Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Grinding grain - Family Grain Mill

Hubby and I have been discussing buying a grain mill for years.  They are relatively expensive and finding one that works effectively with the Kitchenaid stand mixer took some research.  

Well, hubby found one.  It not only works with the Kitchenaid but it also comes with a manual hand crank.  I think I'll try that the next time the power goes out and I need to bake bread on the hearth - when I get a hearth.

From a survival point of view, stored properly, wheat berries can last almost indefinitely. And, from a nutrition standpoint, fresh ground grain is beyond superior when compared to the ultra-processed, chemically treated flour available in grocery stores.  

It is most definitely better for you than that soft, white squishy bread that commercial bakeries crank out.  Don't get me wrong, I love soft, white squishy bread as much as the next person.  But it is most certainly lacking in many areas.

When it comes down to it, it's really not all that difficult to make bread from scratch.  I don't need to point out that it takes longer to make bread when you add in the additional time it takes to grind the grain.  I figure it took 20-30 minutes to grind enough grain to make 2 loaves of bread.  That's because to get a fine enough texture it has to go through the mill at least twice.  That's about six cups of flour.  Other more expensive grain mills might not need two passes.

Admittedly, you don't get the same texture and flavor (or lack thereof) of commercially baked bread.  However, it's amazing how differently fresh ground grain tastes; there's substance to it.  A realness.  You can actually taste the grain.  

What we ended up with is a Family Grain Mill. What I like best about this mill is how easy it is to set up and use.  And how very quickly it can go from stand mixer set up to manual set up - literally seconds.

Besides the wheat berries, I also experimented with grinding rye flakes that I had my pantry.  And the results were quite good.  And, the flakes only needed to go through the mill once to get a find enough grind to make bread.  I could just as easily use old fashioned oats and grind it up to make a lovely loaf of oat bread.  The possibilities seem endless - and delicious.

It's strong and durable, as well.  I can grind most grains and legumes -  wheat, oats, corn (not popcorn), rye,  barley, rice, most beans, and other stuff.  It specifically says it will grind anything as long as it is not as hard as a stone (like popcorn).  

Conceivably, you could actually grind coffee and herbs and dried fruits/vegetables, if you like.  Imagine making potato or nut flour. This is something worth experimenting with.

One thing that is important to note - finding recipes that call for 100% ground wheat are hard to find.  Most recipes call for "regular" flour with only a portion of ground wheat.  There's a recipe on this blog - click here - that is supposed to be good.  I will try it and blog it at a later time.

I'm also going to look into recipes for baking cakes and cookies using whole wheat.  It will be interesting to see how those come out.  Stay tuned for my own creations made from fresh ground grain and other stuff.  

Link to Amish Bread made with fresh ground flour

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