This post was originally published in February, 2011.
I want to take some time to address some of the many whole wheat flour questions I receive from those of you making the switch from white to brown. So many of you email me to say “I wish we liked whole wheat flour…we just don’t. What ideas do you have?” or “When I bake with whole wheat flour, my food often feels and tastes heavy and grainy. My kids won’t eat it.” or “Laura, you look really good with flour in your hair, what’s your secret for getting it right there on your bangs?” Just kidding about that last statement. Thankfully.
My suggestion (and hear me out on this, because I think I know all of your arguments) is…okay actually I have two suggestions.
Switch to Whole Wheat Flour
- Use a Grain Mill to grind fresh flour.
- Use Hard WHITE Wheat.
Here’s the deal: I have NEVER liked store-bought whole wheat flour. Still don’t like it very much. The idea of switching to whole wheat flour to me was NOT appealing and I DIDN’T want to.
Until I had a piece of my friend’s bread made with freshly ground hard white wheat flour. That was all the evidence I needed.
I really didn’t believe her when she said that the bread was 100% whole wheat. It didn’t taste whole wheat. It didn’t look whole wheat. It didn’t feel whole wheat. Oh, but did it ever smell and taste good.
It was at that moment (after she answered more of my questions and after I talked it over with Matt of course) that I decided that I would save any extra money we had toward getting my own grain mill. The problem was…we had NO extra money to save toward a grain mill.
What I Did:
I started buying Hard White Wheat and letting my friend grind it for me. She was so sweet to do this, and it worked, but it certainly wasn’t convenient. I then began making these soft pretzels to sell at our local farmer’s market to save for my Nutrimill. It took just a few weeks before I had enough money saved. I ordered my Nutrimill right away! That was five years ago, and I’ve gotta say that saving up for and buying my Nutrimill was SUCH a great investment. My whole family thinks so.
Why Freshly Ground Flour Made from Hard White Wheat is Different (and tastes so good):
Well, fresh flour is…fresh. It’s amazing the difference in taste you’ll notice when you eat bread and other goodies made from flour that has been freshly ground. The whole wheat flour from the store is a little on the old side and is likely even to be rancid. It is usually often made from RED wheat.
Which leads me to my second point about why freshly ground flour from hard white wheat is different and tastes so good: White wheat is lighter in texture and color than red wheat. Whole wheat flour made from Hard White Wheat produces lovely bread, tortillas, pizza crust, muffins…everything you need flour for.
The Question of the Hour:
But Laura, doesn’t white wheat turn into white flour?
Ah, I didn’t get that at first either. But NO, it absolutely doesn’t. Hard White Winter Wheat is simply a different variety of grain. Hard Spring Red Wheat has the same nutritional value as Hard White Winter Wheat…but white wheat makes (in my opinion) a nicer and more palatable whole wheat flour.
I think you’ll notice a big difference.
(White flour that you buy at the store, by the way, is flour made by sifting out the bran and germ after the grain has been ground. This was originally done to give it a longer shelf life. Now, unless otherwise noted, the white flour is bleached to make it whiter. Yum.)
What Do I Suggest?
See if you can find someone who has a grain mill and will let you try out freshly ground flour made from hard white wheat. Hey, if you come over to my place, I’ll let you try some of mine! (I may even share my secret of getting flour in my hair.)
If you like it (the freshly ground flour…not the flour in my hair), I recommend doing a little something to save up for a grain mill. I love my Nutrimill!!! Here’s a video of me showing how to use the Nutrimill. I love Paula’s Bread as your go-to source for purchasing a Nutrimill. She offers great prices and offers wonderful customer service.
And…you may want to look into this online Bread Class offered by Lori. She teaches you to use freshly ground flour to make a perfect loaf of bread…and other great baked goods too! It’s a very helpful class!
Lastly…I will recommend that if you just aren’t able to grind fresh flour right now, try to find store bought whole wheat flour made from white wheat, labeled, White Whole Wheat. King Arthur has a nice variety. It’s not quite the same (because it isn’t fresh), but it’s the best store-bought flour I’ve used.
Those of you who’ve been grinding your own flour…share what you love about it! How were you able to make the investment to get a grain mill? Which is your favorite grain mill and wheat to grind?
(You’ll find more posts I’ve written about grinding grain, where I recommend getting grain, which grain I recommend and ALL kinds of grainy questions answered in this section!)
Disclaimer: No one here is going to force you to grind your own flour, eat white wheat or get flour in your hair. If you like flour make with red wheat, enjoy! If you can’t afford a grain mill, this is not a guilt trip. I’m just answering many readers’ questions. Hopefully you all found it helpful. And hopefully you are much cleaner bakers than I am. Not only is there flour in my hair, it is also on my kitchen floor and counter tops. I need to go clean my kitchen.
Abbey Richards says
You sold me I WANT this!!!
Bethany B. says
Thank you for this! I’ve been using King Arthur’s White Wheat flour & it’s definitely better, but my husband still isn’t very fond of the taste & texture. I’ve been wondering if it would be worth it to save up for a grain mill, but I’m just not sure because of the price tag. Do you think it would still be worth it?
Thank you SO much for doing this blog! I’ve learned so much about how to be a better homemaker and am so grateful for all you share!
YES…it really is worth it, I promise!! Here’s a post I wrote about how investing in a grain mill can/should save you money! https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/grain-mills-pt-1-should-you-buy-one-does-it-save-money
Bethany B. says
Thank you! I’m convinced! Time to start saving!
I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve written, Laura.
I bought a Wonder Mill last year, and cannot believe how much better my bread and other baked goods taste using freshly ground flour. I was not a big whole wheat flour fan either before this. The stuff from the store is just not…fresh. It doesn’t taste right. It’s heavy and blech. The flour ground with my mill is light and fluffy and full of the nutrients God put in grain to begin with!
My family inhales my homemade bread now, and friends are amazed that this light, delicious bread I feed them is all whole wheat.
This was really the best kitchen investment I’ve ever made next to my Kitchen Aide stand mixer. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
(Not to say the WonderMill is better than yours, because I have no experience whatsoever with the Nutri Mill. I have no idea how they compare, this is just me raving about my particular mill. )
Great Article. I am still saving up for an electric wheat grinder, but in the meantime, I have used a hand grinder that I bought for $50 for the past 2 years.
I can use it to make pizza crust, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, etc. But, for baking bread I have to ask a friend to grind some wheat for me. The hand grinder doesn’t get it fine enough for bread.
Abbey Richards says
Maybe Nutrimill will allow you to do a Giveaway for promoting their mill??? We can hope right??? ;)
I would LOVE a mill! LOVE one. But we just can’t right now! King Arthur does make White Whole Wheat Flour that we use. It’s made from white hard wheat.
I got a nutrimill on my birthday and I have hard white wheat to mill. The taste is definetly better than the whole wheat flour in the store!!!
I use to make pancakes, bread, etc from the whole wheat flour bought at the store and it does have a different flavor that I didn’t even care for.
So, I hmmmmmmed and hawed over one. Put one in my amazon basket….and then my husband suprised me with one on my birthday.
Very good investment. I was at a cute little country store and was looking at their whole wheat loaves of bread made with the nice stuff…no artificial anything and the one loaf was almost $5 dollars.
The taste of my homemade tortillas with freshly ground wheat can’t be beat! IT’s not a lot of work! Throw some wheat in the grinder, turn it on and presto chango in 5minutes or more you have flour.
I would also look on craigslist for a mill sometimes I see them there.
Kathleen T says
I first tasted fresh ground hard white wheat flour at a friend’s house. Then I learned one of our grocery stores had a commercial grinder in the store where I could grind a 5 pound bag in a few minutes for about 89 cents a pound, cheaper than the King Arthur I had been buying. It has since broke though, so I’ve been pining for my own even more!
I’ve been saving up for a grain mill by using points earned from credit card purchases; I can trade my points for an Amazon gift card. I’ve also been saving cash presents from family and friends for birthdays and Christmases. I also get a cash check from internet shopping via Mr. Rebates, http://www.mrrebates.com. Shop on any store via the Mr. Rebates link like Lands End, eBay, and many many more and you get a percentage of your purchase back in cash. It typically ranges from 1-10%. Once you accumulate at least $25 in cash you can request a check or deposit in your paypal account, or let it keep accruing.
I am turning 40 in a few days and to celebrate I’m getting a grain mill (in lieu of any party expenses). My husband thought it strange that instead of having a bash for turning 40 I wanted a grain mill, but my opportunity to have one has finally come with enough saving!
I am getting a cheaper one than the NutriMill or WonderMill; It’s the Blentec KTec Mill, for $179 on Amazon.
I tried one at a friend’s house and it works great.
I will be grinding mostly spelt, as it has a lower gluten profile than traditional white or red wheat.
I also use a $15 electric coffee grinder to mill my daily flax seeds and chia seeds for awesome health boosts to so many recipes. We use milled chia seeds and water as an egg replacer for our child who is allergic to eggs. In a pinch the coffee grinder can be used to mill small amounts of almond flour. When I need more almond flour I use my food processor, though it typically turns out more like almond meal. But again, anything freshly milled in any texture is best for our bodies instead of buying something in a rancid state off of the store shelves.
Here’s the link to the mill I’ll be ordering in a few days…Yay!
I got the same one, the KTEC. It is great. But I bought it one ebay rather than amazon. Not trying to sway you, but you can get it on ebay and sign up for ebates first and earn a percent back on your purchase, making it cheaper. Plus free shipping on the one that I got for $179.95. Here is the link http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Blendtec-K-Tec-Kitchen-Mill-Grain-Flour-Wheat-ktec-/360130329709?pt=Small_Kitchen_Appliances_US&hash=item53d970bc6d
For the past couple years I’ve been trying to find a recipe for whole wheat bread that my family would eat with no success. Last month I was blessed enough to win a Nutrimill in a giveaway and when I made my first loaf with fresh ground white wheat my family couldn’t get enough! If I’d known what a difference it would make I would have bought a mill long ago! It is so worth saving up for! If necessary I would tell my hubby to skip my birthday and Christmas presents and save that money until we could afford it. Now I may have to do that to get a Bosch mixer so I can make enough to last longer than a couple days!
Azure Standard also sells Hard White Whole Wheat flour. http://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/708/
I have that now & use it in cookies. Hopefully bread & buns will be this week. :)
I am still hoping to get a mill though.
It’s all TRUE!! Our family story is very much the same. My kids and hubby would always refuse to eat store bought whole wheat bread. I started making all our bread, but did not have a mill, I used King Arthur red, then discovered, white whole wheat, they tolerated it. Then I got my grain mill, and now grind Hard white wheat, my kids LOVE this bread!! The taste is not like any store bought whole wheat. my 9 year old actually asked MOM why is your bread so GOOD??? this is a girl who wouldnt touch whole wheat a year ago.
I would love to get a grain mill, have been saving up slowly but surely. On an unrelated topic (kinda), can you tell me where you buy your brown parchment paper? I’ve been searching for this around me, and haven’t been able to find it.
I usually order unbleached parchment paper from Amazon or I get it from my health food co-op, Azure Standard.
I have a wondermill and love it! We tried the hard red, too strong for us. I switched to hard white, it still took us some time to adjust(we were die hard store bought white bread eaters). To make the adjustment easier, everytime I baked something I added oats, then split the rest between spelt and hard white. That made a huge difference!. Even my pick 6 year old doesn’t complain. I took Lori’s bread class and it helped sooo much. My recipe I’m using now for bread is a little different from her’s, but everyone loves it!
I couldn’t agree more! Now that I have a Nutrimill I’ve easily been able to experiment with other flours – Kamut grain makes yummy tortillas (and they aren’t wheaty tasting at all), and spelt flour makes a yummy strawberry shortcake. Here is the tortilla recipe:
Dee Wolters says
When we moved to Idaho in 1999 we were surrounded by wheat fields, literally 400K acres of wheat. One of the farmers gave me all the wheat berries I wanted for free. I was only asking for a 5 gal bucket, so it was not much to him. After researching grain mills, I just did not have the money. But I did find a grain mill attachment for my Kitchen Aide mixer for much less. It was acutally my first ebay purchase. For less than $100 I had a grain mill. I have been using it ever since. It works great, no problems. So if you have a kitchen aid, check it out.
This post is so true! I have been grinding my own wheat for about 4 years now and love it. There is a definite difference between white wheat and red wheat. And there is a HUGE difference between freshly ground and store bought in both taste and nutritional value.
I get all my grain from Breadbeckers in Woodstock, GA. They hold classes to help you learn all about grinding your own wheat and how to bake with it. They state that once the wheat kernel is broken open, as in milling, the nutrients immediately begin to oxidize. Within about 72 hours, 90% of over 30 nutrients are virtually gone. That’s why you should use up your freshly ground flour within 72 hours. And that’s also why store bought isn’t the best.
I use the Wondermill and love it!
Jen Fortin says
Ok, probably a very stupid question, but exactly what do you buy and what does it look like (whole white wheat)? I went to Azure and they have a grain and berries. Very cheap too, but little confused about what to buy.
Jen Fortin says
Oh and does it ground small stuff, like flaxseeds?
Jill Roper says
Nutra Mill does not grind flax. It is a very oily grain. The name
berries are the grain. Try winter white wheat.
Use a small coffee grinder for flax seeds… you can always find them at thrift stores and yard salesfor cheap. I have a little krups grinder for flax seeds and spices (don’t use your regular coffe grinder, you don’t want your coffee tasting like flax, or your flax like coffee….or do you??) ;)
Kathleen T says
Flax is too oily to grind in a mill; it will clog it. I grind my flax and chia seed daily in a $15 coffee grinder I got on Amazon (we don’t drink coffee) and it works fabulous. I got a Krups brand coffee/spice grinder. You just need to wipe it clean between uses so the flax residue doesn’t oxidize, leaving rancid oil behind. Flax is very fragile that way.T’s a K
I should take a picture of hard white wheat for my blog sometime! It just looks like a grain of wheat, just lighter in color than a grain of red wheat. This is not helpful at all if you’ve never seen a grain of red wheat. :) Grain and berries are the same thing – I agree that the terms are confusing. I didn’t understand at first either! A wheat berry is the grain…so if you order 25 pounds of hard white wheat berries, you’re getting the grain you need to grind in a mill.
Does that help?
And no, I think flax seeds are too small to grind in a Nutrimill, although I can’t say that for sure.
Jen Fortin says
Picture would be great, but I think I’m ok on what to buy now. Thanks everyone for your responses. Now, just got to save and will start grinding.
My Nutrimill has a big sticker on the top that says not to grind flax in it. I am wondering if anyone has experience grinding beans in one. It says you can, but it seemed to be hating it. We ended up chopping the beans in the blender before grinding them. Also, do you have a good recipe for using bean flour to make “refried” beans?
I live in virginia and im having a very hard time finding the actual wheat to buy for grinding. Anyone know of anywhere?
I live in MD – and have researched this thoroughly. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any local graineries. I order in bulk from Montana Wheat or Azure Standard. It does end up being more expensive than just buying flour from the store, but for me it is worth it. If you have a local health food co-op, you may be able to get a good bulk deal from them. You can also find some options at Whole Foods or a Seventh Day Adventist store.
InJoy Foods is in Williamsburg VA. Contact them. They often make trips out to Swoope VA and other places to pick up foods for the other side of their business, a sort of CSA set-up. http://www.injoybread.com they sell wheat berries and other grains in bulk and also teach some great classes. Super nice ladies!
There are many Breadbecker co-ops in VA (that is where I buy my wheat). You can find them on the Breadbeckers.com website where they list their co-ops in each state. I love that their grain comes in CO2 flushed, sealed buckets. No risk of bugs here, and it stores indefinitely!
I just discovered that my local Wal-Mart supercenter carries Wheat Montana Chemical free, no-GMO wheat–both white and red–for about the selling price on Wheat Montana’s website. This means I do not pay any shipping by buying at Wal-Mart. My other option was to join a co-op and have them special order me 50 pound bags, which would have been more expensive, but is my next best option. I would check if your Wal-Mart carries it. It is in the flour aisle on the bottom shelf and costs about $13 for 25 pounds.
Cammie M says
You mentioned taking a bread class. Is making bread from freshly ground flour different than using store-bought flour? Are recipes, etc. different? Thanks –
No, not really. It’s just that many of my readers are very new to baking bread and would like to learn more about how to make a nice loaf of bread. The flours really are different, but if you’re used to baking bread, I think you can easily adjust to freshly ground flour!
[email protected] says
Where do you buy your whole white wheat flour from? I am saving my pennies up to buy a Nutrimill. I agree with the store bought whole wheat flour, very thick bread, yuck! Thanks for all your great tips Laura. I love your blog.
You can buy white whole wheat flour from health food co-ops, Trader Joes and beyond that, I have no experience in this area. In my small town, it’s not to be found. :)
I buy my grain either through my health food co-cp (Azure Standard) or from Wheat Montana (a friend of mine organizes a big truck delivery so that we get wholesale prices).
I love your blog. You do a great job. So, after reading your blog on the different kinds of wheat and mills, I opted to get a Nutrimill. What a difference. My children are all grown so it is just me now, but I love to bake bread. Like many others here, I couldn’t find a good whole wheat flour, but after grinding my own I never buy store bought. Keep up the good work, Laura. You are really appreciated.
Yay! Excited about your Nutrimill and that it made such a big difference. Thank you so much for your encouragement.
My husband bought me a Nutrimill after he read the letter that you wrote to husbands!!! I use hard white for breads and rolls and soft white for pancakes and waffles. I bought a little (berries) at a time and experimented and that’s just what we prefer.
This blog ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I LOVE that the letter worked for so many! That is so much fun!
I so love your site. You make me laugh out loud at my computer. (Good thing I am here alone today)
I just wanted to say you are the reason I purchased my grainmill about 5 months ago and I have enjoyed every single “grinding”. I want to encourage the families that are considering buying one that they are nvesting in their families health. Yes it does take time to bake your own breads and such but look at the ingredients in the products in the store. Thank You for all your help in all that you do. You don’t leave people hanging–You actually show us….You are great. I got to go try your heart shaped pretzels today..
Heather Schilling says
We’ve been grinding our own wheat and making fresh bread for about a year now and LOVE it! I like and use both the hard white and the hard red wheat for bread, but mostly use the white for baked goods. My husband is able to pick up extra shifts at work and works another part time job once a week. That’s how we’re able to get ‘extras’, like a grain mill.
Before we decided to invest in one, I wanted to try my hand at making bread. We have a bakery/store near where we live (Tulsa, OK) called Great Harvest Bread Company. You can buy freshly ground whole wheat flour (red or white) from them if you’re unable to get a grain mill. Don’t know if it’s a local company or if they’re in other towns too.
I would love to make the switch in the near futures, but idk if I will be able to talk my husband into it! lol
We use whole wheat flour (white of course!) in everything we can think of! Because we have to buy flour from the store, we “cut” it with unbleached all-purpose so that it will still rise and not be too bitter. I long for a grain mill, but more importantly a source for wheat berries. I think we’re just too far south of all those fields of goodness for there to be a market here. Someday…
Laura, I need your advice!
I really want to buy a grain mill, but my husband wants me to get a manual one. I’m afraid a manual one won’t mill the flour fine enough, and he HATES whole wheat flour. (I currently use the King Arthur brand organic white whole wheat flour, and he finds it “acceptable”.)
Do you have any experience with manual vs electric mills???
I do. Trying to save money, I bought a manual before my BlendTec. It is horrible. Here are the negs I give it:
-takes alot of time
-alot of muscle (I was ready for that, but it took ALOT)
-makes a huge mess
-does not grind fine enough (had to re-grind about 5 times, finally started putting my first grind through the blender, still had to sift it though)
All in all, wasted my time and money on it and then ended up with a electric one. Even made my husband grind flour with the manual and he got the point in just letting me get a electric :-)
To get reviews, check amazon. I will sell you my manual if you are really intent on getting one though ;-)
Thank you! That’s pretty much how I thought it would work!
I bought my Nutrimill from my sister-in-law when her family had to go gluten-free for many of her children. We had purchased Prairie Gold white wheat from Wheat Montana and I’ve been experimenting with it ever since! We haven’t gone fully whole wheat, but less store-bought bread is better. Have tried your simple soaked pancakes and really like them. Also have tried your tortillas – need ‘practice’ with those more. :) Am working up to trying other things as well.
I do have a lot of hard red wheat now (didn’t realize how much difference there would be when we bought it) and I wonder if you have any suggestions for using it, since it’s what I have?
Love your blog, your humor, and even the flour in your hair!
Red wheat makes great “cream of wheat” with lots of nutrition (unlike the storebought version)! Just grind it on “course and “low” and whisk it into hot milk or water. Add a little salt and sweetener of your choice. It’s a wonderful (inexpensive) winter breakfast!
Thanks! I’ll have to try that as I do like cream of wheat
and I’ll bet it tastes better fresh ground too!
I’m mixing a little of it into each grinding of white to use up my trail bag of it. I’m going to stick to white from now on as we like it better too!
I have a nutrimill. I used to use an attachment to my kitchen aide before, but it made a really big mess. My husband and boys got tired of the mess and it grinds a little bit at the time. My husband bought me a nutrimill for my last birthday. I love it :). I use hard white wheat, and soft white wheat. I Really like the soft white wheat for cakes and brownies and cookies, but the hard wheat is better for my breads and tortillas. I really think it is worth the money and it is so very easy to use! It is versitile because you can also make rice flour or grind corn for cornbread.
So, the freshly ground white wheat is much better than KAF’s whole white wheat? Although I’ve made my bread for years, we’ve used the big bag of bread flour from Sam’s because we can’t stand the taste of wheat (and it’s cheap)…although recently, we’ve been trying other flours to get whole grains in (oat has been our favorite)…contemplating taking ‘the plunge!’ with a nutrimill :) What’s the difference between hard white and soft white?
Kathleen T says
Freshly ground is always best. Within so many hours, ground flour starts to oxidize and go rancid, which means anything on the store shelves, including KAF. Bread flour is refined white flour and is just like eating sugar, little if any nutrition to your body.
A cheaper option than the Nutrimill is the BlendTec KTEC mill for $179 at Amazon. I’ve used it and am very happy with it.
You can Google more about the differences between wheat (winter/spring/hard/soft/white/red) and find a wealth of information, but generally pastry wheat is soft wheat, with lower protein and is typically used for baked goods. Hard wheat has higher protein and is better suited for breads. Personally I want the extra protein and use the hard white wheat in everything! It tastes fabulous.
My husband and I have been exclusively baking with whole wheat flour for about 2 years. We buy ours from a local Amish grocery – not from a big brand store – I agree, it tastes gross! My question is that when baking with whole wheat, is there a rule of thumb to compare measurements from recipes that use all-purpose? I often find myself putting in a little bit less, because it does make it thicker and denser and seems to soak up liquid quicker, with less flour. What is the measurement ratio from all-purpose to whole wheat?
Oh boy…it’s been so long since I’ve baked with all-purpose, I really don’t know. I’m thinking that with all purpose, you need MORE flour because it’s “fluffier” but I really don’t know what the exact ratio is.
I bought my grain mill about a year ago. At the time I had never met anyone who want milling their own flour. I was on the warpath to remove store bought, processed foods out of my diet and bread was the first thing to go. I love my nutrimill and many other products from L’Equip (the manufacturer). I use HARD White Wheat for my yeasted breads and SOFT White Wheat for any cakes, cookies or other baked goods that don’t need the gluten stucture. (Soft wheat has a lower protein content, and thus produces more tender baked goods) I only use Red wheat when I want a nutter, heartier bread, especially good with sprouted grain recipes.
One thing I don’t think Laura expounded upon enough is the fact that freshly milled flour is alive. Flour loses 98% of its nutritive content through oxidation with in the first 72 hours of it’s processing. Additionally, store bought flour has had the germ of the wheat cooked, to remove oils, that would otherwise speed spoilage. (the germ is where the nutrients live!).
I cannot recommend enough to others to mill their own flour, it is well worth your time, effort and investment.
If you life in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia I suggest you seek out InJoy Foods, two ladies running a business out of their homes selling whole grains for milling, other specialty items and mills….and they teach classes!
So I was on a quest to get a grain mill after becoming convinced by you Laura:-) And I got mine in an unconventional way….
I brought it up with my husband last year- and he told me that if I would go dairy free for 3 months, he would buy me a grain mill! (he is a naturopathic doctor and thought that I had issues with dairy, but I refused to give it up b/c I love it so much).
Well I hemmed and hawed over THAT (I REALLY love dairy), but I did it- it wasn’t as hard as I really though- and at the end of the 3 months- he bought me a grain mill! He actually surprised me with it (very sweet), and unfortunately didn’t get me the nutrimill- he got me the Family Grain Mill. Which I really like. But I have been having a hard time getting my flour quite fine enough- I can sift it afterwards but YUCK that is a time waster!
Any tips from other FGM users?
My recommendation to any lady who really wants a grain mill- bring it up with your husband and ask him what he has REALLY been wanting you to do that you have been resisting (maybe you thought it was too hard.) My motivation certainly shifted- yours might too:-)
Apart from the taste- there is something IMMENSELY satisfying about making a loaf of bread totally from scratch- you know that if the world collapsed, you could plant some of those wheat grains- and at least your family would always have bread to eat!!!! Smile:-)
I would love to read more about how you saved money to buy the grain mill by selling pretzels at the farmers market. Was that the only time you’ve done that? Would you ever consider it again? What was the experience like? I love your blog!
No, there have been a couple other summers we sold pretzels or other goodies at the Farmer’s Market. I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t want to do it long-term. It was a LOT of work for not a large profit, but it worked for what we needed at the time. Once we bought our grain mill, we used the rest of the money we earned to buy whole, organic groceries. It was a way we stretched our grocery budget a little bit!
I was on a cleanse when I found this site looking for a recipe and your site came up. That is what started my journey into organic/real food eating. As I learned what I could during that time, I knew that flour and a mill were the first places to start. I am sure glad I did start there too. The way we go through your honey whole wheat bread, its soooo much better for me to grind my own flour than to buy less than fresh flour at the store. I have a Nutrimill and I love it! To pay for it, I bought it on eBay and had sold some things to buy it (just left the money in my paypal account). There is someone on there that often has it for $180.00 with shipping. I also checked craigslist and do find them occasionally there. I am now looking for one for my mother-in-law and had planned to take one when I went to Mexico, but we never were able to get one before I went. I taught them some of your recipes, and they loved almost everything I made when I was down there. As far as introducing wheat to our diet, no one in the house complained and the kids eat up everything no problem. Husband prefers wheat. I was the hardest one to sell on it, but I knew once I got used to it, I would be fine.
opps, I meant I have the BlendTec….hehe
Bob’s Red Mill (www.bobsredmill.com) offers a HUGE assorment of different flours including whole wheat. I have found their whole wheat flour to be a great whole wheat flour with excellent flavor and lightness. They also have a TON of other flour options, including many gluten free. They are also very economical and offer a variety of purchasing quantity options. Our local co-op will specially order a 25 lb. bag with no extra cost.
Also, the addition of vital wheat gluten, VWG, (sounds scary but it’s not) can help with the density problem of baking with whole wheat. Add 1 Tablespoon of VWG for every 1 cup of whole wheat flour and it’ll come out as light and fluffy as white. With these two changes we’ve switched almost exclusively to WW!
I just got my Nutrimill less than 2 weeks ago and am loving it! We still have some AP and bread flour (not whole wheat) in the house and I have to remember to use it up since I’m on a all freshly ground (or from the freezer) flour kick right now. We tried and really like your honey whole wheat bread recipe Laura. Thanks for giving me such inspiration to take this next step in our food journey!
We paid for it with money that we got for Christmas that was very unexpected. My husband knew I wanted one and we had been just putting it off, but in the end he pushed me to use the money to get it. CSN stores let me do a review for them and gave me a credit to make the price a little lower too…love that!
I get our wheat at Wal-Mart of all places. It is one of the only ways to get a decent price on wheat that I can find. I buy the Prairie Gold from Wheat Montana. They don’t have the organic, but it is chemical free and non-GMO which is good enough for me right now. I also did find a co-op that I can join and get organic for just under a $1/pound which is much cheaper than most places around here, but still about twice the Wal-Mart price.
For those who don’t like whole wheat things (like my husband) a mill will change your mind. It is totally different. The biggest difference to white flour is that it is a bit coarser (not much) and the color is much more golden and things darken more when cooking. But the waffles, pancakes, bread and everything else I’ve made so far has been awesome! I highly recommend getting a mill and not procrastinating like we did :)
I was looking on Paula’s website last week and realized it was the last day the Nutrimills would be on sale. I was so excited when my husband said I could get one! Today I am getting fresh wheat in my Azure order–can’t wait to get started!
Another suggestion – I was using hard white wheat for all of my baking, and then I came accross Soft White Wheat. When you grind it, the flour comes out more like a whole wheat pastry flour. This is great for cakes, cookies, etc. I used it to make my daughter’s strawberry shortcake (thanks for the recipe Laura!) and nobody could tell I hadn’t used white flour.
When we decided to switch to whole wheat, I honestly thought we were saying good-bye to all things delicious! The whole wheat pasta that my mom went on a one-year kick with was just downright nasty & that was the taste & texture I thought we were signing up for. Of course I was wrong. We’ve been milling our own flour for about 8 or 9 years. my youngest 4 children don’t even know that you can buy bread from the store (except french bread – I do buy that on occasion)
I think I will have to disagree with you just a bit, though, on the type of wheat. For bread, yes, hard is necessary, but for all other baking, I can not sing the praises of soft white wheat loudly enough. When a drop point for Azure Standard was set up in my neck of the woods, and I was able to pay less for soft wheat than hard, I started using straight soft for all non-bread-baking, instead of the half hard / half soft mixture I’d previously used. Revolutionized my baking I tell ya! and waffles. oh my goodness! If I hadn’t made them myself – you could never convince me they were made using 100% whole wheat.
If you want to fall in love with freshly ground whole wheat – try this recipe!! http://pursuingjoy.blogspot.com/2010/11/wonderful-waffles.html
You make a great point about soft white wheat. Ultimately, I’m just too lazy to keep track of two grain types since the hard white works well for everything and the soft white is only for non-yeast items. When I have used soft white, I have loved it. I’ll have to look into it and see if getting soft wheat for my other baked goods would save me money.
I have a Blendtec kitchen mill (also known as KTEC). I love and adore it. I looked around for close to a year before I bought it. I love it’s small footprint and how it all fits together for storage. I bought it for ~$170 – and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made. It gets used at least weekly.
I also recommend the _white_ hard wheat. If you happen to live near an LDS food storage center (aka cannery), you can get 25lbs of hard white wheat for $7.65. You don’t have to be LDS to visit/buy food – they just ask that you call ahead and make an appointment. (And the cannery is also proselyting free – so no worries.) I take several friends who are not LDS every time I go. You can put it in #10 cans … but I just buy it in the 25lb bags and dump it into mylar liners in 5 gallon plastic buckets. I use it too fast to put it in cans. They also sell oatmeal, powdered milk, beans, and other food staples. You can find the list and pricing here..
I share loaves of bread with friends regularly, and they are always surprised when they find out it’s 100% whole wheat.
Grinding your own wheat is definitely the key to healthy baking that tastes good! I always feel bad when my friends ask for my recipes because I have to honestly tell them it just won’t work the same way with store-bought flour. The nutrimill is so totally worth it!
I wish everyone could have a grain mill! Just wanted to say that I have had my Nutrimill for probably 7 years and have ground tons of flour in it and it is still going strong. When you consider the cost of a bag of wheat and how many loaves of bread, dinner rolls, quick breads and muffins, pretzels, whole wheat tortillas, pancakes, waffles, cookies, crackers, cakes, etc. you can make at a fraction of the cost, it definitely pays for itself over time. Look at the cost of a loaf of organic whole wheat bread in the health food section of your store! I have often wondered how many loaves of bread I am actually getting from a 25 lb. bag of wheat. The texture, the taste, the fragrance of the bread is so delicious. Try whole wheat pretzels and pancakes to start with! Amazing!
I love fresh ground flour and think that things taste so much lighter with it! I grind mine with a wheat grinder my mom gave me when she got a new one. It is not perfect and makes a mess, but it was free :)
I just received my Nutrimill from Paula’s Bread and am waiting for my organic white wheat from Montana. I ordered it from Country Life in Michigan and since our coop order is big enough there is no shipping charge. Best of all…it’s .60 per pound (50 lb. bag). It was .52 per pound, but just recently went up. Much better price than UNFI.
We’ve been using organic white wheat from King Arthur and I’m looking forward to cheaper, but MUCH fresher flour with the mill! I found food safe 5 and 6 gallon pails at Pleasant Grain for a reasonable price. I was looking at the cheap ones at Home Depot, but don’t want to put the grain into the “bad plastic” pails!
Thanks Laura for the inspiration…this is because of you! Blessings!
Oh, I forgot…the best thing is that I have two bread machines (one given to me) and I just throw everything in them before we start homeschooling in the morning. Then I take the dough out before the second rise gets along too far and finally shape them in the loaf pans, rise for 25-30 minutes and voila! I really prefer this to mixing and kneading by hand and I can have 4 loaves ready with a few minutes of work.
I started out with half white flour and half whole grain. Then went all the way to freshy ground whole grain. I use both red and white hard wheat and love both equally. But I also LOVE white SOFT wheat. This is somewhat closer to a pastry flour. I like it better for the non-yeast products. But it also makes a great loaf of bread. It has less gluten but I have not had a problem making loaves from it (but I do prefer the hard for yeasted breads). I use the soft for muffins, cookies, cakes, pancakes, batter breads, biscuits…
This site is not where I buy my grains now (Azure standard and another co-op) but I have bought from them before. But they give good explanations for the different types of grains.
Before I had access to Azure or the other co-op, I did order from them and it was the best online price I could find. Great products also. So I do recommend them if you don’t have something like Azure avaiable!
Northwest Ohio Savers says
Great article! I can’t afford a grain mill at this time but love King Arthur flour. For your readers that live near a Meijer, it is currently on price drop for $2.99!
I’m blessed to have my parents near by and I used their Vitamixer to grind grain for a while. Then I convinced my dad to buy the Nutrimill and it has been great! Much finer than before too. We both win because they see me more, my sister also uses it and I didn’t have to spend the money for the mill!
The Nutrimill is quite pricey and I have a small kitchen.
Has anyone had experience with the kitchenaid mixer grain mill attachment?
I am thinking of getting a blendtec blender to grind my flour, and of course serve all other purposes. However, It grinds only two cups at a time. Would this be an issue?
Hmm, I almost always need more than two cups at a time, so I would find this inconvenient, but that’s just me!
I use a my health master elite which is a blender but much much better, probably a lot like a blendtec and although I only grind 2 cups at a time it yeilds about 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups and its fast. It only takes about one minute to do it si I can nake 10 cups of flour in about 5-7 mins. my kitchenaid mill take about 10 to grind 2 cups. Hope this helps.
Also, I used to make huge batches of dough with regular flour, and just break off pieces of the dough to bake a daily loaf. Learned that from this book… http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/
Can I continue to do this grounding if I start grinding my own flour?
Yes, I would imagine this would still work fine if you grind your own flour.
Question for you, Laura–how long have you had your grain mill? My husband was asking how long yours has lasted…just thinking about if getting one when/if we would need to replace it?
I believe I’ve had mine for five years now. Still working perfectly.
A friend of mine has had hers for 15 years and while some piece of it broke off, it still works fine!
I first heard about grinding my own flour last March. Before then, it had never even occured to me that this was possible even though I had lived on a farm that grew wheat when I was a kid. It sounded like something I wanted to do for my family so I asked my husband if it could be my birthday present the next month. It was one of the best investments I have ever made. Shortly thereafter I found your blog and have been learning ever since. I bought a 45lb bucket of both hard white and red wheat and the red is still full. I just don’t like it much. I am trying to use a little each time I make bread just to use it up but definitely will only by the white in the future.
I am new to this site, but I LOVE it, and everything you post for us to read. My husband and I are really researching grain mills. My husband spent about 5 hours yesterday reading reviews and watching youtube videos about the different mills and how they work. He is a big researcher.
I am wondering though, how much wheat you grind at once, and how long you leave it for? Do you grind a 50lb bag in one day and put it in a storage bucket with a gamma lid? Or do you do just a few lbs at a time and store it in an air tight container in your kitchen? Or do you grind it as you need it?
I am just wondering how long until freshly ground wheat would take to go bad. My husband has been wanting a hand crank grain mill for a few years, but after all the researching he has done, he scratched that idea. YES!!! (I thought quietly in my head).
No, it’s best to grind your wheat as you need it. I actually usually grind one ice cream bucket full of flour and keep it in the freezer. It only lasts a few hours before losing nutrients once it’s ground. Keeping it in the freezer preserves it a little bit, but I try to just grind as I need it.
Karina Palmer says
I bought my Nutrimill at a garage sale for $25! Best purchase ever! I also discovered that the taste of red wheat versus white wheat is oh so different. White wheat all the way!
Amy Kehrer says
I have a huge favor to ask: could you please weigh a cup of your freshly ground flour? Or maybe a few and then average them? I’ve found weighing my dry ingredients to be SO much more accurate, and having that number would be SUPER helpful as I make your recipes with store-bought white whole wheat. I’m sure they won’t be quite the same as what you make with fresh flour, but it would help me get a lot closer without a lot of experimenting and dry baked goods :-)
I’m not sure when I’ll get around to this (I think I have something to weigh it with, but I’m not sure!). I’ll put this on my long to-do list though!
I hope this post gets found at such a late to blog date! I have a vita mix and use the dry blade to make my flour. I got the soft white berries from Azure. My problem? I haven’t had a descent loaf of bread since grinding my own! Really, it is like door stopper hard and heavy. Had no problems before altho I am not a bread making coniseur (sp). Really am disgusted with the results and could use some advice! Anybody had this issue with their bread/flour, maybe specifically with the vita mix? The flour seems to be as fine as can be when done “whizzing”..
Need help soon please, freezer is getting full of bread crumbs!
Randi Millward @ Expressions of Perceptions says
Soft white wheatberries have less gluten and are good for things like muffins. Hard white wheatberries are higher in gluten and are best for breads. I don’t have a vitamix. I grind my wheatberries in a nutrimill, but I also struggled to “get it right” when starting to grind my own. My main problem was the type of berries, the brand. I bought a cheap brand. Once I switched to the Prairie Gold wheatberries from Wheat Montana (through my UNFI co-op), there was a world of difference!
One suggestion I might make is to try making buns (kind of flat ones like burger buns) and see how they turn out. If your dough is too dense, the long baking time to get the inside cooked might be drying out the outer part of the bread. Also, if you’re using soft wheat, you may want to add a couple tablespoons of vital wheat gluten and double the amount of yeast.
You could give this recipe a try if you’d like, it always wrks for me.
3 c. flour (I use freshly ground hard white winter wheatberries)
1/8 c. sugar
1/8 c. coconut oil (or butter, or grapeseed oil, or olive oil)
1 c. warm water
2 tsp. sea salt
2-3 tsp. yeast
I let my breadmaker mix it up for me, but I make it into buns, rolls, sweet rolls, or loaves myself.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you get your problem worked out!
[email protected] says
I found a comment Laura had left on a different post so I thought I
would post what she had to say here. I hope Randi’s suggestions helped too!
“I actually don’t have a VitaMix (although I’ve talked about them before). My friend has one and used it to grind flour. It works okay, but produces a courser flour.”
Jenny S says
I can order hard white Spring wheat through my buying club – is that similar to hard white Winter wheat or should I try to find hard white winter wheat elsewhere?
Hard white spring wheat will be fine!
Jo C says
Whalaa! Thanks for the tip! I bought the hard white and problem is solved! I also refered back to the vita mix manual which stated to mix for 1 full minute, which I am now timing as I may not have been processing that long enough in the last batches. I haven’t tried your recipe yet, but plan to soon! NOW my next question to you bread conisseurs (sp) would be…WHAT BREAD MACHINE DO YOU USE/RECCOMEND?
I found someone willing to give me some of her freshly ground hard white wheat and hard red wheat ground in her nutrimill. I tried making bread from both types and wasn’t happy with either of them – thought the white was definitely better than the red.
Previously I LOVED my “whole wheat” bread recipe which used 8 cups whole wheat flour and 3 1/2 cups white.
When I made this the texture was totally different, the dough didn’t wrap around my kitchenaid dough hook like normal, and it didn’t rise well at all. The crust seemed hard and it was all very crumbly.
I’m not sure what happened. I very occasionally have a flop when I make bread using bought flour, but never like this. I’m really disappointed because I was totally planning to buy a nutrimill but now I’m not so sure.
I did make one other change to my recipe, and that was to use butter (unsalted) instead of margarine, as I’m switching over after reading your blog! So, part of the taste difference may have been the lack of salt.
Oh, very frustrating. :( I’m suprised this happened. I don’t have any experience with a kitchen aid, so I can’t answer why that happened, but there is a learning curve that goes along with using freshly ground whole wheat. YOu may have to tweak your recipe a little, until your bread turns out the way you like it.
Abigail B. says
If I may ask, where do you purchase your hard white winter wheat, or where might be the best place to find it? And what is a good price per lb.?
Lisa W. says
I heard about grinding your own grain about a year ago and have just now really been interested in doing so. Problem: I cannot find anywhere near me (after hours of online research) that sells the wheat berries. I would have to have them shipped to me. And after shipping it would be roughly $75 for 25 lbs. No kidding. I want to eat healthier, but I just can’t afford that. Any suggestions? (I live in Jacksonville, NC)
Oh dear, that is really expensive. I’m not sure, but hopefully someone else in your area will see this comment and post a suggestion!
Hi. I just came across this blog looking for info on soaking grain before
milling. Saw this comment. I am actually living in Alaska but moving to NC
in January and have been searching for a vendor/dealer of organic grain.
I currently buy from a supplier up here that sells Wheat Montana products.
There is a co-op in NC called the North Carolina Wheat Montana Co-op that
is in Raleigh but also has pick up in Kinston. You can google their site
and see about ordering. Or if you go on the Wheat Montana site and click
dealer locator and use the drop down menu for your state it will bring up
a page that details the dealers/ resellers in your area. Hope this helps!
Am new to grinding and even though I love the new flavor my kids and husband don’t. I have been using a recipe book just for this type of wheat but was hoping to use my own recipes and substituting the flour but am not sure of the difference in measuring and if I have to cook it any different. Is there any guideline for the amount and for cooking it? Thanks so much!
Typically, you just need a little less whole wheat flour than white. Also, I’m not sure what kind of wheat you are grinding, but I have definitely found that grinding flour from hard WHITE wheat tastes so much better than flour made from hard RED wheat. That may help your family enjoy the flavor more. :)
I’ve been working on the subject of wheat varieties, home milling and baking, and the pursuit of excellent baked goods. Your article confirms what I suspected about white wheat. I just grew about 500 lbs of heirloom Sonora wheat and this makes feel confident that I’ll avoid the baking issues I had with hard red wheat… Such a great article!
Still saving up for my grinder. In the meantime, my local health food store has an amazing selection of flours – barley, buckwheat, oat, rye, coconut, garbanzo, and more. I’ve been replacing 1/3 to 1/2 the required amount of all -purpose flour in my recipes with these other flours with pretty good results – and better flavor, to boot.
This might be a good option for those with access to other flours who are saving up for their grinders. It’s a fun way to experiment and try new flavors, if nothing else.
It might also be of interest to note that there IS a difference between hard red SPRING wheat and hard red WINTER wheat- both RED but completely different in my opinion (grown in different seasons, obviously). The spring wheat is harder to bake with, makes a crumbly loaf, and the taste is not superior. HOWEVER, all you white lovers, it might be worth a taste to buy a small bag of RED WINTER wheat. COMPLETELY different! Beautiful bread loves, taste is phenomenal! I actually like to add it to recipes to give them a better flavor. Our bread is made exclusively with it. I recently bought a bag of the spring wheat because it was cheaper, and now we’re having to find ways to use it quickly! I want to get my winter wheat back!
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
Thanks for teaching me to make the transition years ago, Laura!
I haven’t looked back since.
Kristen Beale says
I use my blendtec blender to grind my flour and haven’t had any trouble. I have a zojirushi breadmaker and it all works super and makes excellent very yummy breads! A loaf doesn’t last long around here! I have use hard red, soft white and hard white and while each creates a different taste and texture they all turn out well. red is a bit denser and nuttier. Also, bread beckers have co-ops available on the east coast, so you can buy bulk grains (giant buckets)without the super crazy shipping costs. Not sure about the mid-west/west…but I would bet there is something out there serving those areas too. I usually stock up at our local homeschool convention when the bread beckers are there. If I buy 3 buckets or so, it lasts a year or more.