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Topsy
01-06-2016, 07:52 AM
One of my holiday presents this year was a grain mill. It was not something I asked for, but when I got it, I had this feeling like Harry Potter holding his wand for the first time. Do I deserve the power this thing yields? Am I worthy? And what the hell do I DO with it??

So, my true dilemma is that I've always bought pre-ground everything. I've never attempted to grind anything other than the occasional coffee bean. I could really use input from any of you who have used a grinder before. What are the best things to grind fresh (you know, something that I might actually recognize the name of)? Is there something ground fresh that would taste significantly better than it's pre-ground grocery-store counterpart? We definitely have bulk food co-ops here, so I can get fresh ingredients, I just really, really don't know where to start. HELP!!!

fastweedpuller
01-06-2016, 11:53 AM
Hi Topsy, can i ask you what kind you have...?

I have 2 grain mills (yes, nuts, but bear with me). One is just for flour, is electric, makes quite a racket and I have to use it outside because otherwise flour gets everywhere. The other is a crank-style mill that I use for corn, nuts and beans. It does not grind things nearly as finely as the other mill, but that is ok (polenta, cornbread, and even garbanzo beans for falafel don't need to be ground ridiculously powdery). Almond flour is our new favorite thing so it gets some use.

I buy wheat (or oats or rye berries) for the other mill. Hard red winter wheat is what I mainly use in my bread. Wheat berries keep forever, though I tend to keep all my grains in the freezer. You can't go and grind like 5 pounds of berries into flour because the machine gets too hot, so I do it in small, 1-lb. batches (and then freeze the flour I do not use). I also use the electric one on a less-fine setting for rice to make cream of rice cereal.

The hand mill is about $20 and you should be able to buy them in a Mexican grocery, it's a Corona. It is a beast but it's fun to get the kids involved. My other one is a Blendtec. It's okay and is fine for what I use it for...

muddylilly
01-06-2016, 12:44 PM
Yea!!!! I'm so excited for you!! Lots to learn, but it's awesome :)

Hand powered Country Living Grain Mill here....and electric Nurtimill as well. Knowing what kind you have (hand powered vs electric) is helpful, like FWP says. And some can handle more than others.

Also knowing what you like to eat is helpful.

Hard red winter wheat.....great for bread. Soft white.....cookies and cakes. Though it's really all a matter of taste :)

Some grinders will not grind all things, or will only do so after you change plates or augurs.....so check your manual BEFORE you throw nuts, corn, or beans in!!!!

And once grains are ground they will spoil faster.....just grind what you need.

Fresh ground anything....ALWAYS....tastes better!

Buy small amounts, first off. If you bake bread, start with a mix of hard red and soft white wheat berries (equal amts) and try your usual recipe. See what happens! If you go all hard red right out of the gate....you might be disappointed by it's denseness, unless you like your bread dense :)

I'll try to dig up a few of my favorite book titles for you later today! I'm so excited!!!

farrarwilliams
01-06-2016, 04:30 PM
Grain mills were such a "thing" in homeschool circles maybe fifteen years ago. It's like you've been transported to the past a little bit... ;)

Enjoy. I always thought they sounded really cool.

aselvarial
01-07-2016, 05:58 AM
Almond flour. It's RIDICULOUSLY expensive, but pretty easy to do. Same with quinoa flour, and oddly, rice flour. Never really got into grinding my own wheat flours, but who knows, it may be the next cooking adventure! It sounds like you'll be having fun!

muddylilly
01-07-2016, 12:56 PM
Not a recipe book, but this will teach you more than you wanted to know about wheat, your grinder, and grinding various grains in general :)

Flour Power: A Guide To Modern Home Grain Milling: Marleeta F. Basey: 9780970540119: Amazon.com: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Flour-Power-Guide-Modern-Milling/dp/0970540116/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452188829&sr=1-9&keywords=grinding+grains)

squares
01-16-2016, 07:22 PM
I want to join this club. You could say I put the cart before the horse, because tonight I just bought a ton of grains (kamut, barley, bulgur, etc.) but I have no mill. But I actually plan to try them whole anyway, so that's fine.

But I'd also like to get a hand grinder so I can make some flour for things like pizza dough, maybe even some bread. I think I want a hand grinder not only because it's cheaper but also because I'd like to grind things a little rougher, for texture, flavor, and also because I read that might be better for your health/microbiota.

I see most grinders clamp to the counter. There might not be any way around that, but I don't really have an ideal counter to clamp to. I wonder if there's an option for a cylinder that I can hold down with one hand, or between my arm and body, while cranking with the other hand. But if y'all think I'd regret going that way, I'd rather find out before I get it, and figure out a place I can clamp the thing to.

I'd be mostly interested in grinding grains similar to wheat, but also maybe corn. I have a killer cornbread recipe. It's all cornmeal, no wheat flour like so many recipes. I cook it in bacon fat or butter, and top with a bit of molasses (DD prefers honey).

muddylilly
01-16-2016, 10:24 PM
Mine is permanently bolted to my counter :) It's pretty, so I don't mind. But, I'm not aware of one that doesn't clamp down.

The health aspect you might be referring to, regarding hand grind vs electric, might be because some electric machines heat up the longer they grind. And the heat might make some sort of change to the grain. I grind, using my electric, in small batches, so mine doesn't heat up anyway.....but I'm not sure I'd be too concerned about it if I wanted to grind more at once. Electric is definitely easier, though.

When buying a new one, if going electric, read reviews or ask someone that has the model about noise, mess, and how versatile it is. (do you need special plates or augers to grind different things like nuts, beans, corn?)

Topsy
01-17-2016, 11:07 AM
Geez. Just realized I never got notified of responses to this one. SORRY for posting and dashing on this one. And THANK YOU for your input. I'll check on the type when I get back home. (out at the coffee shop ATM). Now I'm wanting to run out and grab some wheat berries to try fresh bread with them. I'd LOVE a recipe if you get time, fastweedpuller. (Also, squares, wouldn't mind your cornbread recipe as well!)

Muddylilly...THANK YOU for the book title!!! I got a gift certificate to our local independent bookstore for Christmas, so now I know my first spend!

squares
01-17-2016, 06:09 PM
Cornbread

Ingredients
- 2tbsp (or more, if you dare) bacon fat or butter
- 2c corn meal
- 1/2tsp salt
- 2tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2c milk (or buttermilk)

Note that the ingredients are all "2"s except the 1/2 which has a 2 anyway.

Heat oven to 450F. Place the bacon fat (which you can save when you cook bacon, just pour into a container and refrigerate until you're ready to use it) or butter into an 8x8 baking dish and put in the oven to melt.

In a mixing bowl, mix the corn meal, salt, and baking powder together. I like to add the eggs next, and whisk that around before adding the milk last. I use whole milk; I don't know how it would turn out with skim. Buttermilk, which I've used once when a friend gave some to me, is the more traditional liquid. The mixture will be thin.

When the fat/butter is melted, remove it from the oven and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 minutes.

Serve plain, topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, or with molasses or honey.

Topsy
01-19-2016, 07:44 PM
Cornbread

Ingredients
- 2tbsp (or more, if you dare) bacon fat or butter
- 2c corn meal
- 1/2tsp salt
- 2tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2c milk (or buttermilk)

Note that the ingredients are all "2"s except the 1/2 which has a 2 anyway.

Heat oven to 450F. Place the bacon fat (which you can save when you cook bacon, just pour into a container and refrigerate until you're ready to use it) or butter into an 8x8 baking dish and put in the oven to melt.

In a mixing bowl, mix the corn meal, salt, and baking powder together. I like to add the eggs next, and whisk that around before adding the milk last. I use whole milk; I don't know how it would turn out with skim. Buttermilk, which I've used once when a friend gave some to me, is the more traditional liquid. The mixture will be thin.

When the fat/butter is melted, remove it from the oven and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 minutes.

Serve plain, topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, or with molasses or honey.

Oh my gracious that sounds yum. And a big ole YES to the buttermilk. Woot!! THANK YOU for taking the time to share, squares.

Mariam
01-19-2016, 09:44 PM
Buttermilk is amazing for cornbread.