Recipes and Reviews: Grains
Last week we talked about why you should mill your own grains, and I promised a few grain mill reviews. Since then I’ve taken an informal poll as to why people buy bread products rather than making their own. I got two recurring answers.
First, people don’t have time at home to let bread rise twice and babysit the oven. As a mama with three little ones and one on the way, I totally understand this. Second, people are intimidated by the yeast and process involved in making breads.
Well, let there be no more excuses! Today not only do I have mill reviews, but also some yeast-free recipes that still give you the goodness of 100% whole grains. Also, as an ace in the hole, I’ve got a recipe for 100% whole wheat bread in 5 minutes (of work) per day. Let’s get to it!
This is probably the most popular grain mill on the market, and it’s easy to see why. It’s got all-in-one construction, meaning that the flour canister is directly underneath the hopper. It doesn’t make quite as much noise as a jet engine when you run it (and when you do, it’s generally for less than one minute).
Nutrimill has the largest capacity of any electric mill at 17 cups. This means that you can fill up to eight cups of grain in the hopper at once and allow it to collect in the canister—becoming around 17 cups of flour.
This mill grinds beans and legumes, and allows you to dial in your preferred grind—from coarse to fine. The newest model does this much better than previous versions, which was the reason I decided against this particular machine when I was in the market for one.
The storage couldn’t be simpler, you just put the canister back and leave your mill in its place. No cleaning is required (yay)! It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Electric mills can’t handle nuts or coffee beans because the oils from these products would ruin the milling heads. This isn’t a problem if you have a blender or a coffee grinder, but it would be nice for those who are gluten-free to be able to make fine nut flours along with bean flours in the machine.
This baby is still pretty darn loud—significantly more so than the Wonder Mill.
Grain mills aren’t cheap. Both this mill and the Wonder Mill run about $270.
I use the Wonder Mill in my own home. When I purchased mine two years ago, it was $20 less expensive than the Nutrimill, but now they retail for the same price. Electric mills are fast. I generally grind six cups of grain to make bread and it takes around one minute.
I find this machine to be much quieter than the Nutrimill, and that’s nice when the decibel level in my home reaches, oh, rock concert levels during the day.
The reason I chose this mill over the other options was the customizability of the grind. I love to bake and often make pastries that require a fine grind. I’m not going to give up nutrition for silky white flour, so this is important.
On the other end, I love to make polenta and heartier breads that can be achieved with a very coarse grind, so the broad spectrum was a real necessity around here.
Wonder Mill seems to have higher quality grinding plates. They’re made of surgical steel, which is the gold standard unless you’re using actual stone.
The filter pops out with relative ease, sometimes making for a messy clean-up. If you’re making large batches of bread, the 12 cup capacity may not be enough.
Whatever you do, don’t forget how much you’ve poured into the hopper and keep filling. Yes, I know they warn you against it in the manual, but, well . . . I forgot. The lid popped off of the canister while mill was still working. Suffice it to say there was flour flung to the far corners of my kitchen.
The Wonder Mill has to be running when you pour in the first grain. If it’s not, the machine will lock up until you’re able to remove the strays. This is easier said than done when you can’t get your hands in there!
Country Living Hand Grain Mill
The Country Living mill, because it’s manually powered, doesn’t require electricity. However, it can be hooked up to an electric motor. Or, for those of you fit greenies, you can power the mill by Exercycle. Please note—if you do this, I want pictures!
The thing I love about this machine is that it’s fantastic for those off the grid types, as well as those who do disaster preparation (the LDS church, for example). I’m not Mormon, but I definitely see the value in having food available in an emergency situation!
Because this is a manual mill, you can make nut butters and grind coffee beans, as well as grind large beans if you buy the special auger for around $40.
The Country Living mill is a seriously sturdy machine, tipping the scales at 19 pounds. It has a one year warranty on the grinding plates, and a 20-year limited warranty.
This is the most expensive of the mills reviewed at nearly $400. However, its portability makes it quite attractive for those who live in RVs, travel frequently, or who are seriously concerned about impending disaster.
You actually have to work to use this mill. I feel a little like Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie, myself, but that doesn’t suit when you’re in a hurry to get things done. It’s slower than electric mills, and the hopper has a smaller capacity.
We’ve discussed the two primary reasons people aren’t making their own breads: intimidation and lack of time. Gotcha! However, let’s not forget about baked goods that don’t require yeast or too much time.
Some items, like polenta, pancakes and quick breads use chemical leaveners or no leaven at all, and are fast and easy to make. For pancakes you don’t even need the oven. You can bake them on a griddle in the dead of summer!
Modified slightly from Allrecipes
Grind your own non-gmo corn into a coarse flour. You’ll need one cup for this recipe
- 2 cups milk (or 2 cups water and 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil)
- 2 cups chicken/vegetable stock
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (fresh is best, not from a shaker)
- 2 cups spaghetti sauce, or your favorite recipe
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)
- 4 ½ teaspoons coconut oil
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
We double this recipe and freeze any leftovers. I always use a substitution for buttermilk. For 1 cup buttermilk, substitute 1 tbsp vinegar with enough milk to make 1 cup.
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
Modified slightly from Breadtopia.com
- ½ cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter (or 4 oz coconut oil)
- ½ cup honey
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana (3-4 medium to large bananas)
- 2 large eggs or egg substitute
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cups chopped walnuts, optional
Yeast Bread Recipes
100% Whole Wheat Bread
- 3 ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/3 cup milk (or water)
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup olive or coconut oil
- 1 packet dry yeast
Easy No-Knead Bread
Modified slightly from Kitchenstewardship.com
- 1 ½ cups hot water
- 1 ½ cups cold milk
- 1 ½ tbsp yeast
- 1 tbsp & 1tsp salt
- ½ cup honey or agave nectar
- 5 tbsp olive or coconut oil
- 6 2/3 cups whole wheat flour (I mix hard red and hard white, but you could use some soft white, too)
1. Mix the water, milk, salt and yeast until the yeast isn’t in a big chunk anymore. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix the whole thing together until uniform, but don’t knead or over work it. Cover and let rise for 2-3 hours.
2. With wet hands take a hunk out the size of a cantaloupe. Shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.
3. Bake free form or in a greased loaf pan. Loaf pan should be slightly more than half full. Slash the top of the bread with a very sharp, serrated knife to allow it to expand better.
4. Let dough rest and rise 1 ½ –2 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and pour 1 to 2 cups water into your METAL broiler pan at the bottom of the oven. Bake 40-50 minutes. Smaller loaves cook up much quicker so keep your eye on the bread and take it out when the crust is a nice deep golden brown.
6. You can store the remaining dough in the refrigerator and simply grab a hunk when you want bread. Just form a loaf and allow it to rise for a few hours. It keeps for 5-7 days. One batch is enough for about three loaves, and you can make pizzas or many other kinds of bread with the same master recipe.
I like to start this bread on a Sunday afternoon, and then just pull off a hunk. Let it come to room temperature, and pop it in the oven as needed. You can also bake it in a bread machine if you have one (or find one at a garage sale this summer)!
You see . . . there’s nothing to be afraid of! You can enjoy whole grain goodness without gobs of time and effort. Try making bread once a week and see if you don’t get into a home-baked bread groove!