So, this is my evolved version of a rustic Italian loaf of bread. It is a combination of my own experience in baking bread and watching my father-in-law (a bona fide Sicilian, lol) make bread over the last 30 years. And, until my father-in-law’s accident this year (broken shoulder at age 95), he had an amazing way of working close to 10 lbs. of flour into loaves COMPLETELY by hand–which I absolutely cannot–plus he would start at 3 am so that they were baking by mid-morning. I apologize that I am not that committed to the process, lol.
Now (at almost 96), dad is strictly my bread critic, lol. He favors less salt, but he will give me a complete run-down on his opinion. And I do appreciate it, I really do, lol. And when (if) he gives the thumbs up, it’s a good day–and he doesn’t give his thumbs up lightly.
Also, this recipe lists using King Arthur stone-ground whole wheat flour plus unprocessed wheat bran, however lately I’ve been using the KitchenAid all-metal grain mill attachment to grind my own whole wheat–and if you end up in going down this route, grinding wheat berries–will give you the whole wheat including the bran. And with this, I still use the King Arthur bread flour (white) for the majority. And full disclosure, I actually just use regular King Arthur unbleached white flour–not the bread flour, just regular (because I can buy the 25 lb. bag from Costco–and I get good results). I think using the bread flour is possibly idiot-proof–but I’ve never tried it.
So, if you want to grind your own grains, I recommend using the King Arthur white flour–and for grinding your own whole wheat, I buy hard white (or red) berry grains from a local health food store. When you grind 1 cup of berries, you end up with slightly more flour ~ 1 1/4 cups of flour with the wheat bran included, so you don’t need to add the wheat bran separately.
And last, you can freeze these loaves (after they’ve come to room temperature) immediately. I have found that when the first one is cut, it lasts <24 hrs. so you might want to keep two out, lol. Some of the benefits of freezing is that they defrost pretty quickly, and they have the texture as if they just came out of the oven, so I recommend (if they aren’t stolen immediately) that you freeze them until you are ready to use them.
I posted this more quickly than I wanted to, and I plan to add a video on working the dough–so check back!