Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Manual Grain Mill and why you need one.

My manual grain mill is finally set up in the kitchen.  I decided on the Diamant after test-driving a few models in person at the store.  I've heard many great reviews about the Country Living Grain Mill and it is a less costly choice but I decided on the Diamant because I liked the cast iron heavy duty-ness of it. It also turned with less effort than the Country Living. I was buying this one to last a lifetime and feel I have one that will be handed down to my kids.  There are cheaper and simpler options and any option is better than none in-my-opinion while you're saving for the one you really want. 




As I mentioned in an earlier post I have been wanting a grain mill for a few years.  Most people would question my sanity at this point - what on earth for??? Stores carry huge bags of flour - if you really wanted to start baking your own bread - WHY NOT JUST BUY FLOUR OR BREAD AT THE GROCERY STORE? 


Well - here are a few good reasons.

Flour purchased at the grocery store has a shelf life of about 4 months.  If we assume for a moment that the flour was ground the day before it arrived at the store and you purchased it that very next day you would then have 4 months till it went rancid and that would be under optimal storage conditions.  Most people don't even know what rancid flour tastes and smells like - that's because most people can't tell.  I can't either.  I can however tell when I've eaten something with old flour in it!! I have a wallop of an allergy attack.

In an earlier blog post I mentioned this article...Scientists have revealed some shocking truth about packaged flour ... Reports say that 50% of the nutritional value of grain is lost within first 24 hours of making flour, and of the remaining; another 50% is lost within the next three days. (http://www.squidoo.com/diamant-grain-mill)

From a strictly financial standpoint buying wheat kernels and spelt kernels  etc. in bulk  is much cheaper than buying preground flour and it lasts for years in it's whole state without loosing nutritional value if properly stored. I buy mine at Grain Process in Toronto in 25kg bags. (Nina - I promised to write a post on how to properly store grains - stay tuned!)



Even OUR FAVORITE-UP-TILL-NOW cheap healthy bread made with whole grains and fiber is never less than $2.50 a loaf.


A manual grain mill doesn't require electricity - it does however require human-power and I was working my muscles to grind the 4 1/2 cups required for the Irish Soda Bread I made yesterday.  Sorry - we ate 1/2 of it before I took the picture.  It tasted great!  I did bake it in the oven - not cook it on the stove.  The mill could be electrified but what fun would that be!
The Diamant is able to grind all kinds of grains, rice,spices, sugar, nuts, seeds and coffee -someone asked me if it was a coffee grinder - ah yes - but that would be a LOT of coffee!




Being prepared for periods without electricity and still being able to make my own bread etc. in the long term appeals to me.  No electricity means no electric oven either  but bread can be baked in a dutch oven over a fire or camp stove as well. 



Here's one of my favorite basic recipes for Irish Soda Bread - you can use wheat instead of spelt and regular milk or powdered milk instead of almond milk and oil instead of butter so the recipe is quite flexible.  These ingredients are very simple to store in quantity on the shelf so it's perfect for planning your food storage.  I try to mix up the flours and grains we use to create variety and to get the benefits of some of the less common grains.


Now - get cracking with your food storage - what's in YOUR pantry?


If you liked this post please share it with your friends and leave me a comment.

12 comments:

  1. Anita, could you use that grain mill to grind dried corn? It looks pretty heavy duty, but I'm not sure...

    I love your recipe cards! So cute :-)

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  2. Thanks for that review on the Grain Mills.....I've always wanted one and am planning on purchasing one this year. It looks good and sturdy too.

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  3. Found this post. It was very helpful because I have been trying to figure out how to store a years worth of flour (if I find it on sale) and for us that is a lot of flour. I bake all my own stuff. If you did the post on storing grain let me know what one it is. I would like to read it.

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    1. I never did get around to writing that post yet! I'll put it on my list so I don't forget :)

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  4. I wrote a post and it just disappeared. Oh well, hope it's okay to Pin you post, I had never thought about flour going bad, great info. Thank you

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    1. Pin away my new friend! Welcome to the blog!

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  5. So how long did it take you to grind the 4 1/2 cups of flour with the Diamant? We bought a cheap manual grain grinder (Victorio?) and boy howdy does that take a long time! It is definitely a LAST resort grinder! I just broke my Vitamix dry blade today and hope I can get it fixed quickly, 'cause I don't wanna do it by hand, waaaah! I think we're gonna have to just chalk the Victorio up to a bad idea and get a decent manual--maybe the Diamant. Hubby is not going to be happy...

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    1. It took about 20 minutes - I was working pretty hard at it too - GREAT exercise! I read many reviews before I made my final decision and even though the Diamant was MUCH more expensive I am really glad we made the decision. I was fortunate to find an electric grain mill at a yard sale 2 years ago - it's probably 50 years old and I paid all of $10.00 for it - my kids like that one better when they have to grind anything for me. The downside is that it heats up the grain and destroys some nutrients but sometimes life allows for short cuts so I am glad I have both!

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  6. Where did you purchase your mill?

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    1. We were on a trip to Ohio and stopped at Lehman's Country Store. It's an amazing place and I am already planning my next trip.

      http://www.lehmans.com/store/Kitchen___Grain_and_Grain_Mills___Diamant_Grain_Mill___525?Args=

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  7. Hi Anita! We just bought the Diamant Grain Mill from Germany as we live in Ireland. Unfortunately it came with the instruction booklet in German. Does that happen in the US? or do Lehmans provide en English version? Regards, Trevor.

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