Grinding Wheat

by GettingFreedom on August 19, 2009

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a wheat grinder for many months now. The price of one had really turned me off from buying one, although the benefits are many. My birthday was in early July, and my husband kept hinting at buying me one. While I really, really wanted it–I didn’t think it was quite the time since I hadn’t been able to save up the full amount, yet.

But–he insisted. This is where I tell you that he is very hard to convert to the frugal wagon. Very. I know that I don’t mention it a lot here, but seriously, converting him to frugal-ism isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. He sees the benefits, and he is pretty good, but he still wants what he wants, when he wants it. Which is exactly why not all of our snowball has been going to our debt in recent months. But, we move on….

He really did have a reason, though, on buying the grinder now. A local farmer, and good friend and co-worker of my husband, grows organic, spelt wheat. He offered us as much of it as we wanted…FREE OF CHARGE! Y’all that is huge! We just needed the grinder to make good use of it. Currently we have not one, but two (!) 55 gallon barrels of spelt stored (with oxygen absorbers so we don’t get icky bugs. Although, that is just added protein.. ;) ) patiently waiting to be ground into flour.

So, for a little over a month now, my family and I have been enjoying free, freshly ground spelt wheat. It is delicious and oh so good for you!! The only issue that I have encountered is that my bread isn’t as “pretty” and one time there was a big hole all through the center. Anyone know what caused that??? I did find an awesome spelt dinner roll recipe that I used to make a loaf a of bread again as bread bowls. So delicious!

I use a NutriMill Grain Mill, basically because it has a bigger capacity than the VitalMill (it’s little brother) and the WonderMill. Ususally when I am making my goods, it is all in one day, so I just grind a huge batch and get it over with since the machine is rather large and noisy (it sounds like a vacuum cleaner–maybe a smidgen louder).

Here are some thing to keep in mind:

  • Only grind as much flour as you can use. While you can go ahead and grind enough for a few weeks use–once ground, the flour loses about 45% of it’s nutrients in the first 24 hours!! Can you imagine what they put in store bought flour to maintain nutrients?? Or how lacking it really is?? While placing the flour in a freezer will slow the process, freshly ground flour is still the best! Why go through the whole process and still end up with an inferior product??
  • Keep this in mind: 1 cup of berries= about 1 ½ cups of flour. This depends a lot on how fine you grind your flour. I’ve been able to get about 2 cups of flour to 1 cup of berries–it was a very fine flour and took quite a while to grind. But, for everyday baking, this should be right about your ratio.
  • Packed with Nutrients! Whole wheat flour (especially spelt) is packed with protein, amongst other nutrients, which is very good for you
  • You are not limited to just grinding wheat. With most mills you are able to grind beans, rice, barley, as well as wheat berries. This opens up a whole new field of baking! A lot of these specialty flours are very expensive, but you can buy the “whole product” much cheaper.
  • Expect to pay about $250. While this may sound like a lot (trust me–I thought so, too!) , it is worth it. Flavor alone is enough for me to recommend grinding your own wheat. While it may not end up being cheaper in the long run for most (I think it comes out about even, maybe just a tad cheaper), the nutritional benefits are far greater. Nutrition combined with better taste, and knowing exactly what is in your food is as good a case as any.
  • Peace of Mind. Quite frankly–I don’t know what the future holds. Now I know that if times get really tough, we will have bread products. There is no need to worry about flour products in my minimal grocery budget anymore. While I know that it may be impossible for some to store 110 gallons of wheat (or over 300 pounds!)-some is better than none. You just don’t know.

Do you grind your own flour?? Have any tips/tricks and recipes to share?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

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