Thursday, January 12, 2006

Featherpuff Bread

I've been dropping little hints for a couple of years about how nice it would be to be able to grind our own grain for bread. Last fall when we went to the Menno Relief Sale / Pioneer Festival at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto (big family event for Chuck, and we just happened to be around Ontario at the time, so we took the kids) Chuck got totally entranced by the miller and his obvious passion for his mill and for the benefits of fresh-milling flour.

So it wasn't exactly a huge surprise to find that my Christmas gift was a Family Grain Mill attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. (Supposedly you're supposed to have the 'big', 325W KitchenAid to use the grain mill, whereas ours is the 'small' 250W model that we got free on points a few years ago, but we'd been told it works just fine, so long as you keep the speed slow and give the machine breaks after every few cups of flour.)

I ordered a book about whole-grain bread-baking that I'd been hearing about on the Home-Ed list for a long time. It's "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book" and it arrived a couple of days ago. I'm really impressed with it. It's a veritable bible of whole-grain bread-baking, but it's not so crunchy that it doesn't discuss things like breadmakers and store-bought flours, yeasts and additives.

The 'finesse' touches, which I'd been ignoring because I didn't understand whether or why they are important, are explained simply and thoroughly. For example, how and why to rest the dough, how to test for the right amount of rise, how to know when you've kneaded enough, etc.

Lately I've been on a sourdough kick, making dense, dark breads with thick chewy crusts. With Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book in hand I decided I wanted to challenge myself to bake a loaf of light, elastic sandwich bread out of fresh-milled whole wheat. I followed the recipe in the book for "Featherpuff Bread". It was everything I expected and more! It rose almost four-fold on the last rise and the consistency was consistent and, as promised, feather-light. Yum Yum Yum, the first loaf probably won't make it through to tomorrow morning (it's now 10 pm here).


  1. Anonymous9:39 am

    Thanks for the info on the grainmill attachment for Kitchenaid mixers. I was ready to order the attachment, but wanted to hear from someone who was already using one first!

  2. Anonymous8:30 pm

    I hope you will be able to read this question - how did your bread turn out??? I just purchased some stone milled flour at Toronto's Black Creek Pioneer Village and would love to try out this recipe you have mentioned here. I made some bread already, but it did turn out a bit like a door stopper! How did your Featherpuff bread turn out?

  3. Hey, Marilyn, the Featherpuff Bread is brilliant. I've made it many many times since I first blogged about it. I highly recommend the Laurel's Bread Book ... the magic is in the details.


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