The next step once grain has been separated from the chaff if you want to make flour for your bread is to grind it.  The most earlier form of grinding was done with two rocks.  The most ancient tool still found in kitchens today is the mortar and pestle ( pictured above).  The mortar is the stone bowl and the pestle is the shaped rock used to crash the grain.  This was used for quite some time but does not grind as finely as later inventions.  Mortar and pestles were also made larger and smaller and out of wood also.

And finally here is a man happily winnowing wheat (the tune is quite catchy too)

This is a video of a very basic way that wheat for your wholemeal bread can be threshed.

Threshing is defined as

thresh [θrɛʃ]vb1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Agriculture) to beat or rub stalks of ripe corn or a similar crop either with a hand implement or a machine to separate the grain from the husks and straw
2. (tr) to beat or strike
3. (intr; often foll by about) to toss and turn; thrashn
(Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Agriculture) the act of threshing
[Old English threscan; related to Gothic thriskan, Old Norse thriskja; see thrash]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

This is a beautiful video filmed in Malta showing how people harvest wheat by hand.  This is how wheat has been harvested for thousands of years before it is threshed and winnowed and the kernels of wheat for your bread.

Threshing and winnowing to be explained next

Real bread. Part I. Have you ever eaten a real loaf of wholemeal bread?

I’m going to start this blog with a basic staple that has been on the planet for a long time and that is the humble loaf of bread.  I am going to be slow and methodical in each part of this write up and provide plenty of pictures.  I’m doing this in the hope that anyone who has a go can completely understand the whole process and see that it is a simple process which anyone can do and maybe understand what I say about bread in the next paragraph..  I will define words as I go and break down the whole write up into instalments.

The modern 21st century ” bread” we find in general at a supermarket or in a bakery isn’t real bread - it is not what our ancestors ate and it will not sustain you like theirs did. I don’t mean to be mean to supermarkets, or bakers in general but it just isn’t. What?  I hear you say.  Stay with me and I will explain very slowly and step by step.

So what is wholemeal bread?  It’s not that horrible caramel or brown dyed stuff that passes as “wholemeal” a “healthy alternative” to white bread on the shelves in the supermarket. 

Wholemeal is defined as 

wholemeal [ˈhəʊlˌmiːl]adj (Cookery) Brit (of flour, bread, etc.) made from the entire wheat kernel.  US and Canadian term whole-wheat

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

A kernel is defined as

 kernel [ˈkɜːnəl] n

1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Botany) the edible central part of a seed, nut, or fruit within the shell or stone

 2. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Botany) the grain of a cereal, esp wheat, consisting of the seed in a hard husk

 3. the central or essential part of something

vb -nels-nelling-nelled US-nels -neling-neled(intr) Rare to form kernels[Old English cyrnel a little seed, from corn seed; see corn1]kernel-less  adj

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

We will take definition two in this case as it is the definition that is applicable.  A kernel is a single grain of wheat consisting of the seed in a hard husk, and several kernels look something like this (depending on the species of wheat you have)

Source: Photographer: Joanna Molloy

These are whole grains of wheat before before they are ground between something and turned into flour.

They come from varieties of wheat plants(see below). This humble grass has been the starting point for bread for thousands of years.  The wheat kernels above are found in the prickly looking seed heads at the tops of the stems below.  The stems and the seed heads are separated and the surrounding prickly kernel coverings are removed 

Source: Photographer

Originally wheat was harvested by hand which I will show with a video in my next instalment.

I set up this blog to document, my research & experimentation with what people did before a lot of things. Before supermarkets, before electricity, before powertools and refrigeration, before central heating etc. I think it’s technology that is being lost and it’s possibly very foolish to not reclaim it.

In this day and age of mass media getting the info out to a lot of people is possible and it’s better to make it known now than later.

Knowing how to do this stuff makes you less fearful should the props get knocked out from under the current day to day world. I’m no luddite - I enjoy technology but I don’t enjoy completely relying on it to the point of stupidity and being unable to do things should technology FAIL. Obviously computers would most likely go down too so I suggest you keep a hard copy ( write or print it out) should you find some good technology on here you might want to use. And for goodness sake don’t take my word for it only, try it for yourself so that you might learn by it too and have it in the best storage place - your mind.
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