Grind your own flour at home

Sep 12, 2013 1

 

grind-grains

Grind your own flour at home

Ever walk in to an actual bakery in the morning and you could smell the freshly baked breads that had just come out of the oven? There’s that yeasty aroma, the feel of the moisture, and warmth in the air that you can’t help but fall in love with. That smell just seems to resonate within us on some deep level…we just love baked breads.

Grains are truly the staff of life. Bread however has been getting a bad reputation these days. Why? Our industrial food system. Grains, whole grains, will last almost (maybe even entirely) indefinitely if the entire bran is left in tact. However, once the bran is broken open the grains start to oxidize and go rancid due to the oil content inside.

Rancid before you get it home?

How does flour on the shelf of the grocery store last for weeks and months in the bags until you buy it, and then for however long it sits in your pantry until you’ve used it all? The processing the wheat goes through strips all the nutrition out leaving a dead, nutrient-less product.

Why strip all of this nutrition out of the flour? As stated before, fresh ground whole grain flour goes stale and rancid quickly (think a couple weeks). How can you turn a profit on a product that can’t sit on the store’s shelf for months? You can’t, so you have to remove the parts that cause the product to go bad.

 

whole-grain-nutrition

 

Wheat, for instance, as a complete whole grain is rich in proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, minerals and healthy fats. The complete grain is made up of the wheat bran and middlings (the outside layers), the wheat germ and wheat germ oil, and the endosperm. The endosperm is the wheat’s power house providing the energy to the young plant to shoot roots down into the soil and send up sprouts to bathe in the sun. What is white commercial flour? Ground up endosperm, essentially pure energy without the fiber and protein to balance the energy absorption. It’s is so devoid of nutrition that it must be “enriched” with small amounts of synthetic thiamine, niacin, B1, B2, folic acid, and iron. Store bought whole wheat flour just has some of the bran added back in to the white flour which is better than pure white flour, but still lacking some nutrition and a lot of flavor.

Doesn’t bread make you fat?

Would eating breads made of this commercially processed, high energy content flour cause you to gain weight? Sure, if you’re not burning off those calories they will convert to fat and get stored. If you were active enough could you burn it off without the weight gain? Also, sure, but that doesn’t solve the problem of the nutrition that’s missing. Now, what if you were eating a complete grain that contained all the parts intact? It would provide you a long lasting supply of energy and nourishment. You really do not get hungry as quickly when you eat complete grains because all the parts work together to regulate how the body digests the food to give it staying power you need for you day. You need the higher fiber content found in freshly ground grains.

Invest in your health and invest in a grain mill. Aside from all of this, the flavor you get from fresh grains isn’t even a comparison to buying flour from the store. One of the first purchases we made when we started trying to eat better was a grain mill. Ultimately I will end up having two, and electric and a manual hand crank. We bought the electric one first. We chose this Grain Mill primarily because it’ll turn popcorn into corn flour and it’s quiet. It’s no louder than a vacuum and with kids in the house noise level was a big factor. My typical whole wheat bread recipe takes 6-7 cups of flour and this mill will grind all of that in about a minute (maybe even less)

The processing, and the synthetic add-in just can’t match the flavor of the real deal as nature intended it. We are still not even sure about how well the synthetics are absorbed nor about how efficiently our bodies can use them. So the bottom line is to just make it the real way. You’ll love the richer, deeper flavor. Your body will love getting the nutrients it’s expecting in their original forms. For me, there’s just something a little primal about going through this process that’s thousands of years old right in my own kitchen. It really is, truly satisfying.

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Using dried herbs or fresh herbs

Sep 10, 2013 0

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Using dried herbs or fresh herbs

How to convert between the two

Depending on whether your recipe calls for using dried herbs or fresh herbs; when it comes to herbs you can almost always substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs (and vice versa)

The general rule to follow:

Dried to fresh
Multiply dried amount by 3 (1/3 C dried = 1 C fresh)
Fresh to dried
Divide fresh amount by 3 (1 C fresh = 1/3 C dried)

Flavors in fresh herbs are always more pure, and flavors in dried herbs are always more concentrated. Fresh is always more desirable, but dried herbs are always on the spice rack and handy. If using dried herbs they should be bright or deep in color. If the color has faded then the herbs have probably gone stale. If you can crush a few leaves and not get the strong aroma of the herb then it’s gone stale. Dried herbs do not have an infinite shelf life.

Herb life expectancy

According to shelflifeadvice.com

Dried whole herbs
Pantry for 1-3 years
Dried ground herbs
Pantry for 6-12 months
Fresh herbs
Refrigerator for up to 1 week

Is anyone else guilty of at one time having 5 year old basil (or worse?) on the spice rack, or just me? Ideally we would just buy the amount of fresh that we needed. If you have left over fresh herbs make sure you dry them out and put them in a spice jar.

It is also best practice to buy whole spice and use a spice mill or coffee grinder to grind them fresh each time as needed. Always having some on hand is very convenient so make sure you store what left and rotate them out when they’re too old and the food you’re taking the time to prepare will taste even more amazing.

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