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How to Grind Flour on the Cheap

I have decided that the whole world needs to start grinding their own flour.  For some obscure reason I have determined to convert all of you into wheat berry pulverizing advocates.

WHY WHY WHY?

If you have not yet heard all the glorious benefits of fresh milled flour go here to read all about it.  It’s not just a gimic.  It’s not a fad.  It’s real.  I started grinding my flour in 2004.  I still use fresh milled flour almost every day.  That’s a long time…  and I still love it.

The bread, pasta, buns, rolls, pitas, and bags of flour sold at the supermarket are void of most nutrients.  The mills have taken out nearly 40 vitamins & “enriched” the bread with 4.  So sad.  Most store-bought, baked goods are junk food.  They are not giving you life & could be harming your health…. big time (depending on brand & ingredients).

Fresh-milled flour is a superfood.

Here are a few words from Sue Becker.  She has been studying and teaching about the benefits of whole foods, particularly whole wheat, ground in your own kitchen, for over 20 years.

  • “Whole grains are the most nutrient dense food we have been given.
  • Real whole grain flour spoils quickly.
  • Only when whole grains are freshly milled do they contain all their life-giving nutrients.
  • Prior to the 1900 most bread baked in this country was made at home from freshly milled flour.
  •  100 years ago, America was the healthiest country in the world.
  • 100 years ago, our ancestors, ate a diet consisting mostly of whole grains and real fruits and vegetables.
  • 100 years ago, Americans did not suffer from the cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity like we do today.
  • The common diseases that plague most of us are directly related to our consumption of commercially milled flour and processed grain products – even products labeled whole grain.”

Source

When you grind your own flour – fresh you are eating the ENTIRE wheat kernel as God made it.

There are 3 parts to a wheat berry:

  1. BRAN:  The first part of the wheat berry is the bran, which is the hard outside where a lot of the fiber and nutrients are.
  2. GERM:  The second part is the germ. This is the oily part, filled with vitamins, proteins, and minerals.
  3. ENDOSPERM:  The third part is the endosperm, a large part of the berry and where most of the starch is. This is what most of the flours from the super markets are made out of.

In order to get the life-giving, healing, restorative benefits from wheat – it must be:

  1. All 3 parts of the wheat berry – (bran, germ & endosperm), unaltered, unseparated, unprocessed.
  2. Freshly ground – fresh wheat begins to lose its nutritional content immediately after it is ground into flour.  This is why the wheat sold at the supermarkets are inherently flawed and lacking.
  3. Baked or frozen immediately (or really soon) – If kept at room temperature and exposed to room conditions – fresh milled flour loses most of its nutrients in 72 hours after it has been ground (Source). To protect the value of the flour, you must bake it into something fabulous as soon as you grind it.  If you have some flour left over you may store it in the freezer in an air tight container.  Freezing slows down the oxidation process.   Once the flour is baked the nutritious goodness (bread, buns, rolls, tortillas, pizza crust, pitas, etc) all the nutrients are safely contained.  You can even freeze your home-baked goods for future meals without the danger of losing nutritional value.

I realize that in order to transform a wheat berry (which is more like a hard kernel) into fluffy flour you need 2 critical things.

  1. Some powerful (usually expensive) equipment.
  2. Wheat Berries

So, for a week now I have been trying to figure out a way this can be done without spending $200.

Let’s cover the wheat grinding delima first…

Problem #1 Grain Mill

What I have learned is that $200 is actually a great deal.

Ugh.

My Nutrimill is, perhaps, the best on the market & one of the cheaper models.  Good grief.

Can’t a person grind some flour without spending 200 bucks?

Just to give you my 2 cents on the NutriMill – I’ve owned one since 2004.  It will produce fluffy, very fine flour for baking.  It’s simple to use.  It’s self-cleaning (the motor).  It’s huge – so it can grind 10 cups of berries in no time flat.

In my detective work to find another a cheaper option I have learned quite a bit about unique ways to mill wheat berries in your kitchen.  People are grinding wheat with all sorts of equipment.  Some are terrible and others are worse.  I’ll tell you everything & let you be the judge.

ONE

You can get a grain mill attachment for a Kitchen Aid (if you have a Kitchen Aid) but you can’t do this to every model – you need the professional model or you could burn up your motor.  This is still not an affordable option, since the grinding attachment runs $159.  Considering that I grind 30-40 cups of wheat berries each week I don’t know if I would want to put this kind of stress on an appliance that was meant for mixing cake batter.

TWO

Photo credit: BestEquip

There are lots of grain mills for sale to service folks who are brewing their own suds.  These are more affordable than the mills sold for “flour producing.”  This makes me think that these models are not going to give you the light, fine, fluffy flour you want for breads & baking.  I would guess that the product (ground up) coming out of the chute will be coarse & grainy….. not what you want for baking.  I know nothing about these brewery-related, grain mills, so I could be wrong.

THREE

You can spend WAAAAAY more than $219 if you want.  This guy is $299:

Photo credit: NutriMill

He is made by NutriMill and would look fabulous sitting on my kitchen counter every day of my life.  It would also make a great conversation piece next time I have a party.

If you thought $299 was a lot – check out this guy:

Photo credit: KoMo Classic Grain Mill

This is the Komo Classic Grain mill.  It is $499.  Komo has several models that go up from here.  They have a Mac-Daddy version that sells for over $1000.  Wow!

FOUR

There are some rockin’ blenders on this planet that are (sometimes) being used to crush grains.  Seems odd to me, but apparently, it happens.  What I have found (through research, not experience) is that although your blender may be able to bust hard wheat kernels into flour, it is not what the appliance was intended to do on a regular basis.  Eventually, crushing wheat berries will take its toll on a machine that was designed to make strawberry smoothies.

FIVE

Food processors won’t work either.  It can grind wheat berries to a certain extent, but will leave you with a very coarse grain and may die in the process.  Your food processor is in your life to chop carrots and onions, not to grind rock-hard grains, after all.

SIX

If you absolutely, can’t, won’t or just are having trouble justifying the cost of a Mill, it seems that if you have an old burr, coffee grinder lying around it may work…. for a bit.  Using a burr coffee grinder to grind wheat berries will probably kill the motor (eventually), but could do the job in a pinch.  Coffee beans are not nearly as hard as wheat berries.

This would also be time-consuming, since you’ll be grinding a cup of grain at a time (I can grind over 10 cups at once with my NutriMill).  The coffee grinder may be a cheap way to get your feet wet in the grinding, bread-making world.  You can try it for a few weeks & if you decide you really like the fresh milled goodness, you can invest in a mill when you are ready.

SEVEN – Eureka!

If I wanted to grind some flour for a few weeks & didn’t want to invest the $219 on the Nutrimill yet (Yes, you should get the NutriMill)  I’d get this one:

Photo credit: Victorio

This is a Hand Operated Grain Mill by VICTORIO.  It’s a manual operated number.  This means that you provide the power.  I suppose you could let your kids take turns turning the crank until you have enough flour for a batch of bread.  It’s only $52 bucks right now and there may be free shipping available.

The problems:

  1. You will crank for 2 minutes to get 1 cup of flour
  2. You will have flour all over your kitchen

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

After digesting all of this information, I feel that the best option is still the NutriMill. 

I know I keep coming back to this.  It’s just so wonderful.  You don’t have to crank.  You won’t have flour all over your kitchen.  Your mill will grind 10 cups of flour in minutes while you do something else.  You only have to feed the flour through the hopper once.  You’ll get super fine flour perfectly suited for all your favorite baked goods.

If the $219 is too steep for your budget, I’d check Ebay or Craigslist for a previously owned model.  I own a pawnshop, so I live in the world of used everything.  I have no problems obtaining things second-hand.

I use my NutriMill ALL THE TIME.  This is an appliance I could not live without.  If mine died today I’d buy another one tomorrow (well, I’d actually call in the warranty first).  It gives me nutrition, health & life.  40 vitamins & minerals, guys!  Fresh milled wheat is a superfood.  The health benefits are astounding.

FRESH MILLED WHEAT BERRIES CONTAIN 40 OF THE 44 ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS (THAT COME FROM FOOD) NEEDED TO SUSTAIN LIFE.

It is so good.  If my kids decide to be picky eaters & don’t want to eat their kale, turnips or spinach – I don’t worry about their health…. if they eat the bread (which is delicious, by the way) they are consuming just about everything they need.  Amazing.

Now that we’ve beaten the grain mill topic to death, let’s tackle the subject of wheat berries.

Problem #2:  Wheat Berries

Now that we have the mills evaluated, let’s get you guys some berries to grind!   Again, I have spent my days and nights researching & have a report for you.  Thankfully, this one can be solved fairly easily.

VERY IMPORTANT:  If you want to bake yeast bread you must get HARD wheat.  It can be hard red, hard white, or hard spring.  It doesn’t matter – but it must be HARD wheat.  If you want to make a loaf or buns or anything you want to be light and rise – hard wheat is a must.  Soft won’t work.  If you want details – you’ll have to wait.  That blog is in the works & coming soon.  🙂

Soft wheat is for making quick breads (cakes, pumpkin bread, pancakes, pie crusts, scones, etc).  It is delicate and beautiful & will be perfect for that apple tart.

For all yeast breads you must use hard wheat.

Where can you buy wheat berries?

I am sooooooooo happy to tell you that you have some great options!  You can probably have some whole wheat berries in your possession today if you really want.  🙂

Option #1:  Find a co-op near you – (like someone selling for: Something Better Natural Foods)

This is what I use.  I am a distributor for SBNF.  Check google for a food co-op near you.  This is a great way to buy organic wheat berries.  You’ll pay waaaaay less per pound than retail.

Option #2:  Retail Store Near you

Believe it or not, Walmart has whole wheat berries.  They may even have them on the shelf at your store.  Don’t believe me?  Check this out:  20lbs of wheat berries for $33.99

They also have 26lbs for $16.99.  It’s not organic, but I wanted to let you know that whole grains aren’t as far away as you may think.  Shipping is free if you pick up at WalMart.

Again, expensive.  usually over a dollar a pound, but convenient and there aren’t any shipping charges if you drive yourself there.

Option #3:  USA Grown 10 Lb Wheat Pack

This is, by far, the most expensive way to get wheat berries.  It is $22 (for 10 pounds of berries) and the delivery is free.  If you don’t want to leave your house and have lots of money this would work.  If the shipping wasn’t free I’d be throwing a fit.  The price is steep, but wheat is heavy & expensive to ship, so I get it.

I hope this has been helpful.  I know there are probably some of you who have great ideas I haven’t even thought of.  Please share in the comments below.

As most of you know by now, I am on my second round of The Homesteaders Food Challenge.  This is a self-made challenge (by yours truly) to try to eat only foods I obtain from my own hands.  I survived 101 days last summer eating only foods from my hands.  I am on a winter edition now.

Grinding my own flour has been key in surviving these challenges.  It is a nutrient dense food that provides life for me and my family (6 of us) even when we don’t have a garden.  If any of you has an interest in prepping or you may just get tickled by the idea of having a couple of years worth of food in your basement – wheat berries is a great solution.  I have a few hundred pounds of wheat in my house now.  I have my NutriMill (electric mill) and a hand crank model.  With these simple things & a hot stove (electric or wood) our family could live for years without going to a store.

Cool eh?

Let me know if you guys have any questions or more helpful hints to share!!

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XO,

Candi

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