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What Can I Do with Wheat?

For thousands of years, civilizations have depended on grains for food. Corn, rice, and wheat are common grains that can be cultivated and stored for long-term food supplies. Wheat is inexpensive, nutritious, and can be prepared in a variety of ways, making it an excellent food for long-term survival. In fact, if you properly store wheat, it can be used for many years.

But what should you do with all that wheat? Some people use the wheat whole, or not ground. You can cook whole-wheat similar to other cooked cereals, like oatmeal, but it takes significantly longer. For a filling breakfast cereal, mix 1-Ĺ cups of whole-wheat with 2-2/3 cups of water in a double boiler over simmering water at night. The next morning, the wheat will be swollen to double its size and can be eaten sweetened with brown sugar or honey. You can also cut down cooking time by pre-soaking whole-wheat in water for 24 hours.

Another use for whole-wheat is to use it as filler in other dishes. If you are making meatloaf, meatballs, or casseroles, stirring in a half cup of pre-soaked whole-wheat will help to stretch your recipes. Whole-wheat will add nutrition, flavor, and fiber to these meals.

For many recipes, wheat must be ground into flour. To do this in a worst-case scenario with no electricity, you will need a hand-cranked wheat grinder to make flour. [] For fine flour, similar to what you are accustomed to buying in stores, you may have to run the flour through the mill three or four times. Many times your home-ground wheat flour will not be quite as light as store-bought white flour, but you can use it in recipes for biscuits, pancakes, or other breads. You can also use more coarsely ground flour in conjunction with lighter flour in recipes as filler.

Having a basic bread recipe that uses only a few ingredients is invaluable in a crisis. This recipe may be rather coarse and dense for Americans accustomed to store-bought bread, but it is very satisfying and tasty right out of the oven.

Basic Whole-Wheat Bread Recipe

Sprinkle two tablespoons of dry yeast into a large bowl containing 2 1/2 cups of warm water. When it begins to foam, stir in three or four cups of whole-wheat flour and a teaspoon of salt. Beat until the mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for an hour. Mix in three or four more cups of whole-wheat flour, mixing well after you add each cup of flour. Once the mixture balls up into dough, you can turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it well. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, and cover it with a clean towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk. Lightly grease two baking sheets, and sprinkle them with a little cornmeal. Punch down the dough, and divide it into two equal parts. Shape each piece of dough into an oblong loaf, and place it on the baking sheets. Cover dough with a towel, and let it rise for an hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. The loaves should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from the pan immediately.
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