Give us this day, our daily bread!

today was a big big day in for our family…because…THIS opened 2 minutes away from our house!!
when we first moved into our house, the closest grocery store was about 22 minutes away (can you tell i timed it???) a few years ago, a new one opened that was 11 minutes away. but now!!! we have one that is 2 minutes…yes…literally 2 minutes…and its huge, and beautiful, and new…and it will be life changing!!

we were some of the very first customers, getting there right after it opened this morning to celebrate the grand opening. and then we went back later that afternoon too! i can’t believe that when we now run out of milk, we can literally just go get it!!
so, in the midst of my excitement, i was thrilled to see that they have in stock some vital ingredients for our bread baking…making it nice and easy to pick up a few of the necessary items…and it got me thinking…i need to post more about that!! so, as requested…i’m going to tell you a bit more about how we grind our grain and bake our own bread. (see post from jan 22nd).

last spring, my friend introduced me to the thrill of this new found baking, and i am hooked. here’s the very basics (and i actually emailed the company where i buy the grain to make sure i was giving you the proper info, b/c i have a tendancy to think i know something, but really i somehow am making it up…not a great thing to share with my blog readers…but i don’t do it on purpose…my mind just tends to play tricks on me…but anyway…you can trust this info, because it came straight from the source!!)

first of all…you can go to and order for free a CD that explains the benefits of grinding your own grain. but to give you a quick glimpse…this is what i think i know:

when you buy white flour in the store, or eat products made with white flour, it does nothing good for your body. its like eating empty calories. all of the healthy vitamins and minerals that are found in the wheat have been taken out to give white flour a longer shelf life, and the bran and germ that is taken out is used as feed for cattle, producing a whole other money making business (if you want to know more about how much our food production really is based on making money for big corporations, watch Food, Inc. its crazily informative!!) so white flour is really no good. and you see how it says “enriched”? well, back in the 1920’s, when people starting realizing they could make quite a business of creating flour with a long shelf life, therefore taking out those nutrients, all kinds of diseases began to increase, which were traced back to the lacking nutrients in the new white flour. but the companies were unwilling to let go of their cash cow, so they enriched the new white flour by replacing 4 of the 25-30 nutrients that were removed to hush the screaming crowds and put a temporary bandaid on some of the diseases that were plaguing the nation at that time (for ex: beriberi and pellagra were plaguing the nation since the new white flour, which were directly related to a vitamin B deficiency, so one of the four vitamins and nutrients they added back in was vitamin B.) but that’s not enough!! i have become convinced that this is one of the reasons that our nation is so plagued by so many diseases. (let me just stop and tell you now…my family certainly eats lots of junk!! we really do. we have not cut out white flour completely, and we enjoy food that has no benefit to our bodies…i promise!! which is one of the reasons that i like baking our bread products out of healthy flour. if i can somehow control the main portion of what we are eating and make it healthy, i feel better about blowing it every now and then…or alot!!)

so…why not just buy whole wheat flour from the store? well…it is better than white flour, but once the kernal of grain is broken open to make the flour, it immediately begins to oxidize…meaning that within 72 hours of breaking open the kernal, or grinding the grain into flour, 90% of over 30 nutrients are gone.

so this is why our decision to grind our own grain was made. if you grind the whole kernal and use the freshly ground flour within 24 hours, you lock in all the nutrients and vitamins!! how cool is that?! i really believe that God has provided this perfect food for our bodies, filled with nutrients and vitamins that we need, but for the sake of convenience, we have lost that natural provision. up until last spring, i was completely unaware of this!! but once i became educated, we became convinced that this was something we wanted to do for our family.

let me just stop one more time and say this…very clearly…i DO NOT believe that choosing to grind our own grain makes us any holier or any better than those who choose not to. i really really really believe that this is not something that anyone should feel like they have to do. Please hear that!!! the last thing i would desire for this post to do is make you feel like you have to do this…or like you are lacking because you don’t. i don’t believe that is true at all!! although i’m betting that the Enemy will attack in that very way. so i want to be very clear…i do not believe that this is a biblical or moral mandate, or even that it makes you a better mom, wife, etc. but i do want to tell you about it, because i think its so cool, and i am so glad that someone told me, and i’ve had requests for more info. so please take it for what its worth, knowing deep in your soul that choosing to do this or not do it does not make you any more or any less loved by God!!!

so with that said…we have pretty much made the decision to replace all of our bread products with homemade, whole wheat products. i buy big 45 pound pails of wheat kernals (which never go bad as long as they are not broken open through the grinding process) and a few other ingredients through bread beckers. i have just about finished up one pail of kernals, and just ordered my second pail….so my guess is that i could make it through a year in 2 or a little more 45 lb pails of wheat. i order the wheat, lecithin, and yeast through i typically only use hard red wheat, to simplify, but i did recently order a small pail of hard white because i wanted to try bagels (there are different kinds of wheat to use for different recipes). however, the things i make can all be made with hard red, and i find it easier to just keep track of that one. lots of people mix hard red and hard white…but i just needed to keep it cheap at first, which is why i only order the big pails of hard red!! the price pretty much evens out, because i am no longer buying any bread products at the store. so buying the wheat and other ingredients is comparable in price to what i would spend on bread products at the store.

the only thing that is a bit hard is that you have to have a Grain Mill . there are many options… sell a few different models. the cheapest is $250.00. you can grind the grain in a Vitamix , Blendtec , KitchenAid Grain Mill Attachment
…any appliance that specifically says that you can grind grain. you cannot use a simple blender or food processor…they just don’t work. unfortunately…grain mills are all pricey…which is why presently i don’t own one. (i am convinced that someday i will, and know that God will provide in His time, but so far, it just hasn’t been the right time :) my dear friend who introduced me to this lives down the street and lets me come use her grinder…for which i am UNBELIEVABLY grateful, and feel like i need to pay her rent or something because i use it all the time!! but one of these days i’ll own one…i really believe its a good investment for my family!

but once you get your mill and your grain, you can get to work! one thing that really helped me was to get the bread beckers recipe book (on their website) and use the recipes and tips in there…if interested, i suggest you buy it (i think its only $7…and its way worth the money!!)

i’ve already shown you how i make tortillas, so today i’ll show you how i bake a very basic bread recipe (click on the pic to enlarge if you want to see more details and ingredients).
gather your ingredients:

a few tips on this:
gluten can be found at many local grocery stores in the organic or special baking ingredients section. (walmart even sells it!) look for vital wheat gluten flour.
i buy honey in bulk from a local honey farmer since its way cheaper that way and i use alot
i buy olive oil in bulk too from costco…saves lots of money that way!
i buy the lecithin and yeast through bread beckers. i haven’t found lecithin anywhere else, and the yeast is better and cheaper through bread beckers…it should last me a few years!!
sometimes i add milled flax seed…you can buy a brown box, Hodgson Mill brand, at walmart for less than $2

another word on Lecithin: you really do need it. it makes your bread and tortillas soft. and its not expensive!

you can use either a KitchenAid MIxer or a bread machine (at least 1 1/2 pound bread machine) to mix and knead the dough. i typically use both at the same time, since i usually make 4 loaves at a time. if using the bread machine, put all ingredients in the machine, except yeast. make a well in your flour, then add yeast (not sure if this really matters or not, but that’s how i do it!)

let the machine run through the dough cycle, but take it out once its been kneaded and risen the first time, split in half, shape into 2 loaves and put into loaf pans, rise again until double, and then bake.

here’s how to do it in a KitchenAid MIxer:
add in all liquid ingredients, and use the dough hook attachment.
add in lecithin, gluten, yeast, and half the flour.
mix until combined, and add remaining flour until soft dough forms.
knead until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms around the hook…about 5-6 minutes.
form into a ball and put in large bowl, cover with cloth to prevent a cold draft, and let rise until double.
once its doubled, punch down, separate in half, and form into 2 loaf pans.
let rise again, covered, until won’t always rise this high…this happened to be a good day!
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. take out of oven and turn pan on side as it cools.
after a few minutes, take out of pan and cool on wire rack.
here’s a finished loaf!
cut in slices and enjoy!! (it freezes really well too!! i usually keep one loaf out for immediate use and freeze all the others until we are ready for the next loaf)

when i first learned about all of this, i was totally overwhelmed. it took me actually jumping in and doing it to get the hang of it. if you want more info or have tons of questions, contact me!

and if you have no interest at all in this, that’s perfectly okay!!! thanks for letting me share!!