It's a Grind...

Our dear friend Amanda Midkiff has started her own farm in Solebury, PA called Locust Light Farm. She is growing all sorts of wonderful things and medicinal herbs. She's also growing organic grains. She has decided to grow these grains not just in spite of but as a possible solution to gluten intolerance. There is a school of thought which believes that modern growing and milling practices are the problem and not the gluten itself. The gluten fact has been corroborated by science, and, I for one am looking forward to finding out if the growing theory holds practical weight. 

I don’t have a gluten intolerance, so my say about whether bread made with her grain verses bread made with conventionally grown grain is fairly worthless. But I can say this - the bread I’ve been making with her grain is absolutely wonderful stuff.

I had to start by getting my hands on a grain mill. You can find them freestanding, but I got an attachment to my stand mixer, a workhorse machine in my kitchen. I ground the grain as finely as I could and found that the aroma of the freshly ground grain was already leaps and bounds greater than any flour I could purchase. Then resulting bread is practically a meal all by itself. I has a nutty flavor and a tight crumb. It’s just the kind of bread I like to eat everyday. -Ian

Country Wheat Bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 cup hard red wheat berries
11/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
1/2 ounce fresh yeast, crumbled or 1/4 pounce active dry yeast
11/2 to 13/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon kosher salt


Equipment: a grain mill

Grind the wheat berries on the finest setting of the grain mill. Combine the resulting flour with the all-purpose flour, yeast, and 11/2 cups water, then mix on low speed until combined. Add the additional 1/4 cup water if the dough seems dry and shaggy. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add the salt and mix the dough on high speed for 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and form into a ball by pulling the edge of the dough up and into the center of the round, pressing down. Place the dough, seem-side-down, back into a floured bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at warm room temperature until it is doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Transfer the dough back to a floured work surface and form again into a ball by pulling the edge of the dough up and into the center of the round, pressing down. Place the dough, seem-side-down, back into a floured bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at warm room temperature until it is doubled in size again, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450°F with a medium heavy pot and a lid in the oven. 

Pour the dough into the pot and immediately cover with the lid. Bake until the loaf is set, about 30 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue to bake until the loaf is browned, about 20 minutes more. Remove the bread from the pot and let cool completely before slicing.

Ian KnauerComment