6 Reasons Why You Should Grind Your Own Wheat

May 14, 2014 | 30 comment(s)

Why Grind your own wheat?

Have you ever seen a wheat grinder and wondered if it’s worth it? Well, here are some reasons you should give grinding your own wheat a go!

Shelf-life. Whole grain flour (or meal) that you buy at the store goes bad relatively rapidly. Plus, you never know how long flour in the store has been on the shelf. The Whole Grains Council suggests that whole wheat flour can turn rancid in as little as 1-3 months on a cool pantry shelf, and 2-6 months in a freezer! If stored correctly, wheat berries can last 30 years or more in your food storage.

Options. Once you have a grinder, you can grind whatever you want! There are many different kinds of wheat and many different kinds of wheat grinders. You can even grind other things like beans, quinoa, corn, rice, oats, etc.

Texture. When you grind your own flour, you get to control the fineness of the grain. There are typically settings that allow you to grind fine or coarse wheat on each grinder. This means that you can experiment with the texture of the final product and find the perfect flour for you.

Flavor. Although unscientific, many prefer the flavor of freshly-ground flour to that of flour that has been sitting on a shelf.

Cost. This is a tricky one. The initial cost of a grinder is often somewhat off-putting as well as the additional cost of the wheat or other ingredients you’re grinding. The good news is that this is a preparedness item that can be used all the time; so instead of just spending money on an item to have for emergencies, you can incorporate it and use it in your life right now. Depending on the type of flour you normally buy, grinding your own wheat may save you money in the long run and will give you a higher-end flour you may not find at the grocery store. There are also other great benefits to consider.

Nutrition. The Whole Grains Council lists many great benefits (and supporting studies) that come from eating whole grains (grinding your own means you’ve got a fresher product.)), instead of refined grains, some of which include:

  • Decreased risk of chronic disease including: stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, asthma, various inflammatory diseases, colorectal cancer, and more
  • Better weight maintenance
  • Healthier carotid arteries
  • Healthier blood pressure levels
  • Less gum disease and tooth loss

Grinding your own wheat

Of course, benefits are most pronounced in the context of an overall healthy diet, and whole grain foods vary in their level of nutrition. But since whole grains are a big step up from refined, commercially-processed flours and cereals, you really can’t go wrong with whole grains and your own grinder.

Do you have any experience grinding your own wheat? Tell us about it in the comments!

--Michelle


This post was posted in Uncategorized and was tagged with food storage, wheat

Comments

  • Jackie Dukes-Strey  |  May 19, 2014

    I haven't ground my own wheat but I do know that flour & flour dust are highly flammable & anyone grinding should take precautions for this. No open fires or cigs., etc. when & where grinding.

  • Nathan  |  May 19, 2014

    I grind wheat and many other grains all of the time.
    It is easy and quick to do several grains at a time and then put them in buckets for use when making my four grain breads.
    I don't have to worry about the flour going bad because I use it on a weekly basis so the flour is in the pantry for no more than a few weeks. Then I grind up a new batch and make fresh bread once a week for me and my neighbors.

  • Jack  |  May 20, 2014

    I've been using a nutri-mill grinder for over 2 years. We grind our own flour and corn meal. There is no going back to buying flour at the store. I sieve out the coarsest fraction of bran and immediately put in the freezer to use in other cooking. My version of all-purpose flour uses equal parts of hard red, hard white and soft white wheat. It works quite well.

    And, IMO, coffee creamers are far more flammable than the small amount of dust generated by grinding 3 lbs of wheat. Flammablility of dust relies on enclosed areas and a very high concentration of dust. It really is not a problem on such a small scale.

  • Patty  |  May 27, 2014

    The only thing I know about grinding wheat and possible problems is that my children's grandfather worked at a flour mill in Kansas, and developed lung cancer. I am sure back in the day they didn't take precaution and wear masks, but thought it was worth mentioning.

  • Oren  |  June 8, 2014

    Not sure how other people store their flour, but I've stored fresh ground wheat flour for at least a year without any problem. Admittedly, I store in a 6 gallon pail, lined with a mylar bag, with about 6 medium sized oxygen scavenger bags. We're using that flour now. Just "devoured" a loaf of bread my wife made. It didn't last a day!

  • Dave  |  June 8, 2014

    I make my own bread from flour I hand grind from wheat berries. Grinding 4 cups of flour is very good exercise. The bread tastes great and contains as much fiber as anyone could want. For long term preparedness, a grinder and stored berries is absolutely essential.

  • Rich  |  June 8, 2014

    I really enjoy grinding wheat and use the flour in pancakes and waffles as a straight substitute for all purpose flour. It provides an entirely richer flavor than bleached flour.

  • Hubert Borne  |  June 8, 2014

    We have been grinding wheat (hard red and white) to make bread for almost 3 years.My wife and I find the taste so delightful that she no longer buys bread at the grocery store.
    One tip; hydrate your hand ground flour for at least one hour before adding it to your bread dough. if anyone wants more explanation, I will be glad to respond.

  • Merianne S.  |  June 8, 2014

    We grind our own wheat all of the time for making homemade bread products. It is much better for you (as my brother found out; one of his boys developed an allergy to wheat but it only happened when he ate packaged foods or stuff made from store-bought flour; my brother's research discovered that his son was actually allergic to the wood resin from the sawdust that manufacturers have been adding and labeling as "cellulose fiber") and not hard or very time consuming at all. We are a family of 8, have a super easy and fast recipe for 100% whole wheat bread, and make our own bread, dinner rolls, buns (hotdog, hamburger, and sandwich), and cinnamon/sweet rolls. So yummy! As for the "dust," our K-Tec grinder has a filter and as long as the machine is properly maintained, there's no dust when grinding our grains.

  • Roagiesgal  |  June 8, 2014

    No fire danger, and I think cancer from working in a flour mill is probably not relevant here. There is no danger from making your own flours....and fresh is always the best whenever you can. That way you know what your getting and home made bread with fresh ground flour is wonderful...the biggest risk you have is being able to put the bread away before its eaten with lots of butter on fresh warm bread....doesn't get any better than that!

  • Michael  |  June 8, 2014

    I started grinding my own grains since helping my grandmother, 49 years ago...
    Store bought pre-grind GMO flour is no replacement for the Fresh Favorable Taste food you can create by doing it yourself!
    I like to mix in some Red Hard Wheat with the White Hard Wheat to get a nutty flavor... and use local obtained Natural Raw Honey to get it going is even nicer! :)
    Quick Rolled Oats, I do not bother grinding those,just put in 1/2 cup with my batch... Use Olive Oil in my bread pans when I am letting the bread do it's last raise... THE BEST.
    I have neighbors now that know when which days is Bread Day at my home!! ha ha ha... I make extra to share with them... :)

  • Charles  |  June 8, 2014

    If our forefathers had the phobias and hysterics we do, they would never have made it to America. You better get your hazmat suit on and alert fire marshal when you open a jar of coffeeMate; It can also be explosive and cause an inhalation hazard in a "dust cloud" the size of a room with the consistency of fog.

  • Lynn  |  June 8, 2014

    We have been grinding wheat for a couple of years with no problem. My husband converted our hand grinder to electric and we usually grind 5 lbs at a time. The grinder can easily be converted back to hand grind in case of long term power failure.

  • Allen  |  June 8, 2014

    To make the conditions right for a grain dust explosion, there would need to be a high volume of grain getting moved around in order to saturate the atmosphere. Very common in grain storage facilities, and almost impossible as a result hand grinding grain at home.

    Same thing for getting dust into the air to breathe, causing lung problems. That might be a problem in a high-volume flour mill. But hand-grinding grain at home will put little to no dust into the air.

  • Robert Smith  |  June 8, 2014

    Is it possible to grind coffee beans with the low cost model grinder that you sell? I have a coffee grinder, but can only grind enough for two small cups at a time? Thanks.

  • Mike  |  June 8, 2014

    Patty, my Dad worked for ADM for 37 years and died from what the doctors called "Above Ground - Black Lung Disease" ( the kind that coal miners get from breathing coal dust). Again, that was all before OSHA stepped in and required masks and everything else.
    In grinding my own wheat over the last 3 years, I haven't seen any level of flour dust that could cause a fire. (Except once at Christmas when the grandkids were making sugar cookies and got a little carried away with flouring the countertop) ;-)

  • beprepared  |  June 9, 2014

    Hi Annemarie,
    That's very interesting. Have you noticed anything else about making homemade bread in a humid climate? Also, do you have any tips to share with those considering to make homemade bread from freshly ground wheat?
    Angela

  • beprepared  |  June 9, 2014

    Hi Michael,
    Would you be willing to share that flour recipe with us? Sounds pretty tasty and that's a great way to adapt the flour to make it different.
    Angela

  • beprepared  |  June 9, 2014

    Hi Hubert,
    I'd like to hear more of an explanation. Why is it good to hydrate it before adding it to your bread dough?
    Angela

  • Annemarie  |  June 9, 2014

    I grind my wheat with a Nutrimill, and am saving for a Diamant. Taste is vastly improved...who needs expensive artisan bread when you can get similar flavor with homeground wheat? It's also a great selling point when I sell bread.

    I live in a very humid climate, next to a river, and storebought bread molds very quickly here. The homeground breads last at least twice as long, not sure why.

    I've had no problem with dust in the Nutrimill.

  • Sam  |  June 9, 2014

    In this day and age I can't believe anyone actually has the time and wants to go to the effort to grind their own flour. To each his own, I guess.

  • Bumpkin  |  June 9, 2014

    I baked my own bread for many years, home-ground wheat, and I have asthma. It rarely ever bothered my breathing, except when I would pour the finely-ground flours into a different container to refridgerate whatever I didn't use. But, occasionally it did. So, because I have masks around, if I were to begin baking bread daily again, (family is grown now) I would likely put on a mask or turn a fan toward the wheat, away from me. Bakers ARE at higher risk of lung cancer than we non-bakers are- I recall hearing that in nursing school years ago. But they deal with the flour all day every day. We hydrate the ground wheat flour either by adding a bit extra liquid to the dough, then allow it to sit (It still rises) before kneading the remainder of the flour into the dough, or else hydrate it before assembling the recipe ingredients. Why? Because the wheat is very dry. And after you grind it, and the bread sits on the counter for a day or so, the ground flour will pull moisture from the loaf, changing the consistency- ie, the bread 'dries out' too soon. Not as yummy, not as softl. You would think that it wouldn't make any difference as the wheat is part of the bread, but trust me, it does.

  • beprepared  |  June 10, 2014

    Hi Robert,
    Out of all the grinders we sell, the one that can grind coffee beans would be the Nutrimill Mini http://beprepared.com/nutrimill-mini-seed-mill-and-grinder.html?&sc=BLOG&oc=BP0001B1299or the Wonder Mill Junior http://beprepared.com/wonder-mill-junior-deluxe-hand-grain-and-flour-mill.html?&sc=BLOG&oc=BP0001B1298 because they can do oily seeds and grains. The Nutrimill Mini is a low cost model (it's just 24.99), but the Wonder Mill Junior will cost a lot more (it's $219.95). The Junior comes with replacement heads that are specially made to grind oily seeds and it's very durable (it's made of metal and clamps to the table or counter. It also has a drill attachment to make grinding easier for you). In contrast, the only catch with the Nutrimill Mini is that it can only grind 1/4 cups of grains at a time. Whereas the Junior can grind 1 1/4 cups in one minute.

  • James Taylor  |  June 11, 2014

    Yes - please for above posters, include your (1) "general purpose" wheat recipes and (2) your bread recipes. The only thing that has held me back from grinding wheat is not knowing how to make bread with it. Attempts were not pretty.... Nothing is obvious to the uninformed!

  • Bev...  |  June 28, 2014

    I have been grinding my wheat in a Ktec for over 20 years now and making 6 loaves of bread per week for myself, my husband and our 4 grandchildren, sometimes 2 batches when we have company. its quick and easy. Only flour, yeast, salt, oil, honey and water in the recipe AND delicious AND good for us. My grandchildren and family members really like it...Soft and delicious and when kept in the freezer long lasting...(Only about less than a day if there is not some thawed)...Grandma Bev.

  • Geniel  |  June 28, 2014

    I grind my own wheat into flour fresh each time I make bread. My flour is always fresh and makes a great loaf of bread. I don't mass grind or store it for later use. I am found a great recipe for bread and it is so easy. Makes 2 loaves of bread and with only 2 of us the bread will last several weeks.

  • beprepared  |  June 30, 2014

    Geniel,
    That sounds great. Would you mind sharing your bread recipes with us all here in the comments? (If you don't want to, that's ok as well) It would be great to know how to make loaves that will last several weeks with freshly ground wheat.
    Angela

  • beprepared  |  June 30, 2014

    Bev,
    Thanks for sharing. Would you be willing to share the recipe with us?
    Angela

  • Merianne S.  |  July 10, 2014

    I'd be willing to share my bread recipe! It's really easy and fast (from the time I start putting flour into the mixing bowl to the time it comes out of the oven is about 75 minutes)!
    I'll attempt to put it in here, but I have it in a file that I like to share because it has SO MUCH information about substitutions and additions.
    -----------------------------------
    Super Easy Whole Wheat Bread

    Pre-heat oven to 170°F. This recipe uses a mixer with a dough hook and mixer-bowl cover.

    Mix:
    4½ c Whole Wheat Floor
    1½ Tbsp Instant Yeast
    ⅓ c Vital Wheat Gluten
    ¼ tsp Ground Ginger (this feeds the yeast REALLY well)
    •Together in mixer for 1 min on low (I use a whisk or a fork to mix it by hand because it's faster)

    Add: 3 c HOT Water (Not Hotter Than 110°F)
    •HOT Water may be poured into measuring cup hotter and allowed to cool to 110°F.
    •Mix in mixer for 1–2 min on low until all ingredients are combined.
    •Scrape with rubber spatula to speed up mixing.
    •Stop mixer. Cover and let sit for 10 min. Use a timer for the 10 min.
    •Measure next set of ingredients while dough is proofing.

    Add:
    ¼ c Olive Oil
    1½ Tbsp Dough Enhancer or white vinegar (I use vinegar because we have dairy allergies)
    2¼ tsp Salt
    ½ c. honey (optional, it does make it more moist-like store bought bread, I leave it out for regular bread and use it when I make cinnamon rolls)
    1 Tbsp liquid soy lecithin (optional, preservative-extends shelf life from 3 to 10 days, but it never stays on the shelf that long at my house)

    Turn on mixer and add:
    2 – 3 c Additional Whole Wheat Floor
    •One cup at a time until dough pulls away from sides and isn’t sticky. Better to add too little than too much.
    •Keep mixing (kneading) for 7–10 min. Be sure to use a timer to prevent over-kneading.
    •Grease pans while dough is kneading. Spray oil works well. See notes below for freezing bread dough.
    •Lightly oil hands and divide dough into equal portions then shape and place into greased pans.
    •Place pans into warm oven at 170°F for 20–25 minutes to rise.
    •Without opening the door or disturbing the pans, turn the oven up to 350°F and bake for 20–25 minutes.
    •Remove the pans from the oven. Cool the pans with the bread on wire rack 5–10 minutes.
    •Remove the bread from the pans. Cool the bread out of the pans on wire rack to desired temperature.
    •Enjoy! Freezes well.

    Frozen Bread Dough –
    Dough can be frozen immediately after dough has finished kneading in the mixer but before rising in the oven.
    To freeze: Wrap well in plastic wrap with or without its baking pan and then freeze. If freezing multiple items, such as rolls, first freeze individually on a baking sheet, and then remove to a plastic bag or container in the freezer.
    To thaw: Place dough in its baking pan and lightly cover it. Leave at room temperature, or warmer up to 85°F, for about 3 hours or in the refrigerator overnight. The dough will rise as it thaws. Bake as directed.
    -----------------------------------
    BTW, Sam: Some of us find it much cheaper and easier to make our own food from scratch/raw than to try and buy specialty pre-prepared foods for our children with food allergies.

  • beprepared  |  July 11, 2014

    Merianne,
    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with all of us! This looks great!
    Angela

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