Milling your own flour?

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Dunerunner, Mar 16, 2022.

  1. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Just wondering how many mill their own flour. I can find a mill at $529 and 5 to 6 weeks for delivery. And I can find wheat berry, about $55 for 25 pounds. The I look at the price of flour and 5# bags are less than $4. So, where is the benefit?
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  2. Out in the woods

    Out in the woods off-grid in-the-forest beekeeper

    The highest we have ever paid for whole wheat berries is $12 for 50-pounds.
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  3. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Probably the real benefit is if you can grow your own wheat ,, or have access to some.
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  4. john316

    john316 Monkey+++

    just got 50 lbs for $56.00, organic.
    it stores a lot longer than flour.

    you can boil it like oatmeal and eat it

    what kind of mill
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  5. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Yeah, prices have really shot up in the past few years. Apart from getting direct from the farmer (which aint happening because soy and corn pay more) it's like 1-2 bucks a pound now. Flour in bulk is sub a buck.

    Times they is a changing.
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  6. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

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  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Stone Mill Attachment for AlaskaChick’s Super Kitchen-Aid Mixer…
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  8. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    @Dunerunner shop around your A.O. for grinding stones, you would be amazed at how often you might run across them, make your own grinder to take those stones and you will be far ahead of the rest!

    We got super lucky in that when we bought our ranch, there was an old grist mill on the property, it was mostly a broken down old shed missing most everything, but all the needed parts were still there, just needing to be put back together and made to work! Bonus is that once we got it rebuilt and running, it serves many uses, including cider making, berry pressing, wine pressing, and all sorts of other nifty uses! There were 4 sets of stones in the piles of stuff, all were saved and put into use, all I have to do is clean them up after use and clean the workings really good, and we're ready for the next job! A good set of stones ain't cheap, so any you find will be worth saving and using to make your own! There are even stone specialists in OryGun and South West Warshington that can re grind stones to make them good as new! Message me if you find stones and want to see how to make them work, I got tons of info on how to make mills and presses!
  9. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Yes, we mill at our house. My wife bought a Retsel Mil-Rite maybe 15 years ago. Took awhile to get as I recall. Not cheap, but works great and very stout and robust. The auger is brass or bronze and kind of crude (looks hand carved) but it works. This mill can produce extremely fine flour.
    Mil-Rite Grain & Seed Mill with stainless steel grinding wheels, Retsel Brands Store

    “She who must be obeyed” also bought a fancy Vitamix blender/food processor system a couple years ago. It can make moderately fine flour too and quicker than the Mil-Rite. Works good! Plus it can make margaritas while the bread is baking and nut butters after that. Pretty nice system and also not cheap.

    Ascent Series Blenders

    We buy our wheat in 50 pound bulk from an Amish farm store. Don’t remember cost but like 15-20 bucks comes to mind. 10-15 years ago we just bought it at Walmart, they stocked 25 pound bags in flour aisle for like $10-12. We haven’t seen it there in about 10 years, maybe more. Sadly, wheat on their website ain’t cheap.

    We got into milling for a number of reasons.

    Allegedly, the nutritional value of flour degrades rather quickly (like days) after it has been ground due to oxidation of the nutrients. She often mills and flour goes into dough mixer in just 15-20 minutes and is still warm from the grinding.

    My wife also liked experimenting with the types of wheat and proportions of hard red, hard white and durum wheat. Ground durum wheat yields semolina flour which is added to red or white to create bread flours. She had lots of fun and we used to have fresh baked bread a couple times a week. Then she discovered Primal Blueprint and we cut way back on the carbs. Fresh bread mostly ceased for a good while. :-(.

    She has learned that the fermentation process with sour doughs allegedly eliminates much of the gluten constituents that some folks are sensitive to and maybe caused her some issues. We now have home made sour dough bread once a week. :)

    We also mill for long term storage. Flour can be stored in the freezer for long duration with little loose of nutrients but if at room temperatures for more than short periods (like just weeks) quality degrades and it can get worms and bugs. Wheat can be stored for years and if sealed in mylar bags in 5 gal buckets with O2 absorbers can store for decades. We have a couple hundred pounds stored.

    If you are simply trying to save money, the numbers probably won’t ever add up. But if you think of milling as food insurance, as a hobby or for nutritional considerations, then the economic equations change quite a bit

    Happy milling
  10. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Sounds like that could make for a super interesting and informative post or thread! Especially with pictures.
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  11. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    At the moment, it doesn't pay to buy a good flour grinder and make your own flour. Whole wheat flour does not store well, wheat does, commercial flour has something done to it, white flour will keep for years in can on counter, home milled goes bad in weeks. That alone kind of worries me, if it won't spoil, can your body digest it? Two types of mills, impact and burrs, usually metal for cheaper ones and stone for better burr mills. Old feed grinders used flails to beat grain to bits and thus mill it, most modern quick electric ones use similar process. With good burr mill, can process wheat fine for flour or crack it for a cereal or to mix with flour for more texture. You can make like steel cut oat pieces with oats with "bare" oats that doesn't have hulls or make oat flour, make corn meal and corn flour, take old beans and make quick cooking bean flour, use peas to make pea flour for pea soup etc.

    Guess I have two opinions, I like knowing what I am eating, like the fact that it is fresh, and like to be in control of my supply of food, and money comes in second in this case. I also like the survival aspects of a non electric mill or one that could use solar or water powered electricity, and I like to learn how to use my storage food and to rotate it.

    Then if one is not lucky enough to have a place with a hammer mill or large stones, it becomes a question of if 1 is all you need or if you really do need at least 2. The ones that fit the Kitchen Aide or Bosch are good as long as the power lasts. Saw dozens of the hand crank mills for sale after 2000 panic at yard sales, still see some at estate sales cheap. Borrow one or use one at some ones house if you can, some hand crank fairly expensive ones take 2 or 3 passes to get fine flour, take a lot of effort, or process small amounts of grain at a time. I have seen the electric impact mills getting a lot more actual use in my life making flour than the hand cranked ones,but they can be noisy, messy and a little bit of a challenge to use and clean up.

    While I don't say that Amazon is the place to buy, it does list several options from cheap Asian junk to hand crafted, over built, almost works of art. As you can see it lists pages of both grinders and flakers to make oatmeal etc, and all different types and qualities. Well worth looking at rather than just going to the Leman's site and buying a very good quality one that may not be what you want and need. : whisper mill grain grinder
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
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  12. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    Most of the shelf life has to do with moisture control, and how you treat the flour. Another serious consideration is how clean and sterile your system is maintained, any contamination will seriously degrade the shelf life. Finally, storage, you need a clean airtight dry storage system, usually mylar bags in 1/2 pound measurements for home use is what's generally recommended! Beyond that, you will need to treat your grains/flowers when you grind them, this can be done several ways, some work better then others, it really depends on volume and costs and ease of maintenance for you and your equipement!
  13. Wildbilly

    Wildbilly Monkey+++

    I have a grain mill store away, and wheat is cheap (or was). I read once that a quarter acre will provide a family with enough flour for minimal needs (couple of loafs a week), so it wouldn't take a lot of land to grow your own. Down South we would tend to grow corn instead of wheat, but a little wheat would also be nice. I can buy 50 lbs. of feed wheat at the CO-OP for about $15-20 or straight from the farmer in the field. Usually, there is some unharvested wheat left in a field that you could gleam, if the farmer is agreeable. Also, there is always some spillage from the combine or grain truck that you could collect, but you have to get it before it spoils.
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  14. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    URI-KI, granddad used to say that the only difference between eggs and apples, was that eggs were tougher and you knew if you had ruined it. Keeping it clean, processing it as you need it to keep it from oxidizing, proper storage conditions, etc, will always be critical if SHTF. Without refrigeration, controlled air storage, shrink wrap, etc, we will either find all the tricks our grand parents used or die of disease or starvation. There have been whole books written on harvest processing and still we waste a lot of food in our present mechanical harvest, processing, storage, shipping. and sales.

    55 years ago I was in college and had to select a minor for my grad program in economics. Took ag engineering as they had the best shops. Got a masters in low tech farming methods in hopes that the new grains could be processed by the farmer on a smaller scale and allow the continuation of the small farmer. While good on paper, the efficiencies of scale favored the large operations and we ended up with things like 25 million people living in the Mexico City area today. Most primitive people knew how to maximize production and minimize risk as we do today. But when you and your children starve if the crop fails, it has a whole different impact on your priorities. Then while they may not of known the why, planting corn, beans, and squash in one hill with a fish under it all, has a lot of benefits and while we talk about fertilizers, nitrates, water conservation, shading out weeds, etc, they just knew it worked and loved the food it produced.

    As you said, modern combines process grains over a longer period and at higher moisture contents to minimize losses in harvesting. The old corn crib for ear corn and the shocks of grain in the fields were both needed to allow the grain and corn to dry out enough to be stored. It is very likely that if you buy shelled corn or grain straight from the combine, that it will either ferment or spoil. In these modern times it is processed by drying with heat and air at once and then stored. The grains you buy at the co-op have usually been dried to the best moisture content for storage. There used to be a fine line between grain being dry enough to store and falling off the plant and onto the ground when bumped in the harvesting process. A lot of our present food has been selected for harvesting and storage rather than taste or food value. Modern tomato, strawberry, peach, etc in no way are as good as old ones, but you can't ship a tomato that goes bad in 4 days when picked ripe across the country nor will it be at its best if picked green. Primitive breads, flat breads, etc with only 2 or 3 components and cooked in a pan rather than baked , then quality of the grain and the flour becomes critical.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
  15. Re: post #11. Duane I think most commercial flour is made from de-germinated wheat. The germ is the living part of the berry and what causes the flour to spoil.
  16. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I have 2 mills, forget the brands at the moment as I haven't used them in years. One is stand alone with a motor and hand crank, the other connects to the kitchen-aid mixer.
    I still keep them and some wheat berries in #10 cans for the future when it may be needed. At the moment, my wife is gluten intolerant, and I just don't eat bread (carbs) due to being on the Keto/Paleo/Primal/Choose your flavor diet.
    I did grind my flour for over a year, using a mix of hard red and white wheat. The flavor difference between fresh ground and store bought is night and day.
    Wheat berries can be kept for a long time in the right storage and can be used in a few different ways.
    Is it cheaper to make your own flour, nope, but just like it's more expensive to get a better cut of meat, or buy from the farmer and pay to have the animal butchered, you are getting a better product in the end.
  17. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    With whole wheat in bulk, but how to you separate the berries from the chaff? Or is whole wheat the raw wheat you would get at a home brew store or would that malted grain even be suitable for bread flour?
  18. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I think you are right about the economics of DIY milling and store bought flour products. That said, there is much to be said about having a milling capability, even if it is only a small batch, hand cranked capability...and that is the benefit of food security flexibility.

    Having a milling capability widens the potential sources of available raw material for food sustainability, particularly when regular commercial product availability is compromised by supply chain issues.

    Having a milling capability can become a source of revenue (in cash or barter) if used to help others who have the raw material, but not the capability of doing their own milling,

    Having a milling capability develops skillsets that could come in useful in developing the food sustainability knowledge and capabilities of others.
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  19. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    When wheat is harvested the combine separates the berry from the stalk and chaff. The wheat output still has some remnants of the chaff, stalk, etc. so, before milling it must go through a grain cleaner. These are generally machines with a series of different size screens with strong fans that clean things up yielding just the wheat berry minus all the other stuff.

    Bulk wheat you buy for milling has always been cleaned before put into bags and sealed. If you try buying direct from farmer out of the field, it very likely won’t have been cleaned. It you are thinking of growing your own wheat or gleaming remnants from a harvested field, good luck. Now you’ll have to gather it, separate wheat from stalk and chaff plus clean it.

  20. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    The man who guided me into prepping stored hard wheat in a frame made from 1x4 and plywood about 2 foot square. He put it in a plastic garbage bag and leveled it then stacked it flat. The stuff was still good 15 years later, he even germinated some of it. Grinds to flour as needed. The wheat was bought at the feed store 12 bucks for 50 pounds.
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