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Home flour milling

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Nicko suggested I start a post on this for those who want to grind their own flour. It is work and not for everybody!


Step one is deciding on a mill.


How much flour do you need a week?

Do you want motorized?

Do you want to be able to control the grind from super fine to cracked wheat or settle for standard flour?


When picking a mill one of my main concerns was being able to use it during power outages. I went with a hand cranked mill that I can add a motor too if I want. I also wanted stone grinding wheels and not steel. Retsel is one of the major mill makers, they have a great product and some of the worst customer service on the planet. If you order form them patience is required because shipping is slow, mt mill took 2 months to ship. I got there most basic mill because I only use 4-6 cups of flour a week. http://retsel.com/store/product_info.php/cPath/26_31/products_id/34/osCsid/2ea6e9b4dcf6f1cbe304db777be6d521


Other types of mills are out there, impact mills that turn wheat berries to flour via a spinning hammer type mill head. They work well if all you want is all purpose flour but have little adjustment range. Motorized mills without hand cranks but use the standard grinding wheels of steel or stone letting you grind flour from ultra fine to cracked wheat(makes great breakfast porridge). I had an impact type mill for 2 years. It worked but I was not satisfied with the lack of adjustment. Plus with impact mills you MUST sort the wheat berries and remove all stones. I missed a stone and when my mill was 2 years old it self destructed beyond economical repair.That tipped me in favor of an old fashioned mill. If I miss a stone I can feel and hear it hit the grinding wheels and remove it before it does much damage.


Motorizing is nice but you lose that feel for what the mill is doing, yes you can hear a stone but you may not be able to turn it off before it wrecks your stones or steel burrs.


Prices for mills can range from $40 upwards. I have seen mills go for over $1,000 but they are also reproductions of antiques that are functional. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/ has a lot of mill reviews and is a good starting point to decide what you want. They also have recipes because using fresh flour is a bit different than something that may have been in storage a year or more.


Fresh flour has many nutritional benefits. All of the wheat berry is in it, commercial flour removes the bran and wheat germ, they also process with chemicals and add things to it. Fresh flour has disadvantages, recipe changes, short shelf life. Recipe changes can be worked out, using a biga or other type of starter helps digest the wheat a bit making it easier for us to digest it and get more out of it. And I have found that people with gluten intolerance can often handle the organic wheat made from older strains. Heirloom wheat varieties do not have the over abundance of a certain enzyme and I suspect that has a link to gluten intolerance.


Now that you have a mill you are going to find other things to grind. With steel burrs(plates) I can make peanut butter, grind oily seeds etc that an impact mil can't touch. Plus you can grind rice, corn, beans(ground pinto beans are great for fast refried beans). I grind cornmeal for making corn bread and it tastes so much better than the stale corn meal off the shelf.


Hope this helps a little, get questions going about what works and what doesn't. I use recipes from the internet and from the Bread Bakers Apprentice, and you can use  a bread machine if you want. I do for sandwich breads just because it is easy. A small 1 1/2 pound loaf lasts me a week. Excess dough gets formed into rolls, sub buns etc and I freeze them. Take 1 or 2 out the night before, place in an oiled bowl, cover and into the fridge over night. In the morning take them out and let them rise on the counter then bake for fresh bread for supper.

post #2 of 5

Thank you so much for providing all that information @MaryB !! I have been milling ... huh... mulling over possibly milling my own flour for a while, and I truly appreciate all those details. :)

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

One thing I may have forgot, wheat berries stored in a sealed container in a cool place last a year easy. They do not go stale like flour

post #4 of 5
Fot my wedding I got a 7qt kitchen aid (I was so giddy) and also the grain mill attachment. Do you have any experience with that mill? Im sure its not on the same level as what you have (it cannot grind nuts or oily seeds) Pretty much the only loaf ive been making these days are the tartine type boules. If I start feeding my starter with the flour I milled myself, would there be a hugs difference in taste? And say, in the case of the tartine loaf, it contains 15% whole wheat, I wouldnt have to adjust ny formula would I? Also, you ever do sprouted grains? I just sprouted some millet and spelt, I wanted to have them ad inculsions in the loaf.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have not tried sprouted grains yet. The KA flour mill is not bad, not great but it does the job. Make sure to pour your wheat on a sheet tray and pick out the trash before grinding. I think it also has a pretty decent adjustment range so cracked wheat should be doable. Using home ground flour means adjusting recipes to whole wheat. Most of the good bread baking books cover this along with the Fresh Loaf website having a section on it.


You will see a huge taste difference, you are getting the wheat germ along with the husks. Overnight ferments of starters will show signs of a sourdough starter due to the husks containing wild yeasts. It is fun to play with the starters to get different flavors.

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