Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Enrichment Night: A Class on Wheat Bread

I am probably not the most qualified person to talk about food, since for many years I did not enjoy it. But I just wanted to share a quick note about myself regarding my journey as a foodie. When I was growing up, I was a very picky eater. My parents always openly shared stories of what a nightmare I was as a child during meal times. In high school, I think my friends secretly felt the same way.

But as I got older, I began to notice the power of food. Food would often bring my friends and me together during lunch dates. Food also brought my family and me together during the holidays. And most importantly, food would always bring my family (myself included), to my mother’s house. My mother always makes food in great abundance because she never knows who is going to stop by hungry. Food was always bringing me closer to the people I cared most about.

And as I fell in love when I was in college, my fondness for food became even stronger. When I was dating Matthew (now my husband), I began to understand food as a love language. Since I was very happy during our courtship, food became a positive association. I found myself looking forward to meal times. When invited to eat dinner at his parents’ house, there was so much love and happiness in their home that I think it made the food taste that much better.

Now that I am married and starting my own family, I am beginning to fully appreciate the power that food has in bringing people closer together and the comfort that it provides to many. And it is this realization that has fueled my love for recipe hunting and cooking. Nothing seems better than sharing a meal with the people you love.

But enough about me, let’s talk bread. For enrichment night at our ward, we had a bread making class and the President of Relief Society, Heather Lusvardi, did a wonderful presentation at her home. With her permission, I was able to take pictures of her making the bread step by step, from grinding the wheat to flour all the way to baking the bread. She has also allowed me to post her recipe, which is really fantastic because it skips the step where you have to let the bread rise. So instead of spending 3 hours making bread, Heather’s recipe only takes 1.5 hours to make.

The class was very informative and educational. I learned that after grinding the wheat grains into flour, it loses its nutrients with every passing day. So after you bake the bread, its nutritional value is strongest within the first of couple days. It is for this reason that bread that is bought at the store is not as nutritious as homemade bread because it sits in the shelves for long periods of time (it also contains preservatives to elongate its shelf life). You can also up the nutritious potency of your home made bread by adding beans to the grinder for more protein (a great way to use your food storage beans) or just adding 7 grains to the dough. For the bread that was made in the picture, Sister Lusvardi added Millet to the dough for that pleasant crunch. Another interesting concept I learned was that if you buy your yeast in bulk from Costco or Sam’s Club, you can store it in the freezer and it will keep indefinitely. This is a great food storage tip.

As you can see in the first couple of pictures, Sister Lusvardi has some really fun gadgets that she uses to make the bread (wheat grinder and bosch mixer). I have put those two items on my Christmas list. Hopefully as soon as Santa brings them to me, I will start making my own home made bread.

Thanks for sharing your recipe Sister Lusvardi!

Wheat Bread Using Red Wheat

Mix together:
3 cups whole wheat flour (made from griding Red wheat)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

3 cups warm water (115 degrees. Any higher and yeast will die)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey (use same measuring cup used for oil)
4 tablespoons powdered buttermilk or 1/4 cup powdered milk
Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes

1/4 cup wheat gluten
3/4 tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Mix well, knead for 10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of bowl and be slightly sticky. Form 2 loaves and slap down against clean countertop to remove any air bubbles. Pinch sides of dough and put each loaf in a pan. Place into preheated oven at 250 degrees F for 20 minutes or until double in size. Turn heat to 350 degrees F and cook for another 20-22 minutes. Once done, remove from oven and mist top of each loaf with water or butter for a soft crust.

Source: Heather Lusvardi

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