Thursday, March 9, 2023

Fresh Whole Wheat Bread Recipe from Ground Wheat Berries

A couple years ago, I started grinding my own wheat berries for flour and boy are we loving it! I'm so glad I invested in a grain mill. The freshly milled taste is like nothing else and the health benefits are enormous! If you haven't already, check out this video from Sue Becker that explains all the benefits of consuming freshly ground grains.

Several friends have asked me for my bread recipe lately, so today I took the time to photograph the process so I could write it up. 

I think one of the most important things to know about baking fantastic bread is to get the dough ball right. Is it too wet? Too dry? The best way I can tell that my dough ball is just right is when it doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl and it feels like chewed bubblegum. It should feel kind of tacky but not sticky.

Another way to tell is if you can form it into a log that will hold its shape. 

So, if your dough is too dry and crumbly to do this, add a little warm water. If it's too wet, knead in some more flour. If you take the time to get your dough ball right, the rest should be a breeze!

Fresh Whole Wheat Bread (2 loaves)

2 1/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 TB yeast
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. honey
1 TB salt
9 1/2 - 10 c. freshly ground whole wheat flour

Begin by grinding your wheat berries. When you're about 10 minutes from finishing, mix the yeast and warm water together and let it sit the rest of the grinding time. I use a stand mixer with a dough hook. If you will be kneading by hand, just put this in your mixing bowl. Remember that if your bowl is cold, you'll need to warm it up under warm water. The water and yeast mixture needs to stay warm.

Once your berries are finished, add the oil, honey, and salt to your mixing bowl. Then add a few cups of flour and begin mixing. Add the rest, a cup at a time, making sure everything is incorporated well by scraping the sides of the bowl from time to time. I usually stop at about 9 cups and really mix/knead it well, then I check the dough ball. If it is tacky like gum but not sticky, it is ready. I usually need 9 1/2 cups of flour to get it perfect.

Continue kneading with a dough hook or by hand for about 5 minutes. Then let the dough ball rest in the bowl for 30 minutes. After that, oil your bread pans and then form the dough into two logs the length of your bread pans minus about an inch. Place the logs in the bread pans with the seam side down and let them rise in a warm place for awhile---usually an hour or two. You can cover them if you'd like but I never do---I use shallow pans and I don't want to mess up the tops!

Lastly, bake them at 325ยบ for about 30 minutes. You'll need to watch them to see when they're at the stage of browning you prefer as every oven is a little different. Make sure they're at least a light golden brown so you can ensure the middle is cooked through. Then slide a knife around to remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a rack. If you leave them to cool in the pans, they'll sweat and your bread will become soggy. I've found this to be true, even for stoneware pans.

I hope you enjoy this delicious fresh whole wheat bread! Let me know if you try it out!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

The Necessary Thing is Just Enough | He is Our Portion

"Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Yeshua's feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Messiah, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Yeshua answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Recently during a Bible study, a friend shared some good thoughts on this section of scripture and it got me thinking about the idea of the portion.

What did Yeshua say was the necessary thing, the good part? It was the time Mary was spending at His feet, hearing His word.

There are lots of good things to do. But are they the best things? I like to say, "just because it's good to do, doesn't mean it's good for YOU to do."

Martha was busy with preparations and trying to make everything nice for everyone---I can definitely relate to that! While there are lots of other preparations we could be making for whatever is coming our way, the main preparation is to be equipped by what we find in His word.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2

When we choose to be in His word over doing the other things, we are offering our bodies as living sacrifices. We can't renew our minds without something new to put in them. We put in the word of God. 

It should make us think in new ways. 

See life in new ways. See ourselves in new ways…. 

especially see people, even difficult people, in new ways.

When we choose time with Him, we are choosing the necessary thing, the good part, the good portion.

But what is this word, "portion"? I used to think of it as one of those "bible-y" words that sort of weirded me out when I first started attending church and Bible studies in my late teens. I would think of Oliver Twist holding out his soup bowl for his portion of the meal for the day. "How does this relate?" I would wonder.

Numbers 18 tells us all about the duties of the priest and the Levites, and in reference to the fact that the other tribes were receiving land and they were not, He says:

"Then the Lord said to Aaron: 'You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.'" Numbers 18:20

Their portion was YHWH! They inherited Him---communion and closeness to Him that the others couldn't have. The other tribes weren't given these rights to the holy places and honored duties.

Our portion is the inheritance of God --- all that He wants us to be --- all the callings and blessings and responsibilities He wants to trust us with.

When we think of a "portion", we think of an amount that is less than the whole --- but when YHWH is our portion, we are inheriting everything there is!

That's an amazing concept … but it does have its limits.

Imagine that it's you and God, alone in a room, and He hands you a beautifully wrapped gift. You open it and it's so incredible. You are in awe that He would give you something so amazing. Your heart is overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness at all that He has given you. You hang out with God in that room for awhile and just enjoy all that this gift entails.

Then one day, you pick up your gift and decide to leave the room. You walk out the door with your precious gift and start to look around at everyone else outside that room. You start to notice their gift that seems shinier and newer and more unique and in so many ways different than your own.

Suddenly your gift doesn't seem as special anymore. You even begin to resent your gift because it's not what someone else has.

Our portion is only limited when we are looking around at the portions of others. When we are comparing and resenting and coveting the life, gifts, and portions of another, we are degrading the fulness of what the Father has given us uniquely.

We must learn to be content and even awestruck at the portion He has given to us.

We see lots of examples of the Father giving just enough for what is needed at the time. Think of the Israelites in the desert. They had just enough for the day and what was left over got wormy and smelly. He gave them their daily portion and there was nothing they could do to make it bigger or smaller.

I also think of Yeshua's prayer in Matthew 6 where He references this daily manna when He says, "give us this day our daily bread". He's teaching us to be content with the portion we are given.

Our portion might not look as big and wonderful and important and public as someone else's, but we ALL receive ALL of Him as our portion!

What He can do with the portion He gives us is incalculable. Do you see? We each receive it all!

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

    his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

Friday, March 3, 2023

It's Ok to Be Lonely | The Cost of Having Convictions

 It's ok to be lonely in our convictions. Loneliness causes us to hold tight to the Father; sometimes YHWH is the only one who really understands our convictions. The closer we get to Him, the more we realize we are never actually alone.