The Fresh Loaf

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How to mill corn flour at home

Yippee's picture
Yippee

How to mill corn flour at home

Hi, 

What kind of corn is used to make corn flour to make tortilla?  I used to make cornmeal with popcorn. If I grind it finer, will I get corn flour?

What is the 'lime' that's used to make tortilla? Where can I get it?

Could you recommend a corn tortilla recipe?

Thanks,

Yippee

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Dent corn, aka field corn, dried yellow kernals with a dent on top, is used for cornmeal in North America.  You've probably seen the yellow whole dried corn-on-cobs sold as squirrel food, or for decorative  wreaths.

Popping corn is a type of "flint corn", and is much harder. The native North Americans used flint corn, but it's not an exact substitute for dent corn as it is too hard, both the  bran layer and the inside.

As someone mentioned for wheat berries on another thread, don't get dent corn from animal-feed-stores, or craft stores. Get it through people-food channels.

Corn tortillas are made from corn that has been "nixtamalized".  It is ground and then sold as "masa harina" or "corn masa."  It is very dfferent than North American corn-meal that we use to make corn-bread.

Corn flour (dent corn ground finely) that is NOT nixtamalized, can be found in Indian (ie South Asian) stores, Sher brand.  see www.sherbrarmills.com

Nixtamalized corn masa can now be found in most all major US groceries, as well as Mexican/Latino groceries.

Start your education of "nixtamalization" at Wiki.

As to where to buy whole kernal dent corn, start with whole berry wheat suppliers in the people-food channels.

HTH.

happycat's picture
happycat

Just had to say, clear, informative and generous answer!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

🙏🙏🙏

 

...don't get dent corn from animal-feed-stores..."

😆

 

Yippee

 

Isand66's picture
Isand66

I buy my corn online from Amazon and Barton Mills.  Try the red and purple variety if you get a chance.

Happy Corn Milling!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

How do you usually use your 🌽?

Yippee

Isand66's picture
Isand66

I Mill it fine and sift out the hard stuff and mix up with wheat flours.

vstyn's picture
vstyn

Isand66

I want to make my own corn flour for cornbread, so what corn do you recommend I buy for grinding corn flour.

Thanks

Vic

 

 

 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

 

 

"The Aztec and Mayan civilizations developed nixtamalization using slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and lye (potassium hydroxide) to create alkaline solutions.

 

I have lye!

 

 

 

P.S.

It also says: "The prepared grain is called nixtamal...The term hominy may refer to whole...nixtamal..."

🤔🤔🤔 Hominy sounds familiar. If I remember correctly, it's the white "thing" they sell in a Latino grocery store. Based on what Wiki says, it is already processed with alkaline. If I grind it into flour, then I will have saved a lot of work!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Hi, Dave;

Have you used your Vitamix to grind dried corn (dent or sweet or pop)? I wonder if it's sturdy enough to do so without causing damage to the unit. I hope to hear some confirmation that it can do the job so that I don't have to use my mock mill.  Cornmeal ground by a KA grain mill attachment is very coarse, definitely not suitable for making tortillas (I suppose I can grind them in KA first, then in Vitamix, just to avoid using the Mock Mill) 

Thanks.

Yippee

 

P.S.

I'd like to use the dry method above to see if Vitamix can grind dried corn. If working with flour, I know the precise amount used. Alternatively, I can go the "wet" route - pressure cooks the hominy and wet grind it in Vitamix. Either way, I can make dough (hopefully). 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

But I suspect it would scratch the container.  

I uglified my Vitamix container (regular one,  not a dry grains container) by running dry hard white wheat berries through it, and the bottom few inches of the container is all cloudy now due to the scratches. 

(So now I pre-crack the dry wheat grain in a hand-crank 3-roller mill, before running it through the vitamix.)

--

If you are going to make the corn into dough, you could pre-soak the dry hominy kernals in water, to soften and hydrate them.  I did that with wheat berries and it did not seem to further scratch the plastic.  The trick is get the right amount of extra water so that the slurry is not too thin nor too thick. Too thick and it heats up and starts to cook.

--

On the other hand, the dry nixtamalized hominy may already be "fragile" enough to fall apart without scratching the plastic.

 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

https://youtu.be/rj4hsAKoY1M

It doesn't bother me, but in case you're interested.

Yippee

 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

My blender is the $15 special from Walmart edited to add it is a thick glass container so no etching and does a great job grinding popcorn which is the hardest. I go ahead and pulse til coarse granules then finish in the Mock Mill. Have not had any difficulty with either machine . I did 5# of popcorn over months. None was a large bulk grinding but still cheap blender did fine and I confirmed with Breadtopia folks that it was safe in the Mock Mill since I was pregrinding. For general use of a couple cups I don’t see a problem. 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

it has a thick glass container , very heavy duty. If you are concerned you can just get a cheap glass blender and reserve it for your pre-grinding of corn or any other grain you feel needs it. Just a thought. c

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Thanks!  That's good to know.

 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

https://forum.breadtopia.com/t/nixtamalizing-and-grinding-milling-corn/22736

 

they also have the proper corn to grind yourself. I have ground popcorn with my MockMill before I learned that one isn't supposed to do it. That said it is wonderfully corny and makes excellent cornbread as well as grits and polenta....all depends on how fine you grind it. 

To grind popcorn get organic first of all . Then put small amounts in a good blender and pulse blend to a finer grind. You can then start from there in your mill. I only ground as much as I wanted to use for a particular recipe. I used 5# of popcorn in this way and everything I made was excellent. Also I did presoak in the buttermilk when I made polenta or cornbread to soften even more and to speed cooking. Worked perfectly

https://forum.breadtopia.com/t/nixtamalizing-and-grinding-milling-corn/22736

happycat's picture
happycat

That blogger noted some fragility of the end product. I suppose you could scald or porridge a small portion of dough and mix it in to compensate for lack of gluten.

I never had much luck with corn masa tortillas. My brother gave me a cast tortilla press but I broke the metal and tossed it.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

 

Thank you very much for the info!

Yippee

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Caroline, your statement about not milling dent corn sent me to Google. I have been milling dent corn in my KoMo for a long time.

Here is a link from Mockmill USA.

SORRY, I reread your post and it said popcorn, not dent corn.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

I got these, sold as hominy.  Based on my understanding of the info from Wiki, they had been chemically processed.  If I grind them in flour and can make a dough, I can confirm that they were treated with the alkaline because cornmeal ground from untreated corn cannot form a dough with water.

 

charbono's picture
charbono

do not look like they've been treated.  They are floury and will be easy to grind.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Pressure cooking a small batch to test whether it can form a dough when ground. 

Kooky's picture
Kooky

I've always made tortillas at home. I made 100% whole wheat tortillas with freshly milled whole wheat for the first time recently and they were some of the best I've had, flavor wise. Texture was just fine, nearly identical to white flour.

Hominy I usually use whole for cooking and frying, I make a tomato sauce based hominy and spinach dish. Native Americans used hominy, as do Mexicans, I've seen it in modern pozole recipes and such.

I'm sure Breadtopia covers this but... Take field corn, or dent corn, cover with water, add the proper amount of slaked lime (pickling lime - don't breathe it in!), bring to simmer for 15 minutes, then let it rest overnight or however long you want up to 24 hours or so. Start rinsing it and rubbing it between your hands to get rid of the gooey and previously impenetrable outer layer. From there you have hominy. You can cook it, fry it, or dry it out. When you dry it out, you can make masa for tortillas.

Really, once you make the hominy, you don't even have to dry it if you're going to use it right away. The corn is still soaked so if you have one of those traditional hand crank grinders, you can just grind the wet corn directly and store remainder in fridge for a few days if needed.

Tortilla recipes are always quite basic, and usually the best, just like bread... Flour, water, oil, salt. Combine quantities, divide into equal sized balls, and rest for a bit. Then flatten. I've found the only way my tortillas don't look like amoebas is to use the tortilla pin, which I got recently. It's just a shorter cylinder of wood with no roller or handles or anything, it makes circular adjustments much easier.

I am very hungry now.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Thanks again for all your help! 

 

 

Testing whether the hominy is chemically treated.

 Experiment 1: grinding pressure-cooked hominy using KA meat grinder

 

Too coarse, but it can form a dough. It's hopeful!

Experiment 2: Grinding the hominy in Vitamix. It seems quite easy to break the hominy apart.

Mixing in KA, 100% hominy, 70% water, 1% salt

Resting for an hour~.

Dough!

 Rolling out between parchment

 

Baked in oven 550F x 2.5 mins

Cooling

Comparing thickness with a store-bought tortilla.

I'm not crazy about the taste of the unleavened dough.  The tortillas have a bitter aftertaste. Or is it because of the chemical? Will fine-tune the formula next time.   

 

happycat's picture
happycat

Nice dough! What about frying in a lightly oiled, hot skillet? If you push down on it with a spatula you might get it to puff up air bubbles, and get a slightly toasty exterior. Baked tortillas sounds odd to me.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

If I have to stand by the stove. Last time I did it when making the scallion pancake.😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫 I'm trying to avoid doing that again 😄😄😄

Yippee

happycat's picture
happycat

True. That's why I bought an electric griddle. I can cook on it while sitting and watching tv (pancakes, crepes, english muffins, crumpets, etc.)

happycat's picture
happycat

This thread got me reading about corn, nixtamalization, and other uses of the process in other grains like rye and vegetables to activate outer pectin into skins while cooking the insides. Amazing stuff.

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/science/789-articles/feature/transforming-corn

Only thing about bitterness though is rancidity.

happycat's picture
happycat

From epicurious, difference between nixtamal and hominy

https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/what-is-nixtamal-article

nixtamalization

boil water, add calcium hydroxide

add corn, simmer 20 mins

rinse, rub off pericarps/hulls

"This is nixtamalized corn or nixtamal. At this step, you could continue washing your nixtamal maíz and have hominy. Hominy is what’s used in pozole and in soups... Hominy is tender and engorged in size, resembling a garbanzo bean. But washing off the nejayote—the liquid the maíz is cooked in—to produce hominy means washing off the gel released during nixtamalization that makes for ideal masa. It’s that gel that helps hold masa together."

Kooky's picture
Kooky

So they were nixtamalized... I would give them a thorough secondary soak, perhaps, unless you're using a dry grinder like a stone burr. Of course you could just let them dry again. I don't think I've had an issue with bitter aftertaste. I use yellow field corn, at a pretty coarse grind. However I have been purchasing various corns lately, blue and white, will see what others I can find.

I go outside with a strainer and big pot and bathe the corn over and over until not much residue appears.

I can definitely eat all tortillas on their own, corn, flour, whole wheat, specialty I haven't experimented with yet, black bean tortillas for instance. Same with most unleavened breads... Pitas, tortillas, roti, naan, I love them all.

PS, they look a little rigid, but they're on towels. Did you cover them? I find they're inedible when right off the stove. They have to sit inside a "tortilla warmer", or a gigantic kitchen towel wrapped up so that they steam each other. Only after they're in the warmer for a few minutes do I find them palatable.

Mine looks like this but it's super old and I found it in my family's house...  If I don't do this they're so hard and dry I can barely make tacos, let alone burritos or quesadillas.

https://www.pamperedchef.com/iceberg/com/product/100120-lg.jpg