Have you ever considered making your own bread at home in a bread machine? You know that the money savings will be considerable and you know that it will be more nutritious. But, how do you make the transition from buying basic white bread to homemade whole wheat bread? For someone who does not have much experience in the world of bread such a prospect could be quite daunting. Here are eight basic steps to help you go from store-bought to home-baked.
Start Learning How to Make Homemade Bread
At the beginning you will not have enough experience making the bread to warrant giving up store-bought bread all-together. It is okay to continue buying your bread while you practice. Just make a plan to learn how to make the bread. Start easy with a basic white bread recipe. White bread recipes are very forgiving and are a great place to start. Get a good feel for the process and how long it takes to go from mixing the dough to fresh loaves out of the oven. Start a new bread making routine. Pick one day a week and make that your “bread day.” Challenge yourself to make a week’s worth of bread on that chosen day. Leave one loaf out for immediate use and freeze the others. You could also make a bunch of dough all at once and freeze the dough for easy baking.
Stop Buying Store-Bought Bread
Once you have gotten a handle on making your household bread and established a routine that works for you make the decision to stop buying your bread from the store. It can be a scary prospect at first. You don’t want to miss having bread in your house for your Peanut Butter and Jellies and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and panini presses. Those can be a staple in a house with young children. But, you are confident that you can make a basic white recipe and you have already proven you can make a week’s worth of bread. Stick to your routine and you will do fine. The good thing is that if you run out of bread you can just make some more. No need to run to the store. That is especially nice in the event of an incoming storm and everyone else is rushing to the store for bread. You can avoid the crowds and make bread at home.
Start Replacing White Flour with Store-bought Wheat Flour
You have made the big step to stop buying bread from the store. Your family is used to eating delicious homemade bread all the time. Some may even say they are spoiled. That is okay. Homemade bread is just one of the ways you can show your love for them. Now is the time to start sneaking some whole wheat flour into your bread. Many people have a hard time going straight to wheat bread from white bread. The taste and texture can be too much of a change at first. So, start replacing one cup at a time of the white flour with wheat flour. You can do that with your basic white bread recipe or you can try a new recipe that is part white and part wheat. Over time you can replace more cups of the white flour with wheat flour. Your family will become accustomed to the wheat flavor and texture without much effort.
Find a 100% Whole Wheat Flour Bread Recipe You Like
Find a recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Bread that you like and learn how to make it well. Whole Wheat Bread can be a bit trickier to make at home. Whole wheat flour is much more dense than white flour and when not done correctly can produce very hard, dense bread loaves. Whole wheat bread can take more patience and love but it is so worth it. Start using a dough conditioner so that the loaves will be soft. Be sure you have the right equipment to handle the stronger dough. You can make wheat bread completely by hand. It will just take some strength to stir and knead. That will come with time. Buy good quality wheat flour from the store. You don’t want to sabotage all your efforts with poor quality, poor tasting flour.
Buy Some Hard White Wheat and Start Experimenting
Have you mastered making whole wheat bread at home? Time to start having some real fun. Go to your local natural, health store and buy a few pounds of Hard White Wheat from the bulk bins. Find a friend who owns a grain mill and ask to grind your wheat into flour. Just know that you will need to allow yourself a learning curve when using freshly milled flour. It is definitely different than store-bought but so worth the time spent learning how to use it. Here is a good recipe to start you off. Be sure that you are buying Hard White Wheat. Hard White Wheat has a milder taste than Hard Red Wheat and is more easily accepted when transitioning to wheat bread. Also learn the tricks to using freshly milled flour and you will be well on your way.
Buy Your Own Grain Mill
Once you start making your bread with freshly milled flour there will be no going back. But, after awhile you won’t want to keep pestering your friend for use of her grain mill. You will want to have immediate access in your own house. There are a few options out there. The two most popular grain mills are the Nutrimill or the WonderMill. Both are rather pricey. Start saving now and you will have your own food mill before you know it.
Buy Hard White Wheat in Bulk
Now start buying all your wheat in bulk. Stop visiting your local health food store bulk bins and start buying your wheat in six gallon buckets. Yes, that is a lot of wheat but if you are committed to making all your bread at home you will go through that wheat faster than you ever imagined. It is also cheaper to buy wheat in bulk. Companies like Bread Beckers, Wheat Montana, or Azure Standard provide wheat in bulk. Find a company that is near you to save on shipping.
Bake Like Crazy
This is the best step of them all. Have fun baking like crazy. You have perfected making all your bread at home and making it whole wheat as well. Your family is happy and healthy and your wallet is happy too. Now it is time to start making all your baked goods from all that wheat you just bought. Make your grain mill earn its keep. Have fun and enjoy the beauty of wheat.
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