WonderMix Bread Mixer

Milling Your Own Flour: The How’s and Why’s

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Why Would You Want To?

WonderMill Grain Mill on saleThere are many reasons you should/would want to grind your own flour for bread baking. First the quality and flavor you get from home ground flour simply can’t be duplicated with any commercially available flour. Myself, I don’t care for wholegrain breads because until I started milling my own flour they were always dry, heavy and tasted off or kind of dirty. With home milled flour, the bread is lighter, moister and has a wonderful fresh and often nutty taste.

Another reason you should grind your own grain flours is for the health benefits. All commercially made grain flours have had the germ removed. This is the part of the grain that contains healthy nutritious oils. They remove it to extend the shelf life of the grain other wise with it left in the flour would go rancid in a day or so unless it was frozen which is expensive and not something most supermarkets would be willing to do. So by removing the germ it can sit on the shelf for months or even years and still be edible. However, just because it is edible doesn’t mean it is good. Grain flours even those with the bran remove deteriorate quickly and loose a lot of vitamins and minerals. So, those flours you buy in the store while still better for you than white flour aren’t all that they could be and should be.

Finally, grinding your own flours can give you access to flours that you might not be able to get otherwise. For example, spelt flour or kamut flour can be very hard to find. I have yet to see a supermarket that carries these. However, finding the whole grain is often easier as whole grains keep a very long time and so are easier for stores to carry. Also, these specialty flours are cheaper when ground at home. A pound of spelt grain is much cheaper than a pound of spelt flour assuming you can find it. Also, you have control over how much you have on hand, how fine or course it is ground, etc. Add in the flavor and nutrition and you have very good reasons to make your own flour.

What You Need to Grind Your Own Flour

Now I am sure you are wondering how hard it is to make your own flour. Well, all you need is the grain or grains of your choice and a good grain mill and you’re ready. Most grains can be found at health food stores and if you need larger quantities co-ops are good way to go. A grain mill will cost you around $240 for a good quality one that will last your lifetime.

I have had experience with several grain mills over the years. I would suggest getting the WonderMill or Nutrimill high quality, tough grain mills. Both these mill will give you great flour quickly with controls allowing you to change it from slightly coarse to fine flour. The WonderMill is slightly quieter, slightly more powerful, and much cleaner than the Nutrimill; The Nutrimill will do slightly coaser grain than the WonderMill can. If you are on a tight budget you may want to settle for the KTEC or VitaMill which have poor flour coarseness consistency and are much louder and lower quality electric grain mills.

You might also consider the Wonder Junior hand grain mill. It has the abillity to do very fine flour to very coase flour plus it can mill oily grains, nuts, seeds, and more… It is hand operated which makes it slower and more work but gives you more options and can save you some space on your counter. I currently use the WonderMill electric grain mill and the Wonder Junior grain mill so I have speed and options. I love both these grain mills and can highly recomend them.

There are other mills on the market. Which one you choose is up to you. Just make sure you get a good one. Generally, the better the warranty the better the unit, what these things do is very tough work and only good ones are going to have a long warranty.

You can purchase grain mills from our Online Store!

Buying and Storing Grain

Like I said above a lot of supermarkets now a days have health food sections and so you can usually fine most grains there. However, probably the best places are true health food stores and co-ops. Co-ops are great when you need 20 to 50 pounds of a certain type of grain. However, some do sell in smaller quantity. To find a Co-op near you check your yellow pages. Health Food Stores will have just about everything you need, you can buy in small and large quantity. However, while whole grains don’t seem to go bad (they have found perfectly good grain in pyramids) I recommend that you shop at one that does a lot of business so they have a good turn over so you get grain that is as fresh as possible. If you only have one health food store in your town then you are stuck. You could order online, but the shipping is going to kill you. However, if you have no choice I suggest you order in large quantity so the shipping isn’t as bad.

Like I said they have found perfectly good grain in ancient pyramids so whole grain doesn’t seem to go bad. What can be a problem are bugs. So, if you are going to have grains around the house you need to take steps to protect it. I recommend that whole grain be stored in the freezer. However, if you have 50 pounds of it that can be hard to do, in that case you need to store it in a very and I mean very tight lidded container and even then you can still end up with a bug problem. How, well the bugs may not be getting in to the grain, they could already be there in egg form and then they hatch and presto you have bugs in your grain. Storing grain in the freezer kills the eggs and if you have egg free grain (which is in most cases) it keeps them out.

My recommendation for buying grain is this. If you have a health food store locally that you can get your grain from. Buy in small amounts say 3 to 4 pounds at a time and keep it in your freezer. If you have to travel far or order and have your grain shipped then invest in a very good tight lidded container and store most of your grain in it in a cool dry dark place (also, include a handful of bay leaves on the top which helps repel bugs) and then keep 2 to 3 pounds in your freezer, refilling from the large container as needed).

Storing Home Ground Flour

Because fresh flour doesn’t keep well, it is highly recommended that you only grind what you can use in a few hours time. If you do grind more than you need store it in a tight lidded container in the freezer and use with in a day or two.

The Grain

While you can make bread from just about any grain, there are a few things you need to keep in mind; these are gluten content and taste. Gluten is the protein in grain that when moistened forms an elastic stretchy substance. It is this substance that traps the gases given off by the yeast which raises the bread. If there isn’t enough gluten then the yeast gases will escape and the bread will not rise. The only grains that contain a large enough amount of gluten to raise bread are wheat, spelt and kamut. Spelt and kamut are ancient forms of our modern day wheat. All other grains don’t contain enough gluten and there for can not be used to make bread by themselves.

The second thing you need to keep in mind is the taste. Some grains like barley even if you could make bread from it would taste horrible in such large amounts. So what am I saying? I am saying the majority of the flour used to make bread needs to be wheat, spelt or kamut. The rest of the grains can be used, but need to be used in small amounts so that you don’t end up with a brick and a nasty tasting one at that. Below is a chart covering all of the grains available today, a description and how much gluten they contain.

Grain/Gluten Chart

Grain
Description
Gluten
Level
Barley
Barley
is the fourth most widely grown grain in the world. Barley flour is mostly used in Asia for bread baking. It is low in fat. It should be combined with bread or wheat flour. Use 1 part barley to 4 parts wheat or bread flour.
Very Low
Buckwheat
Buckwheat is not a true cereal grain. It is a seed and is related to rhubarb and sorrel. It is most often used pancakes. It is also known as Kasha. Look for buckwheat groats to make flour from. These are the seeds with minimal processing. It is high in protein and fiber. It is a discernible grassy flavor. Works well mixed with other grains like wheat.
Very
Low
Corn
Corn flour is more finely ground than cornmeal and both are derived from dent or flint corn — not sweet corn. Bread using corn flour or cornmeal has a crunchy, crumbly texture and pleasing sweetish taste.
Very Low
Wheat
Wheat is very old. When ground fresh it contains all of the B vitamins (except B12). It also contains various other vitamins, minerals, fiber and enzymes.
High
Rye
Rye is one of the stronger tasting grains. This is because of its weed like behavior. Rye works best in unleavened baked goods or in combination with whole-wheat flour.
Low
Kamut
Kamut is an ancient Egyptian form of wheat. It is related to modern durum (pasta) wheat, kamut has a rich and buttery flavor. It is also well tolerated by many who are sensitive to wheat. It is also a highly nutritional grain.
High
Quinoa
Quinoa is an Incan grain. Quinoa is often called a “super grain” because it supplies nearly twice the protein of most grains. Quinoa has a unique flavor. However, it is one of the more expensive grains
Low
Spelt
Spelt can be used like wheat, but it has a nuttier taste. It also is lacking wheat’s allergenic properties. What this means is that people that are wheat sensitive find they can easily tolerate spelt.
High
Rice
Rice is the most widely consumed staple food in the world. When it its natural unrefined state rice is a nutritious grain with a nutty flavor and slight crunch.. Always use brown rice, white rice is of little nutritional value.
None
Millet
Millet is small and round. It is mostly used in birdseed. It is a good source of protein, superior to that of wheat, corn, or rice. Millet can also be popped, roasted, sprouted or malted.
None
Oat
Groats
Unlike most grains, only the inedible hill of oats is removed in the milling process. The bran and the germ remain in the edible portion; know as the groat, making oats a good source of protein, fiber, and many nutrients. Oats are a cancer fighter.
None
Steel-Cut Oats
These are the least refined type of oats and are produced by slicing the oats. Oats are a cancer fighter.
None
Amaranth
Amaranth is high in protein, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Use Amaranth in small amounts — about one part amaranth flour to 4 parts wheat or bread flour. It has a nutty, earthy flavor.
Very
Low

So, just how much of the low gluten flours should you use in a recipe. Let’s take a 1-1/2 pound recipe with 3-1/2 cups of flour as an example. Myself I would use 2-1/2 cups of high gluten flour like white bread flour, whole wheat, kamut or spelt four. Then you could safely make up the rest in a single or even several low/no gluten flours. You just need to keep the majority of the flour to a high gluten one. Flours with strong tastes like barley I would use just a tablespoon or so, so that I didn’t end up with bread that tasted bad. However, there I no reason you could use more if you like the taste.

Tips:

  1. Whenever possible store your whole grain in the freezer, if this isn’t possible store in a tight lidded container in a cool, dark, dry place.
  2. When deciding what flours to use in recipes remember to keep the low/no gluten flours to a minimum.
  3. Remember some grains have a strong taste. Don’t forget to take this in to consideration when choosing which flours your going to use and how much of each.
  4. While breads like pumpernickel use some course or meal flours, in general the finer the flour grind the more of the grains gluten there is available for creating the structure of the bread. Because of this try to keep coarse ground flours to a minimum, I use no more than 1/2 cup total.
  5. Ideally you should only grind the amount of flour you can use in a 12 hour period. This ensures that you are using the freshest and more nutritious flour possible.
  6. If you grind more flour than you can use right away store it in the freezer in a tight-lidded container and use with in a day or two.
  • Fantastic Article. Quite helpful!

    Wayne
  • • I’m still looking for more specific table on more exact protein and gluten content, but still a great, helpful article.

    I bought a grain mill accessory for my Champion vegetable juicer for around $70. Since I already have over $200 invested in the juicer, I thought I’d give the mill attachment a try. (I love my Champion Juicer, since it is the only one that does a respectable job of juicing leafy greens like kale and parsley, in contrast to centrifugal types.)

    It does have adjustable grind and is simple to set up, use and clean. It does a fair job on most of the beans and grains I’ve tried, though pure bran and harder grains such as blue corn need to be put through 2 or more times, depending on how fine you want your product.

    I’m told it can be used for spices and coffee as well. As stated in the manual, it tends to clog with moist or oily things like nuts and wheatgerm, but that may be the case with most other grain mills. For those who already have –or are considering buying– the Champion Juicer, this may be a perfectly practical and economical alternative to getting a dedicated, stand-alone mill.

    Chaad
  • Your information on milling your own flour was very helpful. It’s great people take the time to share their information with others!

    grace
  • I like Chad’s comment. I will see if my daughter’s juicer (Omega Juicer) sells an attachment.

    grace
  • The Omega 8002 Juicer/food processor says is has a grinder for coffee and flour. It also extrudes homemade pastas!

    grace
  • where does one purchase the grains for milling at reasonable prices?

    Thanks

    Hoot
  • Whole grains can be purchased in Los Angeles at Nature Mart on Hillhurst Avenue in the Los Feliz District. In their “Bulk Bin” section (newly upgraded and expanded), you’ll find, among other grains: Hulled Barley, Raw Buckwheat, Oat Groats, Whole Rye Berries, and Spelt, all at reasonable prices. I have a grinder attachment for the Champion Juicer, and bake with a Breadman Ultimate Plus.

    Jeff Wells
  • Thank you for the usefull information.
    Is it possible to overmill the flour ?
    I have a 45 pound bag of spelt grain and the bread made from it using a recipe I have been using for a few years is very heavy as if there was less gluten in it.
    Could it be that some harvest yield grain with a poor quality.
    However the gain I used do germinate.

    Luc Chene
  • I would like to point out that you can store wheat with dry ice, which will solve the bug problem, as long as the container is airtight and small enough to use within a month, say about twenty pounds. I recommend food grade plastic buckets, lined with plain muslin. You drop in a pound of dry ice for every ten pounds of wheat and set the lid lightly on the bucket. When the ice dissipates, seal the bucket. ( about four hours) You now have wheat that will last several years in storage, but the point of this is to store it so it wont get infested, even with the larvae in the wheat. There are plenty of sites to help you with other methods of storing a fifty pound sack; especially since grain is so expensive.

    I grew up eating my mother’s whole wheat bread that she made from whole grains. We had to store a half ton of grain at a time, and my father and I did that with the wheat in clean metal drums lined with plain muslin, and burlap over the dry ice.

    Carolyn
  • I’ve been baking bread with wheat I’ve ground myself for about 35 years. For years I had a big wooden box with millstones, then got a VitaMix (Jack of all trades, Master of none), and finally got a K-Tec Grain Mill. Every time I use the K-Tec I cuss at it. How on earth do you clean the underside of the motor? The instructional video carefully does not show that part of the process. I have about come to the conclusion that the only practical way to do it is to lay it on its side on a clean dishtowel, remove the catch cup, and brush out all the nooks and crannies, then dump the flour from the dishtowel into the bin. Do you have a better way? Please help!!!

    Lindy
  • Lindy, are you saying the VitaMix is not good for grinding the grain? I have been thinking out getting the dry blade to go do my grinding. Is this not a good idea? Thank you for your help.

    Corinna
  • I have a VitaMix, but when I grind wheat with it,using the dry container, the flour comes out more like meal. I want it very fine and light, like pastry flour, so I really want to get a Nutrimill. I think I’m grinding it long enough in the VitaMix, but it’s always too coarse. Also, it gets very hot, and I’m worried abou the nutrients being destroyed. Has anyone heard that the VitaMix can destroy nutrients due to heat?

    Kathy
  • Does anyone have a good recipe using freshly ground wheat to make a loaf in my bread machine, I cant seem to find one on your web site. Maybe I have missed it?

    Annee
  • The chart contains one inaccuracy – Quinoa is gluten-free grain.
    It is often used by people with celiac disease (gluten intolence).
    The Gluten Level for Quinoa in the chart should be ‘None’

    Ivo
  • In response to Kathy’s message regarding the Vitamix…
    I read that the following are important requirements to assure correct texture when making flour with the Vitamix. Perhaps you were not performing some of these requirements:

    1. Freeze wheat berries to assure they do not get to hot during grinding to preserve nutrients.
    2. Do not add more that about 1.5 cups at a time (I believe this is correct). Exceeding their recommended quantity will produce poor consitancy.
    3. Must use dry blade for correct consistancy and grinding of flour. Wet blade will produce clumpy and poor results.

    Randy
  • Hello, if a recipe calls for 2 cups “bread flour” what grains would I grind to get that? Maybe a combo of red wheat berries and some soft white ones?? I can’t seem to find what “bread flour” is made from. Thank You

    Hayke
  • I would also like to know how you make bread flour from hard red wheat berries. I tried it yesterday in a recipe that called for bread flour and the bread turned into little dough balls. How do I make bread flour?

    judy
  • I envision a flour mill that universally fits a bicycle to meet the needs of fo0d production for the less wealthy masses. i have successfully tested gearing up speeds. I don’t know the milling head technology but believe the least energy to flour ratios will necessitate two stages: slice then smash. THis is based on the experience I have in chopping wood: a sharp polished splitting maul has surprisingly greater efficiency.

    don Theobald
  • In resonse to Judy, who wants to know how to make bread flour from hard red wheat berries. This is what I do. I mill my grain with a Vita-mix until it is pretty fine and use a no-knead bread recipe. (I do about 1 cup at a time and don’t let it get too warm, it works very well) Three cups of flour, freshly milled; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 teaspoon instant yeast; and about 1 1/2 cup water. Mix in bowl to a sticky dough. Put bowl and dough in the refer covered for 12 -15 hours; pull out when there are plenty of bubbles on the surface. Now even though it is a no knead recipe I knead mine on a floured surface for 10 minutes or so. Then flour a tea towel and put the dough on top of the tea towel in a bowl a little smaller than your dutch oven ( 4-5 qt) and cover with the edges of the floured tea towel as well. Let rise for about two hours at room temp and bake. I bake in a dutch oven that is pre-heated to 475 degrees for 1/2 hour. Lift the loaf with the tea towel out of the bowl and then drop the in the hot dutch oven upside down. Bake covered for 30 minutes then uncover until done, usually about another 15 minutes or until 200 degrees internal temp. This makes a wonderful loaf.

    Kim
  • “Put bowl and dough in the refer covered for 12 -15 hours;”

    Do you mean put it in the refrigerator?

    Laurie
  • Terrific chart and guide. Already we have been more successful making flour for our baking projects- Thank You !

    vitaman
  • I have a Vitamix with boht wet and dry blades. I plan on purchasing wheat berries today and will freeze them so I don’t overheat. However, I also just bought a Zojirushi bread machine. The recipe from Kim above sound like a great recipe but if anyone has a recipe for a bread machine using freshly ground wheat flour that would be great. Thanks to everyone who posted great information.

    Beth
  • beth, when grinding grains in the vitamix, it is best to pulse it instead of blending it straight. This keeps the flour cooler. vitamix is a great blender but you will always get a finer flour from a good grain mill. i am sure the flour will be fine enough for whole wheat bread.

    BMD
  • I love your set up!
    I’ve been cooking gluten free for my daughter for the past 3 years and I just wanted to suggest some insight into your gluten content chart just in case there is confusion for someone that is researching milling for a gluten free diet.

    Barley, is high gluten. Not low, while you don’t get the flexibility as you do with traditional wheat gluten, Barley is in fact a source of gluten and unsafe for anyone on a gluten free diet

    Buckwheat – is gluten free and safe for Celiacs

    Corn is also gluten free. Corn flour is a great sorce of fibre and naturally gluten free including corn meal and cornstarch.

    Rye- is not gluten free nor low gluten. Rye in all states is unsafe for a celiac or gluten free diet

    Quinoa- gluten free and very versatile

    Oats (groats, steel cut and/or flaked) tend to be listed as gluten containing. This is due to manufaturing and processing. Oats while naturally gluten free on their own tend to naturally co-mingle it the environment which leads to cross-contamination of the oat grain therefore is not gluten free unless stated on the package.

    Amaranth – is gluten free. It’s very high in protein and fibre and a great addition to a gluten free diet.

    I know that you had no intentions of directing your site to gluten free followers, but those on a gluten free diet often make their own foods right down to grain milling. Hope this gives some insight to some folks anyways :)

    gf Momma
  • I got a grain mill for my champion juicer. I used it for spelt bread and while the bread had a wonderful flavor the loaf fell and was quite dense. I did follow my usual spelt recipe for my bread machine and feel confident that I added the correct amount of each ingredient. What could the problem be?

    Rene Dobbins
  • @gf Momma Thanks for the gluten free input as I just “joined (got diagnosed) the club”.

    Thank you to the original author for the greatly informative article.

    I’d like to ask anyone who would care to answer what the best Grain Mill for making Gluten Free flours and items is? and if anyone has or considers the Kitchen Aid Grain Mill attachment to be a good choice for this since I already have the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer? Thank you.

    MPGF
  • I would not suggest the KitchenAid grain mill attachment, if you do a search for the problems of this attachment you will see that it causes lasting problems to your KitchenAid mixer. This attachment also grinds a little on the course side of flour, not as good for baking. I would suggest the WonderMill grain mill or the Nutrimill grain mill to get the consistency of flour you will need to make the recipes you find on the web. The WonderMill does a few more gluten-free flours than the Nutrimill does. See http://willitgrind.com/content/gluten-free-flours-you-can-make for a list of gluten-free flours you can make with the WonderMill electric grain mill, the items marked as ‘Wonder Junior only’ are for there hand grain mill. I have used many grain mills and the WonderMill is the one I prefer most. Hope this helps.

    GMG
  • If you do not mind me asking, what’s the name of this theme or would it be a especially designed affair? It’s significantly better compared to the themes I use for some of my blogs.

    flour milling
  • Corn is one crop that is used by almost everyone on a daily basis such as for food and in a variety of beneficial products. For every five bushels sold, corn processors buy one bushel to process in to starches, corn syrups, ethanol, sweeteners, oils,flour milling and animal feeds. These products become the building blocks of thousands of other food and industrial products which are distributed all over the globe. The end products produced from corn are used in our everyday life.
    As industry expands the processing of corn by investing in research that looks for more value added components a corn crop produces will generate mote quality and quantity of products such as, for example, renewable liquid transportation fuel. Wet flour milling has developed into a thriving industry that looks for the best use and optimum value from each component of the corn kernel.

    flour milling
  • http://www.breadbeckers.com is where you will find all the info you need on how to make perfectly wonderful bread with fresh-milled flour. I have a nutrimill and LOVE it. the dry Vitamix attachment won’t do the trick.

    Julie
  • You are incorrect to suggest that Spelt is suitable for wheat-intolerant people. Only a small percentage of people can handle spelt as it is high in gluten.

    You are also incorrect to say oats are free from gluten.

    Your information is very misleading.

    Tina
  • Tina,

    Oats are gluten free as long as they have been harvested in areas that are not used to harvest wheat also. When you buy oats look for “gluten free” on the label to know they have been harvested away from gluten grains (example: http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-rolled-oats.html).

    Spelt and Kamut are suitable for some wheat-intolerant people but not all, it’s kindof a case by case basis. The only way to know is to try it. I have seen many people talk about how they can eat Spelt or Kamut with out the effects they get with wheat. Spelt and Kamut are definitely not for those who have Celiac disease.

    Having said this, I would say that the information is not misleading but just missing some of the specifics.

    Aiden
  • About the bug issue: Weeviles (the most commonly encountered insect in grain products, including rice), lay their eggs in the grain itself after drilling a hole in the grain. They then seal the hole with a type of natural glue they produce. If the infested container is left open, they can travel to other foods in your pantry/cupboard. If you buy grain in bulk and store in buckets, then line the bucket with a large mylar bag and place a 300cc oxygen absorber on the top. Get out as much air as posslble and seal with a clothes iron. (Check out Youtube for demonstrations, usually in preppers sites.) You could also use dry ice as mentioned above, but put it in the bottom of the mylar bag and put your grain on top so it flushes the oxygen out. Both of these methods kill the insects/larva/eggs by oxygen starvation. If you need to get into the bag, wait about 3 days to make sure they are all dead. After that, it’s only a matter of keeping other bugs out. Also, for fine pastry flour, you want to use soft wheat which is more suited to that purpose. Reserve it for that, since it doesn’t make for good bread.

    linrn
  • I am thinking that with the Vita Mix, that grinding wheat berries or any grain needs to be done with a pulse as you would coffee beans in a grinder. When you whirl the coffee beans without pulsing they burn. So with the wheat berries or other grains, it would seem imperative to pulse as well. I am just learning the Vita Mix for grains to make muffins. I prefer sprouted grains as in Ezekial bread but don’t know how to find that. The raisin whole grain is my daily fav for breakfast and want to make something like that with raspberries/blueberries in a low sugar muffin. I use stevia. Let me know if anyone has a grain recipe for muffins, sprouted or otherwise. I am thinking of grinding Quinoa to get protein in it, Also some almonds and flax, maybe a bit of brown rice. Any suggestions welcomed! Thanks!

    Paula
  • Ok, after some research, I found this: http://enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com/2012/05/make-your-own-quinoa-flour.html

    small coffee grinders are cheaper and thorough if you don’t want to spend on the mill or Vita Mix and DEFINITELY do not keep grinding as it will burn the berries or grains.

    Paula
  • A Vita-Mixer is a great appliance. A few people posted about it being good and some about it being poor. It’s main use is not to grind flours, it will do the job if done right though. If you are looking to mainly grind flours you may want to invest in a appliance that specializes in that. Vita-Mixer is an awesome blender and a lot more. You can truly make ice cream, soup, and everything in between in it. But no it doesn’t bake bread and like all appliances if you do not use it properly your results will not be great.

    Jill

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