Flour, Grain and Milling Tips:
The NUMBER ONE TIP to making healthy, inexpensive and tasty bread is FRESH FLOUR. Store bought flour is what we refer to as 'dead' flour or what makes a 'dead bread' because it has been stripped of all it's natural nutrients, then 'enriched' (because it was stripped) with synthetic vitamins?and left to sit on a shelf for who knows how long.
The blest FLAVOR and complete nutrients come from milling grains at home and using them immediately. It takes NO EXTRA TIME to mill while gathering all other ingredients and the pay off is WELL worth the one tiny step to mill the grain because of the taste and health benefits.
ALL recipes below can be made with Freshly Milled Flours - simply mill the grain suggested. We offer milling ***suggestions*** within the asterisks at the beginning of each recipe. They are just suggestions - you can and should use the grain you prefer to mill for most traditional breads.
When milling grains for your flour - you will want to measure knowing you will get approximately half again as much flour for the grain. For example: 1 Cup of grain = approximately 1.5 Cups of fresh flour OR 1.5 Cups of grain = approximately 2.25 Cups of flour. This amount is approximate and relies on the texture you are milling (fine or course).
When it is moist or rainy outside - your freshly milled grain will be more absorbent and may not rise as well - or may fall easier if left too long.
Also when using home milled flour - no need to add any Wheat Bran or Germ when called for - simply measure that amount of your additional freshly milled flour.
If you are not currently milling at home - try your hand at using a combination of white bread flour and store bought whole wheat, about 50/50 until you get the hang of baking. If you ARE currently milling at home - you know that you have the most nutritious flour for your family, but if you are
intimidated with a potential 'heavy' loaf - you can replace about 1/4 cup of the flour with a bread or artisan flour to lighten the whole grain effect.
Spelt, Rye, Rice, Oat, Millet are some of the flours that are very low in gluten and will not rise like Hard Wheat flours. Most Bread machine recipes should be used with Hard flours.
Soft Wheat flours are best used for pastries and biscuits because they also lack the gluten to raise a good loaf of bread to crown.
Make sure your flour is as fresh as possible. Check dates and keep in a cool dry place.