I picked up a Back to Basics manual grain mill at a garage sale a few years ago that someone had bought as preparation for the year 2000. It was new in the box and cost me $5. I took it home, put it on a shelf in my pantry, and forgot about it.
I remembered the little grain mill while in my favorite bulk food store. I picked up a bag of wheat berries and thought, “I’ve got a grain mill I’ve never tried out!” I bought a bag of wheat, took it home, put it on a shelf in my pantry, and forgot about it!
I was sitting in my recliner with my breakfast coffee and a boring bowl of cold cereal and thought “Wouldn’t a bowl of hot cereal other than oatmeal or Coco Wheats be a nice change? “
And then I remembered! I got the grain mill out, retrieved the bag of wheat from the pantry, and started experimenting.
I found that I could get several grinds from the very simple mill depending on how tightly I screwed down the handle. I can make cracked wheat for bread, a finer grind for farina breakfast cereal, or a border-line coarse flour for whole wheat bread (it took a while to grind enough flour for bread with the little mill).
I’m usually not a fan of plain farina or “Cream of Wheat” hot cereal, but I found that the fresh wheat made a superior product to what I have bought from the grocery store. I added cinnamon to one batch and it smelled and tasted wonderful.
I prepared the cereal by bringing ¾ cup (6 oz.) water with a pinch of salt to a boil and sprinkling three tablespoons of farina into the boiling water while stirring constantly. Then I turned the heat down and continued to stir and cook for one or two minutes until the mixture thickened. I then took the pot off the heat, covered it, and let it sit for a few minutes covered and allowed it to thicken some more. Finally, I transferred the cooked cereal to a warm bowl with brown sugar, a little butter, and milk or half and half.
When properly stored in a cool, dry place, wheat keeps well for a year or more. When it is ground, it has a short shelf life before it begins to go stale (the wheat flour from the store has a stronger taste for this reason) because of the oil in the wheat germ. I freeze what flour or farina I have left over from each grinding for this reason.
If you get really serious about grinding all your own flour, you will probably want to buy a bigger hand or electric mill. For now, I’m just dabbling and will stick with my little one! Begonia