Grinding grains for flour | Simple Bites #DIY #realfood

An introduction to grinding grain for flour

Baking bread when I was growing up meant first slipping down to the basement larder and grinding the grain. The machine was absolutely deafening, but I loved the smell of freshly milled flour and the way it floated down to form miniature snowy mountains in my bucket.

My mother still grinds her own grains and regales me with tales of her kamut lasagna noodles and soft wheat pizza dough; as always, she’s years ahead of the current whole foods movement. I had quite a few tools and appliances that I needed to invest in when I set up my own kitchen and a grain mill was low in the list. It was there, though, for my ‘someday’.

Naturally I was very excited last fall when KitchenAid Canada provided me with a grain mill attachment to go with my beloved 7-quart stand mixer. It’s funny, I feel as though I have both traveled back in time to to that flour dusted larder floor and taken a step ahead into another level of baking with whole, unprocessed ingredients in my kitchen.

Grinding grains for flour | Simple Bites #DIY #realfood

 Why grind your own flour?

Most of your fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are found in the bran and germ of a wheat kernel – but this is the very part that gets removed in processed flours you find in supermarkets. Grinding your own flour ensures that you are baking with the most nutritious product possible.

Freshly ground flour contains the natural oils found in the grain which adds a lightness to baked goods that ordinary whole wheat flour does not contribute. As a caution, this also means that the home-milled flour needs to be used up quickly (within a day or two) or kept cold so the oil does not turn rancid. My mother always stored her ground flour in the refrigerator until we pulled it out for pancakes or the daily loaf.

Also, price can factor in, especially if you tend to cook with a lot of specialty or gluten free flours. These can be expensive to buy and it’s cheaper to buy the grains and grind them yourself as needed.

Grinding grains for flour | Simple Bites #DIY #realfood

What grain to buy and where to find it

Whole grains can typically be found at your local heath food store, although I admit, facing the bulk bins for the first time can be a little daunting. I remember whipping out my phone and calling my mother. Yep, I sure did. Um, Mom? Hard or soft wheat? What do I want for my daily loaf? Help!

I’m currently alternating between soft wheat (for pizza crust, muffins and all-purpose baking) and hard (for breads). I run the occasional batch of rolled oats for through for oat flour (for scones), but I have yet to branch out into the gamut of gluten-free and ancient grains. (Anyone know where I can buy Einkorn wheat berries in Canada?)

Grinding grains for flour | Simple Bites #DIY #realfood

Grinding the wheat

My set up for the actual grinding process is as simple as switching from the whisk to the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. I love how KitchenAid keeps things so user friendly (I’m really not the mechanical type).

The all-metal grain mill attaches to the mixer and the grain goes straight in the hopper. Place a bowl underneath, plug the mixer in and turn it to maximum speed. Then sit back, watch the flour drift down and breathe in the aroma of freshly ground whole wheat flour. It’s a little bit magical, I have to say.

Grinding grains for flour | Simple Bites #DIY #realfood

Pros of the KitchenAid Grain Mill attachment.

  • It is small to store. One of the biggest complaints I have heard about stand-alone grain mills is that they are very large (bigger than an average KA mixer, in fact). I just don’t have the space to store another large appliance, which is why an attachment works best for me.
  • It works clean. The grain grinds up with very little dust.
  • It’s quiet. Compared to the deafening noise of most grain mills.
  • It’s user-friendly. As mentioned above.

Grinding grains for flour | Simple Bites #DIY #realfood

What about mass production?

I’ve read a lot of the forums on this particular attachment and there are concern about long-term use of the KitchenAid grain mill as well as wear and tear on the mixer itself. While I can’t speak from experience, my guess is that this attachment is best for smaller batches of flour. My Pro Line 1.3 HP mixer has never even warmed slightly during a grind, but it would be interesting to see how the smaller models held up.

We’re not gluten free, low carb or Paleo by any means, but we are eating less and less bread and baked goods. I’m finding that when I do bake, I want to use the freshest, best product I can and for now that means grinding my own grains. I know this attachment is hefty enough to keep up with our weekly demand and I’m looking forward to expanding our repertoire of home ground flours – with my mother’s input of course.

DISCLOSURE:

KitchenAid Canada has compensated me for my services and my posts, but all posts represent my own opinion.

Are you interested in grinding your own grains? Have you ever ground your own flour?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. Will you share some recipes? I am guessing that they would be slightly different than merely subbing this flour for store bought. Thanks!

  2. When I saw your instagram photo of grain grinding this weekend, I was really hoping there’d be a follow up how-to post – then, voila, this arrived in my inbox! In January I went to started making my own breads, and instantly wrote off commercial bread-buying! I’ve been thinking grain grinding should be my next frontier, so thanks for the grinder recommendation and tips about which grains to use for which recipes.
    Dena Norton’s last post: By: Homemade Christmas Gifts – Military in Germany

  3. Lynnette Dodge says:

    Thank you for this article … I am very interested in grinding my own flour and plan on purchasing the attachment for the KitchenAid. I concur that the thought of having another tool in the kitchen was a bit overwhelming to me so just getting an attachment for a pre-existing tool is ideal. Thanks again for this information post …

  4. Try Anita’s Organic Mill in Chilliwack (https://www.anitasorganic.com) for Einkorn. I didn’t see it on their website, but I thought
    I had maybe seem it in their store. It’s worth checking out at any rate.

  5. Aimée,
    When I bought my Vitamix blender oh . . . boy at least a dozen years ago . . . it happened to come with a dry blade container for grinding grains. I really bought it to make smoothies, so this was definitely an un-needed bonus that turned into a benefit years later.
    Every once in a while I come across wheat berries and will grind my own whole wheat flour, though I haven’t found an economical source for them here, and it seems crazy to spend triple the cost (or more!) for berries than for the same weight of flour. Admittedly, I haven’t exhausted my search here in our new home, but Amazon–ouch!

    I do know my sourdough starter prefers freshly ground flour, and I like to keep my starter happy, so I’ve been grinding at least once a month.
    Kirsten’s last post: Red Cabbage, Leek, Brat and Beet Skillet Supper

    • I’ve heard good things about the grain grinder on the Vitamix, Kirsten. Any time you can use one appliance for multiple purposes is a win in my books!

  6. I have always wanted to try grinding my own
    Heather @ French Press’s last post: Skillet Mac and Cheese {pizza style}

  7. Hi, I’ve been grinding grain for years and years, but was intrigued by your mom’s ” spelt lasagna noodles…any chance of getting her recipe?

  8. zoe wimbush says:

    Wow- a lovely article Aimee- so proud of you. This morning I ground spelt and mixed it with ‘light’ spelt [found at health store] and made Miranda’s scone recipe. They are so light and spelt is easily digestable. Both spelt and kamut are ancient grains – kamut is best in pasta and pitas-it is golden and I use it more like hard wheat—spelt I use more like I would use soft wheat—in pastries. You will get used to the various flavors as you use the grains. I always grind twice as the finer the better.

  9. Great article! Is the grinder made of aluminum?

  10. Re. hard-to-find grains, give the Arva Flour Mill (London, ON) a call. If they don’t carry them, they might know where to source them. They’re my go-to for all sorts of great stuff – and they will send stuff to you. Have fun!

  11. wow would i love too!

  12. I have thought about it! My Vita Mix has the attachment and I would need to purchase it. But the drawback is fresh bread…my husband thinks it’s necessary to eat the whole loaf fresh from the oven and I don’t think I could keep up with this quirk!
    Linda Goudelock’s last post: travel plans

  13. I’ve always wanted to try this Aimée, thanks for the review!
    Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)’s last post: Meeting the French: Behind-the-scenes at Gérard Mulot (Paris)

  14. Once you go fresh it is hard to go back! I bought my vitamix almost entirely because I wanted to grind my own wheat. I can now buy the organic grains in bulk and it saves us a lot of money. (It also tastes divine!)
    Cat@NeoHomesteading.com‘s last post: Wholesome Every Day: Nourishing Make-Ahead Meals

  15. How is the texture with the KitchenAid? I have been shopping around for a grain mill and currently am just using my BlendTec blender (small batches). I wonder if the grain is fine enough without being too gritty?
    Trisha’s last post: It’s a Brand New Idea Book! | Spring/Summer 2014

  16. Hi. I’m not sure you ever did check out Anita’s Organic Mill in Chilliwack, BC but they DO have Einkorn kernels :) I’m currently looking into grinding my own grains versus buying the flours. I’ve enjoyed them all so far; Emmer, Einkorn, Spelt, Kamut, the list goes on! Don’t be afraid to branch out! :)

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