I love this beautiful comment from a post in the Weston Price website. The author is contrasting modern bread-making methods with the ways grains were traditionally handled and breads made:
“Grains comprise a wholesome category of foods that must be respected for the complexity of nutrient contributions they can make to the human diet, and must always be prepared with care to maximize those nutrients’ availability as well as neutralize naturally occurring antinutrients. . .
“Growing and preparing food ought to be a sacramental service. It should not be based on violence, as is most of modern agriculture, factory animal farms and factories that produce finished food items like bread. All those processes are based on “conquering” the food item and forcing it into a form defined by commerce. There are no more subtle energies in these debased foods, let alone mere measureable nutrients or soul-satisfying taste and vitality.
“Food is holy. Its preparation and enjoyment constitute a daily opportunity to experience happiness, satisfaction and gratitude.”
I make this 7-Grain Spelt Bread weekly. Spelt is an ancient, easier-to-digest grain. My recipe uses little or no sugar and about 1/3 the yeast in most contemporary bread recipes. Allow plenty of rising time, at least 1-1/2 hours each time. I’m anxious to test out a sourdough version!
(Makes about 40 buns)
- Bob’s Red Mill 7-grain cereal, 2-1/2 cups (14 oz.)
- Boiling water, 5 cups
- Extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup
- Sugar, 1 tsp. (opt.)
- Dry yeast, 1 tsp.
- Spelt flour, 4 cups (1 lb. 5 oz.)
- Unbleached white flour, 3 cups (1 lb. – if you’re happy with a denser texture and longer rising time, replace white with spelt flour)
- Salt, 1 TB
- Boil the water, stir the 7-grain cereal into it.
- Let the cereal soak for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add oil, sugar and yeast to cereal mixture. Stir in and let sit.
- Mix flours and salt together.
- Mix flours into cereal mixture.
- Knead the entire mix on a smooth, lightly floured surface or knead mechanically for 10 minutes. I use my Kitchenaid mixer.
- The dough should be very slightly sticky. Keep as light as possible.
- Knead dough by hand into a smooth ball.
- Place in a well-oiled bowl and oil top of dough. Cover with non-porous material. Plastic garbage bags work. I clean and re-use the same bag every week.
- Let rise 1-2 hours. Punch down. Let rise again if there’s time. If not, continue to next step.
- Using a 1/4 cup dry measure, pull off a piece of dough and pack it into the cup.
- Remove from cup, knead slightly, press smooth side down into cup. Tap firmly on counter to remove from cup and place on baking sheet.
- Repeat this process until all buns have been formed.
- Cover buns and let rise.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, cool, enjoy.