If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already convinced that a diet of refined flour only increases the risk of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, we need only to look around us to see how the American diet isn’t working!
White flour is bleached with chemicals and enriched with synthetic vitamins to replace the vitamins lost in removing the bran and germ during its refining process. We’ve got to get back to basics-food in its original state.
Whole foods, unprocessed foods, natural foods! Yum!
Grinding Grain Into Flour Gives You All the Health Benefits Packed In Those Powerful Little Berries
Fresh is always better-even when it comes to the flour we use for baking!
The wheat berry (or any grain for that matter) consists of three parts: the germ, the endosperm, and the bran.
- The germ is the vitamin, mineral, and protein rich embryo of the wheat kernel. It is removed during the refining of whole wheat grains to white flour.
- The bran is the hard outer shell of the wheat plant. As the insoluble wheat bran passes through your system, it aids digestion, adds bulk to stools and prevents constipation.
- The endosperm is the bulk of the grain, providing a source of carbohydrates.
Even whole wheat flour bought at the store isn’t all it claims to be. Whole wheat flour is recombined, mixing the ground flour with the ground bran, leaving the germ out because it goes rancid too quickly. Our bodies need every part of the berry. We wouldn’t intentionally give our children anything less!
Unfortunately, the majority of processed foods and flour available to us in the supermarkets are devoid of the essential nutrients all three parts of the grain has to offer.
The flour sold in the grocery stores also sits on the shelf and is in transit too long. Once grain is ground, it begins to loose its nutritional value within 24-48 hours.. When flour is ground, the grain’s protective layers are removed. When exposed to oxygen, they begin losing their nutritional value with time. The longer the flour sits on the shelf, the less nutrition it provides for our family.
But you can take matters into your own hands! Simply grind your own grain to give your family all the essential nutrients packed in whole grains!
Grinding Your Own Grain Gives You Easy Access to the Health Benefits of Many Forgotten Ancient Grains
When you’re grinding your own grain into flour, you can venture out and mix into your recipes ancient grains like spelt, millet, buckwheat, barley, rye, kamut and amaranth.
“Ancient grains are often a richer source of nutrients than modern grains because a lack of breeding has left their nutrition profile intact,” states Carol Ann Brannon, MS, RD, LD. Wheat has been cross-bred and hybridized over the last 100 years. As a result, agribusinesses who monopolize and control the foods that are widely available harvest only a few strains from the 100s of strains of wheat varieties that were once planted.
Learn about the grain mill our family uses and trusts!
Using Freshly Ground Flour in Your Kitchen
Exchange a variety of freshly ground ancient grains in any recipe calling for wheat flour cup for cup. However, these grains have different flavors and textures. You may have to do some fun experimenting!
- TIP: Store Freshly Ground Flour in the Refrigerator or Freezer
- Once you’ve ground your grain, store it in the refrigerator or freezer in an air-tight container. This is crucial to avoid your freshly ground flour from becoming rancid. The wheat germ contains an unsaturated oil that will go rancid if not stored properly. A handy, air-tight container comes with the grain mill we use, making it easy to transfer freshly ground grains from the mill to storage!
- Ideally, you should grind your grain as you need it. By doing so, you optimize the nutrition you receive from your flour. But for some level of convenience, I’ll grind 2-3 days worth and store it in the fridge!
- TIP: When Grinding Grain, Alter the Setting on the Grain Mill According to Your Recipe
For sweet baked goods: grind your grain into flour on the “pastry” setting to give it the finest texture possible.
For example, when I first started baking with whole grains, I baked Madeleine cookies for my bachelor brother with whole wheat flour. I had found the recipe in a whole food cookbook so I figured I was on the right track. The cookies were so dense. My brother and his friends didn’t seem to mind. They hadn’t eaten anything homemade in months. However, I learned from then on the importance of using pastry flour with cookies, cakes and breakfast baked goods!
For homemade bread or rolls: grind your grain into flour on the “bread” setting.
For baking homemade corn bread: grind your corn kernels into flour on the “coarse” setting for a heartier loaf.