Thursday, March 27, 2008

Improving Health By Baking with Freshly Ground Flours

I have started a new adventure in baking in an effort to improve my and my family's overall health. Yesterday I tried my hand at baking bread from freshly milled whole wheat flour. Now, I have a slight hesitation in posting about this, because I realize it might push me over the edge into "wacko land" for some of you who already are skeptical about the whole stay-at-home mom, homeschooling lifestyle. Oh well. Get over it! I'm excited!

My friend Tammy and I have been talking about this for a while, and she just took the plunge and bought a Nutrimill electric grain mill and a Bosch mixer. Then she drove up to Yoder's Country Market, about 90 minutes from here, and bought several bags of different kinds of whole wheat kernels - Prairie Gold, Bronze Chief, red winter, soft white - to try, as well as a few other good things. Since I was still sick with the flu bug, I gave Tammy a list and she came home with a bag of goodies for me too. Since I don't have a grain mill yet, Tammy will grind grain for me as needed, probably once a week.

So yesterday I used some of my Bronze Chief, which is a hard red spring wheat, and Marilyn's Famous Whole Wheat Bread recipe from the Urban Homemaker site to make two delicious loaves of homemade bread. I have a KitchenAid mixer, so mixing and kneading the dough is a breeze.

Why freshly ground flour? We have always eaten whole wheat bread in this family, so that isn't a change for us. And I use King Arthur whole wheat flour in almost all of my home baked breads, like pizza dough, muffins, pancakes, etc. But as I've been researching, I've learned that freshly ground flour has much more nutritional value than store-bought flours, because a lot of the vitamin content of the whole grain is lost to oxidation in the first 24-48 hours after being ground. Flour that is packaged for the grocery store shelves has to have a long shelf-life, so preservatives are added, and also natural oils have to be removed so they don't spoil and turn the flour rancid. White flour has had the wheat germ and bran removed, and has very little nutrition left in it, except for the few vitamins and minerals that are added for "enrichment". Freshly ground whole grain flour is supposed to be good for digestive ailments as well as controlling weight and blood sugar levels and also cholesterol ( one of my current needs ! ) After I play with these different wheat varieties, I plan to try some different grains, including oats, spelt, rye, corn, ...

Of course, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking more water are part of the plan for improved health as well. Oh, and then exercise....


2nd attempt at this post - the first didn't "work" and disappeared into cyberspace, never to be seen again...

5 comments:

gupton said...

Sounds yummy Beth. Hope you are beginning to feel better. My daughter had a round with a stomach virus, thankfully no one else in the family got it. Enjoy this sunny weather too, I know Vitamin D is good for you! Take care. Becky

Tony D said...

Fear not, my darling sister. This post did not leave me with the impression that you have gone 'over the edge into "wacko land"' as you have feared.
No, I thought you went there a long time ago. :-)
Your loving brother,
Tony

P.S. I prefer the "Bronze Chief" myself. The local market has a grinding station...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are feeling better, daughter.
Dad

Creech Family said...

Beth -
We have been researching this, too! I got some info from spiceline about grinders but have just been trying to save up the $$ to buy both the grinder and baking utensils. Which grinder did Tammy go with? Let me know which grains you like and which recipes - you seem to always know the best ones! Enjoyed our chat last night - thanks again for all your time and tips! Take care -
-F

Angela said...

I am one of those crazy, homeschooling, wheat-grinding, bread making Mamas too. When I started grinding wheat a little over a year ago, my friend said, "You know that you are one of THEM now don't you?" LOL!

A funny story...

I was walking through the kitchen one day and on my way out I smelled something that smelled really awful. When I commented on the odor, my 7 yr old said, "Oh, Daddy is making sandwiches with store bought bread! It ALWAYS smells like that!". LOL! Honestly, it was something in the trashcan that I was commenting on, but how funny that I have created little fresh-bread snobs :)

BTW-I use the Nutrimill grinder. You can have BB&B order it to be shipped to their store (free and then they will let you use your 20% off coupon too!!)