I felt prepared to advance my sourdough bread baking abilities after spending some time perfecting them. I made the decision to begin making my own flour! But of course, this required learning a whole new set of abilities, information, and experience, as with anything in bread production. What I discovered is listed below…
To start, is it possible to mill your own flour at home, and if so, why would you want to? Whole wheat grain kernels, also known as wheat berries, can be used to make your own flour at home using a home grain milling machine or other techniques from the kitchen. Using freshly milled flour has the advantage of having more nutrients and better flavor.
It takes some getting used to using freshly milled flour, whether you buy it or mill it yourself at home. Before going on the trip, it’s crucial to understand how to use freshly milled flour because it doesn’t behave exactly the same way as store-bought flour.
- Why you should mill your own flour and when you shouldn’t
- What you require (and alternative uses for what you don’t have!)
- How to make home-made flour
- Factors to consider before use freshly milled flour
How is flour made from grain?
The wheat berry is taken, the bran or outer shell is removed, and the seed is ground until it resembles flour. Refined or white flour is the name for this kind of flour. The whole wheat berry, including the bran and seed, is ground to create whole wheat flour.
What types of grains are used to manufacture flour?
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You already know the flavor advantages of using more (or all) of the wheat berry if you’ve switched from refined white flour to whole grain flour in your homemade breads. When one decides to bake whole grain bread, they typically start looking for freshly milled flours to best preserve the transient scent and flavor of the grains. And while there are a ton of amazing small-scale millers selling unique and tasty flours today, the fresh-flour enthusiast also has the option of milling their own flour.
If you mill your own flour, you have access to a number of options that a baker who is used to dealing with commercially milled flours would not have:
It optimizes storage, first. With a mill, you can make fresh flour anytime you need it, and the raw materials take up much less space than flours created from them because wheat berries are small and store well for a long time. (One cup of wheat berries makes almost two cups of flour; it’s like tripling the amount of room in your pantry.)
Two: diversity Generic whole wheat flour is typically available in two or three brands at your local grocery. The many types of wheat that are available, each with its own distinct flavor, appearance, and baking performance profile, can be ground into flour if you have a mill. Also, mills aren’t just for grinding wheat. Almost any other grain, including rye, oats, spelt, quinoa, millet, etc., can be processed to create flour in a mill. (Not to mention grains, legumes, seeds, and even dry herbs.) Owning your own mill provides a wealth of innovative alternatives for bread baking and other uses.
But flavor is the main justification for owning a mill. Whole grain flours are extremely perishable because they contain the germ and its oils, which are prone to rancidity. If you have your own mill, you can quickly prepare a dough to preserve as much of the grain’s flavor as possible. When I spoke to numerous home bakers who already mill their own flour, each one described the striking contrast in flavor and aroma they experienced when they switched from using commercial flour to just-ground grains. They used words like complex, nutty, wheaty, and nuanced to describe the flavor and aroma.
Make Freshly Milled Flour At Home With Nothing But A Coffee Grinder
Comparing freshly ground flour to store-bought flours that may have been milled weeks ago, freshly ground flour produces great flavor and superior nutrition in your bread. What if you wish to take advantage of these advantages but are unable to invest $100 to $500 on a lovely new grain mill? Well, if you already have a coffee grinder, you’re good to go! I recently learned that a low-cost coffee grinder can easily transform grain into flour. Just carry out these actions.
ACQUIRE A COFFEE GRINDER.
Most likely, your kitchen contains one of them already. In that case, don’t be concerned; they are inexpensive. This is the one I use, but there are others that are even less expensive and have higher reviews that would probably work just as well.
GET SOME GRAIN
Identify the type of flour you want and purchase the proper whole grain to produce it. For instance, wheat berries are required if you wish to manufacture whole wheat flour. You’ll need rye berries if you want rye flour. You can make flour from the majority of whole grains, so feel free to explore! (Another fantastic benefit of making your own flour.) Whole grain berries are frequently offered in bulk and at a lower cost than comparable flour in health food stores (yet another benefit!).
POUR SOME BERRIES INTO YOUR GRINDER.
The number of berries you put in will, for the most part, equal the amount of flour you get out. This makes it simple to only mill the amount of flour you need, eliminating the need for surplus that might sit around for a while. If you want a more equal grind, I advise not filling the grinder past halfway.
GRIND THE BERRIES
The amount of time you grind for will determine how coarse your flour is. Your flour will be finer the longer you grind. But there are limits to how fine the coffee grinder can go. One disadvantage of utilizing the coffee grinder is that the finest consistency you can get is a little bit coarser than fine store-bought flour. Sifting flour through a fine mesh sifter and then re-grinding the chunkier pieces that don’t pass through is one method of making flour finer.
Below are grinding times and images of the resulting flour’s coarseness. These pictures were taken with rye berries, but I’ve also had success with wheat.
More than 60 seconds of processing doesn’t yield substantially finer flour. You must sift from here if you want a finer flour.
USE YOUR FLOUR!
It’s time to use your freshly ground flour! To get a sense of how it will work, you might want to start small by adding your new flour as a flavor enhancer to a loaf that has fewer than 100% whole grains. When using freshly milled flour in recipes, keep in mind that it can behave very differently from store-bought flour. Because freshly milled flour contains increased vitamin and mineral contents, giving the yeast more to feed on, you’ll probably notice an increase in fermentation activity.
Try creating a 100% whole grain bread with your freshly milled flour if you want a true challenge and to taste the full flavor of it. The flavor ought to be fantastic.
If you have any questions or would want to share a recipe using your own flour, please leave a comment. I’m curious to see what other individuals have made. Best of luck!
How was flour made in earlier times?
By pulverizing cereal grains, seeds, or roots, flour is created. It is the most crucial component when making bread, cakes, and other baked goods. You may make flour from a wide range of white substances. Wheat is used to make flour in Europe, North America, the Middle East, India, and North Africa.
However, corn is frequently used to make flour in Central America. Some regions in central Europe produce rye flour, and some cultures even use rice.
It was discovered that the earliest flour-related artifacts date to about 30,000 years ago. It originated in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic period. The use of a stone mortar and pestle was the earliest method of making flour. Later, the Romans ground seeds into flour using cone mills. Prior to 71 B.C., the Greeks were the first people to use watermills. As you can see, there have been several modifications over flour’s complicated history.
The process of manufacturing flour was difficult and arduous before it was industrialized. Windmills and watermills, however, enabled for higher output and even extended the bread’s shelf life. Because there were no additives in bread back then that would have allowed it to last longer, it had to be consumed immediately.
White flour used to cost the most and was only accessible to the wealthy. However, white bread is now thought to be much less expensive than whole wheat or whole grain bread. The roller mills made it considerably simpler to remove the flour’s germ, lowering the cost of white flour for the underprivileged.
Beginning in the 1930s, iron, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin were added to flour as dietary supplements. It was added folic acid in the 1990s.
What is Flour?
A fine powder known as flour is created by crushing wheat berries. Foods like bread, crackers, pasta, tortillas, cakes, cookies, and pastries all have it as their primary ingredient.
When combined with water, wheat flour can create a gluten network, making it distinct from other grains. Puff pastry and yeasted dough both rise as a result of this characteristic. There are several variations and types, however a few typical types include:
- baking flour
- icing flour
- Whole grain
Around 6000 BCE, the first flour was made by crushing grains between two stones. The Romans popularized baking and the milling of wheat throughout Europe, according to archeological evidence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the introduction of new milling technology.
These days, this component is usually produced using a roller mill, which fragments the individual grain kernels. To get white flour, the endosperm and germ are sifted off. Depending on the intended usage, it can now be handled in a variety of ways.
A specific mixture of elements, such as B vitamins, iron, and calcium, are often added to the newly ground flour during fortification, which is typically done at the mills. While cake flour is bleached with chlorine gas or other agents to whiten its color and inhibit gluten development to lend a sensitive and soft mouthfeel, bread and breakfast cereal flours are enriched with nutrients. 1
Is home-made flour cheaper to grind?
It’s likely that purchasing freshly ground, high-quality flour that has been kept in cool storage will cost more than purchasing flour from the grocery store, and in some cases significantly more due to the cost of special shipping procedures that will keep the flours fresh until they reach your home.
However, unground whole grains are usually always less expensive, especially if you can get them in large quantities. You may frequently obtain high-quality bulk grains at health food stores, perhaps even from a nearby farmer, or online.
Since whole, unground grains have a far longer shelf life than flours do, they are also simpler to store. Grain should remain fresh for months or even years if it is kept in a tightly-sealed container (to keep out any insects) and kept in a cold, dry location.
You can get high-quality, organic, freshly ground flour for a lot less money by grinding your own grains than by purchasing pre-ground flour.
Do you have access to your own wheat crop?
You can certainly raise your own wheat. Given the specialized machinery and expansive farms that commercial wheat growers employ, it may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, but the truth is that there are a few myths about growing wheat yourself that have discouraged even the most ardent gardener from the concept.
First off, the majority of us believe that it would take countless acres to manufacture even a small amount of flour. Not so. A bushel of wheat can be grown in a typical backyard that is 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) in size, for example. How much does a bushel weigh? A bushel of grain weighs around 60 pounds (27 kg), or 90 loaves of bread. It is adequate to dedicate just one or two rows of your backyard garden to growing wheat because you probably won’t require 90 loaves of bread.
Second, while you would assume that specific tools are required, historically, wheat and other grains were gathered using scythes, which are low-tech and affordable tools. The wheat can also be harvested with pruning shears or a hedge trimmer. Winnowing, or removing the chaff, can be done with a household fan, while threshing, or separating the grain from the seed heads, just requires the use of a stick. The only equipment required is a decent blender to turn the grains into flour.
Can barley be made into flour?
Only grind the quantity of flour required for that day’s baking and cooking for the finest flavor and nutrition. Any excess flour needs to be frozen in an airtight container.
- Hard red and hard white are the two main varieties of hard wheat. They are frequently used to bake yeast breads and have high gluten content. (Gluten, a protein, reacts with water to create elastic strands. It enables the dough to rise and stay together.) To make pastry flour, the hard-wheat flours can be blended with rice flour, rice flour that doesn’t contain gluten, or lower-gluten flours like oat or barley.
- Compared to hard wheat, soft wheat has less protein and gluten. It is used to manufacture flour for non-yeast baked items such quick breads, pie crusts, cakes, cookies, and quick breads.
- Although whole durum wheat is used to make whole-grain pasta, it should not be utilized to manufacture bread.
- While kamut and spelt are distant relatives of wheat, some people who cannot stomach wheat can tolerate them. Both grains can be used to make flour, which has an earthy and slightly sweet flavor.
- Hulled oat groats that have been thinly cut are known as steel-cut oats. They can be added to just about any baked product after being ground to a fine texture. They don’t contain a lot of gluten, thus when baking, whole-wheat flour is frequently used. Oat flour gives muffins and cookies a sweet flavor and a crisp texture.
- Longer grains of brown rice are thought to be sourer than short grains. It can be used to make a variety of gluten-free baked items, including cookies, crackers, and cakes, because it can be ground to a fine texture that works well as pastry flour. Other flours blend well with rice flour.
- The mild, delicate flavor of millet flour provides baked items a lovely, golden color. Flatbreads can be made with millet flour alone or combined with other flours to make a variety of other baked items.
- You may create cornbread, pancakes, and muffins with dried corn kernels. To add flavor and texture to pizza dough, coarsely ground maize kernels can be used to make polenta. The flavor of yellow cornmeal is rich and buttery.
- Despite its name, buckwheat is actually a member of the rhubarb family and not the wheat family. The flavor of buckwheat is earthy and nutty. The groats’ flavor and scent are improved by roasting them. Buckwheat can be processed coarsely and used to make polenta. Pancakes, waffles, and blintzes frequently contain buckwheat flour that has been finely ground. When making bread, it works nicely with wheat and rye flour.
- Whole rye contains little gluten and must be used with wheat flour to provide moisture and solidity when making yeast breads. The loaf gets darker as more rye flour is added. Rye flour may be used to make waffles and pancakes and has a robust flavor.
- The nutritionally inferior processed pearled barley that has been hulled can be crushed into flour that is great for making breads, cookies, cakes, and pastries. It is sweet and hearty, low in gluten, and frequently used with wheat flour in breads.
- When amaranth seeds are pulverized, a light, sweet flour is produced that is used in making crackers, biscuits, and cereal. For yeast breads, it can be used with wheat flour.