :)

Your Questions:

  • hiptobeme: How long will the wheat keep before you grind it? Also, can you make it more convenient and use it in the breadmaker?
    • Oh goodness. Wheat berries, if stored correctly, can be stored for quite some time. I’ve heard varying things, anywhere from 10-50 years! Really, if you remove all the air, store in a cool, dry location and they don’t have a foul smell or contain bugs–you are good to go! The only time you need to use it quickly is when it has been ground. Once the wheat berries are turned into flour, it loses it’s nutrients very quickly. As for using it in the breadmaker, yes you can! It is fully interchangeable with store bought flour.
  • JeannaMo: Does the wheat you grind always turn out brown like whole wheat flour? That is my only concern for home use as my family is pretty much a “white bread bunch”. Yes, it looks very similar to store bought whole wheat flour as far as color goes.

    • Also, do you use it straight or mix it with white flour. That depends on the recipe. I prefer to use all whole wheat flour because of the nutrition and honestly, we prefer the flavor. But, there are some recipes that we still prefer to be “white”, like some desserts and breadsticks.

    • What is “spelt” flour. How is it different than the all purpose flour I buy at the store. Spelt is still wheat, just a different kind of wheat, and one can easily be substituted for the other. It contains more protein (about 10-25% more) and fiber than a white or red wheat berry, and is also a bit sweeter and nuttier in taste. Spelt also has a high water solubility, which makes it easier for your body to absorb all the extra nutrients. There is a HUGE difference between all-purpose flour and any whole-wheat flour. All-Purpose flour is still milled from wheat, but it has all the wheat bran and wheat germ removed (when looking at whole wheat flour–those are the “brown specs” you see). Bleached All-Purpose flour has literally had a chlorine-bath to remove the color and inevitably any sort of nutrient that may be left once the bran and germ were removed. For this reason, when I use white flour, it is always unbleached.

    • Where did you find the storage container that keeps the bugs away (is this something the farmer provided?) My friend said he could get me all the wheat I wanted and he said he could get it before they spray it with the stuff to keep the bugs away – eeek! Now I have to do it cause we all now know what we are eating – insecticides of some sort! We got our containers from a local merchant, but on a recent post, commenters mentioned that they were able to get food safe buckets with lids from grocery stores for no cost. Definitely something worth checking into.

  • Rachel R.: And, yes, it is generally a money-saver, if you eat 100% whole wheat bread to begin with. Last time I priced my bread – using extra-virgin olive oil, raw honey, and sea salt (not cheapy ingredients), it was about 70 cents a loaf. Now, wheat prices have gone up, so it’s probably a little higher, but not nearly the $2-3 I would pay for 100% whole wheat bread at the store. And it tastes better. ;) Definitely! When I was at the store a few days ago, I decided to check the ingredients in store bought 100% Whole Wheat bread. I was a little taken a back by some of their ingredients, and I’m still trying to figure out why it contains HFCS! That is in ev.er.y.th.ing. Geesh.

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