Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not by Hand


A new reader recently asked me how I knead my bread NOT by hand. I use a Pro 600 series Kitchen Aid stand mixer that works wonderfully well. I had gotten it after reading a review that explained how it had a newer (and better designed) dough hook that actually kneaded the dough, rather than taking it for a ride. I bought it at - through the refurbished link. (You didn't think I'd pay full price, did you?)

I had had a 4 quart KA stand mixer that burnt out, and I had gotten the grain grinding attachment for that one years ago. The Pro 600 series mixer works so much better for grinding. It works more quickly, and without overheating. With my old (smaller) mixer, I could only grind a cup of grain at a time - and it took about 10 minutes to get flour, and to avoid over heating, I had to medium-grind it first, then let the mixer rest and then fine grind it. With this mixer, I can put a full 3 cups of grain into the hopper, set it to fine grind the first go through, and get fresh flour in about 12 minutes (depending on the grain, I get anywhere from 3 to 4 cups of flour from 3 cups of grain). I can also make more than one loaf of bread at a time (the old mixer could only handle kneading bread that contained no more than 4 cups of flour - a small loaf's worth)

I purchase my grains from Purcell Mountain Farms. They also sell bulk dried fruits, and bulk herbs, natural sweeteners and baking supplies. I only ordered from them once so far, but the order was processed and shipped very quickly, and was at my home within a week. They ship via USPS, and so the shipping is very reasonable (and capped once your order reaches $60 worth - which is much better than other sources where the shipping amount almost doubled my order!!)

While I know you don't *have* to freeze grains long term in order to store the, that's where I've been storing them. In Ziploc bags. I'd like to invest in some Rubbermaid type containers to hold the grains, and will be looking for sales. A 2 gallon container will hold about 10 lbs of grain. I currently keep Organic Oat Groats (whole - I crack them in my grinder for "steel cut" style oatmeal), Organic Rye Berries, Organic Hard White Wheat Berries (for breads), and Organic Spelt on hand in 10 lb increments. With my next order, I will be adding Organic Soft White Wheat Berries - which is better for use in baked goods other than bread (like muffins, cakes and cookies), and may try some Bulgur Wheat (rather than trying to soak my own wheat and drying it out), for those times when I want to bake muffins, cookies and the like but do not have the time / forthought for soaking overnight.

Well, this post got rather rambling, and it's time to take the baby Bees to finish purchasing their school supplies. School starts next week, as will (hopefully) my treatment for my hypothyroidism. I'm hoping that will increase my energy levels, and enable me to better maintain this blog (and my home!)

Blessings to you,


Bethany Hudson said...

Judy- Thanks for the info on the Kitchenaid! So, one more question, do you just let the hook knead for as long as the recipes says you would need to knead by hand?

Judy said...

You're welcome, Bethany!

I start checking the dough for stretchiness after about 10 to 15 minutes. I've never gotten as smooth a "window pane" as I've seen pictures of online, but I think that's because I do not use any white flour at all, and the bran keeps it from being smooth. BUT after it's been kneaded, the dough definitely gets stretchy. I've found that whole grain bread dough tends to stay slightly sticky, not as smooth and elastic as white bread dough.