Friday, January 28, 2011

Grinding Wheat

Wheat is something that stores for 30+ years.  So, unless your family fights an allergy, it is good to have some in your long-term storage.  There are a few things you can do with wheat without grinding it into flour, but your options are limited.  As flour, you have many options for using your wheat.  Grinding wheat is simple, but requires a wheat grinder.  There are quite a few options available and you can even check one out from the LDS cannery to use for a short period of time until you can afford one of your own.

I have used the K-Tec model.  We had an old one for the first few years of our marriage.  It ground the wheat just fine, but it was very loud and it sprayed flour all over.  I learned to use ear plugs and to cover the entire unit with an old towel to contain the flour mess.  I now have a Nutrimill grinder.  It grinds a lot more wheat in the same amount of time, is about as loud as a normal vacuum, and there is not a huge mess.  I really like it.  I also like that I can turn it off at anytime, without worrying if there is wheat remaining in the unit.  Some of the other models can only be turned off when you are completely finished grinding.  With five young children, I never know when I'll need to turn it off and help them out so I needed that option.

12 cups of wheat berries (about what fits in a #10 can) will grind into about 20 cups of flour.

Using some of the wheat you have stored is a great way to save money.  Purchasing the wheat is far cheaper than purchasing the flour so if you don't have a grinder, and money is tight, ask a friend if you can borrow one for a few days and grind away.

Nutrimill Grinder
Fill the top with wheat berries
Turn both knobs to the upright position to begin grinding
Turn the bottom knob counter-clockwise to the horizontal position to turn off and remove the bottom portion of the unit by sliding out
This is what it looks like all the way out
Remove the lid to find the flour below

Fresh ground white wheat flour

I store mine in a bucket in the pantry for 2-3 months

There are rumors out there that freshly ground flour loses all of its nutritional value in a matter of a few hours.  These are just rumors.  I have not been able to find any scientific evidence to verify any such information.  I know that the huge mills grind wheat flour and then sell it through the grocery stores with a date that is 2-3 years out for its best by date.  This helps me know that the flour will still be good for my family.  I grind quite a bit at once and fill a bucket that fits in the bottom of my pantry.  With it ground and ready, I find myself adding it to all my muffins, cookies, bread, pizza dough, etc.  If I had to grind wheat every time I made something, I know I wouldn't do it.  It is too time consuming to do every day.  By having some ground, we get the health benefits of all the protein, vitamins, and fiber from the whole grain and it means I only grind about every 2 months.

When using fresh ground whole wheat flour in your recipes, you may need to play with the moisture content a little since whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture than white flour.  I've found that using 1/2 white wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour yields good results without needing to change the moisture amounts.  White wheat flour is also easier for your family to adjust to because it has a milder flavor and will not be as noticeable.  Red wheat flour tends to require a little more water or milk and it has a stronger nuttier flavor.

The internet is a great resource for finding whole wheat recipes.  Don't hesitate to search for a few and give them a try.

1 comment:

  1. I usually only grind enough for 1 week, I guess I hadn't thought to think of doing more than that, but now that I've thought about it, it seems silly to only do 1 weeks worth. Thanks