July 05, 2006

Bread Baking 101 - Why homemade bread?

Why we have chosen to bake bread?

About two years ago we started to see some changes in our health. I was pregnant with baby number four and really struggling on bed rest and with blood pressure issues. DanĂ‚’s blood pressure was a bit on the high side, too. We knew that there was a need to change some things we were doing. About that time a lady in our Homeschool group was offering a bread baking workshop for mothers and daughters and Emmy and I decided to go. She talked about how changing to whole grain home milled bread made a HUGE difference in their health and weight issues with her family. She showed us how to mill and presented us with lots of facts about how great freshly milled grain is for us. I was sold but knew that I could not afford all the equipment up front. Over the next six months I began to get things as I could. I ordered a Whisper Mill and found a local group that ordered grain from Montana Wheat once a year. I placed orders through our coop to start experimenting with different kinds of grains and really struggled to modify recipes I could find. I purchased a bread pan and tried several kinds of yeasts before I found one I really liked. So I dabbled with all of it…

Then the time came that I needed to get really serious about it when Dan started getting serious migraines and nosebleeds. He made a trip to the doctor to find that his blood pressure was around 180/120 and that he would have to go on medication IMMEDIATELY. While he was talking with the doctor and taking dietary notes the doctor told him he needed to really cut back on all the “white” foods and fatty foods. This included breads and starchy foods. Dan mentioned that I had started milling my own grain and making bread at home instead of buying it from the store. The doctor told him that was great and that he could have ALL OF THAT KIND OF BREAD HE WANTED!!! The doctor’s approval was all I needed to buckle down and bake EVERYTHING from this freshly milled grain. I placed a second order from Wheat Montana and we have been baking bread since.

I did, however, have my Kitchen Aid give up on me. The daily use was too much for the machine so around October I had to start making payments on a new Bosch and I would never use anything else again. Kitchen Aid was a fine machine but I needed the higher power to withstand the daily use. I pay the new machine completely off this month. ;)

Since that time Dan has lost about 15 pounds. The children absolutely love the homemade bread and the smell of our home on most days from the bread baking is absolutely wonderful. It really does not take up a great deal of time with the Bosch and the recipes that I use. It is time well spent to feed my family something that I know is healthy for them. With our family of six I make bread about two to three days a week and make 2 to 3 loaves at a time. We use the grain for all of our quick bread cooking, too, like pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, cakes and tortillas. I am still experimenting with some of the sweets but I am learning. I believe biscuits are the hardest thing for me to get right at this time but I am still working on perfecting a recipe that my family will enjoy.

Over the coming weeks I will share: equipment and supplies that I use, information and links on bread baking, recipes and books that have been very helpful. I am also learning to use a variety of grains in other forms of cooking including breakfast cereals and in my daily meal planning. If you have any questions I would be delighted to answer them. If I do not have the answer I will do my best to find out where you can get answers to those questions.

Thanks for reading!!!

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