Buying Whole Wheat Flour: Ask Happy

New Komo Grain Mill

From Jenifer:

I’ve been reading about King Arthur flour and have seen you mention it a few times on your blog. I’ve been using the white whole wheat flour
in some recipes…..do you know how this brand of flour compares nutritionally with grinding your own?

I am thinking this is a good place for newbies to whole wheat bread making to start without having to jump into grinding their own.

This is a tough question. Most people who are selling grain mills and wheat berries will tell you that fresh ground wheat starts to lose important vitamins as soon as 24 hours after grinding. If this is true, then flour from the store, including King Arthur flour would have significant vitamin loss by the time you purchase it.

This information is disputed by many and after doing a lot of research I haven’t found a clear answer in regards to how quickly or how many vitamins are lost. As a personal preference I think fresh ground whole grain flour gives breads and baked goods a lighter taste, whereas some of the whole wheat flour sold at the store produces heavy loaves. I’ve also found that I can substitute 100% fresh ground whole grain flour in recipes, whereas when I’m using store bought whole wheat flour I still need to use a little white flour to get the desired results.

As far as store bought whole wheat flour, King Arthur is my first choice because they are the closest thing to fresh ground flour. Many flours remove the bran and germ, then add it back in later which changes the nutritional content of the flour by doing so. They also have the best results in baking compared to the other brands I have tried. I definitely think King Arthur flour is a great place to start for those wanting to try out switching to whole wheat without committing to buying a mill, 50 pounds of grain, and other supplies.

The only option better than using King Arthur Flour is to check and see if one of your local health food stores will grind wheat berries for you in the store. This method is probably more expensive than King Arthur, but it would be a good way to see if you think there is a difference in buying whole wheat flour and grinding it yourself.

Photo credit: Chiot’s Run

Comments

  1. I started grinding my own wheat berries a year or so ago and love it! I previously bought King Arthur Flour (and still keep some in the freezer for those times I need it in a pinch). I’ve actually just starting sprouting my wheat berries, then drying before grinding for the most nutritional benefits. But each step of my ‘bread baking journey’ has been one step at a time. Start with what seems doable and go from there.

  2. Depending on where this reader lives, there may be a store with a grind-your-own organic flour “stand”… When we lived in Washington State the local chain Central Market had one in the bulk foods section.

    I do think KAF is a good bet for wheat flours, though. They have consistently high quality products and no funny stuff. I’m not sure how it compares nutritionally to home-milled flours.

  3. Grinding your own grain is by far the best way to go. It’s a bit intimidating at first, but here is our story.

    When we first bought a mill, we had been buying whole wheat flour at the store and making bread w/ it. Even when the store had just restocked, I was there buying it up. Granted, we lived in a part of the country that didn’t have a lot of health food, but still.

    After making our 1st loaf of bread made from the freshly ground wheat, we tasted our older loaf — and it tasted RANCID. What a difference!

    Buy a mill. You will also typically get grain for less money than you can purchase good quality flour.

  4. I started grinding my own a few years ago and will never look back. I did work into it though. First was going unbleached, then mixing store bought wheat with store bought white flour. Then I started grinding my own. I use soft white wheat and hard white wheat right now. I also use durum wheat for pasta. I live about 15 minutes from Breadbeckers in GA so I am fortunate to be able to get what I need, and pick up other things to try, without having to deal with shipping or co-op drop-offs.

    My local Whole Foods has a grinder and two types of wheat berries you can grind. I used it once or twice before I bought my grinder.

    My rule of thumb is 24 hours out max. Any leftover flour goes into the freezer for up to a month. I usually use the flour in the freezer when I just need a little for browning meat or dusting a surface.

  5. How would one start to grind their own flour? I’ve always been interested in doing this, but when I research it, I’m overwhelmed. How do you ladies do it in less than a 100 step explanation (which is normally what I find researching). 🙂

  6. I grind my own with a VitaMix rather than invest in another appliance. Since I only make one loaf a week (smaller family than yours), it works just fine. They are quite expensive, but I got mine for $50 after a lot of prayer. http://mrststhoughtsfromatitus2mom.blogspot.com/2009/08/finances-yard-sales.html

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