Friday, March 29, 2013

Asiago Pepato by "The Weekend Artisan"

Doug Lumley
An Italian cheese made by a Brit for our U.S. blog!

Doug Lumley and his wife, Jan have started a new website for "do it yourselfers" with cheese making as it's predominant focus.  

This is a British based website ( with step by step guides and dates for their 'Cheese Making Courses' in Winchester, UK.  Besides cheese, there is much more; bee keeping, home curing and preserve making, alongside tips and articles on home baking and horticulture.

Some of Doug Lumley's cheeses

Recently, in an e-mail, Doug mentioned the names of several cheeses he was currently making, including Asiago Pepato.  I was thrilled because although we have a recipe by Jim Wallace for Asiago at our website, we have never featured a tutorial about it here.

I asked Doug if he would be interested in documenting his recipe for us, and, he was.  He made the cheese last weekend, posted the tutorial on his website and then sent it to us.  So, it's "hot off the presses!"  With much gratitude to Doug, we present his Asiago Pepato:

Hello, my name is Douglas; I live near Winchester in the UK. I am a hobbyist cheese maker, I also run home cheese making courses, along with encouraging others to make more food from scratch for themselves. 

I have a website;, and I am on Twitter @saturdayartisan. I make lots of different cheeses (check out my website) especially Italian cheeses. Asiago Pepato is one of these, try it, it's a lovely cheese.

Asiago Pepato
By Doug Lumley at The Weekend Artisan  


Asiago (Figure 1) is a pressed cheese from the Venetto region in the north east of Italy, to the south east of Lombardy. The area is home to lots of well known cheeses which include Taleggio, Montasio and Bastardo del Grappa.

Asiago has that lovely spongy paste which gives slightly, but holds when pressed between the fingers. Traditionally it is made with either cow's or blended cow's and goat's milk. 

In this recipe, as can be seen in Figure 2 it has peppercorns through the centre which gives it a lovely bite, and it looks intriguing when served on a cheese board to those who don't know the cheese.

9 litres, (2 gallons) semi skimmed milk (2% fat)
¾ tsp thermophilic starter
½ tsp calcium chloride diluted in ¼ cup of water
¾ tsp of liquid rennet diluted in ¼ cup of water
1 to 1½ tbsp black, green or mixed peppercorns
Cheese salt for brining (Medium - Heavy Brine, 20% brine, 26 oz salt to 1 gallon water).


Place the milk in a stainless steel 10 litre pan (2.6 gallons), slowly heat the milk to 92°F or 34°C then turn off the heat. (Figure 3) This should take about 30 minutes to reach temperature.

Sprinkle the starter over the milk and mix using a slotted spoon or whisk. Let it rehydrate for 5 to 10 minutes, then add the calcium chloride and mix in.

Leave the milk to mature for about 45 minutes.

Add the rennet and leave it to stand until a clean cut can be achieved. (Figure 4 and 5).

Cut the curds into ½ inch (15mm) pieces (Figure 6) and let it sit for 5 minutes (Figure 7).

Switch the heat back on and slowly raise the temperature to 104°F, 40°C,   stir, then stand for 15 minutes before raising the temperature to 118°F, 48°C.

During this process the curds will shrink to peanut size. Let it rest for 20 minutes.

If, like me, you are lucky enough to have a Laude Gouda mould, you can just half fill the mould (Figure 8) place the peppercorns in (Figure 9), fill the mould and press at 20 lbs for 6 to 8 hours (Figure 10), turning once during that time. I think this mould makes a beautifully shaped cheese.

Please note how the New England Cheese Press works just as well with my Laude Gouda Mould (Figure 11).

Alternatively, place a damp cheese cloth in one 8 inch mould or two 4 ½ inch Italian cheese draining baskets.

Half fill the mould with curds and fold over the cloth, press down gently, fold back the cloth and distribute the peppercorns over the cheese.

Put the rest of the curd in the mould or moulds then press at 8 lbs using a follower.

After one hour, remove from the mould, turn and replace in the cloth and mould, then press at 8 lbs for 8 hours.

Make up your brine @ 20% as above, just over ½ gallon should do because of the size of the pressed cheese (Figure 12).

Soak in the brine for 12 hours turning regularly to ensure each side is evenly covered. Alternatively, what works quite well and ensures total immersion in the brine is to put a plate on top (Figure 13).

Remove from the brine, pat dry and leave to air dry at room temperature for 12 hours (Figure 14).

Then place in a ripening box (Figure 15) with a loose lid , put in a cool environment about  54°F,  15°C, turning twice weekly for 3 or 4 weeks, continue to clean with a brine solution once a week.  I sometimes dress with olive oil to retain moisture in the rind.

Aged for 4 months, it is lovely (Figure 16 and 17). Try it with crusty bread, a good butter and some tasty chutney (see my website for a recipe), along with a nice Merlot. It is a cheese that will also be excellent with a decent crisp Chablis, or even a dessert wine such as Chaudelune or the difficult to find Picolit, even a good Madeira wine is worth a try.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Paneer with Lauren Rea

Lauren Rea
This Lawfully Wedded Wife Knows the Way to Her Husband's Heart!

Lauren Rea's website is just the kind of food related site I love to find - simple recipes, mouth-watering pictures and just enough personal information about the author to make me feel cozy.  Her subtitle is "Healthy Food for the Soul."

There are recipes for Butternut Squash Mac and CheeseBroccoli Cheddar CornbreadApple Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Maple Glaze, etc., etc..  There's even a Soul Food section with recipes for BBQ Baked BeansSweet Potato Pie with Pecan Crust, etc., etc..  In her introduction, Lauren says, "... Make yourself at home!  Feel the love."  I did and I do!

Six months ago, Lauren made Paneer, a very easy "beginner" cheese.  She documented it in her usual way, with beautiful pictures and easy to follow instructions, so I asked her to share it with us.   She agreed, as you can see:

Making Fresh Cheese At Home
By Lauren Rea at Lawfully Wedded Wife




a fresh, soft cheese originating in India and made by curdling milk with an acid such as lemon juice.

What would you say if I told you that with less than an hour and two natural ingredients, you could make delicious fresh cheese in your own kitchen? It’s hard to believe, but totally true!

I actually have a bit of a history with this soft Indian cheese known as paneer. I went to alternative schools all my life that encouraged a variety of learning experiences during the school day. Sometimes the families of students would visit the school and teach us about the customs of their specific culture, everything from language to food to music. I very clearly remember when two Sikh classmates of mine had their family come in and we had an incredible time opening our horizons to different aspects of Indian culture. We spent the morning preparing a meal that we would all eat together, including a wonderful soft cheese that I have never forgotten the taste of. It’s kind of lingered in the back of my memory for all this time, and I was overjoyed when I stumbled across it on the internet and realized that I could re-live my happy cheese making days.

I think there’s a kind of novelty and joy that comes with making and eating certain things that most American cooks would never dare. I admit, this is where I get my jollies. This is my idea of living life on the edge. Be dangerous! Give yourself (and everyone around you) a wow moment and try this amazingly simple recipe that no one else but you has to know is simple. Be the first of your friends to walk into a room, pop your collar, throw your hands up, and say “Yo. I make my own cheese.”

Paneer (Indian Cheese)

by Lauren

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: condiment snack side Indian

Ingredients (12 oz. of cheese)

    8 c. whole milk
    1/3 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice


In a large pot, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

When the milk starts to boil, pour in about 3/4 of your lemon juice and stir gently.

You’re looking for the milk to quickly separate into curds and whey (white chunks and clear yellowish liquid). If the liquid left behind still looks like milk, add a little more lemon juice.

Stir gently for another minute until everything is separated nicely. Remove the pot from the heat.

Place an empty colander in an empty sink and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth.

Slowly pour the entire contents of the pot into the colander (through the cheesecloth).

Turn on the water and lightly rinse the curds that will be leftover in the cloth, then gather up the sides of the cloth and wring the liquid out to form a ball of curds.

Squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can, then leave it twisted up in the colander for a few minutes to drain more.

Get out two small plates. Place your ball of cheese (still in the cloth) in between the two plates, with the twisted part of the cloth facing down.

Place something heavy like a can or a pan on top of the plate to weigh it down. Let the cheese drain like this for 20 minutes.

Remove the weight, open the cheesecloth, and voila! Fresh cheese! It can now be refrigerated and used as you like (sliced, cubed, crumbled, etc.).

Once you’re done dusting off your shoulders from your amazing culinary achievement, you can find all sorts of ways to use your fresh cheese. Perhaps the most common use is the Indian spinach dish called palak paneer. If you’ve ever been to an Indian restaurant, this was no doubt on the menu. And once you’ve made your cheese, you can make a palak paneer that will rival any restaurant’s version.

Palak Paneer

by Lauren

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: side Indian

Ingredients (serves 4)

    10 oz. fresh baby spinach
    1 medium onion
    1/2 t. cinnamon
    1 t. ginger
    2 cloves minced garlic
    1/3 c. canned diced tomatoes, drained
    2 T. cottage cheese
    2 T. yogurt (plain or vanilla is fine)
    1 T. corriander
    1 t. garam masala
    1 t. paprika
    1 t. salt
    8 oz. paneer, cubed
    2 T. heavy cream (optional, but recommended)


Heat a few tablespoons of water in a large skillet over medium heat.

Shred all of the spinach into thin strips with a large knife and add it to the hot water in the pan. Cook and toss until all the spinach is cooked.

Pour the spinach and liquid into a bowl and set aside.

Heat a little oil (about a tablespoon or so) in the same pan.

Chop the onion and add to the hot oil. Once the onions are tender, add the mince garlic and sautee just until the garlic is toasted. Stir in the cinnamon and ginger.

Add the tomatoes and lower the heat to medium-low. Stir to combine then stir in the cottage cheese then the yogurt.

Add the remainder of the seasonings and stir well to combine.

Add the spinach and its liquid back into the pan. Stir to combine then cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat to its lowest setting, then scoop out about half of the pan’s mixture into a small bowl. Puree that portion in a food processor or blender, then return it to the pan.

Add the paneer and cream, stir to combine, and let simmer for a couple more minutes before serving.

Have I convinced you to try this yet? If the palak wasn’t enough to get you there, know that it’s only the beginning of the possibilities. You can crumble then scramble it like eggs for a protein-filled breakfast dish (don’t worry, it won’t melt), slice it for a sandwich, snack on it with veggies, or marinate it in spices and oil as a great salad topping.

Be dangerous with me! You won’t be sorry. :)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

U.S. Championship Cheese Contest

Kris Searle and her husband, Mike Bradley visiting Door County, Wisconsin

There's a lot of spitting going on at this judging!

Kris Searle is a quilter with a great blog - In the Emerald Woods.

There, she has posted many pictures of her fabulous quilts and others she has seen at shows. 

She has also documented some of the trips she and her husband have taken around Wisconsin (where they live).

Recently, they attended the judging of the US Championship Cheese Contest in Green Bay, which is sponsored by the Wisconsin Cheese Maker Association.  It was a great experience for Kris and she wrote this fascinating blog article about it:

Cheese Champs
By Kris Searle at In the Emerald Woods

Everybody knows that Wisconsin is America's Dairyland.  What better place than Wisconsin to host this:

Every two years the Wisconsin Cheese Board hosts this competition here:

As you enter the atrium, there are tables set up in a horseshoe where judges are hard at work evaluating over 1700 entries.  There are 80 classes of cheese and butter that have to be tasted and rated for packaging, color, taste, texture, etc.  Not a bad job, eh?  This year there were 21 judging stations.  Judges are from across the country and most are from Wisconsin.  WE DO LOVE OUR CHEESE!

Each judging station had 2 judges ( the people with white hats ) and 2 runners ( orange hats ).  The runners fetched the cheese for the judges and sometimes even cleaned up the table and the equipment.

Some of the cheese comes in little round balls or flat squares.  Some come in huge squares or cubes up to 200 pounds!

As best as I could tell, all the cheese is commercially produced, although I did not see any information to verify that or anything on the entry sheet to require that.

I sat down to watch at several stations.  First the packaging is examined.  At one station there were little balls of mozzarella in plastic.  The judges first comment was about the cute little pigtail shape of the plastic as it was sealed on the ends.

Next the judge looks at the cheese inside the plastic to see if there are any dents, discoloration or other defects.  Then they take a sample of the cheese.  If it is a hard cheese, they use the trier like in the photo below.  The judge pulls out the cheese and then breaks off a hunk where the wax is and plugs it back in the hole.

For softer cheeses they use a big honkin' knife that looks like a machete.  A couple of tables had a large knife with handles on both ends to rock it back and forth.  Then they cut the cheese in several slices and take a piece to sample from the center of the cheese.  For blue cheese, the table had a ginormous cheese wire slicer.  I loved that this blue came wrapped in blue foil.

Here's the slicer wire:

Once they have the cheese cut or a piece in their hand, the judges smell the cheese.  Then they taste it for saltiness, bitterness, and texture.

Once they have the taste evaluated, they spit the cheese into a bucket.  Yep, you heard right.  All that glorious cheese right in the trash.  Most of the judges were somewhat discreet and kept their bucket behind them so the spitting was not so obvious.  At one table a young man was being trained by an experienced judge, so they kept their bucket between them and it was quite a show!!!

After each quality of the cheese is rated, the judges enter their scores into an IPAD.  Each judge had his or her own.

As I understand it, they start out with a perfect score of 100 and deduct points from there.  Each class assigns a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.  The first prize winners in all categories, except processed cheese compete tonite for the Grand Prize.  I think the big winner is only awarded $500, but the marketing advantage is huge.

There is a table set up for tasting.  There were 4 types of cheese available:  sharp cheddar, yellow cheddar, Havarti, and pepper Havarti.  I read on the contest website that these are all supposed to be winners from the last competition.  I was not too crazy about any of them.  They were all from Wisconsin.

This judge's name was Charles Lindburg ( he had his name tag on upside down.)  I thought that was kind of funny.

 This table featured bandage wrapped cheeses.

Chipotle Gouda (Does that sound weird to anybody but me?)  I read in the paper that there are so many spicy cheeses that they have to spread them among all the judges so they don't have their taste buds overwhelmed by the heat.

Baked Brie - The runner brought out these two plates with covers.  Underneath was a heated cheese.  He also had the cheese in its original packing which was the cheese in shrink-wrap plastic and in a box.   I was drooling for a taste, although it was brownish and not too appetizing when they cut open the prepared cheese.

I don't know the name of this cheese, but the runner told me it is made to put on the grill and it doesn't melt.  Hmmm!  I don't get it.

Our newspaper reported this morning that the newest cheese on the block this year is called Juustoleipa.  It is a Finnish cheese that is being produced in the UP.  It has to be heated and is very buttery.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a little slice of Dairyland Heaven.

March 15

And The Winner Is ........

After all the votes were tallied the winner of the US Championship Cheese Contest is:

First place went to:  an aged Gouda from Holland's Family Cheese LLC in Thorp, WI.

Second place went to:  a Tarentaise from Spring Brooke Farms in Reading, VT.

Third place went to:  a medium cheddar by Team Cracker Barrel Natural Cheese, Weyauwega, WI.

Here is a link * to yesterday's news story about the Finals of the Cheese Competition, including a short video of the winner, Marieke Penterman, who reminds me a bit of Ricki Carroll of New England Cheesemaking Supply.

* The video only plays for subscribers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

David Dawson in Manitoba, Canada

With his Cheddars - 3½ and 1 pound

He's the definition of a "do-it-yourselfer!"

You could say that everyone who makes cheese is a "do-it-yourselfer" and you would certainly be correct.

But, some are more "hard core" than others and they go so far as to make all their own equipment, as well as their own fabulous cheese.  David Dawson falls into that second category and he's happy to share his skills with all of us.

David lives 60 miles from Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada

David actually made a curd cutter (harp) for Gavin Webber (Little Green Cheese) as a way of thanking him for his instructional cheese making videos on YouTube.  He even gave Gavin detailed directions for making a harp, which Gavin has posted at his website (click here).  It's truly a beautiful work of art:

Curd cutter made by David for Gavin Webber

In addition to making his own cheese, David is a photographer, a candle maker, a beekeeper, a 4-H leader and he makes and flies radio-controlled model airplanes.

This measures 6 feet across and weighs about 7 pounds

Photo by David Dawson

He moved from England to Manitoba, Canada in 1987, when he was 45 and he became a full time beekeeper at that time.  (He had been raising bees as a hobby since he was 14.)

Bee "houses"

Participant at one of David's candle making workshops

Homemade beeswax candles

Interview with David Dawson

How did you get started making cheese?

Just to put you in the picture, I am a 70 year old widower (my wife died in 1998).  I've made all my own bread since she died (before we shared it) and I've been making yogurt for years.

Holding his bread

This is my bread raising cabinet - an old apartment size fridge with all the cooling mechanics removed and replaced with a light bulb inside and a thermostat that I can adjust for various temperatures.  I've put a couple of empty bread tins inside just to give you the idea.

(Note: David has a unique way of making bread and he offered to share it with us, so you will find his method at the end of this article.)

Cheese has always fascinated me, so when a friend received a beginners kit & video for Christmas in 2010, I started making it.  To date, I have made 26 batches, mostly Cheddar, Cheshire or Wensleydale but also a couple of blue cheeses and a couple of washed curd cheeses. 

Cheddars, each weighing 2¼ lbs.  This photo shows the cheeses straight out of the press.

According to my records, I made my first batch of cheese (Farmhouse Cheddar) on 25th April 2011 and my comments after aging 3 months were:  "VERY good - good consistency with a flavour resembling a mix of Swiss & Dutch."

Between watching your video at Christmas and April, I researched the subject including a private tour of the cheesemaking dept of our local university.  I watched literally hundreds of Youtube videos, most of which were useless, until I came across Gavin's series of tutorial videos, and these gave me the confidence to do it myself.  I then had to get in the necessary supplies and make a press & mould.

His 'stock' of cheese at one point.  All the cheeses are nominally 2+ lbs each being from 2+ gallons of milk.
The one second from left, bottom row, is a blue cheese evidenced by the holes in the wax.

The first book I read about making cheese was called "The Cheeses & Wines of England and France" by John Ehle that I found at a second hand book sale at my local shopping mall.  It's a very whimsical book, but being English by birth and familiar with all the English cheeses, this book really peaked my interest.  (Note: We are now publishing this book.)

I suppose it was the New England Cheesemaking DVD that really convinced me to research the subject and start making cheese.  I never attended any workshops or anything like that simply because there aren't any around here.

I made my own press (actually I made four - two for me and two for friends), and I made my own moulds.  For these I used a slightly tapered jug, cutting off the top and bottom, and then drilling numerous holes in it. 

David's homemade press and mould

I looked at many presses on the web (including yours) and sort of made mine like many of them.  I saw your guage and 'holdem's' which would have made things easier when pressing, but mine work OK as is.  Unfortunately, the threaded rods are not stainless steel.  I may change them soon.

What kinds of cheeses are you making?

I have made a couple of blue cheeses using a chunk of commercial blue cheese as my inoculant, mixing it in with the curds after milling.  One worked very well - the other not so well.

I have also made a couple of washed curd cheeses, Edam and another similar but where I added the salt to the milled curd rather than soaking in brine.  The photo of the sieve in the pot with the curds is how I got the whey out without taking any curds:

A good way to separate the curds from the whey

I have tried to make Cheddar, Cheshire and Wensleydale but most of them end up being rather crumbly and somewhat similar.  Sometimes I get liquid under the wax, though not recently.  I also frequently get bloating after about 2 months aging which you can see in one cheese with 2 big cracks in it.

(Note:  Jim Wallace, our technical advisor, is working with David to solve these issues.  He can always be reached at, subject-"for Jim.")

His first washed curd cheese, basically Gavin's Drunken Cow Cheese, but not soaked in wine.  Delicious with a mild taste and a perfect texture (apart from the cracks).

My cheesemaking adventure has been to try to perfect one type of cheese that I really like, rather than making a different cheese every time. The problem, if you can call it a problem, is that every cheese is unique and a surprise with different characteristics even though I follow the same basic recipe.

I generally make a double batch of cheese using one gallon of store-bought pasteurized milk mixed with one gallon of fresh farm milk.  I have 2 pots, one in each side of my double kitchen sink with 2 gallons in each pot.  To warm the milk and to 'cook' it, I put the plug in and fill the sink with hot water.  When the milk reaches the right temp, I just pull the plug.  This saves lifting the pots on and off the stove and I found that when using a double boiler on the stove, it is too easy to overshoot the desired temperature.

I generally get the farm milk from the evening milking and keep it in my cold room overnight which is what they used to do in the good old days, according to John Ehle.  I like to think that the natural bacteria acidify the milk a little over night.  Incidentally, I don't pasteurize it.

Basement cold room

Perfect temp for aging cheese

Our winter humidity is very low here.  Currently my kitchen is 40% RH (relative humidity).  My hair dries in minutes and a cheese gets quite a rind after a couple of days.  More than two days air drying I feel is too much as the rind gets dry and crusty.  I wax my cheeses with the liquid brush-on wax and then dip them in proper cheese wax, yellow being my colour of choice.

A couple of days ago I made a gallon of yogurt and then let it drain in a cheesecloth for 24 hours.  This picture is what I got.  Delicious almost cream-cheese-like yog:

David's yogurt

What are your goals- cheese-wise?

I do not have any specific goals, such as by the end of 2013, I want to perfect making Stilton, but in general, being a scientist by training, I do want to understand more about the science behind the process.  For example, I have never seen a convincing explanation as to why we add calcium chloride to homogenized milk.  The amount of calcium contained in ¼ tsp (for example) is minuscule and anyway it is bound to a chlorine molecule.  I think it has something to do with modifying the way the fat globules repel each other.

Other than that sort of thing, I am always keen to pass on the skills I have acquired over the years and am open to teach others cheese making either in my house on a one-to-one basis, or at communal workshops.  I have been asked to do a 30 Minute Mozzarella workshop though no date has yet been arranged.  I'm also arranging a workshop at our University cheese department where they have the staff, skills and all the equipment for a proper hard cheese workshop.

Trimming off the piece of curd that squeezes past the follower

Do you have any advice for aspiring cheese makers?

Be bold.  Get started.  Watch Gavin's videos - and TriGirl123's.  Like bread making, a mystique seems to have developed around cheese making, too, whereas in the past every farm and every farmer's daughter made cheese.  The worst thing that could happen is that you waste a gallon of milk.

David's Bread

I was brought up in a scientific household and for many years worked in a laboratory developing new products.  I would try something, analyze the results and modify accordingly, repeating this process until a satisfactory product was achieved.  We all do this to a greater or lesser degree when we modify a recipe to suit our particular tastes.

Over my many years of bread-making I have developed a method which is very easy and I believe may be novel.  I am not a publicist but equally I would not like to die without passing my idea on to a wider audience, so this is what I do:

Before going to bed I get out 2 bowls.  In the bigger one I put 3 cups of white all-purpose flour, 2 tsp instant dried yeast and 3 cups of water.  I stir this up into a batter, cover it with a lid or plastic and put it in a warm place to rise OVERNIGHT.  In the 2nd bowl I put 3 cups of whole meal flour* (own ground) or store bought whole wheat flour, 1 tsp salt and any other ingredients such as ½ cup ground flax, or ½ cup sunflower seeds, or ½ cup millet etc or combinations. (note - no sugar or oil - we have too many calories in our diets already and don't need fat IN the bread as well as butter ON it!).  The cup measure is the US cup of 225 ml, though any cup would keep things in proportion.

Batter after overnight rising

In the morning, the first thing to do is butter the bread tins before handling the dough.

Then, to the overnight batter I add the rest of the ingredients from the second bowl, stir until I can't stir any more, then I get my hands in it.  A little more flour is usually necessary to make a decent dough and when it is about right I tip it onto my kitchen counter and knead for a few minutes.  When it feels right I cut it in two, shape it and put it in the pans to rise.

In the tins to rise

Ready for the oven

I bake at 415F (215C) for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375F (190C) for another 30 minutes.

The beauty is that only one rising is necessary, though of course the batter rises in the overnight stage while you are in dreamland.  Make sure to use a big bowl so it doesn't over flow.  In the morning, this overnight stage is like glue sitting on a puddle of water.  The yeast has developed the gluten such that hardly any more kneading is necessary. 

I developed this method because my son just couldn't get the knack of kneading and he now follows the method with basically no kneading at all.  He gets everything well mixed but his bread looks rather lumpy on the surface.

I rarely get up before 9am, but I can have fresh bread for lunch at 12.

The finished bread- brushed with milk and sprinkled with sesame seeds

* About the whole grain  
The actual grain of wheat is made up of three main parts – the skin on the outside, the starchy center and the germ (which would sprout if the wheat seed was put in the ground).  This is much the same as an apple where there is the skin, the fruit and the seeds in the middle.  In wheat, the skin on the outside when separated after grinding is known as bran.  The germ, which contains some oil and tastes nutty, when separated after grinding is sold as wheat germ.  The starchy center becomes the white flour.

In old windmills the whole grain was ground up, thus the resulting flour contained all three parts of the original grain.  This flour is usually referred to as ‘wholemeal’ and is of course the most nutritious.

Unfortunately in Canada there seems to be no standardization of terms and the term ‘wholemeal’ is often used for marketing purposes when in fact the flour does not contain the whole grain.  The best flour is that which you grind yourself at home on a kitchen counter-top mill.  Allowing this flour to mature for about 10 days improves it and will increase loaf volume.  Industrial flour mills often include an additive in their product designed to mimic the natural changes which occur through aging in case the flour is used before it has aged sufficiently.

As mentioned above, the wheat germ contains a small amount of oil, so true wholemeal flour must be stored in a freezer (after its 10 days of maturing) otherwise the oil will go rancid and spoil the flour.  Modern flour grinding methods allow the mill to separate out the bran and wheat germ from the white flour.  Then, to make ‘whole wheat’ flour they add back the bran, but not the wheat germ, thus ensuring a product with a good shelf life.  So, ‘whole wheat’ flour is not actually whole wheat.

The old windmill-ground or home-ground flour is usually coarser and thus less absorbent than the modern factory produced super-fine product.  Bread made from true wholemeal flour, windmill or home ground, is much more like that which we have been eating for thousands of years.  It makes a heavier more tasty bread than the highly aerated modern cotton-wool product.  In former times, the bread itself was frequently the main part of the meal with a little bit of cheese, a scraping of bacon fat or a meager slice of meat to help it along.