Grain Mill Fun!!

Recently, I've developed a keen interest in where my baking ingredients come from. While I haven't always sought out local ingredients for my baked goods, I'm becoming more observant of such things and taking steps to buy more locally sourced foods. One key ingredient that my baking wouldn't survive without is flour. After years of buying the big-name brands at my local stores, I'm seeking out some locally grown wheat, specifically the wheat berries. I recently purchased some directly from a local farm.

Okay, so I got my wheat berries. Some people soak them overnight (so they can sprout) and boil them and then put them in salads or other dishes. What I've learned is that these wheat berries have a lot more nutritional value than many flours (once ground) because the whole berry is intact. A lot of flours are made without the outer casing, so you no longer have the whole wheat. See where this is going? Whole wheat flour includes the entire wheat berry. Revelatory, I know! 

I decided to mill some flour using these wheat berries. I spent a lot of time researching flour mills, especially those that are amenable to a home without a ton of extra space. The large ones are quite pricey and would likely need their own room to contain the mess. Some counter-top mills intrigued me but it's just another appliance without good storage space. So I decided to go with the stand mixer attachment.

This thing is great! It doesn't make a massive mess, it takes up little storage space, and it attaches to an appliance I already own! It does take a little while to mill enough flour for my loaves, but I'm a patient person. The other potential down side is that the flour doesn't get as fine in this mill as what I'm used to, but I was up for the challenge!

Here's my freshly milled whole wheat flour. I immediately put it to use in my sourdough recipe. When I began kneading the dough, I immediately noticed a difference with this courser flour. Not sure how it would turn out, especially uncertain about the proportions compared to my go-to recipe, I forged ahead and followed the usual sourdough bread routine. 

There are some clear differences between my typical sourdough bread and this one, but I was very happy with the results. The crust was crusty, the interior was denser than usual but fairly typical for a whole wheat loaf, and most importantly, it tastes great! If you like whole wheat bread, I think you will enjoy this version. Next time you order from me, feel free to ask for the whole wheat sourdough. I will happily bust out my new milling toy and prepare some for you.