Remember back in the day when we just ate food?
Didn’t really think about it that much.
To me, there were two basic types of food:
A) Food I Liked
B) Food I Didn’t Like
It wasn’t about organic or conventional, raw or cooked, paleo or low carb, gluten-y or gluten-free. Food was either yummy or blech. Food was food.
Of course I was eight years old.
The older I’ve gotten, and the more I’ve read and learned, the more complicated it’s become.
Being me, not a big rule person, not much of a joiner, kind of scatterbrained, I’ve never followed one school of thought, one particular dietary style.
Over the years as popular dietary fads have come and gone, I’ve sometimes wondered if I should be following one or the other, but by the time I’d had a good think on them, they were already being debunked and unfollowed so I can’t say I’ve ever been in any one camp.
It mostly makes sense to me to eat a balance of fresh, homegrown, home-cooked . . . stuff.
See how scientific I am?
One of the things I’ve debated for a long time is flour. Grains. Bread.
I even tried giving up flour for a while.
It didn’t last very long. Sandwiches weren’t the same wrapped in lettuce. Pancakes. Biscuits. Homemade bread. Muffins. Pizza. Pasta. Food for kids. I missed it.
But I’ve read modern grains are unsuited for our bodies, and how wheat as we know it today isn’t the same species our ancestors consumed. I’ve read how refined flour contains additives and has its nutritive value removed. As for whole wheat, it oxidizes and quickly becomes rancid once it’s milled. And there’s so much that is unknown about GMOs, herbicides and pesticides.
This led me to look into milling my own organic wheat, corn, and heritage grain.
If I was overwhelmed before, researching grain mills sucked me into another black hole of uncertainty.
Burr-ground or impact.
Warranties, country of manufacture, types of grains milled, cost.
After a few (several) hours of research, I wrote a quick note to a company in Nebraska which imports and sells a German grain mill called KoMo. I confessed the trouble I was having sorting through the choices, and the company, Pleasant Hill Grain, agreed to send me one of their mills to try it out.
In two days, I had this thing, the KoMo Classic, and it was the prettiest appliance I’ve ever seen, with all due respect to my 65 year-old mixer. Built like a brick chicken house, it weighs 16 1/2 pounds but only takes up an 8-inch square space on the counter. Much quieter than I expected, I leave it sitting out on the counter ready to go whenever I want to mix up some pancakes for breakfast, grind some corn for cornbread, bake a couple of loaves of bread, make biscuits or muffins, whatever.
I don’t have to worry about when I add the grain; I can start the motor before, during, or after I add in the grain. I can adjust the fine-ness of the grind while it’s grinding simply by turning the hopper. I don’t have to clean it out, don’t have to do anything really but mill with it.
More about the noise level: I’ve heard people say they have to take their mills (other manufacturers) outside on the porch because they’re so loud. This is nothing like that. This is about the same noise level (or less) than my food processor or blender.
As for speed, I haven’t timed it exactly, but it takes very little time to grind enough flour for two loaves of bread.
Taste. The other day when I made my first loaves of yeast bread it was brought home to me how different freshly-milled wheat is even before I baked it; as I was kneading the bread, the smell of the raw dough was making my mouth water. I can’t remember that happening before. The raw dough smelled good enough to eat.
The cornbread is off the chain good. Naturally sweeter, moister, more flavorful. Awesome mouthfeel, albeit a bit crumblier. Who cares about crumbs when the crumbs are so good?
I’m going to shut up about the KoMo for now. I’m planning to grind some kamut soon and I’ll let you know how that goes. I’m so excited to be able to bake and cook with organic heritage grain I don’t know what to do with myself.
This doesn’t provide THE answer to all the questions I have about what to feed my family and myself, but it helps. It helps a lot. Instead of the mystery powder in a bag from the supermarket, the slightly rancid-smelling whole wheat, or the equally mysterious supermarket loaf, I have another level of control over what I feed my family.