Mill your own flour. Yes, it’s easy. A few years ago, ok about six or seven already, I began milling my own flour. At the time, there was a group here in Williamsburg, VA called InJoyWhole Foods. It’s no longer operational but their half-day seminar about home flour milling all those years ago has stayed with me. Why do I home mill? Because home flour milling is healthy, easy, and on par economical– the trifecta for us here at food process.
Maybe you’ve already read all about the spoils in processed flour. If not, here’s a depressing read about the dangers of processed white sugar and flour on the processedfreeamerica.org site. The great news is that you can mill your own with very little inconvenience (in fact it can be very convenient once you own your own mill) and you can rest assured you’re getting all that the wheat berry has to offer. Read about the details here, here, and here. Or, just google “benefits of milling your own flour” for more than 100,000 links about it.
For now, here’s a quick take home on the trifecta.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HOME MILLING A wheat berry actually has three layers, bran (rough outer layer that works to remove toxins from your system), germ (healthy grain center rich in vitamins, fat, and protein), and endosperm (white starchy useless center, and what is used to make most processed flour goods). The reason processed flour goods only rely on endosperm is because the content rich bran and germ only keep for a short period, so they are removed from the process.
EASE OF HOME MILLING Once you own a home mill (see below for details) and have wheat berry in stock, you can mill as much as you you need, whenever you need. It is quick, too. Typically, 1 cup of wheat berries yields 1.5 cups of milled flour.
ECONOMY OF HOME MILLING If 1 lb of wheat berries is two cups (or 3 cups of flour), and a 25lb bag of wheat berry costs $40, that’s $1.60/lb of wheat berry or per 3 cups of flour. A 5lb bag of King Author’s flour has about 20 cups of flour and costs around $6.00. BUT REMEMBER that it isn’t really whole wheat because the bran and germ go rancid after a few days so they’ve been removed. It is just more expensive processed flour. The economy in home milling is found in only milling what you need, thereby making your wheat last longer. Flour, in and of itself, is relatively inexpensive. But yes, compared to standard bleached white flour, milling your own can be more expensive. We also need to consider the cost of the mill.
Home flour milling is definitely in keeping with the adage everything old is new again. Living in Williamsburg, VA, I had the chance to visit a working mill, one that was in use hundreds of years ago and is being restored so it may be used again. It’s so cool to see how wind can be used to achieve goals like corn and flour milling or water movement.With electricity now used in the place of wind power, the end result is the same: the grinding of wheat berry into usable form.
Read about Colonial Williamsburg’s wonderful mill, now housed at the Great Hope Plantation on the CW site here and in the Daily Press here (check out the slideshow on the Daily Press link). Here’s some pics from my visit. Luckily, Steve Chabra, the CW carpenter that has been working on restoring the mill for several years, was there to show us around.
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Back to home milling. To mill your own flour you need TWO THINGS:
TOP ROW: the WonderMill, primary WonderMill components, milling lid attached to bin MIDDLE ROW: storage bin attached mill, select desired coarseness, wheat berry in mill BOTTOM ROW: un-attach bin, remove milling lid, see freshly milled flour!
I use the WonderMill. This and the NutriMill seem to be the strongholds in the market. I’ve only ever used the WonderMill so can’t give a review of NutriMill but they seem to work similarly. Both have basic models like the one I use currently priced at $219.00. Use, clean-up, and storage is simple.
To prepare for milling, remove grey storage lid from the tub, attach the cylinder to the inside of the milling lid (which should have the round black sponge neatly nested inside the center disc space), and affix assembled milling lid on top of the tub (it will snap into place just like the storage lid). Insert the grey hose protruding from the milling lid into the tunnel of the mill main body, male to female. There is no click or cue that these two are attached, it is just a clean fit.
To mill, turn on the mill BEFORE ADDING WHEAT BERRIES, then add wheat berries into the top bin of the mill. That’s it!! I typically mill 8 cups of wheat berries at a time, which just about fills the storage tub with freshly milled flour. Remove the milling lid and replace with storage lid. Use as much as you can immediately. Store remainder in freezer for up to one month.
(2) WHEAT BERRIES
There are lots of types of wheat berries that you can purchase, and bulk will yield the best price. Wheat Montana is a great brand and can be purchased off Amazon. A 25lb bag should cost around $40.00 and could last six months if you only use flour sometimes. Making two loaves of bread, granola cereal, and cookies each week, it will get you through one or two months.
Store your wheat berries in an airtight container. I use a 5 gallon bucket with snapping lid. You can keep them in their paper bag if you can ensure critters and excessive air will not dry or contaminate them, but it will not last so long so I highly recommend bucket storage. Here’s an interesting forum on wheat berry storage.
Email me and let me know how your milling is going. Until then, smile and enjoy the Spring (even if it will not stop raining).
foodprocess.org: forget processed food, get a food process