Man has eaten some form of bread since he was forced out of the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:19 says, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The Bible mentions bread specifically 330 times. It is a vital part of our diet. Then why do so many people seem to have trouble when they eat bread? Why do all of the fad diets tell us we should stop eating bread and that gluten-free diets are healthiest? Could it be that the bread that is found in most homes today is not the nutrient dense food of our ancestors? We as a civilization have taken a wonderful food, removed all of its nutritional value and then called it bad. Let us go back to our ancestors and find how they created a life sustaining food instead of a health hazard for their daily sustenance.
The flour used to make breads was not a refined and processed flour that we see today instead the whole grain was ground into fine flour that was then made into bread. There are many grains that are easily available to us to make bread today as in yesteryear. The most popular, of course, is wheat. The best wheat for bread is hard winter wheat. You can also make wonderful bread from spelt and Kamut. For more variety you can replace 1/3 to ¼ the total amount of flour with other grains such as barley, oats, or rye.
Whole grain breads are a great way to add nutrition to your diet. They are delicious, inexpensive and are packed in vitamins. Whole wheat flour (especially when freshly ground) contains the following nutrients: thiamine (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pyridoxine (B-6), choline, folic acid, pantothenic acid, vitamin E, chromium, manganese, selenium, zinc, iron, cobalt, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, molybdenum, copper and fiber. When wheat flour is refined and turned into white flour the loss of these nutrients is between 16-89% depending on the nutrient.
To get the most nutrition possible for your time and money you need to grind your grain fresh or find a store that will grind it fresh for you. Within 72 hours of being milled grains lose much of their nutrients and start going rancid. Always store flours in the refrigerator or freeze and use them within 2-3 months. Bring the flour to room temperature before using for the best results.
We are blessed in that we don’t have to get out a stone to grind our grain. There are appliances now to help us in our work. I highly recommend investing in a grain mill and a bread making/kneading machine if at all possible. It takes me around 30 minutes to prepare enough bread to feed our family of 7 for a week using these tools. This is investment cooking at its best!
I buy my grain from a Azure Standard or Wheat Montana. The grain to me in 25 lb or 50 lb bags depending on the type of grain. The cost is a lot cheaper than getting it from the bulk bins at Sprouts or Whole Foods. I pay just over $1/pound including shipping for my grains. One recipe that produces 4-5 loaves of bread needs about 3 ½ pounds of grain. I store my grains in food storage buckets with gamma lids that securely seal the buckets. Whole grains can be kept for at least a year if they are kept dry and at room temperature or below.
Making my own whole grain bread costs me less than $2 a loaf. At the health stores around here the same bread costs between $3-4 per loaf. Besides when there is bread on the table the rest of our food goes a lot further which saves money as well.
With a little practice you can invest some time in preparing homemade bread and reap great health for your whole family.
Our Daily Bread
Makes 6 Loaves18 cups whole wheat flour — freshly ground; 10-12 cups whole wheat berries (or spelt) 3 tablespoons yeast 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten 1/4 teaspoon Vitamin C granules 6 1/2 cups warm water 2/3 cup olive oil 2/3 cup honey 2 tablespoons sea salt 2 tablespoons butter
You can freeze this dough to have on hand for fresh baked bread on another day as well. Just grease the inside of a gallon freezer bad and add the dough. When you are ready to use it take it out and let it thaw, then shape, let it rise and bake.
Yeast Breads by Sue Gregg
This is a great cookbook with lots of techniques explained and diagrams to show you how to make wonderful breads.
Set For Life by Jane Merrill & Karen Sunderland
Although I do not agree with all of the premises these authors make in their book, their bread section is outstanding! They give several wonderful recipes for whole grain bread and rolls.