So after last week’s article about wheat, several people have been asking for a recipe for my bread! I’m flattered, but I have to tell you, I don’t use a recipe!
When I first started grinding my flour from wheat berries, I did start with recipes. But it always struck me that someone’s great-grandma on the farm never used a recipe for her biscuits or her bread… so why did I need to use a recipe?
After baking many loaves, I began to learn what to look for – the smells, the texture, the hand of the bread. As I learned, I looked less and less at the recipe. I also learned that different climates – hot or cold, humid or dry – all impacted the amount of the ingredients I needed. So today I’ll share with you what I’ve learned.
It’s really easy, and I hope you’ll give it a try. I know that fresh milled flour is available in many places, you just might have to ask for it. Use or freeze it within 24 hours before the fats begin to oxidize. The taste is completely worth the effort. (I used to read articles about people who said the same thing and rolled my eyes, so I get it. But once you try it, you won’t look back!)
Wheat - I usually make between a 1-1.5 lb loaf, so I measure out 1-1.5lbs of wheat berries that I mill. This variety is known as "red wheat," which I have found more suitable for loaf bread as compared to white wheat.
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar (or maple syrup or honey - by the way, molasses is awesome!)
2.5 tsp yeast
Warm, fresh, chlorine-free water – see notes below
I whisk the salt, sugar and yeast into the warm flour.
Then, I slowly add the water to the flour, mixing as I go. If you’ve worked with flour from a shelf, you’ll want to make this dough a little wetter than what you’re used to. After the wheat sits a while, the bran will absorb a good amount of the water. When I was first learning, my bread often came out dry until I figured this out.
Once the dough comes together, I knead it by hand. This is a good workout, and for me can take up to 15 minutes. I always go in the same direction and eventually it will come together and be smooth.
I cover it with a little oil and let it rise until it’s about doubled in size.
Then I punch it down, fold it a few times and put it in a greased loaf pan for a second rise.
I turn on the oven after I finish putting the loaf in the pan, and the second rise is usually done by the time the oven is ready.
I bake at 350 until the center is done.
I'm always amazed at how nutty, filling and wholesome this bread is. I never get tired of the taste, and I can somehow always come up with a reason to eat it! The great thing is that in an hour, I'm not going through a sugar crash like other breads. This is one satisfying bread!
By the way, it goes great with the bone broth (pho) that I wrote about earlier this month. I made the broth again, and I'm happily enjoying a slice with a warm bowl!