Thursday, January 10, 2013

Grinding Wheat and Other Grains

If you have looked through my recipes, you will notice that in many of them I recommend using "freshly ground whole wheat flour" or at least "whole wheat flour".  If you have never considered grinding your own wheat, here are some things you should consider before you either consider or discount grinding your own flours (and beans).


Let’s talk grains and flours

Why should I mill my own flour?  Here are the top reasons people switch from buying pre-milled flour to milling their own grain berries at home:  1) Grain berries contain the greatest nutritional value that the grain can provide – the germ, the bran, and all the natural oils.  2) Grain berries are the best way to store grain long term because of the natural oil and enzyme breakdown that starts to happen the instant grain is milled.  3)  Grain berries encapsulate the perfect enzymes needed for the human body to adequately process the gluten in the grain.

What type of grain should I use when baking bread?  When baking yeast breads, hard wheat is the grain that must be used because of the higher protein content in the wheat compared to that of other grains. Whether you use white hard wheat or red hard wheat that is up to you - they have the same nutritional value.  I use the white hard wheat because it has a more mellow taste and is more widely accepted by my family.   Additionally, if you are making yeasted bread with lower gluten flour, like rye, then you then need to either add more protein to the recipe or more yeast. Any good bread recipe will compensate for these needs for you.

What about gluten flour?  I find it best to use 1/8 cup of gluten flour per loaf of bread in my recipes.  The gluten just seems to add that extra “oomph” to make the loaves rise to that perfect fluffy state that my family loves.



Mills

What type of mill would best suit my needs?  That is a question I can’t answer for you because each mill has wonderful advantages based upon how you plan to use it, how often you plan on using it, what size of batches you will need it to process, what price range is comfortable for you, how much noise you are willing to tolerate, and if you desire an electric model, manual model, or attachment model.

Here are some websites that will help you compare mills and make the best choice:      


Grain Mill Comparison 1
Grain Mill Comparison 2          
Grain Mill Comparison 3
Grain Mill Comparison 4
Grain Mill Comparison 5              
Grain Mill Comparison 6

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