Have you honed your baking skills over the past two crazy years? You are not the only one! Baking has been one of the hobbies that many of us have adopted to calm our anxious minds and make good use of our overly sanitized hands while we wait for the lockdown to end. If anything good is to come out of this pandemic, it’s more baking enthusiasts making people happy with their pastry efforts.
In the process of discovering the world of baking tools such as rolling pins and dough mixers, I’m sure you’ve eventually come across grain grinders, also called flour mills, and wondered if you actually need one. Grinding your own flour definitely takes a lot more effort than just picking up a bag from the store, so is it actually worth it?
The role of flour
Let’s remember, the main ingredient in baked goods from pieces of bread to birthday cakes it is flour, so its quality will affect the taste and texture of the final result. And while processed flour is widely sold, it is not always the best choice. After all, if you’ve been baking for quite some time, you’ve probably experienced how the wrong type of flour can ruin an otherwise perfectly good recipe.
With the help of a grain grinder, you can have total control over the consistency and quality of the flour you use in your baking endeavors. In this way, you can ensure that the final result is always according to your taste and what the recipe calls for. Here are just some of the reasons to upgrade your baking tools with ground wheat.
Why you need a grain grinder
Reason #1 – You will have to make healthy and nutritious food
Let’s be honest, we all know that processed flour isn’t exactly good for us, but why is that? It all has to do with the refining process that strips the grain of all its nutrients, resulting in white flour that is loaded with carbs and bad for us. digestive system and general health.
So, if you watch your diet, you’ve probably replaced all white flour with wholemeal flour. Sure, you might have the peace of mind that you’re baking and eating healthier, but are you? The truth is, whole wheat flour sold commercially often consists of white flour mixed with small batches of wheat bran. And this means that the healthy whole products you make end up being only slightly more nutritious than those made using refined flour.
That said, the only way you can make sure you’re consuming 100% wholegrain items is to actually make them yourself using freshly ground wheat with the help of your personal flour mill.
Reason #2 – You can enjoy the unparalleled taste of fresh homemade flour
Okay, even if you somehow find whole wheat flour that you know for sure is 100% the real deal, you still won’t get the nutritional benefits of the wheat itself.
Grains are basically seeds packed with essential nutrients from healthy fats to fiber and protein. And like all seeds, when their protective coating is damaged, the nutrients react with the air and begin to oxidize and slowly decrease. Therefore, the longer the flour stays in your pantry exposed to air, the more its nutritional benefits are lost.
And along with the nutritional benefits, flour that has been unused for too long will lose some of its characteristics, resulting in breads, cakes and other baked goods that taste bland or are too hard or flaky. On the other hand, freshly ground flour retains all its nutrients, and simply smells and lasts better.
Reason #3 – You’ll save some money
Many baking enthusiasts believe that buying the biggest bag of flour they can find will save them money, but the truth is that it often ends up going unused. Even if you bake every day, you’re not running a commercial bakery, so if you buy large amounts of flour you’ll end up having to throw it away, and lose money in the process.
This is something you have to think about, especially if you use wholegrain flour because as said, it goes rancid very quickly. Its short shelf life is also a reason why it is so expensive in the first place.
That said, investing in a mill from a retailer that offers baking equipment can help you cut down on flour costs. While whole wheat flour can go bad quickly, the grains themselves can last quite a long time as long as they are not damaged. Also, in this way you prevent the waste of flour since you can always make your fresh flour in the exact amounts you need, no more and no less.
How to choose the best flour mill for your needs?
Have the previous paragraphs convinced you to get a flour mill? In that case, here is what you should pay attention to to choose the right model for you.
Electric vs manual models
Manual grain grinders are obviously much cheaper than electric ones. But like any manual tool, they require you to put the workers. If you want to save your energy for the other steps in the baking process such as rolling, dividing and shaping, this type of grain grinder is not the best solution for you. In addition, grinding grain using a manual model takes more time than with an electric one.
Then, there is also the fact that most manual models can only produce one type of flour. Because they need to be operated by hand, many people who work with a manual grinder can only produce coarse flour that can only be used to make bread.
A big advantage of electric mills is the fact that you can adjust them to make anything from coarse to very fine flour which is definitely a plus if you want to make your own pasta. Also, some electric grain grinders can be used manually, which will be useful in the absence of electricity.
The type and amount of grains you want to grind
Grinding burrs are the main component of the grain mill as they affect the fineness and quality of the flour produced. Depending on the type and amount of grains you want to grind, you can choose from three types of burrs:
If you want to be able to make flour from all kinds of dry grains, as well as from some spices and beans, then a stone burr mill is the right one for you. Just remember, such a mill will not be suitable for grinding wet or oily materials. Stone burr mills can be found as both electric and manual models.
If you need to grind high amounts of grains quickly, then consider an impact-burr mill. This type of mill is available in electric models only. It is known for its high speed and power and that is why it is also used in professional ovens and in the production of bread on a high scale. Just like burr stone mills, impact burr mills can only be used for dry grain.
If you don’t want to be limited by the type of grain you can grind, a steel-burr model is perfect for you. This type of grain mill can work with any type of grain whether dry, wet or cracked. Also, if you want to make rice flour, steel-burr models make this possible. Although you should know that you will not be able to make flour with a very fine texture since most steel burr mills are manually operated.