To add fresh, homemade flavor to every meal, you may use your Vitamix machine to grind whole-grain flour and knead dough. Take advantage of homemade pasta, sourdough bread, soft pretzels, and other delicious foods.
Is the dry container for a vitamix worth it?
If you’ve decided to invest in a Vitamix, you might be wondering whether you really need to spend further money on an additional Dry Grains Container. A Vitamix is a significant (though worthwhile!) purchase. How does it vary from the Standard/Wet Blade Container of the Vitamix? Here is what we discovered:
Specifications and Features: The Vitamix 32-ounce Dry Grains Container has a height of 9.8 inches. The container contains stainless steel blades, a vented top, and a lid plug. It is manufactured of BPA-free Eastman Tritan copolyester. three-year warranty American made. Favorite elements are the measures in cups, milliliters, and ounces on the container’s sides. Utilizing the self-cleaning feature is simple. Potential issues None have come into contact with. So make sure to follow guidelines. Grinding materials for longer than advised (often 1 to 2 minutes) may result in irreparable damage. Additionally, if you regularly grind spices and herbs, the instructions warns that you can have discoloration, unpleasant scents, and the need to replace dull blades. Splurge-worthy? Yes, provided you prepare a lot of dough or dry grains. suitable for little kitchens? Although the container isn’t particularly big, those with a small amount of storage space might not desire the extra item.
The Vitamix is renowned for its versatility and for being able to accomplish “anything,” and the container that is included with the machine performs admirably. However, some materials, such as dough and dry materials, are not processed by it very well. For handling items like grains, cereal, coffee, and bread dough, the Dry Grains Container was created. Although dry ingredients can be placed in the normal or wet container, the Dry Grains Container is more practical and useful.
You can determine that the blades are made differently by taking a quick look at the wet and dry containers. The blades of the dry container push the food up and away, simulating kneading, while the blades of the moist container draw the food down. With wheat, rice, oats, and beans, I put these two containers to the test side by side and discovered that the Dry Grains Container functioned quicker and created a more consistent grind. Also neater was the cleanup. I frequently buy gluten-free flours, so I was astonished at how fast and simply I could manufacture my own (and for less money, too).
You can definitely get by with just the basic wet container if you only sometimes grind flour or other dry ingredients and don’t wish to use the Vitamix for baking bread. The Dry Grains Container, however, can be a potent part of any Vitamix setup if you’re a fan of the machine and truly want to get into making your own flours, cracked grains, spice mixes, and whole grain breads.
How much flour can be made from a cup of wheat berries?
I’ve been teasing you about this post/series for a while, but I’m now finally delivering you the first part of the official Wheat and Wheat Grinding 101 series, and I’m more excited than is reasonable. Maybe I’m the only one who gets excited when discussing wheat (Huh? Weird? Me?) But I do, and I hope that some of this information will be useful to those of you who are interested in wheat and grinding wheat.
I’ll thus upload two or three more parts of Wheat 101 over the course of the following few weeks (including different types of wheat grinders and reviews of those, ways to use wheat and other whole grains, and a whole lot of resources).
Let’s discuss the main varieties of wheat used in whole grain baking and cooking today, their differences, where you can acquire them, and how to utilize them. Whole wheat berries and flour can be utilized in a variety of recipes, whether you bake your own bread or not.
Disclaimer: I’m focusing on the wheat kinds that are popular, simple to find, and those I’ve successfully utilized for many years. They are my favored wheat varieties, but I have friends and relatives who use other kinds (especially kamut), so feel free to look into some of other wheat outliers on your own.
Okay then. Ready? First off, in case you didn’t know, unmilled wheat that has been hulled is referred to as wheat berries (as you can see below). I’ll use the phrase “berries” frequently throughout this piece so that you won’t have to seek for images of fresh fruit if you’re not familiar with the word.
These images make it clear that each kind of wheat has a somewhat different appearance in terms of both color and shape. Also take note that while hard white and soft white have the same amount of protein per 1/4 cup of wheat berries, hard red wheat has a little bit more.
First, let’s examine soft white wheat in more detail. Compared to the other two species of wheat, the berries themselves are rounder, lighter, and more golden in hue.
For supple, airy baked items, finely milled soft white wheat is ideal. bread, rolls, even cookie dough, pastries, and pie crust.
Hard red wheat comes next. Compared to the other two white wheat cultivars, it is much darker. It works better in heartier, heavier loaves due to its somewhat increased protein level.
It won’t produce baked goods with the same light color and texture as a variety of white wheat. Many consumers who first try whole wheat bread made with red wheat are occasionally let down because it frequently results in thick, black loaves.
Starting with hard white wheat is always a good idea; for some reason, it seems to be simpler to develop the gluten and produce a lighter, more tender loaf of bread. Although I don’t have anything against red wheat (more on that below), it is the variety of wheat that occasionally gives wheat bread in general a bad rap.
Wheat that is hard and white. Similar to soft white wheat in color, but with a longer, thinner berry form. I mostly utilize this variety of wheat.
It works well in yeasted breads and rolls, as well as in cookies and other baked products, making it a fantastic all-purpose wheat flour to utilize.
Depending on the grain mill or wheat grinder you use, the wheat berries can be processed into flour that is either coarse or fine. Unless I’m making cracked wheat cereal, I grind everything as finely as my grain mill will allow because I like to be able to replace the wheat flour with all-purpose flour, and the finer it is processed, the easier it will be to do so.
One cup of wheat berries yields roughly two cups of flour; I’ll be going into more detail on wheat grinders in a week or so. However, keep in mind that freshly ground wheat flour contains a lot of air when it emerges from the grinder, making it challenging to measure (and is also the reason I use approximate amounts of flour for whole wheat bread recipes instead of exact measurements). If I’m planning to use the flour right away, I either forget my regular flour measuring rule and pack it in the cup a little bit more to make up for the airiness of freshly ground flour or I wait for the flour to settle for around 30 minutes.
The image below demonstrates how the color of ground wheat flour varies slightly depending on the type of wheat used.
The firm red wheat flour (far right) has a little bit more texture and a darker color than the soft white wheat flour (middle right), however it is difficult to notice in the image below.
I already explained that I like to use firm white wheat flour. However, I have around 100 pounds of hard red wheat that I purchased ten years ago that I’m trying to use up, so for the past year, I’ve mixed hard red wheat and hard white wheat (crushing it together) when making bread. This is undoubtedly what I use 90% of the time.
I baked bread using all three varieties after taking the photos for this tutorial, and what do you know? It was the best bread I’ve ever baked, in my opinion. In other words, try several kinds of wheat; everyone will have a different preference.
When I was a resident of Northern Minnesota, I used to get it from a nearby organic mill. I know, it’s hard to believe I only relocated forty minutes after purchasing an organic grain mill. Awesome). If you’re interested in checking out their website, they do provide shipping, but because wheat isn’t exactly a light commodity, I have to assume shipping fees are quite high.
Furthermore, I discovered hard white wheat berries at:
- my nearby Walmart (on the very bottom shelves under the flour)
- Winco (a grocery store in my area in Idahothey carry it in 25 pound bags)
- a neighborhood farm (Corn Family Farms) in Ontario, Oregon
- Look around to see if there are any nearby farms.
There are a ton of websites that sell wheat, but because shipping can be expensive, it would be advisable to check your local options first. I am not linked with any of these, but I have purchased from each of them in the past with fantastic success. Here are a few online resources: Grain Pleasant Hill (probably one of the more reasonable places to buy online) Emergency Essentials (again, I was pleasantly impressed by their sales/prices) Shelf Dependence (more expensive but has convenient scheduled shipments, if that floats your boat, and their wheat is non-GMO)
Please feel free to comment with any more places you’ve discovered for buying wheat!
Just a short reminder about how to store wheat berries: like most dry commodities, they should be kept in a dry, cool environment. We store my sealed cans and buckets in our basement because properly preserved wheat can last up to 20 years or more. The #10 cans or bags of wheat, however, that I purchase or bring up from my own store, are placed in a sizable 50 pound bucket that I keep in my kitchen.
I use up this wheat quickly and frequently, so as long as I keep the lid closed, I’ve never had a problem with bugs (although those pesky little hands still find their way in!). This bucket is not sealed, so it won’t keep out bugs or small hands that like to let the wheat run through their chubby fingers.
A handy two-piece plastic ring with a lid that screws on and off serves as the lid. It is fantastic and prevents me from removing the bucket’s original lid.
You can find these two-piece lids (also known as Gamma Seal Lids), designed for use with food-grade 50# buckets, online at any of the previously mentioned wheat resource links (here is a link from Pleasant Hill Grain).
Use it in breads and rolls is the obvious solution (but scroll down for some ideas that are a bit outside of the bread box). Although I haven’t included it in every single one of the dozens of yeast recipes on my website, it goes without saying that I always use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour when I bake rolls or bread.
I always make my tried-and-true 100% whole wheat bread recipes. Except for this ciabatta bread, this rustic crusty bread, and a few others that I always indulge and make 100% white flour, I often use at least half whole wheat flour in rolls and other breads, sometimes more and sometimes less.
But there are many other uses for wheat berries outside bread if you look outside the box. Here are a few excellent examples:
- Making your own cream of wheat cereal is as simple as toasting wheat berries in the oven until they are just beginning to turn golden, letting them cool, and then grinding them in a grain mill or wheat grinder until they have the consistency of hot cereal—not fine like flour, but also not coarse like cracked wheat. In a blender, you could probably even do that. For a delightful, hot cream of wheat breakfast, cook or microwave 1 cup of the toasted ground wheat berries in 3 cups water (this is actually one of my boys’ favorite breakfast options when combined with blueberries, a little bit of brown sugar, and milk).
- Our favorite oatmeal pancake mix is made with 100% whole wheat flour, which I use in the recipe. It is filling, nutritious, and utterly delicious.
- If your wheat grinder can handle it, grind the wheat berries for traditional cracked wheat cereal.
- Whole Wheat Blender Pancakes/Waffles: In this unusual recipe, whole wheat berries are blended with buttermilk and additional ingredients before being used as the base for pancakes or waffles. It is yet another morning item that we always have. For these, any variety of wheat berry will do.
- Use of Wheat as a Meat Extender: Go completely bonkers and use wheat as a meat extender. It’s incredible! When I asked my friend Jenna for the recipe of her delicious stroganoff years ago because it was so good, she hesitantly revealed that the “Wheat berries made up at least half of the meat in the recipe. WHAT? I was unable to tell. I need to start using this strategy again because it has been years since I did, but I can attest to its effectiveness. The wheat absorbs the flavor and texture of the meat and also provides a significant amount of additional protein and fiber. For tacos, stroganoff, and other ground beef/turkey foods that simmer or stew for a while, you essentially use cooked wheat berries (cracked wheat). Google “Get some good ideas by using wheat meat extender.
That’s probably it for today, then! Wheat grinders will then be thoroughly examined. Yahoo! (Seriously, everyone, remain seated.)
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll respond as soon as I can. Alternatively, if you have any recommendations for today’s topic, please let me know. I believe I can gain a lot from all of your knowledge about wheat as well!