From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wheatberry Bread

All In The Family... Life in Christian County, Kentucky...



Isaac and I went over to "Clarks-vegas" (Clarksville, TN) yesterday afternoon to eat out with Keely and her boyfriend. On the way over, I stopped at the little Amish bulk-food store near Guthrie.

They have the best selection of flours and other grain products that I know of in this area and most of their prices on these products are very reasonable. I bought rye flour, cracked wheat flour, wheatberries, yeast and wheat gluten. (All of these are ingredients for bread baking.)

This afternoon, I looked up a recipe in my Wooden Spoon Bread Book and made a batch of wheatberry bread using various bread ingredients from the Amish store.

A wheatberry, I should explain, is the entire wheat grain minus its hulls. When cooked, they swell up to about the size of a small ladybug and they're chewy. They give the bread dough a really odd texture.

I made a double recipe and baked it as three long loaves on a cookie sheet. Oh it is so good. We ate nearly all of one loaf, hot out of the oven and well-buttered.

Here's the recipe as I adapted it from the Wooden Spoon Bread Book. If you don't have rye flour, just use whole wheat. The rye flour, wheat germ, and gluten were not in the original recipe, anyway.

Cooking the Wheatberries:

Toast 2 cups of wheatberries by stirring them around in a heavy skillet over medium heat. (Careful! They can burn.) Then put them in a saucepan with 6 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Drain excess water. This makes about five cups of wheatberries, so freeze the extras to use for another batch of bread. Also, I think they might be good in soup!

Wheatberry Bread


Combine in a large bowl:

4 cups warm water
2 packs (or tablespoons) yeast
2 teaspoons sugar


When yeast becomes active, stir in the following:

2 cups cooked wheatberries (at room temperature)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
2 eggs (reserve the white of one egg)
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 cup wheat germ
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rye flour

Beat well, gradually adding

All purpose flour as needed.

When the dough is stiff enough to handle, turn it out of the bowl and knead well. Collect any stray wheatberries and poke them back into the dough. Grease a bowl and put the bread dough into it. Turn the bread dough over so the greased side is out. Cover the dough and place it in a warm place to rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch the dough down and divide it into three equal parts. Shape each part into a loaf. Place the loaves on a well-greased cookie sheet (or sheets.) Cover the loaves and place them in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Before baking, beat the reserved egg white with

1 teaspoon water

and brush the tops of the loaves with it. Make seven equally spaced slashes across the tops of each loaf. Place in a 375°F oven and bake for about 40 minutes. Cool the loaves on wire racks.

Bar
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On February 11 a year ago, I posted about "Bill's House." I'm glad I took that photo because last spring, the house was bulldozed and burned. Now there's no sign it was ever there.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.