Learn why it is beneficial to your health to grind your own wheat for baking. Grinding wheat to make flour is not hard and the health benefits may surprise you.
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If you had told me 10 years ago that I would one day be grinding my own wheat and baking fresh loaves of bread for my family several times a week, I would say you were crazy. But here I am, 6 years in and I only wish I had started sooner. The bread sold in stores doesn’t even compare to the nutrient-dense loaves that can be made at home. The ingredients are simple and the reward is great.
“Of the 44 known essential nutrients needed by our bodies and naturally obtained from foods, only 4 are missing from wheat; vitamin A, B12, and C, and the mineral iodine.” Sue Becker
When I mill my own flour, I get the full nutritional value of the whole grain. The outer layer(bran), which contains the largest amount of insoluble fiber, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, iron and zinc; and the germ(seed) which is an excellent source of B vitamins and other crucial minerals. The endosperm(middle layer) contains protein and carbohydrates along with small amounts of B vitamins, iron and soluble fiber.
If grains are loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals and fiber, why do most people think they are bad?
In the 1800s and earlier, if you wanted to bake breads for your family you would take your wheat berries to the local mill on the morning you wanted to bake. Because grinding the entire wheat berry results in a nutrient-dense, but easily spoiled flour this had to be done every time you needed flour, not super convenient. In the late 1800s, the invention of industrial milling resulted in the discovery that if you separate the bran and germ from the endosperm(middle layer), you are left with a white flour that has a longer shelf life. The downside is that it leaves a lifeless flour, stripped of it’s important insoluble fiber, vitamins and minerals; all of which are essential for proper digestion and nourishment.
Even whole grain flour sold in stores isn’t the same. The whole grains are separated and then recombined and it’s not the same. The process causes vitamins and minerals to be lost and it is a lousy substitute for the real deal; freshly milled wheat berries packed with good things.
How does it taste?
Freshly ground whole wheat has an amazing lightness and sweet flavor because the germ oil is still intact and hasn’t gone rancid. It’s important to use your freshly ground flour as quickly as possible after you grind it to get the absolute best flavor, keep the vital minerals and vitamins in tact and to avoid oxidation. I simply grind the amount of wheat I need for the recipe and store the whole wheat grains in a food grade bucket with tight sealing lid.
Does the bread taste like whole wheat bread from the grocery store?
Absolutely not. Not in the slightest. I actually can’t stand “whole wheat” bread from the store. It tastes bitter and old. Not words that I want to describe bread I’m about to eat. Bread made from freshly milled wheat is light and fluffy, rich in flavor and so so soft. My boys literally wait by the oven to watch it cook to get those first few slices of the freshest bread their sweet little selves have ever tasted. It is heaven on earth and the smell that will fill you house…heavenly!
So how do I grind my own wheat? What do I need?
All you need are wheat berries and a grain mill. I like to use hard white wheat berries. I find them on amazon and I always, always buy organic, non-gmo. The last thing you want in your fresh bread you worked hard to make is nasty chemicals. This is the exact brand I use.
As for grain mills, there are 2 I can recommend. I personally own the Wonder Mill. And I have friends who use and love the NutriMill. Both are high quality mills and will last for years and years. I have had my Wonder Mill for 6 years and never had a single issue with it.
I first learned about the concept of milling your own wheat from The Bread Beckers. They are a lovely family who live in Georgia and teach people how to grind wheat and make their own breads. I have their recipe book and have used it exclusively to make my breads, cinnamon rolls, pizza crusts and so much more. I highly recommend their recipe book!
So let’s recap the benefits of grinding your own wheat at home:
- Baking with freshly ground wheat keeps all the vitamins and minerals intact.
- The whole wheat berry is consumed, so your body is able to easily digest the bread because it’s a whole food.
- The taste is way better than white flour or whole wheat flour.
- Whole wheat is loaded with insoluble fiber, so if you need help with regularity, look no further 😉
- You know exactly what is in your bread. Nothing funny going on, just whole food.
- It’s incredibly delicious and rewarding. It feels so good to bake the breads for my family using completely organic ingredients that haven’t been tampered with
Bread recipes and tutorials coming soon!