Mulling Over Milling Your Own Grain? by Dena Harris Item Number: article8Imagine you’re invited to help yourself to some fresh fruit. You look over plump grapes, ripe bananas, cherries bursting at the seams, but decide on a red, delicious apple. Taste buds salivating, you take a large bite only to discover—ptooey!—the fruit is wax. All the glistening goodness was only a mirage.
Commercially milled products—the breads, cereals, pancake batters, etc. that stock the supermarket shelves—are the wax fruit in the bowl. All of the look with none of the taste. But there’s an alternative. Many people are beginning to take advantage of milling their own grains.
What’s In A Grain?
To understand the benefits associated with milling grain, you need to understand what comprises a whole grain. There are three main layers: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.
• The bran is the outer layer where all the roughage that helps move unwanted poisons and toxins through your system is found. The bran also contains numerous vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
• The germ is the health center of the grain, overflowing with vitamins B and E, as well as unsaturated fat and protein.
• The endosperm is the starchy white center.
Whole grains contain almost 90% of all the vitamins, minerals, and protein you’ll ever need. However, commercially milled products don’t offer you those nutrients. Why? Once milled, the oils found in the bran and germ oxidize and turn rancid within 72 hours. So for commercial purposes, both the bran and germ—and all the nutrients contained within them—must be removed in order to give products a shelf life.
Wonder Bread Is Made of What?
The endosperm is all that’s left of the original grain. So you’re basically eating gluten and starch when you eat products off the shelf. For PR purposes, you’ll see breads and cereals claiming to be “enriched with vitamins and minerals!” Don’t be fooled. The fact that a product needs enriching is a sign of how much of its health value has been diminished. Usually only 2-4 of the missing vitamins and minerals can be replaced anyway, and nothing can be done to replace the fiber and protein.
Although the nation is currently experiencing low-carb mania, fresh whole grain products are in fact good for you. They are low in fat, high in protein, and provide energy for your muscles and body.
High fiber found in whole grains helps in the management of obesity, diabetes, hemorrhoids, stroke, and heart attacks. Eating whole-grain foods on a regular basis has been shown to decrease risk for heart disease and high cholesterol levels, and is also thought to lower the risk of breast and colon cancer.
Most commercial products reek with pesticides, preservatives, and bleaching agents. When milling your own flour, you’re able to mill only the amount you need, so nothing goes to waste and you are left with fresh-tasting, chemically unaltered flour.
After eating bread prepared from grain you mill yourself, there is no going back. Commercial products will taste stale, even if they’re “fresh” off the shelf. Freshly milled breads are lighter, moister, and can have a variety of taste depending on which grains you chose to mill.
There’s fun in experimenting with different grains in your recipes. Try adding or combining buckwheat, spelt (good for people with wheat allergies), oats, rye, wheat, quinoa, millet and many other grains for a never-ending variety of taste.
Does milling and baking your own grains take a little longer than grabbing a loaf off the shelf? Yes. But not that much longer, and the payoff in taste and health benefits more than makes up for it. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the thought of milling your own grain. These days, grain mills come in a variety of sizes, are simple to use, and are adaptable to the average household, meaning you can buy big or small units depending on your needs. Plus, they eventually pay for themselves in money saved on buying commercial products.
Today when we struggle to find time to
fit in the laundry, walk the dog, get the kids to baseball and soccer
practice, the suggestion we mill our own grain may sound far-fetched.
grain mills make the process easy, and the benefits associated with
milling your own grain are tangible and ongoing. Investigate different
mills, or find a friend or co-worker who owns one and ask to give it
a whirl. Experiment with a recipe or two, and you’ll quickly understand
why so many people are choosing to take the time to pamper themselves
with freshly milled, home baked goodness.