“There is nothing more fundamental than knowing what you are putting in your mouth.”
—Kelsey Timmerman, Where Am I Eating
Bread in various forms serves as the global “staff of life.” American consumers have generalized that ALL bread and flour, mainly wheat, are food enemies in recent years. Wrongly accused, bread/flour are not the real villains. The actual food villains are the highly processed refined flavorless bags of flour that line the supermarkets’ shelves.
[bctt tweet=”The actual food villains are the highly processed refined flavorless bags of flour that line the shelves of supermarkets.” username=”DeniseSultenfus”]
Unlike our agrarian ancestors, who either milled grains at home or trekked daily to the local mill for flour, you live in a culture where grain is industrially milled. With this convenience comes a price. In their book, It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig explain from a nutritional standpoint how foods made with refined flours contribute to weight gain and significant health issues as well.
Unless you possess a diagnosed allergy to a particular grain, going gluten-free is not your free ticket for maintaining weight and health. Gluten-free grains like rice, amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, and teff (to list a few) undergo a similar refining process as their non-gluten counterparts. Even if you purchase store-bought GF flour, you still consume nutritionally inferior refined flour.
The simple solution: grind your grain at home.
Grinding your grain at home is easier and quicker than you think. Gone are the days when grinding wheat involves words like threshing, mortar, and pestle. To grind your grains, you need electricity and a handful of spunk. Grinding grain at home is quicker than heating last night’s leftovers in your microwave.
My home milling journey began eight years ago when I received a diagnosis of acute Lyme Disease. Debilitated by the disease’s insidious effects, I needed to reboot my immune system and revitalize my body. Partnering with medication with nutritional rehabilitation, I plunged myself into researching all I could regarding optimum nutrition. I concluded that refined and processed foods offered little nourishment to help heal my sick body.
While undergoing treatment for Lyme Disease, I attended a workshop, hosted by Sue Becker, that focused on home-ground flour’s nutritional benefits. I sat spellbound for the entire forty-minute talk. The workshop’s information, coupled with the knowledge about grain from my farmer-husband, convinced me to start milling grains at home. I implore you to read Sue’s riveting book, The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book: Learn Complete Milling and Baking Techniques, Includes 100 Delicious Recipes, and thank me later.
My story of Lyme disease is almost a decade old now, and I am in optimum health.
Compelling Reasons Why You Should Grind Your Grains at Home
Before industrialized milling, wheat served as a staple in diets that reach back as far as ancient civilizations. The wheat berry (seed) contains three layers: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Commercial milling mechanically removes the bran and the germ to prevent spoilage during the shipment of bread and grain-based foods.
Whole grain flour is real food. The germ and the bran contain 90% of the berry’s nutrition, so stripping those two vital components from the grain also removes over 30 nutrients.
Nutritionally defunct, the food industry devised synthetic nutrients to add back into the flour or flour-based food product. The artificial nutrients are euphemistically labeled “enriched,” which, of course, sounds better than “synthetically produced.”
The bottom line: If you want to eat bread and flour-based foods, then invest in a mill. Otherwise, expect to expand around the waistline and bump into other health issues. Whole grains milled at home can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of serious diseases.
Home Milling is Cost-Effective
The expense of a grinder/mill pales compared to what people are willing to unload for a flat-screen television. Unlike the entertainment system perched on a wall, the mill is an investment in your health.
There are many avenues to purchase grains for grinding:
- the bulk section at Whole Foods Market or health food store
- local co-ops like Azure Standard, Pleasantville Grains, Amazon
- a local farmer (availability based on the type of grain you want)
I live in the Mid-Atlantic, which does not produce the hard wheat conducive to bread baking. I purchase grain grown in the Midwest.
Home Milling is Easy and Quick
Mills are more comfortable to operate than most kitchen appliances and gadgets. You press the switch to “on,” pour in the desired grain, and in seconds you have a powerhouse of powdered nutrition.
First, let me dispel a nasty rumor circulating out there about wheat: there is no genetically modified (GMO) wheat grown, at present, in the United States. This information is a helpful tip so that you don’t pay extra for an unnecessary GMO label. When you mill your wheat, you control the quality of the whole grain that you purchase. As for other grains, if buying non-GMO grain is a priority for you, check with the distributor for details.
Freshly milled grains provide a unique flavor and texture to bread and baked goods. The flavorless fake white flour limps along in recipes. It needs the help of other ingredients in the recipe, namely sugar, to carry it through. At the same time, the flavor in whole grains showcases itself without the need for added flavors.
With so many grains available, you will enjoy experimenting with a variety of grains in your recipes. One of the easiest bread to make is an artisan loaf. Tabitha Alterman’s recipe for “Basic No-Knead Bread” is one of my all-time favorites to use. Her book, Whole Grain Baking Made Easy: Craft Delicious, Healthful Bread, Pastries, Desserts, and More – Including a Comprehensive Guide to Grinding Grains is rarely returned to its designated space on my kitchen bookshelf because I am constantly referring to it for recipes.
For the most part, you can use a basic recipe for bread or baked goods and substitute any non-GF grain. Gluten-free grains may require additional ingredients to achieve the desired result.
It is liberating to learn that bread and baked goods made with home-milled grains are no longer forbidden foods. I concur with Sue Becker of Bread Beckers Bakery, “As real bread returns to its rightful place as the staff of life, may this small investment of time” in grinding flour at home result in a deeper connection with food.
Milled Grain is Closer to Nature
God writes his message of love to us everywhere, even in the way he created the grains of the field. Unfortunately, we try to alter God’s design for the sake of convenience and economics.
My favorite mill, the one I use just about every day, is the Wondermill 110v Electric Grain Mill with Flour Canister and added Flour Bagger Canister and Bags.
Does milling your wheat conjure up images of spending hours in the kitchen? Do you have any experience with milling grains, if so please share!
I earn a small commission from products that I link to in this post. I only recommend products that I have tried myself.
If you are new to bread baking, try Jim Lahey’s, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery, No-Knead Bread Recipe. It requires no kneading. It uses no unique ingredients, equipment, or techniques. And it takes minimal effort — only time.