Another Rant Plus A New Grain Mill

by Daisy on 09/17/2015

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Remember back in the day when we just ate food?

Any 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.

It’s overwhelming.

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.

Hand-cranked.

Electric.

Convertible.

Burr-ground or impact.

Heat build-up.

Warranties, country of manufacture, types of grains milled, cost.

Noise level.

Materials.

Reputation.

Adjustable grind.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 



{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah September 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Where did you get your KoMo Grain mill? Is it electric or hand cranked? Curious minds want to know.

Daisy September 17, 2015 at 5:16 pm

Deborah–It’s from Pleasant Hill Grain. This is the model I have; it’s electric. Of course it doesn’t work during a power outage, but I read a lot of stories of people who didn’t use their mill like they thought they would because of the bother of hand-cranking. Not just the elbow grease, but having to have a place to clamp it down, leaving enough room to crank, and so forth. Having to store it and bring it out to use would really cut down on how often I used it.

Robin September 19, 2015 at 6:43 am

Where do you get your organic heritage grain?

Many thanks,
Robin

Sallie September 19, 2015 at 8:47 am

Pretty cool findings. May have to check it out.

June September 19, 2015 at 9:24 am

May I ask where you get your grains from? I am complete newbie at the whole grains thing and doing your own grinding but I’m trying to learn as many skills as I can (just in case) and to help my family eat better. Thanks!!

Karen September 19, 2015 at 9:26 am

It’s gorgeous! What about flour dust? Thanks so much.

Daisy September 19, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Karen–Thank you! And good question. I know that’s an issue from my research, but I’d forgotten about it once I started using this one. No flour dust. The hopper has a thick wooden cover with a gasket that keeps anything from flying out and also dampens the noise. The flour coming out of the chute is a very polite stream and doesn’t raise dust.

Daisy September 19, 2015 at 12:08 pm

June–I’ve been using Azure Standard for bulk grain. To try out new things, I just pick up a bag from the supermarket of Bob’s Red Mill. They have different selections depending on which store I go to, but larger markets in bigger cities will have kamut, at least. Health food stores will probably have more choices. Try their bulk bins, get a little bit of a few to try out, and sample a few different recipes to see which you like best. Good luck.

Daisy September 19, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Sallie–I confess it’s a ton of fun. I feel very powerful 😉

Daisy September 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Robin–Bob’s Red Mill for the odd bag here and there, Azure Standard for bulk grains. Thank you!

Alexis September 19, 2015 at 3:11 pm

I live in the land of Bob’s Red Mill–the world headquarters is just about 17 miles from me. I’ll have to check this out. After all the warnings and caveats about the dangers of our modern diet, the curse of white flour, etc., I’ve wondered how people ate bread for *centuries* and survived if it’s so unsafe. I recently read that the flour they used was nothing like what we’re getting. I’d like a chance to grind my own, but the cost of the mill is prohibitive ($500). Maybe I can get the mill store to grind it on the spot.

On a completely unrelated note, I saw your photo and my eyes immediately went to that Hamilton Beach mixer, the same kind I grew up with! Pretty cool!

Daisy September 19, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Alexis–Yes, I think we are all probably worrying about the wrong things most of the time. I love that mixer. Still works like a charm.

Karen September 19, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Thanks, Daisy…love the choice of words “polite stream”…this sounds like a dream machine! Thanks for sharing your experience!

Daisy September 19, 2015 at 9:03 pm

Karen–Ha! Yes, it is a very well-mannered mill!

Katie October 18, 2015 at 5:48 pm

I received a KoMo for Christmas and I LOVE it! My favorite bread recipe is from http://www.milkandhoneyfarm.com and comes out wonderfully with the freshly ground flour. I have made cornbread with freshly ground cornmeal once with the KoMo, and it was wonderful as well. I am thinking I need to go get something grinding right now!

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