Bad Times are Coming! We can easily and should be prepared for common disasters, be it Politician-Made, Man-Made or Mother-Nature caused. We should be prepared to survive a ‘Grid Down’ including a no Communications event comfortably for six months or longer.
In a bowl add all the dry ingredients including the dry yeast and combine together.
Warm the water and oil to 100-105f degrees and add to the dry ingredients.
If machine kneading:
Knead for 3-4 minutes after all the ingredients have combined into a dough ball.
If mixing by hand:
Knead for 6-10 minutes after all the ingredients have combined into a dough ball.
Use a Thermometer:
A simple $3 stick type thermometer is a kitchen tool that will help guarantee proper rising and proper baking time. The liquid temperature of 100-105f degrees is required for proper yeast activation. Guessing at this temperature will lead to inconsistent, very slow or no rising at all.
Raising the Dough:
After kneading place the dough into a lightly oiled or greased bowl and cover. Let it rise, about 1 hour until it about doubles in size (sometimes as many as 2-3 hours depending on moisture, the age of yeast and room temperature).
Remove the dough from the bowl and shape to fit into a greased baking pan. This shaping also breaks down all the large gas bubbles within the dough, also known as the knockdown or degassing stage. I use shortening to grease the pan but any oil or grease works fine.
The trick I use to raise dough is to turn on the oven for 1-2 minutes then turn it off. This warms my oven to about 90-100 degrees, a nice cozy place for the yeast to do its work.
Let it rise again, about 1 hour (sometimes as many as 2-3 hours depending on moisture, the age of yeast and room temperature) or until the dough is about 1 inch higher than the bread pan, then bake.
Bake for about 30 minutes @ 350f degrees or until golden brown or internal temperature of 190-205 degrees.
*Vital Wheat Gluten:
Adding Gluten is not absolutely necessary to bake Survival Whole Wheat Bread. However, if you’re having trouble raising the dough from home milled wheat grain it makes a world of difference compared to not using it. Your rising with it will be like white all purpose white flour raises, I strongly recommend it. Vital Wheat Gluten is inexpensive and can be found in the baking section of supermarkets or online, how I buy mine, in #10 cans to place in long term storage.
Vital Wheat Gluten is a concentrated protein made from only wheat grain and possesses a special visco-elastic property. When added to flour dough, it improves the dough’s yeast gas trapping ability and therefore the dough's ability to rise, increases the bread's elasticity and gives bread its chewy texture we all like. Gluten is especially helpful when using home milled wheat grain. The higher the gluten content, the more volume the bread will have.
Intolerance to Gluten:
If you know you or your family is Gluten sensitive do not use a Gluten additive. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity may include bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain, or diarrhea or it may present with a variety of symptoms including headaches and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.
Why so much sugar compared to other bread recipes?
Mostly because it makes the bread taste special and also for energy in the form of additional calories. You may have to physically work much harder during a disaster aftermath and food quantity and availability may be minimal. If that’s the case, you may need the extra strength and stamina during those times that the extra sugar may provide.
**The Grain Mill Used:
I use “The Family Grain Mill” set to the finest setting to mill the wheat grain and also mill the grain just one time. With some low-quality mills you may have to mill the grain two times to get the flour fine enough for bread flour. Every brand of grain mill, mills slightly differently and they may mill the flour finer or courser. You may have to adjust the total liquids to suit the flour produced.
Conditions I Bake Under:
Geographical location can make a difference when baking bread. Altitude, temperature and humidity all influence bread rising and baking. I live in North Florida at 6 feet above sea level and the average temperature is 80 degrees with the average humidity around 50-60%.
Milling Grain into Flour:
This is important to know because grain freshly milled into flour has a shelf life of just a few days unless it’s refrigerated. The goal is to mill what the recipe calls for unless you have some type of refrigeration and keep the excess flour cold. If not it will turn rancid and unusable.
I’m making a two loaf batch in these photos:
Milling the grain into flour using a “Family Grain Mill” and my KitchenAid stand mixer.
Here I’m kneading the dough for a two loaf batch. Notice there is no dough sticking to the sides of the bowl as it should be when kneading bread dough.
After kneading place the dough into a lightly oiled or greased bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise.
After 1 hour the dough should double or slightly more as shown here.
After the first rise, knock down the dough (deflate all the yeast produced gas bubbles inside) by shaping it into a log then divide into roughly two equal pieces. I’m making a 2 loaf batch here.
Place each piece into greased bread pans then shape by pressing with your hands to fill the pan to the edges. Let the dough rise in the pans for another hour.
After an hour the dough should be about an inch over the top of the pans as shown here. Place the pans into a pre-heated oven set at 350f degrees for about 30 minutes. The finished bread internal temperature should be about 190-205 degrees.
Remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes and remove from the pans.
Let the bread cool and then slice. Enjoy and bake some every week!