Mar 2, 2011

Flour mills?

MrsZ and I have been toying with the idea of grinding our own flour from whole grains on an as-needed basis. Flavor, nutrition, and the long storage nature of whole grains all sound like a good thing.

There's a local grain supplier that should make acquiring grain for storage a reasonable process, with just a bit of repackaging on this end.

I've done my homework as well as I can, and have narrowed down the realistic choices to the Country Living mill and the GrainMaker mill. I've read the review I can find online, and they generally seem to be on par. Prices are within spitting distance of each other.

So - do any of you have direct hands-on experience with either mill? I'm leaning towards the GrainMaker due to warranty and inclusion of the second auger, but open to suggestions or thoughts.


mhaithaca said...

Doesn't flour last essentially forever already, if kept in proper containers? If you want to grind your own, go for it, but I wouldn't worry about the storage factor.

Might be worth asking Leslie from Just Desserts where she gets her wholegrain flours. You might find there's great flour you can get quite affordably without the mess, extra effort, and initial expense of grinding your own.

ZerCool said...

I guess to a certain extent it depends on how you define "flour". :-)

Going by the chart here, they're suggesting that all-purpose white flour (bleh) has a storage life of up to 15 years. "Whole wheat" flour, up to five years. Of course, "whole wheat" could be a bit ... misleading.

Have a look at what comes out during wheat processing.

Everything I've seen suggests that true whole-wheat flour has no more than a few weeks shelf life.

Here's the real kicker: wheat berries (true whole grains) can easily be stored for 30+ years. The short shelf life comes from breaking them open and turning them into flour.

Are there wonderful flour mixes readily available that can stored for a couple years and still taste good? Absolutely.

However, having had the waffles made by my brother-in-law from ground-the-night-before grain ... it'd be a HARD sell to convince me that can be beat.

mhaithaca said...

Then I look forward to trying your waffles. :-)

Old NFO said...

Um... gotta admit I don't have a clue... sorry.

doubletrouble said...

Check out "Backwoods Home" website. We get this magazine, & I know I've seen info about the relative merits of various mills, both manual & powered. I highly recommend that magazine; it's the only one we keep for future reference.

I'd go look in my collection, but I'm too lazy.

ZerCool said...

DT - we're on the same page with BHM. Had a subscription for a few years now and when it comes off the back of the toilet it goes on a shelf in the den.

I'll dig through their site and see what pops out at me.

Adaptive said...

Wheat berries (properly stored) last something like forever and unless your family is huge it's cheap enough that you'll forget what you paid for it. Storage is brainless easy; I use a five gallon bucket with a gamma seal lid. Flour lasts a long time too but it will eventually taste more like drywall sandings than food.

I grind wheat berries into flour immediately before I use it for whatever I'm baking. You can't imagine how much better it tastes.

Once caveat is that I'm a knuckle dragging moron of a cook. I pretty much stick to making bread with a bread machine. Shocklingly, it's always good. If my cro-magnon level cooking improves with a grain mill, I expect a real cook might achieve Nirvana.