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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Grinding Flour..see it's really easy

I say I grind my own flour and people look at me like I said I was milking my own cow (which would be cool), I am not going to drive a horse drawn carriage to school and make my kids clothing, while that would be interesting..that does not benefit my efforts to have a healthy body..healthy environment, probably. 
Here is a good reason to grind your own.  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. this is how easy it is:

1. I buy grain...Earthfare, Ingles, Mountainview bulk foods, Bread Beckers can get it easily.
Here is what it looks like...

Those are several different types of grain.  They come in bags or buckets depending on how much you buy.  About 2 cups of grain is equal to about 3 cups of flour.  This stuff is cheap too! I grind my own because it is healthier.  Keep in is still bread and a carbohydrate so I limit my intake of this compared to my protein and fruits and veggies.  But... we do need some complex carbs and whole grains is one of them.  To be sure I get the most nutrients and benefits and control over what goes in to it..I bake a lot of my own things.  Below is a list of different grains and what they are good for using them for.

This is a flour grinder:
This one is an older model.  I just bought it off a relative and I love it! It works, so that's all that I need.
2.You pour the grain in the top of this and.......
3.Take off the lid and there is flour in the pan!  It is loud when it grinds..sounds like an airplane jet..but it's going to be..your are grinding the whole grains in to this four.....

See it's that easy..I don't grow wheat and harvest in the back yard, I don't crank a hand crank and grind out's a machine and it's so easy :)

Some grain grinding tips:
  • Grind only what you can use. Once a grain has been ground into flour it begins to lose its nutritional value very quickly. If you do grind a little extra, store it in a tightly sealed container in the freezer and use within a few days time. Il ike to use freezer bags to store mine in.

    • Whole grains store well and for long amounts of time. To keep it free of bugs, store it in a tightly sealed container in a cool dark place. You can place a few bay leaves in with the grain to help repel bugs naturally. When buying grains in bulk, 50 lb food grade buckets work well for long term storage.
    • Have fun experimenting. Try unfamiliar whole grains and enjoy the new flavors. Practice replacing small amounts of White flour or Wheat flour in recipes with more nutritious flours like Kamut or Spelt. Look for new recipes and cookbooks that incorporate a variety of grains.

    Grains and their uses:

    In the U.S. There are about 6 major types of wheat:

    Hard winter red wheat: This wheat is mostly grown in the Plains states as well as the northern states and Canada. It is a versatile wheat with excellent baking characteristics for pan bread. It is also used for Asian noodles, hard rolls, flat breads, general purpose flour and as an improver for blending. It is moderately high in protein (about 10.5%) which makes it good as an all-purpose or bread flour. About 40% of all of the wheat grown in the United States is hard winter red wheat.    

    Hard spring red wheat: This wheat is mostly grown in the northern states and Canada. It is considered the aristocrat of wheat when it comes to "designer" wheat foods like hearth breads, rolls, croissants, bagels and pizza crusts. It is also used as an improver in flour blends. It is one of the hardest wheats and therefore has one of the highest protein counts (13.5%). About 24% of the wheat grown in the United States is hard spring red wheat.

    Soft winter red wheat: This wheat is mainly grown in the eastern states. It is a low protein wheat with excellent milling and baking characteristics for pan breads, general purpose flour and as an improver for blending. About 25% of the wheat grown in the United States is soft winter red wheat.
    Hard winter white wheat: This is the newest class of U.S. wheat. It is sweeter and lighter in color that red wheat, with a protein profile similar to hard winter red wheat. It is great for making Asian noodles, whole wheat, pan breads and flat breads. Only about 1% of the wheat grown in the United States is hard winter white wheat, but it is gaining in popularity.

    Soft spring white wheat: This type of wheat is generally grown in a few eastern states and in the Pacific Northwest and California. It is a low moisture wheat with high extraction rates that provides a whiter product for cakes and pastries. This variety is similar to soft winter red wheat with a slightly sweeter flavor. About 7% of the wheat grown in the United States is soft spring white wheat.

    I like to mix mine for bread a 50/50 mix of Hard Red and Hard White and a little barley grain mixed in.  For muffins and cakes use soft white for best results..I do mix that with hard red too anyway :)

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