If the idea of milling your own flour sounds too geeky or complicated, just think “coffee grinder.” Making freshly milled flour is about as challenging as running coffee beans through the grinder. And the difference in flavor, freshness and health makes even this minor inconvenience more than worth the trouble.
Grinding your own flour at home requires an initial investment in a home grain mill (about the price of a good food processor), some clean grain and 10 or 15 minutes of your time. I use a Blendtec mill, but there are a number of other good mills on the market. Many of these grain mills have been developed in Utah by Mormon engineers, masters at food technology and nutritional enhancements. Check out some of the best grain mills below.
I generally make bread for myself using 100 percent medium-grind whole wheat flour milled just minutes before mixing and baking. You should be able to buy hard red or white wheat berries (you want “hard” wheat, which has a higher protein content than “soft” and is therefore more suitable for baking yeasted breads) in bulk at your local health-food store. You can also find it online at King Arthur Flour or Lehman’s. I always buy organic, because I value my own health and also because I want to encourage farmers to take care of their land and the life on it.
Try These Home Grain Mills
Home Kitchen Mill by Blendtec, $179
With its boxy shape, this mill easily fits on the kitchen counter and will mill up to 20 cups of flour in a few minutes. It is a bit noisy, but well worth it, since the end product smells sweet and adds an indescribable texture and aroma to your finished bread.
Handpowered Grain Mill #35 by GrainMaker, $325
If a handpowered mill appeals to you, you might try this beautiful piece of machinery. You’ll have to buy the clamp separately, but it’s a champ and dependable even when the power goes off. (They even have a bicycle-powered unit, if you want to work off the carbs while you create some more.)
Lynn Alley is a food and travel writer who wrote 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011).