What did I learn this week? I learned that there is more interest in making bread with fresh ground flour than I anticipated! I’m thrilled. I’ve had a few questions asked after my recent bread making tutorial post that I wanted to quickly address…
- The equipment is definitely an investment (upwards of $300 each for a mill and mixer). It was several years after I bought my mill before I could afford the mixer. There are several different options for mills and a couple of different types of mixers also. Some sites offer “package deals” on both. I provided a link for the Nutrimill in my Nutrimill post to Amazon…they actually have great prices on both the mills and mixers. The Urban Homemaker is also a great starting place to look at equipment options. She has great articles and info as well. Here is a great chart comparing the different mills (scroll down until you see the green section). I actually ordered my mill from this company and was pleased with them.
- If you are making smaller batches, it is definitely possible to make the loaves without a mixer like mine. I used my bread machines to mix and bake my loaves for several years after I got my mill. Bread machines can also mix the loaves and they can be transferred to regular bread pans and baked in the oven. An ordinary stand mixer, like a Kitchen Aid, is capable of handling smaller batches, although I have been told that over time the whole grain dough is hard on them. I know there are some who actually knead the dough by hand, but I’m WAY too lazy for that!
- There are numerous sources for obtaining the grain. Shipping can be high, but often you can find a co-op in your area that orders together to reduce that expense. I’ve ordered individually and paid full shipping expense, made a group order with several friends and split shipping charges, and, most recently, ordered with a coop that orders at regular times during the year and receives a substantial shipping discount. Natural food stores, such as Whole Foods, usually sell the grain in their bulk aisle. The prices are quite a bit steeper than buying in bulk, but often the managers are willing to order a larger quantity for you at a reduced price if you ask. We’ve done this a couple of times. I’ve used and been pleased with Bob’s Red Mill and Breadbeckers (this is who the coop I have joined is through). I’ve heard good things about Azure Standard but haven’t personally ordered from them.
- The grain will store for a long period of time (as in years) and, if it’s in buckets with gamma seal lids, it can be stored almost anywhere. I am blessed to have room in my pantry for most of my buckets, but I keep several “overflow” buckets in my garage (in hot, humid Southeast Texas) and it does just fine. I had one batch of spelt that got buggy, but none of my regular wheat has ever had a problem and I think that batch was infested when I got it. I also store beans, rice, oats, and sucanat in mine.
In the near future I’ll address in more detail WHY grinding your own flour is so much healthier than anything you can buy at the store.
I’m linking this post up with Musing of a Housewife’s What I Learned This Week. Be sure to check it out!