Stacking Functions Garden


Milling your own flour

wheatberriesEven typing that post title, it still sounds completely crazy.  One year ago, I never would have imagined that this was where I was headed.  I wasn’t even baking my own bread yet!  Yet here I was 3 weeks ago, searching Craigslist for secondhand grain mills, and found one for $50.  I brought it home, unsure of what to expect.

grainmill1I was actually really scared to use it because Adam had read some Amazon reviews where it burned out Kitchenaid motors.  I waited a few days, then I tried milling some wheat berries.  Turns out my fears were unfounded; the Kitchenaid didn’t even heat up.  (That is one product I would heartily endorse as worth the extra money.)

We milled about four and a half cups of whole wheat flour.  We used 3.5 of those to make a loaf of whole wheat bread, and the rest we soaked in buttermilk overnight and made waffles the next morning.  Soaking whole grains (especially soaking them in something fermented or cultured like buttermilk or yogurt) makes them more nutritionally available.  It also has the added benefit of making them A LOT more palatable.

Those were the best danged waffles I’ve ever had, and they were 100% whole grain.  Light, fluffy, absolutely wonderful:


The bread turned out great too:


I got into this whole “milling my own flour” thing mainly for health/nutrition purposes.  Once again, I was inspired in part by Nourishing Traditions.  The “eat whole grains” thing is pretty much a no-brainer at this point, but I was unaware of the fact that whole wheat flour goes rancid, very quickly.  So preservatives are added to it to keep it from going rancid.  Is this what makes whole wheat products so danged heavy?  I don’t know.  But the flour that we milled produced bread and waffles that were as light or lighter than even stuff made with white flour.

I like to think there’s an eco-component to this as well.  I’ve cut out several middle men and therefore several trips on trucks for my little kernels of wheat.  And wow is it cheap to buy this stuff in bulk.  Check out these rock-bottom prices on organic grains at my Co-op this week:

Buckwheat: $1.39/lb
Rye: $.79/lb
Wheat: $1.29/lb
Spelt: $1.49/lb

So far, I am really liking this, and keep thinking of new breakfast foods to try.  This morning we made old-fashioned rice porridge, with brown rice that we had milled at the “coarse” setting and soaked overnight in yogurt.  We’ve also tried buckwheat pancakes, and have a couple loaves of bread under our belt (literally).

What do you think?  Is this about food snobbery and nutrition, or can I claim newfound eco-credentials with this new development?

1 Comment

Recipe: hot dog or hamburger buns

hotdogbunsSummer is here, and so is grilling season.  We grilled up some delicious fresh sausages from the Seward Co-op the other night and baked up our own buns to eat them on.  Like everything we’ve been trying lately, we were surprised at how easy it was.

Hamburger or hot dog buns
3 c. white bread flour
1 1/4 c. whole wheat bread flour
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 c. milk
1/3 c. sugar (optional)
1/3 c. butter
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten

Put all ingredients in bread machine and set to “dough” setting (2 lb size). When cycle is complete (usually around 1.5-2 hours), remove dough from machine and divide into 12 pieces.  Shape into desired shape — hamburger or hot dog, and place on a greased baking sheet.  Let rise for about 30 min.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

I found these to be a little sweeter than I normally would like, so next time I’m leaving the sugar out.  I would also like to make them a little more “whole” wheat than this, but that’s going to have to be a work-in-progress.  This made quite a few more than we needed, so we froze the leftovers.

Leave a comment

Recipe: St. Martin’s Table Whole Wheat Bread (adapted for bread machine)


Adam and I bought a bread machine last fall with the hopes of saving some money — but you have to make quite a few loaves to pay off the cost of the machine itself, so we have made the commitment to buying little-to-no bread for several months now.  I actually don’t remember now the last time we bought bread.

My favorite bread in the whole world is from St. Martin’s Table, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis.  If I had the means, I would hire them to cook for me full time.  We have their cookbook, and Adam adapted the bread recipe to work in the bread machine.  We have tried MANY whole wheat bread machine bread recipes and this is hands-down, no contest, the best.

SO without further ado:

St. Martin’s Table Honey Whole Wheat Bread — for a 2 lb.-capacity bread machine
1 and 3/4 c. warm water
1/3 c. oil (we use olive)
1/3 c. honey
1 T. salt
1 c. white bread flour (all purpose will do in a pinch)
3 c. whole wheat bread floor (or 2 c. whole wheat and 1 c. multigrain)
1 T. dry yeast

Add ingredients, in order, to bread machine pan.  Set machine to whole wheat setting, light crust, 1.5 lb loaf.  You actually end up with a 2 lb loaf, but Adam has found that the crust turns out nicer at the 1.5 lb setting.

Keep an eye on the dough during the first knead cycle.  It should form a nice ball and look slightly sticky — whole wheat flour takes a longer time to absorb liquid than white flour does.  If it seems really sticky and is not forming a nice ball, add another 1-2 T of flour.

breaddoughHere is the dough at the end of the first knead cycle — a nice sticky ball of dough.


Here is the dough after the last rise cycle — this one really took off!

UPDATE 19 Feb. 2010: Well, we got rid of the bread machine after we learned about the no-knead bread method and read Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day — I will post another version of this recipe adapted to that method soon.