Did you know some people grind their own flour? When I first heard that from a friend about 14 years ago, I thought the very idea was crazy. Really? People do that? Why? How? Who has the time? Only crazy healthy-nutty people would go to the trouble of grinding their own flour. And their food probably always tastes nasty, because whole wheat flour is really heavy and strong flavored. Bleh.
That was back in “my poptart and pepsi days” as I now lovingly call the time I didn’t understand much about nutrition. Obviously, I also didn’t understand that real food tastes really delicious. I was just doing the best I could with what I knew, and we can’t help what we don’t know, right? My eyes were opened to a better way after our youngest son was born with chronic eczema. I’m so thankful for the world of healthy eating God has opened up to us since then. We all feel so much better now. Food has never tasted better! I mean, I didn’t even know how good butter was back then. Sheesh. I was missing out.
Who is now among the crazy health-nutty people who grind their own flour? That would be me. Yep, we’ve had a Nutrimill now for eight years, and it is still going strong. Who knew grinding flour was as easy as pouring wheat into a machine, turning a knob, and walking away? And the end result? Oh my goodness. I never knew whole wheat flour could taste so good. Freshly ground flour is amazing.
I do recommend making the investment to grind your own grain, as the health benefits and deliciousness to baking with freshly ground flour can’t be beat. But what if you aren’t ready, don’t want to, or aren’t interested? No prob. Let’s talk about other great options…
First, let’s discuss the different options you’ll likely come across at the store. Most whole wheat flour that is pre-packaged at the store has been made from red wheat. This is a darker and heavier flour – not my favorite, but still an okay option. If this is the kind you use, you may need to use a bit less than is called for in some recipes as it tends to be dryer and produce a more dense baked good.
I love and always recommend flour made from white wheat as it is lighter in color, lighter in flavor, and typically more enjoyable to eat. At the store, this is labeled White Whole Wheat Flour.
Is white wheat healthy? Yes. Don’t let the word “white” throw you off. White wheat is simply a variety of wheat that, when ground, makes white whole wheat flour. Both red and white wheat have the same nutritional value, but they taste just a bit different. I prefer the flavor of flour made from white wheat – as do many people.
Below is a picture I took last year when we were in Kansas. You’ll see two fields, side by side, one growing white wheat, the other growing red wheat. See? Both are grains of wheat, but when ground, they turn out a different color and texture of flour.
Next you see a picture of the two different kinds of grain, or wheat berries as we call them. Red wheat berries are on the left, and white wheat berries are on the right:
I almost always grind hard white wheat at my house since we prefer it. I also sometimes grind soft white wheat, which produces a whole wheat pastry flour. Pastry flour can be used in any recipe that does NOT call for yeast. For yeast bread recipes, you must use a hard wheat variety. Read more about red wheat and white wheat here.
Now let’s talk about which wheat flour I recommend.
My favorite brand of wheat berries and wheat flour is Wheat Montana. They use chemical free, non-GMO grains. They are a very high quality grain, which makes wonderful tasting flour. Look for 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, which they call Prairie Gold.
I was impressed to find a 40 pound package through Amazon for as low as $27.14 (with Amazon Prime/Mom and subscribe and save). That makes it just 68¢ per pound for very high quality flour. (Be sure to click over to the Prairie Gold option if you want the white whole wheat.)
I also like the Azure Standard White Wheat Flour, which is as low as 92¢ per pound. If you are a part of an Azure Standard co-op, you may want to look into this.
Beyond those options, I have seen white wheat flour at Traders Joes, Whole Foods, and other health food stores. I don’t know the prices because I don’t have easy access to any of those stores.
Share what you know about these options. Do you grind flour, or purchase it already ground? What is your favorite variety?