The New Home Economics

Milling your own flour

3 Comments

wheatberriesEven typing that post title, it still sounds completely crazy.  One year ago, I never would have imagined that this was where I was headed.  I wasn’t even baking my own bread yet!  Yet here I was 3 weeks ago, searching Craigslist for secondhand grain mills, and found one for $50.  I brought it home, unsure of what to expect.

grainmill1I was actually really scared to use it because Adam had read some Amazon reviews where it burned out Kitchenaid motors.  I waited a few days, then I tried milling some wheat berries.  Turns out my fears were unfounded; the Kitchenaid didn’t even heat up.  (That is one product I would heartily endorse as worth the extra money.)

We milled about four and a half cups of whole wheat flour.  We used 3.5 of those to make a loaf of whole wheat bread, and the rest we soaked in buttermilk overnight and made waffles the next morning.  Soaking whole grains (especially soaking them in something fermented or cultured like buttermilk or yogurt) makes them more nutritionally available.  It also has the added benefit of making them A LOT more palatable.

Those were the best danged waffles I’ve ever had, and they were 100% whole grain.  Light, fluffy, absolutely wonderful:

waffles

The bread turned out great too:

bread2

I got into this whole “milling my own flour” thing mainly for health/nutrition purposes.  Once again, I was inspired in part by Nourishing Traditions.  The “eat whole grains” thing is pretty much a no-brainer at this point, but I was unaware of the fact that whole wheat flour goes rancid, very quickly.  So preservatives are added to it to keep it from going rancid.  Is this what makes whole wheat products so danged heavy?  I don’t know.  But the flour that we milled produced bread and waffles that were as light or lighter than even stuff made with white flour.

I like to think there’s an eco-component to this as well.  I’ve cut out several middle men and therefore several trips on trucks for my little kernels of wheat.  And wow is it cheap to buy this stuff in bulk.  Check out these rock-bottom prices on organic grains at my Co-op this week:

Buckwheat: $1.39/lb
Rye: $.79/lb
Wheat: $1.29/lb
Spelt: $1.49/lb

So far, I am really liking this, and keep thinking of new breakfast foods to try.  This morning we made old-fashioned rice porridge, with brown rice that we had milled at the “coarse” setting and soaked overnight in yogurt.  We’ve also tried buckwheat pancakes, and have a couple loaves of bread under our belt (literally).

What do you think?  Is this about food snobbery and nutrition, or can I claim newfound eco-credentials with this new development?

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3 thoughts on “Milling your own flour

  1. I’m with you on this one 🙂 Your bread looks good here. It looks like you made your bread in a bread maker (that’s what I’ve been doing lately too); what’s your (Nourishing Traditions-recommended) technique for your freshly milled whole grain bread machine flour? I’m currently working on mine but I’d love to learn from someone who’s a few steps ahead of me!

    • Hi there. I believe at the point when I wrote this, we were still using our bread machine and hadn’t really developed an NT bread method that worked well. Here’s our whole wheat bread machine bread recipe:

      https://newhomeeconomics.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/bread/

      Not long ago, we got rid of our bread machine altogether and we pretty much exclusively use the no-knead methods that I outlined in more recent posts.

      It’s just so much easier to adapt recipes the no-knead way. If you get the “Healthy bread in 5 minutes a day” book then this is all you have to adjust in the recipes to make them more NT-friendly:
      1) reduce commercial yeast to approx. 1/2-3/4 teaspoon
      2) add 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice or whey
      3) dramatically increase initial rise time — like overnight so you can bake in the morning, or all day long, so you can bake in the evening

      I don’t know that this method would be 100% Sally Fallon-approved, but it at least works in that direction.

      I guess if you started your doughs outside of the breadmaker and just used it to bake, the no-knead recipes would work. Good luck!

      • When I got the bread machine I had wanted to just use it for baking, but on this one there is no “just bake” option–it has to go through the whole cycle. So I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate soaking the flour with the bread machine process, so far with little luck. I keep getting really short loaves!

        I’m going to keep working on it though, at least until the fall when I will go back to using the oven for baking.

        I will definitely check out “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day”–thanks for the recommendation!

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