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Learning to Use Flour Made from Whole Grains

It is so easy to store whole grains for 10 to 30+ and they are so healthy and life sustaining for us, it’s no wonder that they are part of most food storage pantries. I also store several types of whole grains so I have variety in my diet and don’t get sick of eating foods made from the same hard white whole wheat, but having hundreds of pounds of whole grains won’t help me much if I don’t know how to use them. That is why this past 2 years I have been slowly learning how to use these different grains.

This past 2 years I have decided that it is a good thing that I have decided to learn how to use these whole grains before an emergency happens in which I am forced to use them. I have had many failed baking projects but I am getting much better now. I feel a lot more confident that we could live off our food storage now than I did when I first started. I also found that I like using whole grains in my diet and it has made our family healthier, plus it’s good on our budget. I can get bulk grains for cheap, I got 45 lbs of hard white wheat for about $20 at Costco the other day.

One of the biggest focuses of my learning to use whole grains has been using the flours I make from them in my grain mill. I recently found a resource that has opened my eyes to how many different things I can make. While searching for recipes using a grain mill, I found www.grainmillrecipes.com that is a picture catalog of whole grain recipes from across the web with links to the recipes. I just want to make all the recipes on the website! I have only tried 3 recipes so far but they were good.

The first recipe I tried, that I found through grainmillrecipes.com, was buttermilk whole wheat pancakes. After eating these pancakes I threw away my Buisquick pancake mix. We now have pancakes twice a week and my 2 year old gets mad that we don’t let her have more that 3. They are so easy to make too, just mix it all together and cook them up. I use powdered buttermilk in this recipe because it stores well and I keep a few containers in my food storage, an unopened container can keep for over 2 years. I have substituted the whole wheat flour for spelt flour or Kamut flour at a 1:1 ratio and it still works good. I have also put oat flour in these and it works, I add 1/2 cup oat flour and subtract 1/4 wheat flour to make this work because oat flour is lighter than wheat flour.

 The second recipe I tried, that I found through grainmillrecipes.com, was whole wheat oatmeal buttermilk bread. This bread had an incredible taste to it, and yes I am on a buttermilk kick lately. I have only tried this recipe once so far. I didn’t bake mine quite as long as I should have because I didn’t want the top to get to dark but I should have let it bake 5 to 10 minutes longer. This made one huge loaf, I think I will double the recipe and make it into 3 loafs so they will be a little smaller. I used freshly rolled oats that I made from whole oat groats using a Marga oat roller I borrowed from a friend, I’m sure this made all the difference in the taste.

I am really considering buying an oat roller for myself but that is a $120+ investment so I will have to save for a while. I hope my friend will let me borrow it some more so I can get more familiar with it and how to use rolled oats. I would really like to learn how to use oats more as a flour, rolled, and whole. I can make steel cut oats in my Wonder Junior hand grain mill but I haven’t tried it yet.

If there is one thing I have learned about making bread in the past 2 years is that I usually have to make a recipe a few time before I get it right. This is because everyone measures flour differently, mixes or kneads with different methods, has different temperatures for rising, has different degrees of fineness of whole grain flours, has different ovens, and on and on……. So if a bread recipe doesn’t come out quite right, you might give it another try or two.

The  third recipe I tried, that I found through grainmillrecipes.com, was Pumpkin-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Many of us have made the Weight Watchers Pumpkin Cakemix Chocolate Chip Cookies but I have always wanted to remake them with whole grain flours. This recipe is much different than that recipe because of the amount of rolled oats but it was quite similar in many ways as fare as taste and texture.

I used freshly rolled oats again for this recipe since I have my friend’s oat roller on loan. But the real key ingredient in this recipe is the pumpkin. Canned pumpkin puree is something I think everyone should have in their food storage. It has so many good uses and can turn plain baked goods into extraordinary.

I also used Kamut flour in place of the whole wheat flour because I like the taste of Kamut and spelt flour over whole wheat in pastries and cookies. These cookies came out as a real treat, even 2 and 4 year old kids eat them up.

The best advise I can give to someone wanting to learn to use whole grain flours more is to just pick out some recipes and give them a try. Sure your going to have some failures but you’ll start to find some that you can do well. Its a whole lot better to figure out what works well now that to try to figure it out later when you have to.