Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grind Your Own Flours From Whole Grains

hand grinding flour
Odin, at age 3, grinding the flour for his own cookies
With this simple hand mill, we grind our own flour. It gives you a bit of exercise, some great tasting flour, and saves a load of money.  We buy whole grains in bulk: Organic wheat costs about 20 cents a pound, when you buy it in 40 lb sacks (edit: wheat prices have gone up considerably in the years since I first published this article, but I'm sure the savings for grinding your own is still considerable). I don't even know what organic whole wheat flour goes for, but I know it's a lot more than that, and it's not even fresh.

Fresh ground flour is better for more than just flavor; it also has a higher protein count if used within 24 hours of grinding, and the oils in grains are notorious for going rancid after being ground up as well. Many people keep their whole grain flour in the fridge to reduce rancidity, but very few grocery stores do that, leaving you with little choice but to buy rancid flour unless your are grinding your own.


Buying whole grains gives you more control over the source of your food, and keeps those grains from ever needing to be processed by a factory. You could, for example, buy grains directly from a local farmer and skip the grocery store middle man altogether! Read here about how we stopped going to the grocery store. We order our whole grains from Azure Standard, an Oregon based company that distributes natural foods to grocery stores, and to any groups that meet the minimum purchase of $550. With our home mills we can make our own flours from millet, spelt, rye, oats, rice, corn, and teff grains, as well as many types of wheat.


There are tons of electric flour mills out there as well, which are much easier and faster than our manual one. We generally like hand-powered things though; our mill is relatively quiet, simple, will last forever, and will work when there's no electricity. 


I did recently discover, however, that my high-speed blender can make flour so fast! It's turned me back on to baking. I have always loved baking, but don't necessarily feel like sitting down at the grinder for 30 minutes before I can make anything. The blender is great, quick and easy, although it does not grind the flour so fine or give you as much control over the grind. Our hand crank mill is Back to Basics brand, and our blender is a Blendtec. While I have made oat flour in a standard blender, I think a high-powered blender is required if you want to make flour from anything harder than oats.


Whole grains stored in jars
These can all be made into delicious and healthy flour combinations. From right: Oats, rye, rice, corn, wheat, millet

Some things you could make with your fresh ground flour include: your own sourdough starter; a delicious soaked grains breakfast cake; or, if you have a cat, you can even make your own natural, non-toxic kitty litter.

Below is an ad link for the high speed, super powerful blender that I use to grind my flours, as well as a link to the other leading brand, Vitamix, for comparison. I love it and I bet you will too. Every purchase through my ad link provides a little income for our family. Thanks in advance!

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January 15, 2012 at 8:41 AM

My husband grew up on wheat ground at home and has been angling for a grinder for us. I am coming around, but am leery about the dust -- is it dusty? Not sure where to put it, either, though I think with a kitchen reorganization we might figure that out. We go through a LOT of flour, I think we might need an electric one...

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January 15, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Some grinders really are dusty. Our hand grinder is small and only creates a small bit of dust around its immediate area, and the blender keeps the dust under its lid. I grew up with a kitchenaid grain mill and don't remember it being dusty either, but I wasn't the one cleaning up around it. I think once you have decided what type you want, you could read the reviews to see if there are any dust complaints. I'm sure you can find one that will work for you! Our small hand mill just fits on the wall end of our dining table, and I slide the table out when I want to use it. Our blender owns valuable counter real estate, but it's worth it for the smoothies! Some dedicated grain mills can be insanely large. If you happen to already have a kitchenaid mixer I would just get the mill attachment.

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June 25, 2012 at 9:49 AM

This is so timely! I'm just starting to look into grinding our own flours and love all the info you've shared here. Thanks for linking up at Tiny Tip Tuesday!

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November 3, 2012 at 6:23 AM

Love the idea of grinding my own flour and have always wanted to try. Thanks for the tips!

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November 3, 2012 at 8:08 AM

Once you go fresh, you'll never go back!

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November 3, 2012 at 1:37 PM

This would be great for making gluten free flours like almond for much cheaper. I would love to try it!

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November 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Hey Rachel,
I haven't done it with almond, but you can definitely make rice, millet, and oat flours, which I believe are all gluten free.

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November 5, 2012 at 6:43 AM

Hello! I’m stopping in to invite you to join us at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/11/clever-chicks-blog-hop-7-country-craft.html

I hope to see you there!
Cheers!
Kathy
The Chicken Chick

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November 6, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Thanks for this post! I've been grinding off and on for over ten years and I agree it's pretty great. We have a Vita Mix blender that has it's own container for grinding...it's a big help. I usually grind wheat (with a blend of a few other grains) ahead of time and freeze the flour. I'm a bit too lazy to grind it for baking so this idea encourages me to grind more! Great idea about ordering grain in bulk. It's hard for me to find it around here, but have found sources in an Amish community. Thanks again! Blessings, Nancy at livininthegreen

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November 10, 2012 at 11:16 PM

My grinder is contaminated with gluten. I can't wait to get a new one so that I can save money grinding gluten-free flours. I'll be featuring this helpful post on Gluten-Free Monday at OneCreativeMommy.com. Please stop by and grab a featured button if you’d like. I can’t wait to see what you link up this week!

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November 11, 2012 at 7:24 AM

Is there really no way to clean a contaminated grinder? Can it be taken apart and washed? It's an expensive item to replace!

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November 12, 2012 at 6:26 PM

We've been making more things at home, but haven't ventured into grinding our own flours. Perhaps we'll give it a try. I'd love to have you link up at Tuesday Greens on www.craftygardenmama.com. Be sure to stop by!

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November 12, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Thanks Becky, I'll check it out!

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November 15, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Hey Emily,
Do you think I could grind nuts this way to make nut flours? I can't do most grains, because they make me swell up like a balloon. This would be great if it would work for nuts. I don't want to buy a grinder if it would work. Thanks for the info.
Debi @ Adorned From Above

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November 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Nuts would gum up the hand grinder. You can make nut flours by making nut milk, and then using the dried pulp, after squeezing out the milk, for flour.
You can also grind shredded coconut in a blender, and use that like coconut flour. It's richer, but it would work for many things still.
When I've gone grain free, I've used nuts a lot by just soaking them, and then processing them to a paste with other ingredients. No need to make it into a flour first. Good luck!

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November 16, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Wow, I admire your patience with hand grinding! :)

When I first started looking into grinding our own flour, I was amazed at the price difference. A $200 electric grinder took less than 6 months to pay for itself!

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November 16, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Thanks for linking up! Hope to see some of your great ideas again this week on 'Or so she says ...' www.oneshetwoshe.com

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November 16, 2012 at 8:00 PM

We really use the high speed blender to make flour these days, a purchase that also totally paid for itself. We are so happy to be able to make great smoothies, and grind flour quickly as well. That's pretty impressive that in only 6 months a grain mill pays for itself!

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November 27, 2012 at 7:22 AM

I have an electric mill that I used to make my own wheat flour before we went gluten free. It makes such great flour! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

We had a great collection over Thanksgiving! Hope to see you this Thursday for another Gluten Free Fridays link up! It will be live at 7:05 eastern US time. Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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November 27, 2012 at 1:53 PM

That's too bad that you can't use your nice electric mill anymore! But if you get a high speed blender, you really can easily make your own gf flours!

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November 28, 2012 at 6:48 AM

What an amazing experience to be able to grind your own flour.

Thanks for linking to the Sunday showcase.

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December 2, 2012 at 8:04 PM

I covet your grinder! I use a coffee grinder to grind alot of my own gluten free flours (they're so expensive!!) but it doesn't get a good fine grind for some of the tougher grains like brown rice and sorghum, so some of my baked goods come out a bit grainy ;) However, it works pretty good for small batches of things.

Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday! I've pinned this and look forward to seeing what you've been up to this week :)

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December 3, 2012 at 7:56 AM

I find a great trick for using chunky flour is to soak my flour overnight. Then, any graininess is softened right up. It has a better rise and texture, and the soaking makes it more digestable. Just make a dough with some of your flour and water, cover with a plate, and soak overnight. In the morning, add everything else. This works great for breads and pancakes.

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December 18, 2012 at 8:37 AM

we have the same grinder - love it! thanks for linking up with Kids in the Kitchen - pinning!

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January 2, 2013 at 1:20 PM

I do agree with you. Love healthy stuff.

Already your follower hopping by, blogging @ Getting Healthy with Essential Oils

I am also inviting you to join Tiddle Diddle Handmade Shoppe's first giveaway event.

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January 12, 2013 at 7:22 PM

You have so many interesting tips! Thanks for linking up!

FYI~ I had trouble leaving this comment due to your word verification being on. A lot of people don't leave comments if they have to do Captcha. You can turn off word verification and turn on comment moderation and you will probably get more comments!

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January 13, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Oh, thanks for pointing that out. I'll change the settings!

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January 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Hi Emily,
This is great information. I love the idea of grinding grain myself. I have sensitivities to grains, so I use nut flours, and have been trying to figure out to make those myself. This give me more incentive. Thanks so much for sharing at Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above
Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures
Nichi @ The Mandatory Mooch

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January 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

If you ever make your own nut milks, the "leftover" pulp from the nutmilk is basically nut flour. It's wet, but you can use it in any baking in place of nut flours. I find making nut milks to be a bit tedious, but if you make these milks anyway it's great to use the byproducts!

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January 29, 2013 at 6:58 AM

Thank you for sharing your flour grinding post- I love the photo of Odin grinding his own cookie flour! Delighted you popped by Seasonal Celebration Wednesday.Hope to welcome you back tomorrow! Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network x

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February 19, 2013 at 7:10 AM

Thank you. You are the first person I've come across who grinds their own grains in a high speed blender. I've just started doing it but I'm not willing to invest in a grain mill until I have some success with my recipes! That's a great idea to get a hand mill. I hadn't thought of that. My 1.5 year old would love to help out in the kitchen and there's not much she can help with as I'm either chopping or using my vitamix. Are these quite safe for young kids to use or is there any way they could get their hands trapped in them? Many thanks

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February 19, 2013 at 8:12 AM

The hand mill is safe! It's a nice slow grind that goes at a very controlled pace, and the only moving parts are inside the chamber, under the grains. It would be POSSIBLE to stick a small hand down to the bottom of the chamber, but she would have to work very hard to turn the crank at the same time.

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February 22, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Going to pin this for future use - I need to learn more.
Monica
http://happyandblessedhome.com

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March 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday!! Hope you stop by again today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/03/nifty-thrifting-at-eco-kids-tuesday.html

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April 20, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing this awesome post with Full Plate Thursday.
Hope to see you soon!
Miz Helen

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April 24, 2013 at 6:31 AM

Oat is as long as you use gluten free oats.

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April 24, 2013 at 6:34 AM

I wonder if my kids would complain about using a hand mill....I want a Nutrimill but cannot swing it for a long time! Thanks for linking up for Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

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April 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Thank you for sharing this with us on Tuned-in Tuesday Blog Hop! Hope to see you again! http://www.healthyrootshappysoul.com/2013/04/tuned-in-tuesday-blog-hop-7.html

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May 13, 2013 at 1:37 PM

What a neat way to do even more DIY. I keep debating getting the Blendtec or Vitamix. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

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October 25, 2013 at 4:58 AM

What a wonderful idea grinding your own flour!! I hope this catches on with people - its such a great way to avoid all the processing junk! Visiting from Real Food Friday

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November 7, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Love the idea of grinding my own flour, I've been looking at hand grinders. How long have you had yours, and where did you purchase it. I also order all our food from Azure Standard, I'll have to look out for these items in bulk. Pinning to off the grid, thanks for sharing with us on Real Food Fridays.

I'll featuring your post tonight, so stop by and link up some more.

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November 14, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Thanks for the feature! We bought our hand grinder on Amazon many years ago, still works great! Although, I generally just use our high speed blender for making flour in recent years. It's so quick! It doesn't make the same quality of fine flour as the grinder, but I'm fine with that.

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