Grain-based foods like bread, cakes, and pastries often get a bad rap. But the truth is, these carbohydrates are a great source of fuel and good for building muscle that lasts. They’re especially beneficial if you know where your flour for making them comes from.
Learning how to make flour for yourself will ensure you know the quality of your product from start to finish. Read on to learn the tools required, the steps to take, and the benefits of knowing how to make flour.
Benefits Of Knowing How to Make Flour
Whether you are in a survival situation or simply trying to live more cleanly and economically, there are a ton of benefits to knowing how to make flour. Fresh ground flour is often more flavorful, digestible, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.
In addition, knowing how to make flour will equip you to keep yourself and others fed in all sorts of situations. Grains are often wild-growing and much easier to naturally source, whereas prepackaged flour can be hard to come by and quickly snatched up from store shelves in times of need. And what’s left behind can go bad fast.
There is another incredibly important benefit to having the tools and skillset for how to make flour yourself. Once when you’ve got these processes nailed down, you’ve already taken huge strides to preventing hunger situations and even starvation.
Having these skills will also equip you to make flour-based foods that complement wild sources of protein and healthy fat. When all consumed together in portions, these three food groups will help stabilize blood sugar.
Because it is such a widely useful commodity, homemade flour can make a great trade item as well. Whether you are learning how to make flour in anticipation of hard times or want to work out a more economic barter system with your neighbors, this is a useful skill set to have.
For all these reasons and more, it’s tremendously beneficial to know how to make flour from scratch.
Tools You Can Use for Making Your Own Flour
There are many different tools you can use when learning how to make flour. It’s really important to know how to use several of these properly and to have a couple of different tools on hand.
Because you cannot predict when you might need to make your own flour, you won’t know whether electricity will be available or not. Electric tools for grinding flour are more expedient and often more convenient but should not be solely relied on—especially when learning how to make flour in a survival situation.
Instead, make sure you have at least one non-electric flour grinding tool on hand as well. That way, if you have no access to electricity and no generator, you can still put into effect the steps for how to make flour.
Electric Flour Grinding Tools
A blender is one of the most cost-effective and straightforward tools for how to make flour. The best part about it is that many people already have some type of blender on hand, so there will not be much additional cost to make this tool work for you.
A step up from a regular blender, food processors are another great tool when it comes to learning how to make flour. Because they tend to have finer grinding power and an assortment of different blades, food processors can often make finer flour faster than a blender. However, they also tend to be more expensive.
Stand mixers are a great option for how to make flour. They can usually make a pretty high capacity of flour in a short amount of time, which is great if you are feeding more people.
However, the downside is that they are larger, more expensive, and more cumbersome. In addition, you will likely need a special mixer attachment to turn your grains into flour.
Electric Coffee or Spice Grinder
Another tool for how to make flour that can be found in most households or cheaply purchased is a coffee grinder. Alternatively—though less of a common household item—a spice grinder will do the trick.
However, it will take more grinding sessions with smaller batches to get an ample amount of flour for baking with these tools. In addition, the grinder will wear out more quickly from frequent use.
Non-Electric Flour Grinding Tools
Hand-Crank Grain Mill
A hand-crank grain mill is ultimately the best choice among tools when it comes to learning how to make flour. This purpose is its specific design, after all, so you can trust that a grain mill will be up to the challenge of milling your grain of choice into flour.
Though they are not cheap, with hand-crank grain mills ranging from as low as $70 over $1,200, this is an important tool to have on hand in your survival arsenal. If it comes down to needing it, this will truly make the difference when it comes to optimal flour making.
Manual Coffee or Spice Grinder
A manual coffee or spice grinder operates similarly to a hand-crank grain mill. Though again, it may have a smaller capacity than its counterparts, it will generally get the job done. You will just need to be mindful of the type of grain you are grinding in it to ensure the grinding mechanisms can handle the coarseness.
Mortar and Pestle
Though it is arguably the least time and energy-efficient tool for how to make flour, there are some advantages to having a mortar and pestle on hand for the purpose of grain grinding. Typically these are more compact, easier to store, and easier to travel with, especially if you are hauling your own gear.
In some cases, they may even be the best tool of choice. For example, if you only plan to grind enough grain for small portions, or if you do not want to grind an excess amount of flour, you would then have to transport. In these cases, a mortar and pestle could serve your purposes beautifully.
A mortar and pestle will require a lot of work to grind enough grain to use for baking, but having one on hand even for a pinch can be very valuable.
How to Make Flour
Preparing Your Ingredients
The first step in how to make flour is to choose your grain. You can use anything from wheat berries (not actual berries, but wheat in its raw form) to nuts, beans, oats, barley, and more. In their whole form, many of these will last a long time in dry, cool storage, so having some on hand to turn into flour is crucial.
Before you begin making your flour, be sure to check out your source material. Make sure there is no chaff, mold, or other hard pieces that can stop up or damage your grinder. Then, measure out how much of the grain you will need.
Be sure not to overdo it—fresh flour without preservatives added can go bad in a short amount of time, so it’s best to make just how much you need.
Preparing Your Grinder
Make sure your grinder is clean, free of obstructions, and that all the parts are present and running smoothly. Take special care to ensure there is no flour or other residue left over from any previous grinding sessions, as this can taint the current flour you are grinding.
Set the coarseness level for your grinder of choice and fill it up half to two-thirds of the way full. This will allow the blades or grinding mechanisms to work unobstructed; if you are using a mortar and pestle, it will help cut down on your exertion.
Now it’s time to get grinding!
Grinding Your Flour
Whether you are using an electric or a manual grinder, the key is to grind your source until you have a fluffy, smooth flour. You can do this in bursts with an electric grinder and small batches with a manual one.
At intervals, sift the flour through a sieve or shut off the grinder and remove any large chunks that have not yet ground to powder. You can grind those alone to ensure they break down or add them in with the next batch of your source product.
If you are making several batches of flour, be sure to let your grinder cool down between sessions. This is imperative for both electric and non-electric flour grinding tools.
Storing and Using Your Flour
Once you have ground all the source product, you can use it all at once or store the excess for a short amount of time. To optimize its longevity, store your fresh flour in a sealable, airtight container or zip-top bag and place it in a cool, dark place.
If you are storing your flour somewhere prone to insects, adding a bay leaf into the container can help deter pests. Avoiding direct exposure to sunlight will also help keep your flour fresh.
Be sure to take the time to clean your grinder thoroughly after each flour-making session. This will ensure it continues to serve you for a good long while. You should also bear in mind if there are any types of product your specific grinder is not built for—such as oily products like soybeans or corn or harder grains—and avoid these in order to extend its use.
Wrapping up How to Make Flour
Feeling confident about how to make flour on your own? There is so much more to learn about keeping yourself and those around you fed in a survival situation! Check out our Food page for all kinds of tips and tricks to ensure you’re prepared for sustenance in all kinds of unpredictable situations.