“You got me a what?”
Hubs beams. “A manual wheat grinder.”
“To grind … wheat?”
He stares at me like I’m stupid. “Yeah.”
I watch as he hoists the contraption out of the cardboard box which is no easy task given its weight. Hubs attaches the grinding wheel and demonstrates. “See, you just put wheat berries in here and turn this, then flour comes out.”
Now I look at him like he’s stupid. “Why can’t we just buy flour like normal people?”
“Because it’s bleached, and GMO, and they use pesticides. This way, we can buy it from the co-op and we know it’s safe. Plus it has way more nutrients this way.”
Now I’m pouting. “I don’t have time to grind wheat.”
A smile spreads across Hub’s face. “I could hook it up to a recumbent bike and you could grind while you exercise.”
I know him well enough to know he’s not joking.
“This will be fine.”
Crazy as it sounds, he was right. The flour I get from grinding the wheat is softer and fluffier than what I get in the store. Did you even know there are different kinds of wheat? All purpose bleached flour is a combination of berries. But here’s the thing, each variety has unique characteristics. Soft white berries, otherwise known as spring wheat, are best for cookies, muffins, cakes and such. Hard white berries, or winter wheat, is best suited for bread. Mix the winter wheat with red berries and you get the perfect loaf of sandwich bread.
I’m happy to report that we no longer buy flour from the store. We grind every bit of wheat used under our roof. The boys don’t even question that one of the steps when making cookies involves pulverizing the berries. Baking with freshly ground flour is, admittedly, different. I endured a lot of trial and error until I found my favorite cookbook for whole grain baking, Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book . The book even has gluten-free recipes. That handy dandy grinder can make a fine powder out of rice, beans, corn and oat groats.
I must confess, I broke down and got an electric grinder. Shh! Don’t tell the wheat-grinding-purists. The heat generated while grinding the berries with an electric grinder destroys a small amount of the nutrients, but I’m realistic. I’m not going to use the manual grinder unless the power goes out.
I guess Hubs was on to something. Or maybe he just wanted cookies.