I am so excited because today I got the dry blade canister for my Vitamix! The vitamix, in case you're not familiar with it, is a professional scale blender. It has a 2HP motor so it is a beast and I love it. I have already put it to great use making a number of purees, baby food, soups, etc. It's seriously awesome.
But I digress...
I found the canister on Craiglist and picked it up today for half the retail price and it had never been opened. I was also proud of myself b/c this was my first Craigslist transaction and I didn't get ripped off or anything. It was great!
So today I bought the new canister (for 1/2 price!!!) then went to Whole Foods for some whole grains. I bought a quart of hard red winter wheat. I was hoping for white, but red was all they had so I took it. I also got some rye b/c I'd like to try some rye bread as well. I wanted to get some spelt but I decided to wait and try out the other grains first. Anyway, I got the whole grains and they cost me literally 3 dollars. I know I can get them cheaper once I buy in bulk or from a coop, but for a small batch to test out the blender, I was pleased with the minimal investment.
When we got home, I put the grains in the freezer. One of the critiques of the dry blender is that the heat from its blending can damage some of the nutrients in the grains. You want them to be pretty cold when they go in b/c they come out fairly warm. I thought this was probably people being a bit particular, but turns out it really does put off some heat. My grains were good and chilled and they came out pretty warm, so I'll definitely keep them there before grinding.
Another key theme in reading about the grains blender was to do no more than 2 cups at a time. I did just 1 cup at a time and it had no problem. The manual said to blend for a minute but it seemed finished at like 40 seconds. I sifted my flour to be sure it was well done and it really got all but maybe a teaspoon or so of the hard wheat ground into flour. I was super impressed.
In case you didn't know this, the dry blender can be used to make dough as well, so I just had to give it a go, especially since I had fresh flour just begging to be bread. Now I'm not going to lie. I followed the recipe with my cookbook and in the beginning I was super confident that this was going to be some amazing bread. The yeast looked so happy and the flour was so fresh, how could it go wrong? I followed all the directions but the dough seemed a bit doughy to me and I really didn't know if it was going to rise or, if it did, how it would taste. I was fairly discouraged for a bit, though it was probably my own fault for being so excited. (I am truly a dork.) Regardless of my apprehension, the dough did rise in the time suggested that it should take. I popped it in the oven and told B, "Well, at least the wheat only cost a dollar." thinking we hadn't lost much in this loaf and we could try again another day with another recipe. I am pleased to report, however, that the bread turned out great. Not too soft/crumbly and not too hard/dense. It would be a perfect sandwich bread. It's not as sweet as B's regular bread and I wouldn't want it all the time. It is a great quick bread though, and could easily be made after work for no more time and effort that it took to go from literally wheat to bread. I also think if I jazzed it up with some honey, jam, or butter, it could be a nice toast or semi-treat bread.
So, though I had plenty of help, I can't help but feel a bit like the Little Red Hen with her trips to the mill and the churning of butter, etc. Lucky for me, I also had my favorite people to share the bread with when it was finished.
While I didn't intend for this to by my Happy New Year post, it does sort of fit the bill. As we close the door on 2012 with it's false apocalypse, tragedies, victories, and more, my wish is for all to have Happy New Year, surrounded by family or loved ones that have become family, eating nourishing food, but most of all to be safe, loved, and happy. What more can we ever really ask for? I think everything else is just gravy.
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