What Kind of Flour is Best If You Don’t Grind Your Own

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.

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?

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Comments

  1. Amelia says

    Montana Wheat! We moved to Montana a couple of years ago, and we discovered this through the hotel restaurant kitchen where I work in Big Sky, Montana and every grocery store in Gallatin County from Walmart to the local co-op carries it. I was so excited to see it here!

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  2. Tara H says

    Thanks so much for this post! I would love to grind my own wheat sometime in the near future but for now it’s not an option. So I really appreciate that you took the time to write this. I usually just opt for unbleached flour from the grocery store which I know is still enriched, but my husband hates the whole wheat from the store. And it seems that the white whole wheat is much more expensive in the store. We don’t have Whole Foods or Trader Joes nearby for the special stuff.
    All of that to say, I think I’m going to get some of the Prairie Gold from this post! Thanks again!

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  3. Cheryl says

    Has anyone tried King Arthur Flour Organic white whole wheat?

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    Laura Reply:

    I have tried it. It is a great option! I didn’t like it as well as Prairie Gold from Wheat Montana, but I do think King Arthur is a good option if that is available to you.

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    kristinkm24@yahoo.com Reply:

    I LOVE Trader Joe’s White Whole Wheat. It is cheap, can be substituted one for one in recipes calling for AP flour and all Trader Joe’s brand products are non-GMO. I substitute TJ’s white wheat in most recipes calling for AP without any complaints from my family.

    I tried King Arthur once when TJ’s was out of stock. It was fine, but more expensive and needs to be adapted for use in regular recipes. The King Arthur on-line baking consultants recommend adding extra liquid to recipes when substituting one for one in recipes calling for AP flour.

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    lyss Reply:

    I use King Arthur white whole wheat, but only the non-organic, which is usually a little over $3 a 5 lb. bag. The organic version I’ve only seen in 2 lb. bags, and at a higher price. I just can’t do that. I love King Arthur. It’s the only brand that carries white whole wheat at my grocery store. After trying white wheat, I won’t go back to “regular” hard red wheat!

    I tried Prairie Gold once, and it was good, too. But I’ve only seen it at Walmart, and I’m just not a fan of Walmart. : ) I don’t have a Trader Joe’s, but I’m all about trying store brands to see if they’re as good. I wonder if my Sprouts carries a white whole wheat…

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  4. Rachel says

    I buy the Wheat Montana white wheat from Walmart, it’s wonderful, but the King Arthur is a close second. I am not a fan of the Trader Joe’s white whole wheat – it’s not ground finely enough in my opinion.

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    Rachel Reply:

    by the way – I followed the link to the Wheat Montana flour on Amazon and there is another option for 50 lbs as low as $29.54 ($0.59/lb)!

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  5. Kira says

    Wheat Montana farms are less than 10 miles from my home. It’s the only flour I use. :-) I’ve been using the Bronze Chief, though. I’m going to give the Prairie Gold a try as I think that’s been the difference in my muffin batter as compared to yours.

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  6. Marta says

    We are die-hard Bob’s Red Mill fans. They are non-GMO, have organic and non-organic, and have a huge selection of gluten-free products (as well as tons of other products besides flour). Interestingly, we recently recommended this flour to my husband’s boss. He had said he couldn’t eat much flour because it made him not feel well, and had discovered it was an allergy to malt, I think it was, which is an ingredient in a number of brands of flours. I noticed that it was not listed in BRM, so he started using it and is very happy to not be having whatever problems he was having before. Bob’s has a great website (bobsredmill.com) and his products are sold in lots of stores all over (and on Amazon.) And if you happen to be in the Portland, OR area, the mill and store are fun to tour/shop in and they have a restaurant with delicious sandwiches, etc.

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  7. Shannon says

    I second the recommendation for Bob’s Red Mill flours. I love their whole wheat pastry flour. I use it for pancakes and cookies, predominantly.

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  8. says

    I live in central Minnesota…so no Whole Foods or Trader Joes here! I buy North Dakota Mill Hard White Wheat flour. Several small and larger local grocery stores carry it and it is often on sale for $1.99/5 lb bag. It is not specified as non-GMO/organic, so may check into the Wheat Montana from Amazon…I can get it at Walmart but not for a great price! Thankfully, white whole wheat flour has become much easier to find…although not all is ground fine enough to make a nice yeast bread.

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  9. Fletcher says

    I grind my own flour and it was this website that “put me over the edge” so to speak. It was the first place I found on the web that offered more than a hand-made bread recipe. I still use my bread machine with a recipe from The Bread Becker’s that I only slightly altered.

    I buy my wheat berries locally from a Mennonite woman who only sells Montana Wheat! I get Prairie Gold hard and soft white and Bronze Chief hard red. I use a mix of red and white for my bread because I like the flavor of a wheat bread. Wheat bread is all my children have ever been offered at home and people were amazed that my little kids would eat wheat bread!

    I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with the soft white and have found that sifting it two or three times gives me a flour that acts almost exactly like regular old AP flour. I have bought the Prairie Gold white wheat flour in the store before I had a mill and I really liked it. A friend who has a gluten-free son highly recommends Bob’s Red Mill products.

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    Charlotte Moore Reply:

    I live about 20 miles from the Bread Beckers business. That is where I got my Nutri Grain Mill, my bread machine, and a Electrolux mixer. I bought my wheat there for years. After using Montana Wheat I now buy it at a place in Duncan, SC as we go to Charlotte,NC to see our son. I use several of the Bread Becker’s recipes.

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    Barbara Reply:

    I live about 30 miles from Duncan, SC and have been looking for a place to buy whole grains…could you tell me the name of the store? I found a small group that orders bulk grains, sucanat, etc from a company called Dutch Valley, but they take a really long time to get up enough orders to meet the minimum requirements.

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    Charlotte Moore Reply:

    How funny!!!! It is called the Grain Loft just off 85. Their names are Pat and Jacque Schaaf. I have not met his wife but he is so nice. The number is 864-848-7199. Tell them a lady from GA that visits her son in Charlotte recommended them. My son looked online to find me a Bosch Mixer is how we found them. They also have classes on many different things. Wish I lived close enough to go to some. I have gone to some at Bread Beckers.

  10. Gail Medaris says

    I use one degree sprouted whole wheat flour! I want to be able to make sure our grains are soaked and prepared correctly but I don’t have a lot of time to always soak the flour. So, I love that this is sprouted and has gone through that process. It makes great bread and cakes!

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  11. Lana says

    My first choice is Trader Joe’s white whole wheat. It is 5 pounds for 2.99. It is very fresh because they sell so much of it. It does very well for all of my bread and cookies. My second choice is King Arthur white whole wheat at 3.29 for 5 pounds at my store. It is not as fresh as TJ’s so I only use it if I have not had a chance to get to TJ’s which is 25 miles away.

    I I do hope to purchase a grain mill at some point but it is not in the budget right now as every penny is being thrown at paying off the house.

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    Beth Reply:

    I use Trader Joe’s Flour as well and love it! Sorry your TJ’s is so far away, whenever the subject of moving comes up in our house my first question is “Do they have a Trader Joe’s? “

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  12. Tracy says

    I get King Arthur White Whole Wheat from Whole Foods but it’s pricey, 5 or 6 dollars a bag. My Kroger carries Gold White Whole Wheat for less money, but it’s not a good flour in my opinion- kind of gritty.

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  13. D'Ann Martin says

    Flour is making me crazy! About a year ago I tried whole wheat flour and thought I was doing the best for my family. Then I heard I should be buying organic whole wheat. Then I recently read that ancient grains were best like einkorn and such, because they haven’t been as altered thought the years like modern wheat. I just wish there was a more definitive answer on what’s most healthy. Then, I take a deep breath and remind myself of your “free range chicken” article and realize it will all be OK:)

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    Laura Reply:

    Yeah, it’s all a little overwhelming, huh? I feel that way about so many other foods too, from produce to brown rice. I really have landed on the peaceful conviction that white whole wheat is just fine for my family. Are the ancient grains better? Yes, actually, they probably are. But does that mean organic or chemical free white whole wheat is bad? No, I don’t think so.

    As long as we’re seeking what God wants us to do for our families, we can release the worry and just following His leading. I’ve chosen to just stick to basic, whole foods, and not worry about all the rest. Sure enough, God is bigger than a free range chicken and a package of flour. ;)

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  14. Angela Anthony says

    I love the Prairie Gold flour! I also like that I can actually pick it up at my local Walmart! When I have the chance (and the money), I purchase einkorn berries to grind up. That is the BEST I have ever had, but it sure is pricey!!

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  15. Charity says

    I was just wondering about this very thing! Thank you so much for posting this…..I do have a question on how you would store this much flour? I have 3 kiddos, 4 and under, so right now this would last us a little while.

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    Laura Reply:

    I’d put it in the freezer for sure! :)

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  16. ms.p says

    Some day I would like to grain my flour but for now I get it at the store. I fall head first off healthy food wagon. So starting from the beginning. Right now I have mix white and whole wheat flour.

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  17. Shaela Haney says

    I grind ours. The white whole wheat is wonderful so is the soft white wheat for a pastry like flour. The nutrimill is the best invention on Earth. Got it at Paulas Bread.

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  18. Trudi says

    My wheat is Wheat Montana, hands down. And for the very few occasions that I do still use white flour, it’s only Wheat Montana. And as another poster mentioned, einkorn is wonderful. But at twice the cost of wheat it’s a LITTLE cost-prohibitive!!

    Just some “food” for thought ;) . . . . One reason people might not like store-bought whole wheat flour or anything made with it, is because it’s usually already rancid by the time you buy it, giving it a bad taste. Plus, all the naturally-occurring nutrients are gone. That’s because the oils in the wheat germ start to oxidize immediately upon grinding. So, if the whole wheat flour isn’t packaged right away and in such a way as to keep the oxygen from getting to it (i.e. if it’s in a paper bag or flour sack), it’s rancid by the time you get it. Be careful, because the rancidity can cause another whole host of problems in your system. Even white whole wheat flour isn’t always “whole grain” flour, because most of the time the germ and bran (the good stuff!) has been removed to keep it from going rancid and give it less of a “wheaty” look and taste. If you grind your own flour you need to be careful of rancidity, too. I try to grind enough wheat to give me a good five pounds worth of flour at a time because I don’t always have time to grind every time I want to make something (who does?!). What I don’t use right away I put in a gallon-size ziploc bag and keep it in the freezer. It will slow down the oxidation and therefore keep it’s nutrients up to a month that way. If you can’t freeze it, it will keep it’s nutrients up to three days in the fridge. If left at room temperature, most of the vitamins will be gone in 48-72 hours and rancidity can set in. Nutritional value aside . . . for those who don’t yet grind their own wheat, if you ever get the chance to taste something with freshly ground wheat flour vs. store-bought “whole” wheat flour, you’ll see that there’s no comparison! :)

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    Kristin Reply:

    Does this mean I should be freezing my store bought white whole wheat flour? If so where did you learn this? I generally put in the fridge as soon as I bring it home. I have questioned the possible of rancidity of store bought, but just didn’t feel like I had time in my life for one more thing (grinding my own flour). Though frankly, I thought the wheat had to be ground immediately before each use. it is nice to know fresh ground wheat can be ground in advance and frozen. I will definitely look into it when I have the time.

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    Trudi Reply:

    Hi Kristin – I would definitely freeze it. I first learned about doing this about 15 years ago when I took a bread-making class after I bought my grain mill and Bosch mixer. I have a few books on grinding grains and using freshly ground flours and I believe they also mention slowing the oxidation process by freezing the flours – I can find the references for you if you’d like. I also store any other grain I grind into flour (including corn for cornmeal) in the freezer. Even my Wheat Montana all-purpose white flour goes in the freezer. Not to slow the oxidation process — it’s already been stripped of the germ and bran and basically void of nutrition — but to keep any weevil larvae from hatching, especially since I don’t use white flour nearly as much as I do the whole wheat. Weevils are commonly found in commercial flour – not a big deal as long as you don’t get an infestation. The larvae can’t survive the freezing temperatures. Also, if you ever find any bugs in your grain, you can stick the grain in the freezer for three days and it will kill any eggs the bugs have laid. Other than the “yuck” factor, your grain can still be used with no ill effects. This would only work if you find a couple bugs in a bucket or bag. If the bucket/bag appears to be infested, just get rid of it. Sorry for the wordy response. Hope it helped!

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  19. Christina says

    Would you tell us what other things you get from Amazon’s Subscribe and Save? I live in a smallish town, with one Kroger and one Walmart, so selection is limited! Plus, shopping is generally difficult due to an autistic teenager, so the more the UPS man can deliver, the better! I never thought of having him deliver my flour.

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    Laura Reply:

    I find that I buy a LOT of great groceries at a discount at Amazon. Here’s a page I update regularly of items I find for a great deal: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/amazon-deals. You’ll also want to read this page to learn more about what I get with subscribe and save http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/why-i-dont-have-a-sams-or-costco-membership-and-how-i-get-great-bulk-deals-delivered-to-my-door. It’s amazing what can be delivered to your door and save money too!

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  20. Tracy says

    I can’t find the prairie gold Montana wheat deal you mentioned or the one another subscriber mentioned for 50 lbs at 25 something. Any ideas how to find it? I’m still looking, but the cheapest I’ve found on Amazon is still $1 or so a pound.

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    Laura Reply:

    Looks like we bought them all out, so the price changed. I’ll keep watching for the price to go down again, and I’ll be sure to share!

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  21. Lynda says

    I was able to snag a 25 pound bag of Montana Gold for $19.38 yesterday on Amazon. I’ve only used BRM white whole wheat so I thought I would try this other brand to compare. Looking forward to trying it!

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  22. Karen Dee says

    Was so glad to hear you say you like the Prairie Gold flour! That’s what I’ve been using for quite sometime now. Well, ever since our Wal Mart started carrying it.

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  23. Teresa Yb says

    I buy Prairie Gold flour in 50 pound bags, but I have also had good results with King Arthur and Gold Medal white whole wheat. I am a Michigan gal and shop at Meijer. Meijer Naturals brand also has white whole wheat flour now that is good and a bit cheaper. All Meijer Natural products are non-GMO and chemical-free.

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    Lynda Reply:

    I haven’t seen Meijer brand white whole wheat flour. Did they just start carrying it? I’ll have to check it out.

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    Teresa Yb Reply:

    I think they have had it for about a year. They have both red and white wheat varieties.

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    Lynda Reply:

    I don’t recall seeing it at my local Meijer but I will definitely be looking for it. Thanks for the heads-up : )

  24. Courtney says

    My favorite brand of flour is Great River Organic Milling. I get a 25 lb.bag of their whole wheat pastry flour from Amazon Subscribe & Save every month. It’s the best flour I’ve ever used!

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