This recipe from Martha in the MOMYS cookbook, is the best one I’ve found for fresh ground wheat bread.  I don’t add gluten or vitamin C because either 1.) I can’t tell the difference or worse 2.) it makes it chewy. 

This is a tweaked version of hers to make it a bit healthier.
4 cups of very warm water
1/3 cup of honey
4 tablespoons of yeast

Frothy Yeast

Frothy Yeast

 Allow the yeast to soak in the water until it’s nice and frothy. 

Add:

1 c. yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons sea or REAL salt
3/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. melted butter (Not hot or you’ll kill your yeast.)

To this, add 5 cups of whole wheat flour.  Now, I believe that it is very hard to add the next step if your whole wheat hasn’t had time to sponge, or soak up the moisture that’s in the bowl.  So, be patient, let it sponge for 15-20 minutes. (Insert: I do start with Prairie Gold Winter Wheat Berries as an fyi.  I have always used the NutriMill, for the last 2-3 years that I’ve had a grinder.  It works beautifully and I have no complaints about the mill.  Now, the Bosch, well, that’s a different story. Sigh.)

Sponging

Sponging

Then I add as much unbleached flour as necessary.  This is my compromise between white flour and whole wheat flour with my family.  They’ll actually eat this.  Generally it will depend on the humidity in your home, but add flour by 1/2 cups while it mixes until the dough begins to sweep (clean) the dough sticking to the sides. 

Dough Still Sticking, Needs More Flour

Dough Still Sticking, Needs More Flour

When it has the proper amount of flour (it’s cleaned the sides) go ahead and knead it ’til it is soft, smooth, and springy.  Allow it to rise once or twice.  Then toss it out on the table on a bit of flour.

Work the Dough

Work the Dough

Work the dough, just a bit, til it’s smooth and then shape it into loaves by tucking the sides underneath, smoothing, and elongating it to fit your pan.

Norpro Bread Pans

Norpro Bread Pans

Probably should have mentioned, this is a fairly big recipe.  These are double loaves, so the recipe makes five loaves total.   This is where it is more convenient to large families NOT to have a breadmaker.  With one loaf at a time, you will lose your mind and never make bread.  It will frustrate you.  Don’t waste the $$.  Skip the breadmaker, buy the Bosch, and make 5-6 loaves instead of one.  It will save your sanity.  Allow them to rise.

Rising Loaves

Rising Loaves

Allow the loaves to rise in a warm place until they are 1/2 – 1 inch above the edge of the pan.  Make sure your oven is preheated to about 375.  Place them in the oven and bake until they are turning golden brown.

Golden Bread

Golden Bread

This bread was washed with egg white at the end of the cooking and then rubbed with butter as soon as it came out of the oven.  It makes for an attractive loaf of bread.  I like my crust a bit crisp and chewy, so it finishes it perfectly. 

Honey & Warm Bread

Honey & Warm Bread

This is where five loaves come in handy.  You don’t feel guilty about eating the first loaf hot out of the oven.  Please excuse the mess behind.  I baked after milking last night and the bottles and baby nipples were drying!  Enjoy!

The point of this post -to prove that making yogurt can be quick, painless, and easy.  Did I buy a gadget?  Yes, yes, I did.  I’m, as a rule, opposed to a ton of clutter.  But, I am trying hard to distinguist between Fantasy World and Real World in my life.  In my fantasy world, I would save each bit of yogurt to make more starter.  I would slowly prepare it at the hearth each morning and leave it undisturbed until I had perfect, creamy yogurt.

Okay, REAL WORLD now.  We’re busy, life is hectic, and I’m always using my oven.  There is very little chance that it will remain undisturbed and I’m not throwing out milk or yogurt.  No way!  Yogurt was costing us a small fortune.  I knew it was important for the kiddos to get probiotics WITHOUT all the sugars that most commercial yogurts contain.  So, we bought a gadget.  The gadget is the EuroCuisine.  Three things sold me on it.  The first is that it makes yogurt in glass, not plastic.  The second is each glass jar is a single serve container.  The final selling point is that you can buy an extra set of jars.  One set for the fridge, one to be making yogurt – no down time needed.   For us it has meant we can break a few and not freak out.   The selling price was a serious perk.  It’s $29.00.  I can save that yogurt alone.   Onto the demonstration!

Warming Milk

Warming Milk

First we warm the milk ’til bubbles appear around the edges.  Then allow it to cool.  This is a multi-tasking step, meaning it doesn’t require great concentration.  But, don’t scald your milk.  It is very important you allow it to cool before adding yogurt or you’ll kill all the good little bugs.

Add a dollop of yogurt.

Add a dollop of yogurt.

I add about a tablespoon of “LAC” yogurt to each jar.  This simply means the yogurt you buy should have the LAC symbol on the back.  I have heard / read that Stoneybrook has the highest amount of probiotic cultures in it.  It also has the added benefit of being organic.  I happen to know that Stoneybrook does work beautifully as a starter.  Plus, you don’t have to spend all the $$ on expensive yogurt starter.  About a tablespoon works just fine in each jar.  I’ve not experimented with this.

Add cooled milk.

Add cooled milk.

Just what it says… add the cooled milk!  Give it a little stir and pop on the lid and push go.  I set the timer, generally, for about nine hours.  What’s that cute little catch phrase?  Set it and forget it!

 

Breakfast

Breakfast

The finished product!  Some have said, add honey, it’s a great sweetener.  I always wonder if they’ve EVER made yogurt!  I’d love to figure out how they get warm, pourable honey to not coagulate into the cold yogurt.  I’d love to use honey, but it simply does NOT work for me.  So, we use 100% fruit spread instead and assorted fruit!  With the little cups you have the added bonus of being able to make seven assorted flavors.  Yeah, cool, I know!

It’s Tuesday.  I’m fairly caught up.  Or at least as good as it’s going to get.  The kids are ready to settle down and work on school so I’ll be making yogurt and tortillas today for those interested parties.  I’ll post pictures tomorrow.