In the past couple of months, I've managed to lose that 20 pound spare tire I was carrying around my middle. Sweet Lady Wife and I have been focusing on eating healthier and as a result I've taken up the challenge to be able to make healthy tasty whole grain bread in my Zojirushi breadmaker.
Making white bread in the breadmaker is easy. Making whole grain bread in the breadmaker is harder. Making whole grain bread in the breadmaker that is tasty enough that you want to east it is harder yet.
You may have been told that baking is chemistry and that you must not deviate from the recipe. nope. I've got news for you. When it comes to making whole grained bread, the recipe is just the starting point. For example, here in the Arizona desert the humidity is very low, and as a result I need to add more liquid than the recipe calls for. How much? the only way to find out is trial and error. In the past couple of weeks, I've made several whole wheat loaves. Some have been 'meh', some ok, and one was so bad that even the birds wouldn't eat it.
The loaf you see here is my latest effort and the best so far. This bread is tasty enough that I would choose it over store-bought white bread. The lesson learned from making this loaf: The flour must be fresh. Unlike white flour, whole wheat flour contains everything that was present in the wheat grain, including minuscule amounts of oil. If whole wheat flour sits for an extended time, the oil turns rancid and the result is a bitter tasting loaf of bread.
All of the reading I've done tells me that the very best whole grain breads come from flour you grind yourself. Wheat grains go into the mill. When the flour comes out it goes straight into the mixing bowl. You can't get any fresher.
I did a lot of research into flour mills and picked the Nutrimill shown here. I bought it from Pleasant Hill Grain, a bunch of absolutely fantastic people. I have a feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of money with them in the future.
The nutrimill sounds like a vacuum cleaner when it's running, but it will turn out 3 cups of flour in about 90 seconds. I am very pleased with it.
I've found a local source for hard red wheat. A 25 pound bag was $20. Between Whole Foods and other local specialty markets it appears that I can get the other grains I'll be using in small quantities for a reasonable price.
The recipe that produced the loaf above still needs a little tweaking, but each loaf I make is a little better. Once I have the basic whole wheat recipe perfected, then it will be time to add small quantities of other grains (oats, rice, millet, quinoa, etc) to achieve multi-grain.