Monday, January 7, 2013
Make it Yourself: Fresh Ground Flour in a Blender
This is something I have to share with you. It's a trick so simple, so fast, with such great results.
Do you do a lot of baking? Any baking? Do you ever run across a recipe that calls for an unusual type of flour - like or oat or rice, or coconut? Or maybe you've heard that flour gets old after a while and loses a lot of the nutritious value (assuming it isn't over processed to start with).
I have dreamed about milling my own flour, but I don't own a flour mill and I wasn't about to buy yet another gadget to stuff somewhere in my compact, tightly packed kitchen. Then I discovered that you can make flour yourself - in a blender!
Yes, my friends - that blender you've been reserving for making smoothies, pureeing soups...The homely, standard home appliance has just raised your baking to a whole new level.
(As a side note: if you haven't yet bought an immersion blender and you like a smooth pureed soup, try this one - I have had mine for several years now and use it 3-4 times per week. This is a workhorse appliance - buy the best you can afford and you'll have it for years.)
Whole grains keep a lot longer in the cupboard than flour does - your flour actually ages quite quickly, and if you are buying organic flour without any of the preservatives normally added by big name flour companies, you'll notice that the expiration date is typically listed as only a few months after your date of purchase. This less of a problem with flours you may use more often, but what if a recipe calls for oat flour, spelt flour or rice flour, and you just don't happen to have any on hand? Whole grain spelt kernels something I've recently started stocking in my pantry since I learned this trick - but most people I know keep oatmeal and rice around all of the time. The same trick works with wheat kernels, barley kernels, or any type of grain it's whole form such as rye or millet.
Bread bakers will tell you that fresh flour makes the world of difference in bread, but unless you are baking and selling bread in large quantities, chances are good that the bag of flour you're keeping is getting close to retirement age. Do yourself a favor and try the fresh stuff. Here is great post on the subject of fresh milled flour if you are interested in reading more.
When making flour, you want to start with a minimum of 1.5 cups of whole grains in the blender. The reason is that if you don't have enough grains, they'll just fly around like sand grains in a wind storm, never forming flour, making a lot of noise and leaving you with a mess.
If you are in Finland and looking for good quality Organic whole grains, Malmgård sells wheat, spelt, barley, oats, rye, and emmer/farro in stores around Finland. For Spelt, try SunSpelt in Finland. I know that specifically Stockmann Herkku and Eat & Joy Maatilantori carry them. In the US, Whole Foods Market sells them as well. You can find whole grains from other farms at your local health food store or Co-op as well, or order them online. Your local grocery store may be a great source as well, though not, perhaps, for organic grains.
Fresh Ground Flour
1.5 - 3 cups / 3 -6 dl of whole grains of your choice (wheat, rye, spelt, barley, rice, millet...)
Pour the whole grains into your blender. Process for one minute. Stop the blender and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula. Process for one more minute. Repeat 2 more times.
Place a sifter or a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Pour the flour mixture into the bowl and sift it so that any larger chunks are separated and you get a nice light flour. The flour is best if used immediately, but can be stored in a glass jar for use in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for one month.
Your end volume of flour will be slightly greater than the volume of whole grains you started with.
Posted by Ann Plough at 11:13 AM