Thursday, March 15, 2012

I've Stored It...Now What? -Wheat

  I was talking to a friend last night. She mentioned her parents had given each of their children (and their spouses) a couple buckets of wheat for Christmas. Way to go mom and dad! The problem she and her husband are now facing is what to do with it. 
  So many of us are doing what we've been told by putting food away for unexpected emergencies. Good for us! Now, are you wondering what to do with it? This has sparked a desire in me to create a new segment on THRIVE With The Basics called, "I've stored it...Now what?"
  My hope is for all of us to learn some basic recipes and skills for using the products we are so diligently putting aside. Since my friend's question was regarding wheat, I've decided that should be the focus of our first installment of "I've stored it...Now what". 
  Shelf Reliance offers two kinds of wheat; Hard Red Wheat and Hard White Winter Wheat. What's the difference? Aside from cost (white wheat is slightly cheaper), hard white wheat resembles hard red wheat in all characteristics with the exception of missing genes that create the red bran coloring. This results in a wheat that is sweeter and more mild than red wheat flour, which some find to be slightly bitter.
  Storing wheat is essential to making it through a long-term emergency-type situation. However, you must make sure you have the means to use the wheat you've stored. A wheat grinder is absolutely essential. I would recommend buying two; an electric grinder for everyday use and a hand-crank grinder for when there is no power. 
  If there was no power to bake bread from your wheat, what would you do with it? Hard wheat can be cooked as a hot cereal; Cracked Wheat Cereal (which is delicious).
  At "Food Storage Made Easy", Jodi and Julie have come up with 7 ways to use wheat without a wheat grinder.
 Wheat can be used as a meat extender. Crack the wheat in a blender, grinder, or mill on a coarse setting. Cook your hamburger and drain the fat. Add 2 cups of water and a half cup cracked wheat. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes, then add to your favorite recipes.   Pound for pound, wheat is one of the least expensive foods available. Since grain products expand in your stomach, using wheat can help you stretch your budget. If you are concerned that your Home Store may be lacking in protein, a good supply of wheat and beans will form a complete protein. Half a cup of uncooked wheat contains 8 to 10 grams of protein. Not only does wheat provide the protein needed for muscle growth and repair, but it is a low-fat complex carbohydrate that will give your body the energy it needs to make it through the day.

  Wheat recipe round-up:
Bake a Better Granola Bar-why just eat, when you can THRIVE
Healthy Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins-Your Own Home Store
Tabouli Salad-Cooking with My Food Storage
Whole Wheat Angel Food Cake-Everyday Food Storage

  I prefer my wheat bread to have a little white flour in with the whole wheat flour. The following is my grandmother's recipe, which I believe to be the best there is, and completely fool-proof.

Wheat Bread

3 c. white flour                                                         1/4 c. molasses
3 c. wheat flour (plus additional 4-7 cups)                  1 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. sugar                                                               little less than 2/3 c. oil
1 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. dough enhancer                           3 1/2 c. hot water (115-118 degrees)
1/2 c. wheat gluten                                                          2 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  Place white flour, 3 cups wheat flour, sugar, dough enhancer, wheat gluten, molasses, salt and oil in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add water and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add yeast and mix 1 minute more. Begin adding wheat flour until dough pulls from sides of bowl and cleans from the bottom of the bowl (This is important. If your dough is still sticking on the bottom of the bowl, it needs more flour). Once the flour is incorporated kick your mixer up to high (unless you have a mixer that does all the work on 2nd speed like my KitchenAid) and mix 8-10 minutes or until dough stretches without breaking when a small portion is pulled between your fingers.

Pull the dough over itself then pinch the underside
Place a very small amount of additional oil on your counter. Divide the dough into 4 equal loaves. Form loaves and place in bread pans (the grease from the counter is sufficient; there is no need to grease the pans). 
Nice, smooth top
Press down hard filling the pan

  Cover with a clean cloth and let rise until double-I place mine in a cold oven and close the door. The heat from the dough will warm the oven and allow your dough to raise in about half the time (30 minutes-1 hour).
  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaves 30 minutes. Allow bread to rest in pans for at least 10 minutes. The bread will "sweat" allowing it to slide easily from the pans. Remove from pans and cool on racks. Slice, bag and eat or freeze. I like to keep two loaves out to eat that week and freeze the other two for later. Pre-slicing makes things easier once you remove a loaf from the freezer.
  A couple notes: If you do not have dough enhancer or wheat gluten, they may be omitted from the recipe, but your finished product will not be quite as light and fluffy.
  This wheat bread will continue to raise quite a bit in the baking process. I recommend baking it when it is about an inch or two smaller than you want it to be.

Autumn Christiansen    Independent Consultant-Shelf Reliance    435-723-0977 

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