The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Grinding your own grain

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Grinding your own grain

Hi


Does anyone in here grind their own grains? 


I've been contemplating even growing my own wheat, but I'm seeing a lot of people saying it's not worth the hastle.


Where would I buy grains from? I'm assuming I'd need durum wheat and a grinder (which looks too expensive for me, but people ground wheat long before electricity so it's possible).


 


Just curious for more information.


Thanks
Craig

Jaydot's picture
Jaydot

... there's a "grains and milling" section, under "Gear", in this forum :)!

khacha's picture
khacha

I grow eastern red winter wheat on my farm in Maryland.  In order to use my wheat in my breads I simmer the grain; it adds great texture and flavor without effecting the structure of the dough.  Eastern soft red winter wheat is very low in gluten, and I have tried grinding it and making bread with little success.  We sell the local wheat to mills who make it into biscuit & cracker flour. I use about 25% wheat out of my fields along with King Arthur Special & Sir Lancelot in my bread. The advantage of simmering the grain is that it gives the bread an added moisture content, and the yeast loves the fresh grain. Another advantage of this process is I don't have to shell out $1000 for a grinder.

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)

Thank you

proth5's picture
proth5

grinding wheat for flour on these pages.  Some, like flourgirl, grind their own wheat.


For me, the taste of freshly ground grains is superior to anything that one can buy pre ground.


Hassle is as hassle does. Since I don't have the option of my own grain (and one would end up storing grain anyway) I don't know if I would see a big difference from growing my own wheat.  But it would be cool.


I happen to live on the edge of the great grain producing regions of the USA, so I could grow the kind of wheat that is popularly used for bread.  Your climate may not be right for that type of wheat. but even here in the USA with its great Midwestern "bread basket" an interest is sufacing in using local grains that were not formerly considered desireable for breadmaking and adapting techniques to produce bread.


This is of great interest to me - and I have high hopes of attending some classes/seminars on this topic in the near future.


Electric mills are actually quite economical and you may wish to look at those. Hand grinders - well - you can spend more money on those than electric - my beloved Diamant is an example...


I wish you well with your exploration of milling!

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)

Thanks for that.


It's something I never even considered because I didn't know about it, but now I've thought about it I really love the idea of creating my own flour then baking with it. 


It's definitely a subject which interests me too, keep in touch with your findings :) 


 


 

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I was contemplating grinding my own wheat and a friend loaned me her mill and some wheat berries.  I made a couple of whole wheat loaves and was hooked.  The flavor was superior to the other whole wheats I had made using the best flours I could find.  Perhaps there's someone around you that would either loan you their mill or grind some wheat for you to bake right away.


FF

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)

Sounds fab :) 


Thanks FF

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Craig,


Interesting projects! I can see you are not a chap to do things by halves ;-).


There have been a few threads recently about buying grain in the UK to mill. Worth a quick search as they name suppliers. Think the baker went with Dove's eventually.


Below are some fairly considered articles about how to grow your own grain in the UK and a 'how to do it' sheet from Brockwell Bake/Real Bread Campaign (RBC) for schools.


Oxford Bread Group are now encouraging local millers to grow heritage UK wheat varieties. Some of these have been recovered from old thatched roofs! Guess you used your local grain for whatever you needed.


The BBC article has an interesting examples and responses, from Andrew Whitley (who has grown his own wheat on a small patch), to those who found it too labour intensive, to those warning of ergot and other diseases. Have to say I think the ergot bit is overstated but I did talk to an organic rye grower recently and his grain is tested in the lab. As someone who grows organic veg. in their back garden I have to say this is the same for your own veg. - untested so you have to use your loaf - but they taste like nothing else! 


Good luck if you take on either the home milling or home growing projects. Keep us posted!


Best wishes, Daisy_A


 


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7284011.stm


http://www.brockwell-bake.org.uk/plant_wheat_teachers.pdf

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)

Hi Daisy_A


Absolutely.


Thank you very much for taking the time to write that for me.


I have a distant memory from when I was young/er (?) of the fields near my mam's house, growing wheat hehehe I wonder if I could ask the farmer if I could have some :)


"ask the farmer" hahaha Geordie for pinch a bit :D 


No, I'd have to ask, I don't believe in stealing anything, I'm joking :)


I love growing vegetable and herbs too, chillies too - hopefully this year should be great, only my second year of trying.


Take care


Craig


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Craig,


Good idea to ask the farmer. Looking at some of the responses to the articles that's how some people got started. However it says it's worth asking if it's a modern or heritage variety. Heritage is better for back gardens in some ways as varieties are not so dependent on chemicals and you should be able to seed save.


I grow veg. from heritage seeds rescued from places where people had been growing them on for ages and they are really robust :-). I just save the seeds now or with some veg. (like leeks), let them seed themselves.


Well done on getting chillies going :-) I have grown chillies before although I found them quite demanding compared to tomatoes. Dried some of the Scotch Bonnet for curries though - top. Hope your veg. go well this year.


Forgot to say, I think the Oxford Bread Group is working with the Coop to distribute flour grown with heritage wheat to home bakers. How top is that? Particularly given the Coop's historical role in supporting home veg. growers and bakers. 


If you don't mind me asking where did your mam live? I grew up in Carlisle. Newcastle was always 'the big city' to us! However I guess cities and their outskirts have a lot of green spaces. I remember neighbours growing veg. on local allotments when it was all 'auld fellahs' in home built sheds and not the trendy gig it is now LOL.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)


Hi Daisy 


It all sounds very cool.


 


My mam lives in Whickham, if you go to google maps and type in sunniside, you'll see the fields I mean - it's pretty much a few housing estates in the middle of farmer's fields (great for my hayfever hehe).


 


I'm a BIG fan of keeping seeds, a big fan of it - I've only just had the confidence to start it all, my partner and I tried it for the first time last year and mostly it was a success! 


 


Some of it is still a mystery to me, but I suppose that unfolds in time.


 


Strange to hear you found chillies to be demanding, I always found them to be quite independant little things :) 


 


Aye, everything I remember from allotments was to do with an owld shed and parrafin lamps haha old men tending their vegetables to avoid their wives.


 


Bliss haha 


(for my partner too haha)


 


I just love it all, I love the thought of things growing, and I love caring for them, I love collecting the seeds to try again, and I love using them in cooking too.


 


Really in my opinion it's what we're supposed to be doing - to live, it's how "god" planned it.


 


I have a deep fascination and admiration for nature.


 


Thanks for your message


Craig


qahtan's picture
qahtan

Hi


 I always buy my hard wheat kernels/berries from my local health food store, and mill/grind them as wanted when I bake whole wheat bread....


 unfortunately there isn't the choice of variety here Niagara Peninsula,, Ontario as there is in the states, and postage is ridiculous.


 I mill the berries in the grain mill that links to my Kenwood mixer, the mixer I bought back from UK and had the motor changed.. fresh ground is superior to shop bought..  enjoy it when you do.... qahtan  


 

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I understand that one of my favorite wheat varieties is grown there on the peninsula.  Red Fife is very hard to get and expensive here.  Perhaps you can locate a farmer or granery.

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)

Thanks qahtan


That's encouraging. 


Do you not sieve the broken grain to keep the bran and the germ separate? 


I read that "3 types" of flour come from one wheat grain - they get separated and sold back to us in 3 bags, the bran the endosperm and the germ - different types of flour and fineness (if that's a word).


Aparrently the bran has all the vitamins, and the endosperm is what is ground down to make white flour, and it's a starch (I think) to feed the germ - I think rye is the germ but I could be so incorrect that I'll be strung upside down and have my feet beaten with sticks.


I really do very much like the idea of making my own flour - it feels immediate, honest, more wholesome, it gives me the feeling that I will have understanding of the process more too.


I read a post where someone had used raisin yeast, so one day I may even make my own yeast too.


Time will tell :) 


Thank you for contributing to this topic.


 


Best wishes


Craig


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Craig,


Making your own yeast is the biggest fun :-) I have a sourdough wheat starter, a rye starter and a raisin water yeast. The raisin water is great for sweet doughs as it is sugar tolerant. I use it to make a levain. Did great in panettone at Christmas. When mixed with flour and water it smells like rum and raisin ice cream. What's not to like?


Most of the sourdough bakers on this site have their own yeasts. Can be a challenge at times but fascinating as they are living creatures. 


Best wishes, Daisy_A

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)

http://www.walkmillflour.co.uk


 


In case you didn't know -


I'm just mooching about looking online about grain mills etc

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)

http://www.walkmillflour.co.uk


 


In case you didn't know -


I'm just mooching about looking online about grain mills etc

qahtan's picture
qahtan

When I mill my hard wheat berries I use the whole thing,, I don't filter out any of the bran/germ/whatever cos thats what I want Whole Wheat. try, see if you can find a hand mill fairly cheap after all you don't want to mill tons of the stuff, just mill as you want..... qahtan