How to Mill Flour at Home
My mother was a busy single working mom, so every trip to the grocery store we were carted along. I didn’t particularly love the long trips because my mom had borningly planned out everything she was going to need that week or two and my job was to read the list out loud to her. Rarely was I allowed some deviation from the pre-decided items. However, years later I must admit I was learning useful skills at that time, like weekly meal planning, the importance of a list and how to stay in budget while cooking for a family.
There was one weekly shopping trip I was always excited about though, the trip to the bread store. Never had I ever been to a place more magical than a store entirely dedicated to bread. The moment you opened the door the smell of bread enveloped you and you were transported into another world. There was every shape, flavor and texture you could dream of from fluffy white, to honey whole wheat, and even seeded rhy. The best part of the store were the back rows dedicated to dessert breads. I walked passed donuts, danishes, muffins and more taking in every swirl and style. I was amazed at all the things bread could do. From this store we were always allowed to pick one bread snack, I almost always choose raspberry danish swirls with glaze or blueberry muffins.
The smell of bread is something we can all associate with, probably now you are already thinking about it. Perhaps you even sighed at the delight of your own memory. Bread is one of the first things humans were making and fermentation, it’s predecessors a bread like drink are tied to the formation of civilization itself. So while it would be a stretch to say we can’t live without bread, I do think it has played a critical role in our history.
As I talked about last week, I strive to live a lifestyle free of processed foods. Sometimes people interpret this to mean a raw foods vegan diet, but that isn’t truly the case. Learning to eat processed free for me came to mean homemade. I eat any food that can be made at home, this may be food that requires a process but if things that can be done with a few tools I consider it home-makable and within my process free definition. Products I consider low process are things that require more tools and time that maybe a bit specialized. So while making oil and sugars at home is possible, it’s honestly best left to the person specializing in that. So low processed foods I buy consciously from providers I can political agree with, and try to limit their use as much as possible.
From all my experimentation, I came to find that flour is the easiest thing to make at home. In fact if like me you are buying local and organic grains, home grinding maybe the best option for eating your product fresh. You will also feel like a superhero using your own milled grains.
My diet is plant-based and I am obsessed with balancing my nutrition, for some people that means removing flour. I agree only in part, because if we look at bleached white flour it has very little nutritional benefit and I avoid it. However, wheat is a plant, a grain to be exact and eating the whole grain is actually quite healthy. Before we began large scale farming, it was an original source of protein, 100 g of whole wheat boost 13 g of it. Moreover, it contains fiber, and other minerals like magnesium, phosphate, copper and floate.
There are admittedly a few problem though, Some people are allergic to gluten, and I respect that but mostly I suggest all other people return to ancient, organic grains, grown in or near their region. Other people get stuck on the carbs part, yes, bread is a big carb load. Firstly remember whole grains supply fiber as well, so it’s a better balance that white bread. Furthermore, everything in moderation right? I suggest you limit your quantities to homemade sourdough bread or only occasional meals instead of daily use. If you are smart about it you will find you don’t overeat on those carbs.
You can mill any flour with the process I will describe. Wheat flour, Durum or Einkorn are the most common, but if you enjoy teff or spelt or something else grows better in your region, use what you have. I use a Durum wheat grown organically here in Mexico
Mill Types: Electric or Hand-Crank
The best is an electronic mill, but I have to admit I have never owned or used one.
I live a life of simplicity and manual labor.
If you have or buy an electronic mill you will fill the top.
Press a button or turn a knob, and your grain will come out of the bottom, just remember to catch it in a bowl.
If you use a manual crank you will first want to ancor it well to the table.
I’ve had it move around too much and I’ve learned to use a pair of pliers here really helps.
Make sure the plates are tighten all the way down or else you will get cracked wheat instead of ground flour.
If you start and find you need to move the plates, stop and do so. You can regrind what you already worked on.
Make sure you find a good bowl or tray to catch your flour in.
Because my mill sits low to the table, I use a casserole dish to catch my flour.
That’s it, it’s that easy.
Fresh ground whole wheat is great in most all recipes, but every once in a while I need a lighter cake or bread blend. I simply filter my flour through a fine mesh colander and save the wheat bran (you can see it in the front bowl in the picture) for granola, soup or a heavy seed bread.