Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Growing Bread Part 4 of 4: Threshing and Winnowing

Here's where I ran into trouble. The very modern strain of wheat I grew has many virtues: high yield, disease protection, and the ability to be harvested by combine harvester. A combine reaps and threshes at the same time. If you have a few hundred acres, this is great! You drive the combine and you end up with bales of straw and lots of wheat. Alas, to make sure the machine gets the maximum amount of wheat, the ears are bred to be shatterproof.

In practice, this meant that none of the hand threshing techniques used on old fashioned wheat would get the grain from the ear. What worked was rubbing the ears by hand... actually, not a bad way to while away an afternoon chatting with friends under a shady tree, but not a quick and easy way to get all the grain. I never found a satisfactory solution to this, if you do, please leave it in the comments!

On the plus side, I gave sheaves of wheat to all my homeschooling friends to try and, after the hand threshing, winnowing was a breeze. We used a fan and poured from one bowl to another: presto! Grain! I have a grinder attachment on my Kitchen Aid, and I did get enough grain to make a few loaves of bread- bread we grew ourselves!

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