Milling Flour Right in Your Home for the Perfect Flavor
Do you want to elevate flavor for nutritious recipes in your baking? Have you considered milling flour? In this guide, you’ll learn the equipment to use and steps to take for grinding flour at home. Whether milling wheat flour for bread or milling rice flour for gluten-free cake, it’s well worth the effort.
Why Mill Your Own Flour?
If you’re looking for ways to take your baking to new levels, you may have heard about milling and wonder why mill your own flour? Fresh-milled flour can also enhance the flavor and texture of your favorite recipes with wheat, specialty grains, nuts and even legumes.
HOME-MILLED FLOUR IS NUTRITIOUS
The whole, dried kernel holds its naturally occurring nutrients at peak levels until it is milled, which is when the nutrients begin to degrade. Milling your own flour allows you to capture the nutrients in the bran and germ of the grain kernel to use in your baking.
Grinding your flour as close to the time of baking as possible lets you enjoy the benefit of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that are released from the kernel by milling. What better way to start your day than with a nutrient-packed breakfast of pancakes made with wheat flour you milled yourself?
HOME-MILLED FLOUR TASTES SWEETER
If you’ve ever tasted bread or other baked goods made with freshly milled flour, your taste buds were likely doing a happy dance. Your flour has optimal freshness and nutrition when you mill your own, giving your baked goods full flavor and aroma.
Flour that is freshly milled won’t have the bitter aftertaste that can occur when the beneficial fats in wheat flour have aged while stored. Once you taste the delicate sweetness home-milled flours bring to your loaves, muffins, cakes and other favorites, you’ll understand why more and more home bakers are becoming home millers.
Home-Milled Flour Lets You Customize Recipes
When you learn how to mill different grains into flour, you open up a whole world of options for customizing your recipes with unique flavors and textures. You can mill grains from superfine to medium or coarse and create blends that let you achieve the desired crumb while adding bits of chewiness and bursts of flavor to each bite. Milling flour at home also allows you to create blends for special diets and to bake or cook fresh, nutritious recipes that can accommodate food sensitivities.
Choosing Types of Flour to Mill
Before you mill your flour, have a plan for how you intend to use it before it loses its vitality or spoils. If you’re planning to bake cookies, cake, pastries or quick bread, think about milling soft white wheat berries into white flour. For hearty bread like sourdough Miche or honey whole wheat sandwich bread, plan to mill hard red wheat berries into whole wheat flour.
To add texture and nutrition to your flour mixes, you can coarsely mill wheat berries into cracked wheat, bran and wheat germ. If you’re planning to bake gluten-free recipes, you can consider milling your own almond flour and rice flour.
1. Milling White Flour
White flour is made by milling wheat berries and removing the bran and the germ so the flour is made with only the endosperm of the berry. It’s used most often for pastries, cookies and cakes and delivers a finer texture or crumb to baked goods that do not require the strong gluten structure that whole wheat flour provides.
White flour is the most versatile flour and can be easily substituted in recipes with other flours. It’s also the least expensive flour and can be combined with other flours to achieve specific results. There is a lower nutritional value to white flour because the bran and germ have been sifted out.
2. Milling Wheat Flour
Milling wheat flour is achieved by grinding whole wheat berries and including the nutrient-rich bran and germ along with the endosperm. Wheat flour is a great choice for bread because of how well it develops the strong gluten strands that result in a more complex, dense and chewy crumb. The overall flavor of yeasted recipes is enhanced when baking with wheat flour but it rises differently so if the recipe calls for white, your dough may take longer to rise. It can also be used for pie crusts, cookies, muffins, roux and more. If using store-bought wheat flour, baked goods can have a bitter flavor due to the beneficial fat breaking down on the shelf.
3. Milling Almond Flour
When milling almond flour, use blanched almonds that have the skins removed and, if possible, use almonds that are already sliced to make the grinding process easier and more consistent. Almond flour has a fine texture and is ideal for baking grain-free, low-carb and gluten-free recipes. It can be used successfully for pie crusts, cakes, cookies, muffins, bread and even added to savory dishes like meatballs in place of breadcrumbs.
4. Milling Rice Flour
Rice flour is made by grinding whole dried rice grains and is often used in gluten-free cooking and baking. You can use white, brown or sweet rice flour for different applications including cakes, cookies and quick bread. Rice flour performs better if combined with other gluten-free flours and it doesn’t absorb moisture the same way wheat does, so it’s important to let your batter rest for up to thirty minutes to help your finished baked goods have a pleasing texture. When milling rice flour, use only dry, uncooked rice and be sure to grind it as fine as you can for a great wheat substitute in your favorite recipes.
5. MILLING WHEAT BERRIES
Wheat berries are the edible part of the wheat kernel that includes the endosperm, bran and germ. They can be cooked and used whole as grain, the same as rice, or folded into bread dough for added texture and nutrition. Wheat berries are high in fiber, iron and protein while being low in calories and fat.
Both wheat and white flour are made by milling varieties of wheat berries and they can also be processed into cracked wheat, wheat germ and wheat bran to add flavor, texture and nutrition to recipes. It’s important to remember that wheat will create a heavier dough or batter, so if you prefer a light and airy baked good but want the benefits of wheat, consider adding a small amount of wheat to your white flour.
The Best Equipment for Milling Flour at Home
It’s possible to mill flour at home without owning a free-standing grain mill. There are several small appliances you can use to grind grain into flour that you may even already have in your kitchen. The three options outlined below are a great way to get started on your new adventures of milling flour at home.
Metal Grain Mill Attachment for Stand Mixers
You can achieve a variety of textures using an All Metal Grain Mill attachment for your KitchenAid® stand mixer. The mill attaches to the power hub on your stand mixer and provides a continuous-feed grind that ranges from very coarse “cracked” grain that can add texture to bread to a fine grind for delicate baked goods like pastry dough or cake. You can mill any low-moisture grains, legumes and nuts to experiment with flavors and textures in your favorite recipes.
While you might think a food processor is only meant for mixing and chopping, you can also use it to grind grains into flour using the highest speed. Whether you have a freestanding food processor or the Food Processor with Commercial Style Dicing Kit that attaches to your KitchenAid® stand mixer, you can mill a medium textured flour from most low-moisture grains, legumes and nuts. You can sift the flour to remove any larger bits if you’re trying for a consistent feel.
An easy way to try out grinding your own flour to see if it’s something you’d like to add to your baking and cooking routine is to use a powerful blender like the High Performance Series Blender from KitchenAid to dry blend your grains. A blender like this can quickly grind corn, oats, wheat, rice and other grains by using the highest speed. This will let you experiment with the flavor of freshly milled flours in your recipes before investing in a flour mill.
How Do I Mill My Own Flour at Home?
With a little preparation and planning you can make milling your own flour at home an integral part of your baking and cooking repertoire. You might want to start with more common wheat berries, which you can use to mill fine white or whole wheat flour as well as cracked wheat, bran and wheat germ.
You can purchase wheat berries and other grains such as rice, spelt, rye and ancient grains in bulk from a variety of online mills or look for a source of grains grown on a nearby farm to add local flavor to your baking.
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR FLOUR TYPE
You’ll want to mill the types of grains into flour that are optimal for your intended recipes. Consider the texture and whether or not it will be used in a yeasted recipe or you may want to create a custom blend that combines different textures and flavors like fine white flour with cracked wheat added.
STEP 2: FILL YOUR MILL HOPPER OR BLENDER OR PROCESSOR BOWL
Fill your hopper or bowl to the fill line or below and remember milled flour has more volume than what you measured in grain.
STEP 3: SET YOUR CATCH BOWL OR SECURE LID
The grain mill attachment requires the mixer bowl to be secured to the base so it can catch the flour as it’s milled. If you’re using your blender or food processor, secure and lock the lid.
STEP 4: SET YOUR GRIND ADJUSTMENT
If you’re using a KitchenAid® All Metal Grain Mill attachment, set the grind adjustment to the desired weight before turning the power on. You’ll want to start your stand mixer at speed 10. If you’re using a blender, turn it on and gradually increase to the highest speed. Your food processor will also mill flour using the highest speed.
STEP 5: ADD MORE GRAIN
Continue feeding grain into the hopper of the mill attachment until you’ve milled the desired amount. To grind more volume than the blender or processor bowl can hold, empty the flour into another bowl or container so you can refill it with grain and continue.
To get the most nutritional value and flavor out of your fresh-milled flour, it should be used right away, but if you need to, you can store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Now that you have fresh flour to use for baking, you can experience for yourself the sublime flavor and nutrients that can come from milling your own flour.
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