Grinding Our Own Wheat – Part 3: A System
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I need a system! Once I had my mill and the wheat berries, I sat down and did some brainstorming. How was I going to handle grinding my own wheat? Do I want to use it every time I need some flour? Do I want to grind wheat ahead of time and put the flour in the freezer? What if I only need 1/2 cup of flour for some cream soup or gravy? I really took a look at how I cook and what would be the best way for me to use my new mill. This is what I came up with…
Where do I put my grain mill and wheat berries? I have my grain mill sitting on the counter in my kitchen, along with an ice cream bucket of Hard Red Winter Wheat and an ice cream bucket of Hard White Wheat. This makes my wheat berries easily accessible to me when I need to grind some for flour.
How do I store my wheat berries for long term storage? On a side note here: I put the 50 lb. bags of wheat berries in our big freezer for 2 days. I then took them out, brought them to room temperature, then bagged the wheat berries in gallon ziplock bags (marked a R for red wheat and a W for white wheat), then placed the bags in 5-gallon food-grade buckets (the ones we got for $2 a piece from a donut shop!). I filled up my ice cream buckets for the kitchen counter, then the rest of the wheat in the buckets went to the basement to be store until we need it. We bought a bucket lid opener from Walmart so that we could open the lids on the 5-gallon buckets more easily. Now when I need more wheat berries, I just go to our basement, bring up a gallon ziplock bag of what I need, and re-fill the ice cream bucket. So far this is working great!
When and how will I grind my wheat berries? Ok…now I have explained how I store my wheat and how I have the wheat berries available on the kitchen counter….now I will talk about how I plan to grind the wheat. When I am needing some flour, I look at my recipe to see how much flour I need. If the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, then I grind 2 cups of wheat berries. I know this will give me more than 2 cups of flour, so any extra left over after making my recipe goes into an ice cream bucket and placed in the freezer. By doing this, this bucket of flour in the freezer will contain portions of red wheat flour and white wheat flour…depending on what type of recipes you are making and what flour you are grinding. This mixture will work fine for when I need some flour for a small batch of cookies (I have a recipe that calls for 1 1/2 cups wheat flour) or when I am making cream of chicken soup or gravy (that calls for 1/2 cup wheat flour).
Fresh ground flour is best! I should note that my desire is to use as fresh of flour as I can. The fresh ground flour, if used immediately, will retain a much greater amount of nutritients than if the flour is placed in the freezer and not used right away. So…my goal is to freshly grind as much of the flour I use as possible, then use the “extra” flour in the freezer for when I just need small amounts of flour. Clear as mud? So far this method is working great for me. My Kitchen Mill really is easy to use. In fact, I just made a Wacky Cake (chocolate cake) and it wasn’t any big deal to grind up 3 cups of wheat berries for the recipe. I only needed 3 cups of flour, so the extra was put in my bucket in the freezer for later.
Find a system that works for you. I hope that my ramblings will help someone! It did take some thinking through a “system” that would work for us. This may not work for you and that’s fine. The most important thing is finding a system that will work for you and your family. It doesn’t do any good to have a grain mill and some wheat berries sitting there if you don’t use it!