If you’ve been reading my blog for long you know I recommend using freshly ground flour. Just making the switch from refined grains like white flour to whole grain flours is an awesome – but difficult! – transition. It’s really so worth it, for the nutrition and flavor, not to mention the world of different flavors and textures that exploring whole grains opens up.
I know it’s hard to justify buying such an expensive piece of equipment to grind your own grains when flour is already readily available, but if you’ve ever had anything made with freshly ground flour you know it’s worth it. The taste is so much better! And from a budget standpoint, it’s well worth it as whole grains can usually be found for considerably cheaper than the already ground flour. Not to mention you can buy large quantities of whole grains(which usually works out to be cheaper than buying small quantities) and store them without them going bad, but already ground flour should be bought in small quantities as it goes rancid fairly quickly.
Not too long ago I was sent a WonderMill grain mill to test and review. I have to admit I was quite shocked when I received the email as the mill looks almost identical to my mother-in-laws grain mill that I’ve been using(that I couldn’t find a brand or name on). She used her mill for 15+ years and while pieces are broken and it’s actually in a few more pieces than it was originally, it still works fine. While I’m not entirely sure, it may actually be a WhisperMill, which is similar, but as they discuss on this page, is quite a bit different and the WonderMill has been greatly improved on since the WhisperMill was around.
To be honest, I wondered why they would brag about it being the worlds quietest grain mill. Obviously a grain mill is going to be loud, but I was pleasantly surprised that this one was actually no louder than my vacuum cleaner, which is loud, but not bad at all. Plus, the grain mill doesn’t run long to grind 8 cups of grain, which should fill the storage container. That doesn’t mean that that’s all it can grind at one time though, they even have a video on their site showing the mill grinding grain for almost 10 hours straight. How awesome is that? If the motor can do that I’m sure it can survive the amount of grain I’m grinding.
I especially like the different settings, and I can actually notice a difference between finely ground flours and coarser ground flours which is awesome. I especially like that they list different grains and other things specifically in the manual that can(or can’t) be ground and there’s a much more detailed list here if you’re curious. Of course, wet or oily grains/nuts/seeds can’t be ground, but any dry grains, even a lot of gluten-free grains and even beans are fine for grinding in the WonderMill.
I only have two very small complaints as the mill does exactly what it’s supposed to and does it really well. First, the two lids are very stiff. In the few times that I’ve used it I’ve thought the lid with the tube that the flour goes through was on properly but it wasn’t. Not a big deal, it actually still didn’t make a mess and I’m sure it will get better once it’s used more, but I thought I’d mention it. Second, it’s important to keep the lid off the hopper while grinding the grain for proper airflow, but when it gets to the end of grinding it can sometimes throw the last couple grains out, and throw them quite a distance. They recommend just flipping the lid upside down and resting it on top which is a really easy fix. Besides that the mill actually doesn’t make much of a mess at all. And I love that it’s fairly light and doesn’t take up a whole lot of room so it’s convenient to just grind some grain before getting to work in the kitchen.
My most recent column in our local paper was about soft wheat, spelt and khorasan(or Kamut). I’m a huge fan of spelt and Kamut (which is actually a brand name, khorasan is actually the name of the grain) and I’m always looking for ways to use them. For my recipe, I went for something everyone usually knows. It’s familiar, it’s delicious and this is just how we like it – lots of bananas, not much fat and sugar added and full of whole grains. Oh, and chocolate too 😀
- 2 C spelt flour(add 1-2 tbsp for freshly ground flour as it’s fluffier than flour that has been sitting)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1/4C maple syrup or honey
- 1/4C oil(I’ve been using grapeseed lately but any kind will do – even melted coconut oil would be delicious)
- 2 large eggs
- 2C mashed bananas, or approximately 4 small
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2C chopped walnuts or chocolate chips(or a mix of both – optional)
- 2 tbsp coarse sugar for sprinkling over top(optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a loaf pan by spraying with oil or non-stick spray and set aside.
In a small bowl mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine the well mashed bananas with the maple syrup/honey, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and mix quickly, adding the nuts or chocolate chips in the last minute of mixing. Small lumps or a little flour is not completely combined, that’s fine. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle with coarse sugar over top, if desired. Place in the oven and bake 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Remove the loaf pan from the oven and let the loaf cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before turning it out and cooling on a cooling rack completely.
Disclaimer: I was sent a WonderMill grain mill for free to try and review, but I was not under obligation to write a positive review and I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions in this post are my own.