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10/19/2005 Archived Entry: "Made a little dough"



Raving Reporter Thunder here. Normally, making some dough wouldn't be cause for celebration, but this was special. Lightning and I bought a grain mill and ground the wheat berries ourselves.

We've been steadily working towards a more self-reliant lifestyle. One of the ways we are doing that is working towards processing food ourselves and using as little electricity as possible. It's usually cheaper that way, it tends to be healthier because you know what goes into your food, and if you follow simple sanitation guidelines, it can be safer for you as well.

We purchased a Universal Model 500 grain mill for a whopping $26. The reason why I went for this brand was due to the longevity of the company and the low price. There are other mills out there that will probably do a better job than this mill did. That's not to say that this mill was bad, not by any means. Once I get to a point where I can afford a better mill, I'll get one but this one is fine in the interim.

Lightning ran down to the local health food store and got a couple tubs of wheatberries to test the mill out. Running them through the mill, it got to be a workout, but it took only about 2-3 turns of the crank before the flour began to pour out.

Once we went through the wheat berries, we checked the flour consistency. It was a bit rough. Not what one would use for bread, so we ran it through the mill again, tightening the burrs in an attempt to get a finer grind. It worked to an extent.

We compared the flour we made with the whole wheat flour we had from Arrowhead Mills. The textures of the two flours were remarkably similar. The grind of the storebought flour had a much more consistent texture than our flour, but other than that it was virtually indistinguishable. Our flour wasn't consistent with grinding up the hulls. The size was acceptable, just not consistent as I would have liked.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I would prefer a better mill, but for the price I paid, I'm still pleased. If you want to make corn meal, this mill should be awesome.

Where can you find wheatberries and is it cost effective to make your own? Well, Walton Feed has some, in addition to a lot of other foods those of us interested in the self-reliant lifestyle may be interested in. Walton Feed also has a good article testing some higher end grain mills. Is it cost effective? Well, when was the last time that you were able to buy 50 lbs of flour for roughly $8? If stored properly, wheat will last longer than you will. There have been grains of wheat discovered in the Pyramids that sprouted when planted. Once ground, however, it can spoil quickly. Grind the flour you need for a week and keep it in the fridge and you should be ok.

I originally planned to post a picture of the loaf of bread I made with the flour, but there was a freak oven accident and I'm sad to report that the loaf did not survive. Once I get my supply of wheat on hand, I'll snap some shots for you and report on the taste and texture of the bread.

Next time: the meat grinder!

Happy grinding!

Posted by Thunder @ 11:12 AM CST

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