Grains in the form of rice, corn and wheat have been important staple foods for thousands of years. Wheat is most commonly eaten as bread, in all its various forms, and it is thought that humans started baking bread at least 30,000 years ago. Bread is considered to be a good source of complex carbohydrates as well as dietary fibre and provides us with nutrients such as magnesium, iron, selenium, and B vitamins.
But of course the quality of bread in terms of both it’s taste and nutrition is wholly dependant on using good quality ingredients and since bread is essentially nothing more than flour and water, with a sprinkling of salt and leavening agent, it is vital to use the best flour possible.
Bread is a firm favourite in our house and I have been baking bread almost daily for twenty years, happy in the knowledge that my kids were eating bread free of preservatives. I knew exactly what was in our bread, but because I used store bought flour, I was still concerned about what wasn’t in the bread. Let me explain…
A wheat kernel comprises of three parts:
Bran – Outer covering that contains vitamins, minerals and fibre. The bran is removed for white flour.
Endosperm – Largest part of kernel, which is ground to make flour and other refined grains. Contains carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Germ – Tiniest part of kernel that contains vitamins, protein, minerals and fat. The germ is actually the embryo of the wheat plant and is the most vitamin and mineral rich part of the wheat kernel.
Because the germ needs to be able to support a new plant it is the most nutritious part of the grain but since it contains oils it can quickly turn rancid. In order to improve shelf life, much of it is removed in the process of making flour.
I wanted to use flour with nothing removed. The obvious next step was to invest in a grain mill! When you mill your own flour, what you get is nutritious whole grain flour where nothing has been removed.
I chose a Nutrimill Flour Mill which I purchased from here:
And so for the last four years I have been doing the Daily Grind and milling all our flour. That may sound daunting, but if you choose the right mill it’s really not a big deal!
The mill I use is a Nutrimill Classic Flour Mill and I estimate that in four years I have ground approximately 800 kg of grain. Wow, that’s a lot of bread!
In that time, I have experimented with different grains, including wheat, spelt, kamut, rye and oats.
The mill is fast and easy to use. I have it in my pantry on a shelf above my sacks of grains. I just pop the kernels in the top and leave it to grind while I get the water and yeast ready. In just a few minutes I have fine, soft flour containing all the nutrients of the whole grain. Besides knowing that the bread is full of goodness, the taste is far superior when you use flour that is truly fresh.
I am totally converted to using freshly ground flour and I now consider a grain mill to be an essential kitchen tool. It is probably my most used appliance and I would recommend a grain mill to anyone who enjoys home baked bread!
If you want to know more about the Nutrimill Flour Mill, then go to:
- ‘The Daily Grind’ means something that you have to do every day, day after day, day in, day out, every day of the year…it’s boring, it’s tedious, it’s repetitive…. The term comes from Anglo-Saxon England and refers to the laborious task of grinding and crushing grains using a grindstone, to make the daily bread, which was the staple food of Anglo-Saxon society. Without the ‘daily grind’, you had no flour. No flour meant no bread. No bread meant that you had very little to eat, so it was something that had to be done every single day.