Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bread, the families staff of life

In our house bread is a family effort. Last summer my dear bride Pelenaka ordered a bushel of Montana organic wheat from our local health food store. It was one of our rare instances of lack of communication. A week later found us getting ice cream at the county fair and talking to one of our food network friends. When I inquired to our friend about buying wheat from a local grower, Pelenaka said nothing until our friend left. A couple weeks later found us with the Montana wheat home in buckets and our friend knocking on our door with a couple bags containing 100lbs of local grown. The locally grown only cost us a couple loaves of bread to our friend and a couple more to the farmer. The locally grown has proven to be a blessing of sorts.The locally grown wheat came right from the combines auger without further cleaning. Here stepdaughter known as "sidekick" picks chaff from corns of the locally grown wheat. We often find the family sitting around the table doing this. No TV, radio, or video games, just family joking and conversation. Lately we've been cleaning and grinding for our next batch of bread while the current batch bakes. The warmth of the oven allows the thermostat to be turned down in the rest of the house. The warm room and the smell of baking bread soon has everyone relaxed, and the conversation soon flows.
Here the youngest stepdaughter, known from here on as "princess" grinds the grain. The Retsel little Ark mill makes short work of grinding flour. This past december it replaced the Back to Basics mill we had used for two years. The back to basics still works. But, the Retsel greatly increased production rate and quality with it's finer grind. The Retsel mill is well worth the money and a motor can be easily added at a later date should the desire or need arise. The only modification has been the adition of a piece of aluminum flashing cut to fit snugly below the stones of the mill. This helps keep the flour headed toward the catch pan rather than on the mills operator. We are very happy with the Retsel mill and highly recomend it for it's quality alone. The fact that it's american made made it's purchase part of my plan to save the American economy. If you read around on the net you may read of Retsel taking a long time to fill it's orders. That may or may not be Retsels fault. They tell you right up front on the website it takes 2-3 weeks for them to ship. Well it then too UPS a week to get our mill from Idaho to Salt Lake City, then another four days from there to Buffalo, NY. I'm sure you too will find home made bread good for your health. And I hope you'll find the time to grind your own flour. If you do grind your own, may your family find it's health in the family activity. And you know what? I was so busy enjoying myself making bread with the family, I forgot to take a picture of the bread itself. I'll have to post that one later for you. Woods


pelenaka said...

In my defense I may have worked the night before then would have stay up that day thereby going almost 20 hours without sleep - so I'm pleading sleep depravation (sp?) as to why I didn't speak up when the subject of wheat arose.
That & if you recall my husband we were infront of the Ice Cream exhibit/booth. My mouth was full of locally produced full on dairy richness in a dish. That you so graciously bought me despite my half hearted attempts at protesting.

Yeah, that's my story & I'm sticking to it.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet your bread was delicious!

Did you ever try separating the chaff by putting the wheat in a large tub in front of a small fan & scooping it up & rubbing it between your hands?
The fan will blow away the chaff.
If you try it better do it outdoors.

woodsrunner said...

Yes Granny, the bread is always delicious. This wheat doesn't have alot of chaff in it. It doesn't take very long to clean enough for 2 or 3 loaves. Also the weather has been really wet and bitter cold here, so at this point we're better off just picking it clean.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog recently! I love homemade bread but have not yet ground my own flour. Its something I will look into.