The fire is lit in the old stove slowly warming the oven for the day. I’ve got a day of bread baking planned. My coffee is hot and the flour mill is grinding away. Morning is my favorite time of day. Once I’ve got enough flour ground for the first batch I can get started. For now I’ll steal away a few quiet moments and tell you why I love to use my home-grown, home-ground, whole wheat flour.
There’s lots of reasons really. We put a lot of work into that cup of flour. I say “we” because it is a family affair until the wheat makes it to the kitchen. My husband, father and I all took turns on the tractor over the year, we worked together to plow the field, plant the seed, harvest and clean the grain.
It started in the fall when we plowed the field, in the spring we planted the wheat by hand, we prayed about the weather and weeds through the summer and come early fall we harvested. From the field we began to clean the chaff and weed seeds from the grain, again by hand. We brought the clean grain to the kitchen where little by little I’ve it ground into a fine flour. Not too fast so the grain remains cool and the nutrients intact. The fresh flour gives me the option to turn it into a sourdough bread that takes a few more days or I can use commercial yeast and have a flavorful loaf by this afternoon.
As far as bread goes this is as close to the field as you can get!
I love that I don’t have to worry about any residual chemicals in our bread. We don’t use any in the field and I don’t bleach the flour. There’s just too much evidence showing how harmful they can be to ourselves and nature. Disrupting hormones, causing organ failures, it’s scary and it’s too early in the day properly explain each chemical, its purpose and effect. I’m just happy I don’t have to worry about it.
The nutrition naturally available in whole grains, wheat specifically, is just one more reason to love whole wheat, homemade baking! Fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and B vitamins are all present in whole grains as a good to excellent source of your daily value according to the FDA. Because all of these wonderful nutrients are left intact in whole wheat it goes rancid much quicker than all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour it what remains when the germ and bran has been removed. You’re just left with starch basically. That’s why you see most flours “enriched” or nutrition is added later from sources other than the wheat that it occurs in naturally.
The good news is that wheat left whole will not begin to go rancid for thirty years, assuming it is kept free of moisture and mice. That’s a long time! Once the wheat berry has been cracked, crushed or ground into flour the shelf-life timer begins. From that point it starts its journey towards rancidity. So by grinding the flour as I need it I get it as fresh as possible. Even in July when it’s almost a year old and I’m scraping the bottom of the bag for grains and impatiently waiting for the harvest to come! Fresh!
There’s a few pounds of flour ready for me now. Looks like it’s time to fill the hopper and get started with the first batch of the day.
This was an email I had sent over the weekend and decided to share it here too.