Whole Wheat Baking

My journey to eating healthy whole wheat bread started several years ago when our oldest son was diagnosed with more learning disabilities than I have space to list on this blog. After much debate and prayer we decided to try medication to help with some of his issues. While the medicine worked, it also had some nasty side effects. After much more debate and prayer we decided to take him off the medicine and see if changes in our diet would be enough to keep him off the medicine.


Back then I relied heavily on convenience food, so it was pretty easy to start cutting out all the prepackaged stuff I was purchasing and start making things from scratch. After doing that for a year or so I heard a talk given by Sue Becker on the benefits of grinding your own grain to make bread and other whole grain foods. Usually I am a skeptic, but her talk convinced me that grinding my own grain was the next step in our family’s healthy lifestyle.

I purchased a Nutrimill and began grinding grain to make fresh homemade bread. I was not an experienced bread maker when I started, but it only took one loaf to convince me I made the right decision. Fresh ground wheat does not bake like the whole wheat flour you purchase at the store. And 100% whole wheat bread made from your own wheat does not taste like the burnt dense bread you find at the store either. I was making 100% whole wheat loaves that were light and delicious. My kids, who normally balked at a piece of whole wheat bread, could eat a whole loaf in one sitting.

To understand the health benefits of milling your own grain here are some facts from the Brow Farm.

To understand the benefits associated with milling grain, you need to understand what comprises a whole grain. There are three main layers: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.
• The bran is the outer layer where all the roughage that helps move unwanted poisons and toxins through your system is found. The bran also contains numerous vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
• The germ is the health center of the grain, overflowing with vitamins B and E, as well as unsaturated fat and protein.
• The endosperm is the starchy white center. Whole grains contain almost 90% of all the vitamins, minerals, and protein you’ll ever need. However, commercially milled products don’t offer you those nutrients. Why? Once milled, the oils found in the bran and germ oxidize and turn rancid within 72 hours. So for commercial purposes, both the bran and germ—and all the nutrients contained within them—must be removed in order to give products a shelf life.

When you grind your own wheat you are getting the freshest flour possible with the biggest health benefits. The cost initially is high (when you consider the price of a mill) but now I am able to make a loaf of fresh, organic whole grain bread for about $1. I also use fresh whole wheat flour to make pancakes, waffles, biscuits, bagels, cookies, cakes, pizza, muffins and a variety of other items. I found that I am able to use 100% whole wheat in many recipes and not end up with a dense product. I even use leftover bread to make whole wheat bread crumbs which I use in other recipes.

As I said before getting started is expensive. An electric mill costs around $250. I also use my bread machine to make my dough and then bake the bread in the oven. This is not a necessity but it does make the job a little easier.

Many of you have asked for my whole wheat sandwich bread recipe. I use hard white wheat in this recipe and it makes great sandwich bread as well as dinner rolls. I also use this recipe for pizza dough, adding parmesan cheese, garlic, and Italian seasoning before I knead it.

Fresh Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4-4 1/2 freshly milled hard spring wheat flour (sifted)
  • 1 Tbs yeast

I make this recipe in my bread machine by adding all the wet ingredients and then all the dry ingredients. Add the yeast last. I use the dough setting, but if your machine has a whole wheat setting you can use that too and bake it right in your machine.

If you are making this recipe by hand combine all the wet ingredients. Then add yeast, salt, and half the flour. Mix until the dough is smooth. Then add the rest of the flour. Add the flour slowly so you don’t use too much. Knead for about 10 minutes. Let rise until doubled. Shape into desired pan and then rise again until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. This will make 2 loaves of bread or two large pizzas.

Our family has enjoyed fresh bread and other whole grain products for almost four years. I can start a loaf of bread in under ten minutes and the entire hands on time is under 20 minutes. Making bread is not difficult once you get the hang of it, and this skill can be taught to your kids as well.

My whole family agrees it is hard to beat the taste of fresh homemade bread from the oven.

Additional information: Merrilee asked where I purchase my grain. I purchase my grain from the Bread Beckers or Quail Cove Farms which is a co-op on the Eastern Shore that delivers to my area once a month. The wheat comes in 50 pound bags so I only order every few months. The price of grain fluctuates significantly but depending on where you live you can purchase grain for about $1 a pound for organic and about $0.60 a pound for non-organic.

If you need more tips on baking bread read my Bread Tips post.



This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Comments

  1. Courtney says:

    wow this is awesome. i don’t have a mill and not sure if hubby will get me one, but oh my goodness i wish i was like this. he wont let me get a bread machine cause he doesnt think i will use it but i would love one, someday right!

  2. Tasha says:

    It’s like you read my mind! I was going to ask you about this very subject! Thank you!

  3. Merrilee says:

    This may be a dumb question, but where do you get your grains to put through the mill?
    Thanks!

  4. We love our fresh ground whole wheat breads, waffles,tortillas… you name it. I wore our bread machine out a few years ago and now I make our dough in a mixer. My biggest problems are muffins, so I’d like to know what that muffin is you have pictured. Mine are dense and heavy. My girls don’t know the difference, so they think the muffins are great. LOL Ignorance is bliss.

  5. Amy Walton says:

    As you know, I’ve given up flour of any sort for Lent. Being a carb fanatic who works out daily, this has been a real challenge, but it’s forcing me to increase my fruit, veggie, and protein sources. Ezekiel Bread (no flour, just sprouted grains) is saving my sanity. Thanks for sharing this, Toni, because I just may purchase a grinder once Lent’s over.

    I’ll keep you and the little on in my prayers!

  6. TheHappyHousewife says:

    That is a cinnamon and brown sugar muffin, not the healthiest but still whole grain. I use soft white wheat for muffins and other non yeast products. I think they turn out fluffier when I do.

  7. I found the muffin recipe. :) I am going to make these this morning. The recipe doesn’t look any different than what I use, so we’ll see how it turns out. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Wendi says:

    I get my grain from Quail Cove too! I love my nutrimill. I currently use the bread recipe on Tammy’s Recipes – we love it. But I may have to try yours too, just to mix it up a bit.

  9. MB says:

    Wow, this sounds really cool. This would probably save me a fortune too, over the long haul. We eat a ton of bread and I like to buy organic whole wheat. I think I might start saving for one of these while I investigate further. The time factor is the thing for me. I guess I should at least attempt my bread maker before I consider this though! Ha!

  10. Snow White says:

    very cool. when you buy your grain in bulk, how do you store it? And, after it’s ground, do you need to refrigerate it?

  11. momstheword says:

    I have a bread machine and a mill and am embarrassed to admit that I am currently using neither….(blush). Got to break it out!

    Loved the Star Wars cake and am happy that your mom is able to come out and help! Praying for that precious baby girl to grow!

  12. jolyn says:

    You are inspiring. I have still to make the leap to making bread from scratch; grinding my own grain feels like that much further away. But I’m not giving up on myself and am so grateful for blogs like yours to help inspire me.

  13. Bree says:

    Thanks you so much for this information! My mom used to mill wheat and make bread etc… I never paid attention or was interested, now I wish I had! Thanks again for your wealth of info…

  14. Buffie says:

    I would love to try this. My main holdup is the cost of the mill. Well, that and finding time to actually make the bread. It seems like the health benefits alone would make it worth trying.

  15. We are currently grinding wheat & making our own bread. I’ve been doing 1/2 fresh ground wheat and 1/2 white flour. I’ve been so nervous to go to whole wheat for fear the bread would get too heavy. I will definitely try your way to see how it goes. Just one question, where do you buy Lecithin & Gluten?

  16. Rebecca says:

    Oh man, the nutrimill sounds so nice/fancy. We have a 30+ year old grinder that came from the MIL and she got it secondhand. But hey, it works. I just keep the beast in the garage since its huge and heavy.

  17. Houstonmom says:

    I started grinding wheat last November and have not purchased a store loaf of bread since. Now that I’ve had this good stuff, the other tastes gummy and sticky. I’m with you on this one. Good post.

  18. Sherry says:

    I would so love a grain mill attachment to my KitchenAid. Guess I need to add it to my wish list! I’ve heard so many great things about using fresh ground whole wheat. :D

  19. This is really neat. I have never thought of grinding my own flour. One of these days I might have to try and get a mill. It’s something I’d need to save for a bit for. That pizza looks very yummy!
    God bless,
    Amanda

  20. Amanda says:

    I baked my own bread for a long time alternating between my bread machine and my kitchen-aid mixer, but after learning about how much nutrients are lost w/ store bought flour I quit. My HUSBAND got to reading the Bread Beckers website and is anxious for us to start grinding our own wheat. $$ is an issue right now so I am praying for the funds to buy a mill and grain.
    I have a muffin recipe that we all LOVE using wheat, millet & honey. Makes a moist, healthy muffin. I’d love to share the recipe.

  21. Niki says:

    I have been researching this, problem is we cannot get wheat here (atlantic canada) as soon as I can secure a source I will be looking into this. What kind of what berries do you get?

  22. Melissa Cain says:

    Do you have a good recipe for biscuits using fresh ground flour? Which grain do you use? I use Kamut, Spelt, and Soft White Wheat for my bread and it is very light, but I have not had very good results with biscuits.

  23. Tonya says:

    Just got a bread machine this weekend and will be starting soon! I tasted some your mom made a week or so ago–it was delicious!

  24. LauraBeth Oliver says:

    I made this today and I LOVE it! Best sandwich bread recipe I’ve tried, and I loved the ingredient listing. I made only two small changes to adapt to our household: 1) I don’t have a mill, so I used store-bought whole wheat flour and 2) I don’t keep lecithin on hand, so I substituted 2 eggs. I’ve been looking for a sandwich bread recipe that would keep my husband from longing for soft store-bought wheat bread (with ingredient listings a mile long), and I believe I’ve found it. Thank You!

  25. Giovanna Hammond says:

    Hello,
    Through browsing your site, I found your bread-making posts great. I believe I read in one of your posts about grinding grains using your Vita Mix. I need some advice. I own a Vita Mix and can get the dry blade for a third of the price of a mill in order to mill my own grains. What do you think? Is it a better investment to just go ahead and get a (dedicated) mill?
    Thanks in advance.

  26. Barry Lomax says:

    Excellent article,
    I grind my own grains and find everything said to be true. I have even seen people with wheat5 sensitivites do fine with freshly ground wheat, especially if it is fermented into sourdough. Grain mills are great but a bit expensive. I use a Vitamix blender and it grinds grain into flour in about 20 seconds. I have a special blade for that but I find that the regular blade works fine and almost as well.

  27. Laurie says:

    I just started grinding my own wheat. LOVE IT…won’t go back!!! Question here is….can I use the same recipes as I would store bought white flour? Or do I need to make adjustments?
    I’m currently using a hand grinder and am dying for the Nutrimill! lol

  28. Lisa Grace says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I just bought a grain mill attachment for my KitchenAid and want to start grinding my own flour to bake with. I have been running into denser loaves even when using store bought, but look forward to trying the sifting you referenced (also, thanks for sharing THAT post, too!).

    Do you find it saves you a lot of time/effort to have the bread machine do the mixing and rising? I don’t have one, but have thought about looking into getting one many times, as rising bread takes us a VERY long time in this home for some reason (even when I do it in the oven or microwave). It’s an older home and a wee bit drafty, so I am guessing this is the cause. What would you suggest?

  29. nancy says:

    I also fresh mill my whole wheat(s) but am confused as to why you call for sifting your hard white before using in the bread recipe. With the sifting, a seperation of flour and grain occurs and I wonder if you dont lose the nutrients as well?

  30. TheHappyHousewife says:

    You don’t lose any nutrients because you are putting it all in the bowl. Sifting just makes the bread rise better and have a lighter texture.

  31. Lilia says:

    I made this recipe today by hand. I don’t have a bread machine. The taste was great the only thing was that I didn’t have enough to make 2 loaves I only was able to make 1. How do you make 2 loaves with this recipe?

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