How to Grind Whole Wheat Flour At Home
How to Grind Flour, Step by Step
It's easy to grind flour and with an electric grinder (or flour mill) it only takes a few minutes. Here's how to do it. Remember that some manufacturer's will have different instructions and you should always follow the instructions for your particular appliance.
- Some people rinse their grains before grinding because they feel that the "dust" imparts a bitter flavor to the flour. I don't do this and have never had a problem. If you DO want to rinse the grains do so in a colander, drain them very well and pat dry. Allow them to air dry completely before grinding.
- Pick through and remove any small pebbles or debris.
- Measure out the amount of grain you need. You'll get better at estimating as you gain experience.
- Decide on how coarse or fine you want your flour to be.
- Set the grinder to the proper setting.
- Make sure that your grinder is set up with the proper filters and any other fittings that the manufacturer suggests.
- Turn the grinder on and begin slowly pouring the grains into the grinder. Use a scoop to keep them from pour everywhere.
- The grains can occasionally pop out of the grinding thing. Keep your face away from the hopper (the part that the grains go in to be ground).
- When the last grain has gone through turn the grinder off.
- Let it completely stop and then remove the top and use the wheat as you normally would.
- Only grind what you need for the day.
Once you have used a wheat grinder and tasted the goodness of freshly ground wheat flour you should expect to be spoiled for life! It is very hard to go back to eating store bought, or commercially milled breads and flours after you have experienced grinding your own.
A good grinder will grind a variety of different grains and allow you to change the settings to get as fine or as coarse a grind as you want.
Why Grind Your Own Flour?
With everything else that you have to do in a day, why would you want or need to take the time to grind flour?
Whole wheat is a nutritious food but the vitamins and minerals dissipate quickly once the wheat has been ground into flour. In fact within the first 24 hours the flour has lost 45% of it's nutrients and by the time 72 hours have passed the ground flour may have lost a whopping 90% of its natural nutrients! That is 90% of the nutritional value of this wholesome grain that does not make it in to your family's bodies.
Is it any wonder Americans have to take nutritional supplements?
The taste of freshly ground flour is another reason to grind your own. Once you realize that the nutrition is so quickly lost you will understand that a comparable amount of the taste of the fresh grains must be lost as well.
Freshly ground wheat is delicious and nutritious.
The Structure of Whole Wheat Kernels
The whole wheat kernel or wheat berry is made up of three distinct parts, all of which contribute to the high quality nutritional value of the wheat. Wheat berries have high amounts of vitamins A, E and B which stay stable for long periods of time as long as the wheat kernel is intact. Wheat berries that have been found in the tombs of the pharaohs in Egypt were examined and found to still contain the full range of 26 vitamins and minerals - over 2000 years after it had been harvested!
The outside of the kernel is called the bran. Bran is good for the fiber that the body needs as well as helping to regulate cholesterol. It helps to detoxify the body which is an important function in our society where toxins assault us from every angle.
The wheat germ is the part of the kernel that sprouts. It holds the life of the wheat, the ability to produce plants like itself. It has the highest density of vitamins B and E in the wheat. This is where wheat germ oil is found, a healthy oil that helps the body absorb vitamins that are not water soluble.
Finally, the endosperm is the part of the wheat berry that holds the starch. This is the only part left in white flour. It is nothing more than the starch which breaks down into sugar in the body. It is meant as a food source for the plant as it grows giving it energy and nutrition before the leaves come out and photosynthesis begins.
Types of Grinders
There are many types of wheat grinders that can be used, both electric powered and hand cranked. The price ranges vary widely; it is important to understand what the differences are and to get the best grain mill that you can afford on your budget.
Hand grinders come in a variety of sizes and are powered by a human arm. There is a hopper where the grains are poured. From there they are fed into the burrs as you turn the handle. This is a slow way to grind flour but it is always available whether the electricity goes out or the whole power grid goes down. No matter what happens you will still be able to mill flour.
There are a variety of electric grinders on the market. Most of the time they sound like an airliner taking off. Most of the flour grinders are very loud but they get the job done fast.
You can grind enough wheat for up to 6 loaves of bread in about 10 minutes or less when you use an electric grinder. They also tend to be long lasting. My first grinder lasted over 10 years, grinding nearly 100 lbs of flour a month during that time.
1.The flour must be ground at cool temperatures. With some mills during the grinding process the flour can heat up giving it a rancid taste. The vitamix is one that, in my opinion, heats the grain up too much to be a good flour grinder.
2.Once it is ground do keep it in a dark place at a cool temperature until you are ready to use it in your recipes. This will ensure the freshest taste and the most nutrition.
3. Try not to grind more than you will need for a day. Remember the longer it has been ground the more nutrition it loses.
4. Expect to pay about 300.00 for a good grinder.
5. There are other things that you can grind with a mill. Certain beans, rye, oats, and many other beans and grains make it possible for you to have a wide variety of nutritional flours available at a moment's notice.
Great Grinders, MIlls, and Accessories
Some Grinders To Consider:
There are hundreds of flour mills and thousands of places to buy them. Here are some of the best, and most interesting of the mills I have seen on the Internet.
1.KoMo Fidibus Classic - Made of organic wood treated with organic oils, this grinder is beautiful. The noise level is 70dcb, and it uses 360 watts of power.
2.Nutrimill- Allows you to grind up to 20 cups of flour at once. Has the greatest range of grinds, from very fine to coarse. Comes with a lifetime warranty.
3. The K-Tec Kitchen Mill- This is what I have (in the picture above). I had the first one for well over 10 years and am very happy with the quality of the machine as well as the flour. According to the site it grinds one and a half pounds of flour a minute. This mill is VERY loud.
4. The Wonder Mill- Used to be called the Whisper Mill. It is supposedly very quiet.
5. Blend-tec is one of the most inexpensive mills, however it is limited in its' ability to grind many textures of flour.
Some Things to Consider About Wheat
When you have bought your mill take the time to learn about wheat. Hard red wheat is used for bread and bread products. It has more protein and is less delicate than the soft wheat used for pastry making. There is also a type of wheat known as Montana White. This wheat has a more delicate flavor and texture and is lighter in color than red wheat.
As you become more proficient in your flour grinding and bread baking experiment with many types of flours. It is one of the benefits of grinding your own.
Questions About Flour Losing Nutrition
There have been a few comments questioning whether or not flour really does lose nutrition within 72 hours. Generally I don't respond to comments like that because I have found that often no matter what I respond with will be rebutted.
Wheat germ is the part of the wheat berry or kernel that holds the majority of the nutrition. The oils in wheat germ decline rapidly when introduced to air (as in grinding). This is why raw wheat germ must be kept refrigerated. Whole wheat flour is made up of the starch, the germ, and the bran. It stands to reason that the flour would quickly lose nutrients once ground since the germ is not stable at room temperature. However...scientifically I admit I cannot prove that month old flour is less nutritious than hour old flour.
Personally, I prefer my way. To each his own. Some references are: