It has been over a decade since I began milling grains at home and making fresh bread for my family and friends. I can honestly say it is still one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen and I look forward to my “baking days” where I mill lots of wheat berries and turn them into 12+ loaves of delicious and nutritious breads, muffins, rolls, bagels and sweet treats like cinnamon rolls. Come along and I will teach you how you can do the same!
“Of the 44 known essential nutrients needed by our bodies and naturally obtained from foods, only 4 are missing from wheat; vitamin A, B12, and C, and the mineral iodine.” Sue Becker
Is Milling Your Own Grains Worth It?
Absolutely. The bread sold in stores doesn’t even compare to the nutrient-dense breads that can be made when milling grains at home. The ingredients are simple and with a little practice, you can fulfill all of your family’s bread needs.
When I mill my own flour, I get the full nutritional value of the whole grain. The outer layer(bran), which contains the largest amount of insoluble fiber, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, iron and zinc; and the germ(seed) which is an excellent source of B vitamins and other crucial minerals. The endosperm(middle layer) contains protein and carbohydrates along with small amounts of B vitamins, iron and soluble fiber.
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If grains are loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals and fiber, why do most people think they are bad?
In the 1800s and earlier, if you wanted to bake breads for your family you would take your wheat berries to the local mill on the morning you wanted to bake. Because grinding the entire wheat berry results in a nutrient-dense, but easily spoiled flour this had to be done every time you needed flour, not super convenient. In the late 1800s, the invention of industrial milling resulted in the discovery that if you separate the bran and germ from the endosperm(middle layer), you are left with a white flour that has a longer shelf life. The downside is that it leaves a lifeless flour, stripped of the important insoluble fiber, vitamins and minerals; all of which are essential for proper digestion and nourishment.
Even whole grain flour sold in stores isn’t the same. The whole grains are separated and then recombined and it’s not the same. The process causes vitamins and minerals to be lost and it is a lousy substitute for the real deal; freshly milled wheat berries packed with good things.
How Does Freshly Milled Flour Taste?
Freshly ground whole wheat has an amazing lightness and depth of flavor because the germ oil is still intact and hasn’t gone rancid. It’s important to use your freshly ground flour as quickly as possible after you grind it to get the absolute best flavor, keep the vital minerals and vitamins in tact and to avoid oxidation. I simply grind the amount of wheat I need for the recipe and store the whole wheat berries in a food grade bucket with tight sealing lid.
Does the bread taste like whole wheat bread from the grocery store?
Absolutely not. Not in the slightest. I actually can’t stand “whole wheat” bread from the store. It tastes bitter and old. Not words that I want to describe bread I’m about to eat. Bread made from freshly milled wheat is light and fluffy, rich in flavor and so so soft. My boys literally wait by the oven to watch it cook to get those first few slices of the freshest bread their sweet little selves have ever tasted. It is heaven on earth and the smell that will fill you house…heavenly!
Freshly Milled Bread Workshop
If you are interested in learning more about freshly milled flour and how I use it to make breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pizzas, tortillas, bagels and MORE – check out my bread workshop here.
Freshly Milled Grains and Gluten Intolerance
Out of the 6 people in my immediate family, 4 of us have varying levels of gluten intolerance. All 4 of us can eat as much of these breads, muffins and rolls from the grains milled at home and we have zero issues with stomach pain, bloating etc. Now I can’t make any claims as to how you will react, so be careful if you have a gluten allergy, but I can just speak from our own experience.
There is still gluten in this bread. Don’t be confused. But the reason why most people don’t have the same reaction to grains milled at home vs. white flour or “whole wheat” bread from the store is because the entire grain is present. The store bought breads or flours are heavily processed and part of the kernel is removed to give it a longer shelf life.
I believe the wheat kernel should be eaten as a whole food. Together it is balanced and healthy. When the grains are separated and processed we are left with mostly the endosperm which is nutritionally lacking and imbalanced.
Let’s Recap the Benefits of Milling Grains at Home
- Baking with freshly ground wheat keeps all the vitamins and minerals intact.
- The entire wheat berry is consumed, so your body is able to easily digest the bread because it’s a whole food.
- The taste is way better than white flour or “whole wheat flour” from the store.
- Whole wheat is loaded with insoluble fiber, so if you need help with regularity, look no further
- You know exactly what is in your bread. Nothing funny going on, just whole foods.
- It’s incredibly delicious and rewarding. It feels so good to bake the breads for my family using completely organic ingredients that haven’t been tampered with
Ready To Start Milling Grains At Home?
Have I convinced you that milling grains at home and baking these delicious breads for your family is a good idea? Yes? Great! Next, I will walk you through everything you need to get started and exactly how to mill the grains.
Choosing a Grain Mill
Don’t be overwhelmed by the variety of grain mills on the market. I can point you in the direction of two really good mills that should last you a very long time. I have had my Wondermill for over 10 years and have never had a single issue with it. Every time I use it, it starts right up, mills my grains perfectly and never gives me grief.
A grain mill is an investment, certainly more than a $35 toaster, but I’m telling you it is worth it if you are serious about milling grains at home. Also, these mills can be used to mill a lot more than just wheat berries.
“The WonderMill can grind over 100 pounds of flour per hour and has enough power to blast through clogging issues. The WonderMill will grind wheat, corn, rice, legumes, beans, and other small grains like Quinoa and Amaranth. It will even grind many grains sutable for Gluten-Free Flours.” from thewondermill.com
The other electric grain mill that I can recommend is the Nutrimill. I did a ton of research when preparing to invest in our grain mill 10 years ago and the Wondermill and Nutrimill were on par with each other. The only reason I chose the Wondermill ultimately was because it was on sale at the time.
Manual grain mills are available, but I can’t make any honest recommendations because I have never used one.
Grains for Bread Making
There is a variety of whole wheats to choose from for milling at home:
Kamut, einkorn, spelt, rye and more.
Where To Buy Grains for Milling at Home
My favorite place to buy whole wheat berries is Azure Standard. They have the best price for organic wheat berries that I can find. If you are unfamiliar with azure standard, they are a co-op that delivers healthy food at awesome prices to drops all over the country. You can search for a drop in your area on their website www.azurestandard.com
However, if don’t have a drop near you, or just prefer to order the wheat online, then amazon is a really great choice. My favorites from amazon are these two:
Tips For Milling Flour At Home:
I hope that this post has been helpful so far, I’m going to go over some bullet pointed tips here and then I will share exactly how to mill wheat at home using an electric grain mill.
- Freshly ground whole grains go rancid quickly – make sure you only mill the amount of flour you plan to use. But if you accidentally grind more than you need, the flour can be stored in your freezer and while it will keep it from going bad for a while – some of the nutritional value will be lost.
- 1 cup of whole wheat berries is about 1 and 1/2 cups of flour when ground
- Whole grain wheat berries will store at room temperature almost indefinitely. I store mine in food grade buckets and keep them in my pantry.
How Do I Mill My Own Grains?
- Follow the instructions with your particular grain mill – mine, the wondermill instructs to turn the mill on and then add the wheat berries to the hopper
- Grind the amount of wheat berries you will need to make the bread recipe you are using
- After the wheat berries are ground up, turn the mill off.
- That’s it – now you have fresh, sweet, nutritious and delicious flour to turn into breads, muffins, cakes etc.
I hope this post has educated you on how easy it is to get started milling grains at home. There is no end to the delicious breads, muffins, pancakes and other baked goods that you can make with freshly milled grains. It has definitely been life changing for our family and I hope it is for yours as well!