Over the past several weeks, I’ve received numerous questions about grinding flour at home. As a result, I’m going to share about milling your own flour and cover the basics you need to know about working with whole wheat!
Let’s keep it simple, shall we?
What is Home Milled Flour?
Before we begin, let’s make sure you and I are on the same page by answering the basic question...what is home milled flour?
Home milled flour is created by sending wheat seeds (otherwise known as wheat berries) through an electric or manual mill that then grinds the berries into a fine flour.
The Difference Between Home Milled and Grocery Store Flour
Because home milled flour is created from raw, unrefined grain kernels, it is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and proteins.
It’s what most of want in our homes, right?
Regardless of it’s label, the flour you’ll find at the grocery store has been through a refining, stripping and bleaching process. In fact, it’s such an empty food (yes, even “whole wheat” stuff!) that companies are required to add a few vitamins back in. Ever seen the word “enriched” on a bag of flour? This means the company has done their duty.
Why do producers bother refining flour?
Part of the reason is this: freshly milled flour goes rancid within 7-10 days of being exposed to oxygen. It has to be refined to ensure it doesn’t go rancid and bitter while sitting on the shelf!
Does home milled flour sound good to you at this point? Here are few tips that will set you up to succeed!
Where to Source Your Own Wheat Berries
Regardless of where you live, you should be able to source wheat berries without too much effort! In many areas, local Co-ops carry wheat berries in bulk bags of 25-50lbs (11-23 kg).
Live near or in an area where cereal crops are grown? Ask on a local buy-and-sell FB group for any leads on local suppliers.
And last but not least, there are many large companies who are willing to ship their products to a pick-up point. Particularly if there’s a group of interested individuals! If you live in the States, Azure Standard is one such option!
How Much Should I Buy?
Before you dive headfirst into a bulk purchase, I recommend taking time to experiment with whole wheat flour in your kitchen. Does your family enjoy the flavor? Do you enjoy working with it? And once things are settled on the score, then go ahead and make a bulk purchase!
The average North American adult consumes approx 135 lb of flour per year. For a family of two adults and 1-2 young children, I’d recommend starting with about 300 lbs for a 1 year supply.
This being said, if you think you consume more (or less) grain than the average family, adjust according to your need.
Storing Wheat Berries
Wheat berries can be purchased in bulk and will keep for 1-2 years in a dry, cool place. It’s always a good idea to store your grain where bugs, mice and children can’t get into it! I recommend purchasing lidded 5 gallon buckets or rubbermaid totes with tight fitting lids for the storage of your grains!
A Flour Mill
If you’re just starting out and are uncertain about whether or not you’ll like home ground flour, I recommend starting with a simple grain mill. If you own a Kitchen Aid, you can get a heavy-duty grain grinder attachment for it.
Other good options for a flour mill include the two piece Wondermill and I’m currently considering the Mockmill 200. While the Mockmill is significantly more expensive, it has a very fine grind and can also be used for rolling oats and other other grains!
Wanna learn about rolling oats at home? Check out my blog post and tutorial on the how to!
How to Store Fresh Flour
Some people prefer to mill their flour as needed, while for others, this is too much of a hassle! If you fall into the latter category, grind your flour in large amounts, bag and freeze until you need it. This will prevent it from turning rancid before you use it up!
Substituting Home Milled Flour in Your Recipes
When you first begin milling your own flour, it’s a good idea to start slow. Instead of making 100% whole wheat bread, go half white flour and half home ground flour. And as you get the feel for things, you can increase the amount.
If you and your family are not accustomed to having roughage in your diet, changing over to home milled flour can be…an adjustment. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that your colon will go through several weeks of adjusting and purging.
But don’t worry about it; things should level out after a few week’s time and return to normal!