Friday, March 27, 2009

Tips for Grinding Grains

I had a friend ask me today how I do my ground grains - do I grind them right before I make a recipe or store the ground flour? I decided to share this with all of you because I thought it might be helpful for anyone who is trying to cook with more whole grains.

As you probably already know, the more freshly ground the whole-grain flour is, the better it is for you. The ideal would be to grind all your whole-grain flour right before you put it in any recipe so you get the maximum amount of nutrients found in the grains. But I've found that for me that's just not practical. With our small family, most of the recipes I use every day require just a small amount of flour. If the whole-grain flour is not readily available, I'd just put in white flour because it is so much more convenient.

So when I realized this and decided that I'd really like to make the switch to including more whole-grain flour into our diet, I decided instead to keep a small amount of whole-grain flour on hand at all times. Nutrients found in whole-grain flours last longer if they are kept refrigerated or frozen. So in my refrigerator I keep two canisters. One is a three quart canister where I put whole-wheat flour. The other is a used #10 can where I keep wonder flour. I use the flour in my refrigerator for all my baking and cooking with one exception. Whenever I bake bread (which is usually about 3 times in a two week period), I grind all the wheat fresh. I do this because I always need a lot of flour for my bread so I like to fill up the hopper with wheat and then use whatever flour I have left over to fill up my canister in the refrigerator. This has worked really well for us.

Does anyone have any other helpful tips they've found about grinding grains?

Here's the grinder that I use to grind my wheat (The Wonder Mill - it used to be called Whisper Mill). We've had it for 6 years and it is wonderful. I highly recommend it. An electric grinder is a well-worth it investment if you are going to start trying to include more whole-grain flour into your diet. A hand grinder is great for emergencies, but just not practical for everyday use.

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