Geeking out on Grains

by | May 9, 2017 | Gadget Geek | 0 comments

I’m a bit of a nutrition nerd. I’ve taken nutrition classes in Coursera. I’m taking a cooking/nutrition class on Rouxbe. I follow many of the plant based doctors on Facebook and “How Not to Die” is one of my favorite books. For someone who survived on Snickers and Cokes in high school, I’ve come a long way.

Lately, my obsession has been with whole grains. I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately and want to make it as nutritious as possible. I have the dry grains container for my Vitamix and have ground my own wheat berries. That works fairly well for a course grind, but I wanted to take it even further. It works well for small amounts, but the fineness of the grind is not adjustable.

I did a lot of online research and kept being drawn to the KoMo grain mills. These wooden beauties are hand made in Germany and are some of the best reviewed mills on the market. I love their simplicity and elegance. Their small footprint was also a big factor as space is a premium in my kitchen. They are expensive however, so it was a purchase I put off for several months. I didn’t need it, but boy did I want it. After selling off some old electronics and getting my tax return, I decided to make the purchase. As my best friend’s grandfather always told her, buy the best you can afford and take very good care of it.

For the past 2 weeks, I have been grinding my own grains to make bread, tortillas, and pancakes. The flavor of freshly ground wheat and oats is delightful. The sweet, nuttiness of the grain comes through without the bitterness of whole wheat. I’ve mainly been using hard white wheat. It has the same nutrition as hard red wheat, but a milder flavor. It’s hard to find locally, but I’ve been happy with my purchase of Palouse Brand on Amazon.

I’m still learning as I have to adjust my recipes. Bread in particular has proven a challenge. I’ve been baking tasty, but dense loaves. This weekend after one epic failure, I finally had success. With the help of King Arthur Flours’ “Whole Grain Baking” and “The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book“, I have been able to incorporate freshly ground grains from my KoMo into our diet. Being nutritious is definitely a bonus, but they taste better, too. 

Some things I learned:

  • Let the dough rest for 30 minutes before kneading. This helps the whole grain flour absorb the liquid.
  • Hold back on the flour. Add only as much as is needed. It’s easy to add too much making for a dense loaf.
  • Use a dough enhancer to help develop the gluten. The bran in the whole wheat makes this more difficult. I used King Arthur’s Whole Grain Improver. I will try just vital wheat gluten, too.
  • Watch the rising times. They are faster with freshly ground flour. It’s easy to over-proof.

2021 update

It’s been more than four years and I haven’t bought white flour in years. I mill all of my own flour and couldn’t be happier. If you are serious about flavor and good nutrition, you can’t go wrong with a grain mill.

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