Home Milling and Baking
We can prepare grains in their whole state by steaming, baking or pressure-cooking them. However, for centuries children and adults all over the world have enjoyed the texture, flavor and aroma of products baked with flour milled from grains.
For many individuals, life without bread, cookies, cakes, pies, muffins and rolls-would seem a dreary prospect. For nearly everyone, it is good news indeed that we can build health by eating our favorite foods! With the right information we can prepare baked goods in ways which satisfy the requirements for fiber and nutrients in human nutrition.
The Differences Between Commercially Milled Flour and Freshly Milled Flour
Flour which is freshly milled at home contains an. entire complement of B vitamins and is rich in vitamin E. It also contains the fiber which is essential in human nutrition. The milling process breaks the protective layer of bran surrounding the kernel of wheat and exposes the vitamins and minerals to oxygen. Oxygen breaks down the chemicals which make up vitamins and converts them into useless compounds - a process which begins immediately upon milling. For this reason freshly ground flour should be used just after it is milled. If you must store fresh flour, keep it in the freezer. This does not prevent vitamin oxidation, but it does keep the wheat germ oil from becoming rancid.
Commercial millers remove thirty percent of the wheat kernel (including the most nutritious part of the grain) in order to make white flour. They remove the bran and wheat germ and attempt to re-enrich the flour by adding a few nutrients. By understanding the chemical changes which occur in flour after it is commercially milled, we are better able to make wise choices concerning the foods we eat.
The Commercial Milling Process
The commercial milling process begins with the wheat kernel. These wheat kernels, referred to as wheat berries, contain all of the vital nutrients, locked up in the protective jacket of the bran. As long as this outer layer, or bran, remains unbroken wheat can be safely stored for years. In commercial milling, the bran, so very necessary for good health, is the first part of the berry to be removed.
The next layer removed by commercial milling is the middling. The middling is rich in nutrients, and after it is removed it is sold to farmers for livestock feed. Lastly, the most nutritious part of the wheat berry, the wheat germ, is removed. The wheat germ and the wheat germ oil are the life of the berry. The wheat germ oil is high in vitamin E and important B vitamins.
To understand why the wheat germ is so important, consider that, of the nutrients in the whole kernel, the germ contains about:
64% of the thiamine
26% of the riboflavin
21% of the pyridoxine
7% of the pantothenic acid
2% of the niacin
8% of the protein
Ninety percent of the nutritional value of the wheat berry is contained in the wheat germ. And yet all of the wheat germ must, of necessity, be removed from commercial flours, including so-called 'whole wheat' flour. Wheat germ oil has almost no shelf life and becomes rancid very quickly. Rancid oil is a carcinogen, and government health regulations require the removal of the wheat germ oil from all commercial flours.
The easy, economical and delicious alternative to devitalized commercial flours is to mill your own fresh flour-at home. If you have ever enjoyed baked goods made from just-milled flour, you know how smooth and delightful the flavor is. It is entirely different than using store-bought whole wheat flour which has sat on the shelf for months, and has a sharp and unpleasant tang.
Historically, milling has been accomplished by crushing and grinding the grains between large heavy stones. Today's home mills operate by one of three means: abrasive grit wheels, cone-and-burr mechanism or Micro-MillingTM heads.
"Stone" mills actually employ a pair of abrasive grit wheels, similar to what is used in a machine shop for grinding or sharpening metal objects. They are effective, although they are slow, tend to leave grit in the flour, and sometimes glaze over and require cleaning.
Cone-and-burr mills use a nested cone-shaped mechanism, usually made of stainless steel. The inner cone has a sharply ribbed texture and rotates, grinding the wheat against the smooth fixed outer cone. The process is slow, and the flour produced is somewhat coarser than what is produced by other methods.
In contrast, Micro-Milling heads operate by a unique high-speed impact principle,rather than by grinding. When a grain or bean enters the milling chamber, surgical stainless steel teeth, rotating a: up to 28,000 rpm collide with it, exploding it and then instantly refining the particles into a beautifully fine flour. The process is extremely fast, and leaves no foreign particles in the flour. Because there is very little friction, a very high rate of flour production can be achieved, without significantly elevating the temperature of the flour. This is the technology used in the Magic Mill III Plus home flour mill, which will be described more fully later.
In Parts I and VI we discuss the necessity of fiber in human nutrition. We cite the work of Dr. Denis Burkitt and many others concerning the essential role of fiber in preventing and reversing degenerative disease.
Those studies bear careful consideration; understanding the role of fiber will motivate us to make whatever dietary changes are necessary in order to achieve optimal health. By baking with freshly milled grains we also come to experience the high-fiber way to weight loss. For cleansing, healing and restoring our bodies, fiber is essential.
Fiber helps to remove fat from the walls of the colon and clear our bodies of unwanted metals and toxins. Without the help of fiber our bodies cannot excrete the overload of toxins and our systems must reabsorb them. Both soluble and insoluble fibers absorb many times their weight in water in the gastrointestinal tract. The increase in bulk puts pressure against the intestinal walls and facilitates the expulsion of fecal matter. Insoluble fiber remains unchanged during the digestive process.
Soluble fiber actually breaks down to form a gel in the small intestines which retards the absorption of glucose. This makes soluble fiber useful in the management of diabetes, hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia since people with these conditions are adversely affected by a quick breakdown of carbohydrates. With the help of insoluble fiber, the body converts these carbohydrates into glucose very slowly.
Beans are an excellent source of insoluble fiber. By milling bean flour, as well as grain flour, we can produce delicious baked goods containing the finest sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Grain flours, which produce such delicious baked goods, are filled with insoluble fiber which is effective in satisfying the appetite. So many of the problems associated with degenerative disease have one simple solution, and that solution is Real Bread, the staff of life.
Baked Goods Made with Freshly-Milled Grains and Beans are Delicious and Satisfying.
The variety in taste, texture, aroma and beauty found in these wholesome baked goods can coax even finicky children to devour their meals. Adults and youth who have agonized over a weight problem can finally satisfy their desire for delicious food by eating their way to optimal health. People who experience fatigue find a resurgence of energy by eating their favorite baked goods. Mom's apple pie, jelly and bread, pizza and countless other family favorites build optimal health when we bake with freshly milled flour and use only natural sweeteners and whole foods.
With the right products, information and appliances we can change our homes and make them happier, healthier places to be. In the early 1900s Americans were dying of diphtheria, small pox, typhoid and polio. Inoculations and antibiotics have eliminated those diseases. Now we have an epidemic of degenerative disease and six out of ten of the leading causes of death are related to diet: heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and circulatory disease. The truth is we are consuming products which are killing us. Many of the foods which are not filled with dangerous fats are completely devoid of the fiber and the nutrients which are essential for our health. And yet, vital life-giving whole foods are available.