Spelt Banana Bread and a Grain Mill Review

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on February 2, 2012

Spelt Banana Bread and a Grain Mill Review

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.

Spelt Banana Bread and a Grain Mill Review

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.

Spelt Banana Bread and a Grain Mill Review

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 Spelt Banana Bread and a Grain Mill Review

Spelt Banana Bread and a Grain Mill Review

Spelt Banana Bread and a Grain Mill Review

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.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nami | Just One Cookbook February 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I’m always inspired by those who use whole grain flours. I know that I need to make a switch sooner than later but growing up eating mainly white bread, it’s a big step. Kids didn’t know any better if I changed when they were even smaller…so I’m telling myself now is better than next year or year after… I’m amazed with your passion and that leads to making this beautiful bread. It’s also fun reading your experience too. Thanks for sharing and especially keeping to inspire others like me!
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2 Liz February 3, 2012 at 5:34 am

I love this recipe! Thank you for sharing this banana bread steps and ingredients.
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3 Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything} February 3, 2012 at 6:57 am

Lately I started to use more whole wheat flour in my baking. I thought my family is gonna turn their noses but was an easy transaction. We still use some white flour, but not as much as I used to.
I’ve been looking to get myself a mill, somehow I can’t quite justify the cost…
your banana bread looks great!
Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything} recently posted..Mango Chocolate Bread

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4 Amy @ Gastronome Tart February 3, 2012 at 10:15 am

Who knew?! I seriously had no idea that there were mill grinder’s that that you could use to grind your own grains. Honestly. No clue! Unfortunately, there probably isn’t anywhere around where I live that would sell whole grains in their natural state :( I will be keeping an eye out!
Amy @ Gastronome Tart recently posted..Meyer Lemon Bars

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5 chinmayie @ love food eat February 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

I have been wanting to bake some banana bread for a few days and this post reminded me I have to do it soon if I want to save my overripe bananas! Thank you

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6 Genevieve February 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

I love baking with whole grains and different flours, but I’ve never ground my own…I learned a lot from this post! I usually do buy my flours in small quantities from bulk bins, but I don’t usually think about them going bad – how can you tell?
Genevieve recently posted..Sweet Potato Chili Fries

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7 Heidi @ Food Doodles February 6, 2012 at 8:22 am

You might be able to tell by the smell of it, but unless you have something to compare it to you might not be able to tell the difference. Before I had smelled freshly ground flour, I couldn’t smell anything “off” about “old” flour. If you’re buying it from bulk bins that are frequently used it might be fairly fresh though!

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8 Charissa February 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

I’ve heard so much about spelt flour…it sounds like such a better choice than regular whole wheat.
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9 Erin @ Texanerin Baking February 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I make banana bread (and everything else) with whole spelt and love it. It must be great to have a grain mill! I could walk down the street to the organic store and use theirs, but then I have to buy their spelt berries and they’re so expensive. I’m definitely going to have to buy one when we move back to the US because whole spelt seems to cost a fortune there. But I was wondering, if you’re grinding your own spelt berries, doesn’t that mean you used whole spelt? Or is spelt automatically whole spelt unless it’s “white spelt”? I guess I’m confused because “spelt” and “whole spelt” are different products here. I guess all spelt is really whole spelt. I feel so stupid. I even write “whole spelt” on all my recipes. :(
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10 Heidi @ Food Doodles February 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

Oh, don’t feel stupid!! I should probably be writing “whole spelt” on my recipes. I actually can’t buy any kind of spelt flour here, at least where I live, that’s why I love being able to grind it so much – otherwise I’d have to travel to find it, or order it online or something. I didn’t even think that in other places people might wonder whether it’s whole or not!

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11 Erin @ Texanerin Baking February 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I’ve looked on Amazon before but it just confused me more. Oh well. I’m just going to assume that spelt is the same as whole spelt. And good for you for grinding your own flour! But it’s strange that you can find spelt berries and not spelt flour. That’s just puzzling.
Erin @ Texanerin Baking recently posted..Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge

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12 Nora @ Natural noshing February 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I would LOVE a grain mill! maybe that should be on “to buy” list! Your banana bread looks yummmmmmmyyy! I would definitely add the nuts and the chocolate – I am an add-in type of girl :)
Nora @ Natural noshing recently posted..Savory Pizza Donuts

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13 Maris (In Good Taste) February 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

This banana bread looks perfect!
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14 Marsha @ The Harried Cook February 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

That’s one gorgeous looking loaf… I’ve never baked with spelt before, but now I want to try! Thanks for sharing :)
Marsha @ The Harried Cook recently posted..Easy Honey Sesame Bread

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15 Margarita February 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Can’t wait to have a house so I can buy all these awesome kitchen gadgets!
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16 Sonia The Healthy Foodie February 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm

How beautiful! I’m way way overdue for a good slice of toasted banana bread, topped with gorgeous, home made peanut butter and a few slices of… apple! Oh yeah! I think I know what I’ll be making tomorrow. I was already planning on making a fresh batch of peanut butter, and I have like 5 bananas on the counter just waiting to get used up!

This is so happening! Thanks for the inspiration, Heidi!
Sonia The Healthy Foodie recently posted..Heavenly Healthy Matcha Green Tea Cake

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17 Heidi @ Food Doodles February 6, 2012 at 8:14 am

Can you believe I’ve never had banana bread with peanut butter on it?! I usually just put butter on it, if anything. So I took a piece out of the freezer last night and tried it – yummy! :D

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18 Sonia The Healthy Foodie February 7, 2012 at 11:35 am

Heidi, this is seriously the best banana bread I have eaten my entire life! Soooo moist, tender, chewy, it’s like a decadent cake. Of course, I’ve made a few very slight mods (you know me, always have to change recipes…) but this is now my go to banana bread recipe! I have to admit that I was very sceptical when I add ALL that cinnamon, and god knows I LOVE cinnamon, but really, it works great! I think it just elevates the flavor so much!

Of course, I sampled it toasted, with peanut butter (ain’t it amazing?) and it was the bomb!

LOOOOOOVE it. Plain and simple.

Thanks a bunch for this brilliant recipe. Oh, and expect to see it on my site very shortly, of course!
Sonia The Healthy Foodie recently posted..Orange, Strawberry and Navy Bean Salad

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19 Heidi @ Food Doodles February 8, 2012 at 8:01 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’m off to read your post now :D

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20 Jane February 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I have always always wanted to be able to grind my own grains, but I’ve been kinda help back by the price of buying one! I’ve heard once you start grinding, you won’t go back to store bought flour! Thanks for the review, I will def think about it! That bread looks really good!
Jane recently posted..Cumin and Ginger Spiced Mini Meatball Soup

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21 Emma February 6, 2012 at 3:07 am

I love banana bread, always seem to get it wrong. To be fair I do need a new oven so I guess that doesn’t help!
Looking delish tho!! :)
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22 Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli February 6, 2012 at 7:03 am

I’m a bit ashamed to admit, but I swear this is the first I’ve ever heard of grinding your own grains. Where in the world have I been?! I love experimenting with different flours when I bake and I’ve used spelt before to make banana avocado muffins that turned out really great. Your recipe definitely looks like a winner and as always, your pictures are absolutely stunning! Love the contrast of the blue towel!
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli recently posted..Brown Sugar Bacon Pancakes

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23 Kat February 6, 2012 at 7:16 am

I started to use whole grain flour in my baking, and the difference in taste is tremendous. I imagine it’s much better when it’s freshly ground, not to mention the nutrition qualities you mentioned. Your banana bread looks beautiful!
Kat recently posted..Peach Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Frosting (Vegan)

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24 Joanne February 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Grinding your own flour is DEFINITELY worth it, and it’s a LOT cheaper. Love this banana bread! Spelt flour is my favorite to bake with.
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Chipotle Squash Salad with Jicama, Goat Cheese, and Avocado

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25 Marina {YummyMummyKitchen.com} February 7, 2012 at 8:24 am

I haven’t baked with spelt yet, but you’ve convince me. This looks great!
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26 Katie {Epicurean Mom Blog} February 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I’ve so wanted to try grinding my own grains! You may just push me to actually do it! This bread looks fabulous!!
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27 Ashlae February 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

I had no idea mini mill grinders existed!??!! This whole time I thought people ground their grains in high speed blenders, like me. But now that I know mini mill grinders exist.. I want one. Bad. And this banana bread looks delicious. I love hearty, whole grain breads.
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28 Allison February 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Oh! Yummy, This kind of bread made up with banana is delicious in kind. I want to taste it.
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29 Gosia February 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Heidi, what do you know! When googling for low-gluten bread recipes… where do I end up – on Food Doodles. What a recipe you got here! I’ll be eating this deliciousness in a matter of hours, no, let me be realistic – days. But I’m testing it tout de suite. Thanks for this gorgeous-looking bread. P.S. I’m so in awe for your freshly-ground flours. My next best choice (after store-bought) is the mill in Chilliwack., British Columbia where they do it, not to order, but fresh nonetheless http://anitasorganic.com/. I’ll report on the bake results soon.
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30 Joshua November 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

I liked your review of the WonderMill: it’s so hard to find reviews online! And of course the bread recipe looks like it makes some scrumptious stuff.

Have you used any other kind of grain mill? I looked at grainmillcomparison.com and onlygrainmills.com, and they both list quite a few mills besides the WonderMill. The KoMos in particular seemed like they’d be a dream to use.

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31 Heidi @ Food Doodles November 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I had a hard time finding reviews too. I haven’t used any other mills, my mill before I received this one was the same kind of mill, and was my mother in laws for the past 20+ years. My sister in law had a hand mill that she wouldn’t recommend just because of the effort involved in grinding just a little bit of grain, but I don’t know what brand or model it was. I know the lady that writes 100 Days of Real Food uses a Nutrimill and seems to like it. I just looked up the KoMo grain mill and it looks great! It’s beautiful! Although I’d be worried about the mess. The WonderMill connects directly to the storage container so there’s no mess at all. You’d have to look into the difference in wattage and warranty and things like that if you’re trying to make a decision. Either way you will just love using fresh flours!

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32 Mindy April 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Absolutely delicious!! Added some sunflower seeds instead of walnuts!

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33 Jasmine September 5, 2013 at 7:19 pm

This has become my go-to banana bread recipe. My daughter has a few friends who are sensitive to wheat so this is always a safe snack. I love to use coconut oil and then I sprinkle shredded coconut on top so it toasts as the loaf cooks. Yummy.

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