Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Best Bread Yet

Today I baked my best loaves of natural yeast bread yet!  The yeast (sour dough start) got pretty neglected while I was on vacation, and seems to be all the better for it.  Go figure!  The dough rose wonderfully and is sweet and delicious to eat.

Meanwhile, I've really been fighting with that old white wheat I got from a friend.  One bucket had bugs in it.  An experienced (elderly) woman from church had taught me that you should blow on a bucket of wheat to check for weevils.  I've done that to every bucket I opened, and when I did it on this one, the flaky shed carcasses of bugs blew away.

I was hesitant to throw out a whole 5 gallon bucket of wheat, so I experimented with pouring the wheat back and forth between two plastic bowls while blowing a fan on it.  The shed skins and a couple of dead bugs were blown out or stuck to the bowls, and the resulting wheat seemed clean.  I ground it and used it to make waffles.  Then I started worrying about it.  I had heard that sailors used to eat weevils all the time and you could eat them, but what if I was wrong?  What if there was toxic residue in the wheat?

I did a lot of research on weevils, and got pretty grossed out.  No, they're not toxic, but they do lay their eggs inside the kernels of wheat, so it might look clean and be full of weevil larvae.  You can tell by putting the wheat in water, I read.  If the kernels float, they have larvae in them.  I tried it.

The wheat all sank.  "Pfew!" I thought.  But then it started to bug me that the information on weevils didn't match my bugs at all.  I did a bunch more research.  I think I actually had carpet beetles.  I couldn't find out anything on whether or not they are poisonous, but it didn't really matter.  My grossed-out-edness had surpassed my frugality.  The wheat was thrown away!

I inteded to keep using the non-infested wheat to bake quick breads, pancakes and waffles, but now I have an additional problem.  My Golden Grain wheat grinder keeps gumming up when I try to grind it.  I had to clean the grinding stones 3 times by grinding first popcorn and then rice on a very course setting.  (I switched to rice because it is cheaper!)  I think the old wheat is moist, after being in a cracked bucket in Virginia for so long.  I'm pondering putting it in the dehydrator before grinding, or grinding it half and half with good wheat.  If anyone out there has a suggestion, I could use it!
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