Why I Love Home Ground Wheat

 

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.

 

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Birthdays, Berries and Sprinkles

It’s been three years since the little miss came into the world with the all the fury of the February storm we had that night. She is still a force to be reckoned with! Joyful, but hang on to your boots! In her honor she gets waffles with whipped cream, berries and of course rainbow sprinkles.

As the unspoken tradition goes, the rainbow sprinkles will cover the kitchen counters and floor. I will be finding sprinkles for weeks to come. It’s worse than glitter as far as I’m concerned. But they bring a big smile to everyone so I’ll just go with it.

The waffles follow suit with the rest of the baking on the farm and are made with our farm fresh flour and topped with fresh whipped cream and berries or for those of us who like things a little simpler (ahem, me) some of dad’s homegrown/homemade maple syrup.

Here’s the recipe I like to use.

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For the Love of Winter

The forecast predicted about six inches of snowfall over night. I don’t know how much we really got as it was “falling” horizontally this morning. Shortly after five I shoveled my way from the house to the barn. Everyone was fed inside the barn this morning instead of in their outside feeders. With the weather how it was I’m pretty sure the animals would have skipped breakfast if they had to go outside to get it anyway. The angry chicken (story here) had tucked herself into the goat house in the barn. Even the ducks were in this morning. That’s when you know the weather is bad; they don’t come in for anything but water usually.

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Wheat Harvest

Dream big or sit on the front porch…or… Dream big, grab your hoe and rolling pin and make things happen!

I love that the eggs in our kitchen came from our coop, the raspberries in my scones came from our berry patch, the honey from our hive, the wheat from our field and ground to flour in our kitchen and if I were ever not pregnant when it came time to start milking Lucy and Sweet Caroline there’s potential for fresh dairy products from the barn. That’s just the bakery side of the farm. To say that we are blessed is an amazing understatement, to say we are thankful is the same.

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My Straw-Chef Hat

Wheat Field

I had planned (we can pause here for a good laugh) to trade my chef hat for a straw hat when we moved to the farm. I had for a while and now I wear both and I’m not sure how it has happened. Slow garden and waiting to harvest the wheat field I guess. I still am out early doing chores with Mike and I’ve started to spend more time in the kitchen again too.

Saturday I had planned to do a little baking; fill a few orders, prep for the next farmer’s market and some bread for home. I had the oven on and the mixer running by 6:30 in the morning. I was off to a good start mixing and rolling and baking. Mike was going to pick up a couple gallons of milk on his way home for me but I ran out long before he was going to be home. I called my dad and he brought up the milk from their house so I could keep going until Mike was home. Mom was up the night before with a new block of yeast, as I didn’t realized I was a low as I was when I was at the store.

The kids were in and out and lunch time came, they ate and Mike put them down for naps. I kept right on baking. I guess I lost track of time because all of a sudden everyone was crowding my space in the kitchen looking for something to snack on. I’d find them something and send them on their way. Finally Mike asked “What’s for supper?”

I gave him a blank look and “I don’t know.”

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