Grinding Flour: The Equipment
I can, with fairly good accuracy, predict the reactions when I start to speak with people about grinding their own flour. Some people start to cheer because they too love to grind their own flour, others are curious and want to know more, and there are quite a few people that look at me like I told them to take up an expensive hobby. Yes, purchasing a grain mill can be expensive but truth is, it’s not the only way you can grind flour at home. So today, I wanted to give you a brief overview of machines that you can purchase (or might already have) that are up for the task. Beyond the machines, I always recommend sifting the flour to catch any item that didn’t grind. I prefer using a strainer or a sifter.
This post is just a quick overview to hopefully get you interested in grinding along with The Homemade Flour Cookbook.
1. Coffee Grinder.
I love this option because it’s super cheap (starts at $20), grinds small batches, and if the blades go dull after months/years, you aren’t out much money. If you’re looking to dip your toe into the water of grinding, this is one of the two options I highly recommend.
Pros: Cheap, easy to clean up, perfect for small batches.
Cons: Extremely small batch, blades aren’t as tough as grain grinders which might lead them to bust easier (my coffee grinder lasted through 95% of the making of the book until it had enough when I tried to grind fava beans)
What it can grind: everything! Just watch out for legumes (they can be a bit hard) and nuts/seeds (they can turn into nut butters relatively fast).
2. Manual Grain Grinder.
This is next in line of my favorite, slightly cheaper ways to grind flour. The hand mill can attach to your kitchen counter and makes semi-quick work of grinding any size batches. The model shown above runs about $60 and the company that makes the electric grain mill pictured below makes the high-end model with different adapters that cost slightly over $200.
Pros: Can grind anything, still a slightly cheaper option, can take with you on vacation or into the woods, can often adjust the grind of the flour. Also easy to do slightly larger batches.
Cons: Arm work-out, can’t grind extremely fine flour, exercise (but that connects you to your food more, right?)
What it can grind: Everything! This is one major benefit over it’s electric cousin (which can’t grind nuts/seeds because of the oil.) However, far nuts, you will want to chop them first before trying to mill them through.
3. High-Powered Blender.
The first of two options you potentially already have in your home. With a bit of back and forth between grinding and sifting, you can have some lovely flour. While these machines are often expensive, they last and can be multi-purpose. The blades will wear down overtime so I recommend purchasing a second container for grinding versus regular use.
Pros: Multi-purpose, sizable batches
Cons: Expensive, blades will wear down over time
What it can grind: Everything! Just remember the harder grains and especially legumes might be a bit tough on the blades.
4. The Food Processor.
Of all the equipment listed, this is the machine I first started out with as multi-purpose. I know a lot of people are looking to grind nut flours at home and this is the machine to do it. Plus, if you want oat flour, it’s easy to make as well from rolled oats. Some food processors can tackle the grains and legumes but might leave a lot of small pieces and over time, will dull the blades.
Pros: Multipurpose, can be on the cheaper side, great for nut flours, can do slightly larger batches
Cons: Isn’t well suited for the grains and legumes, If not careful, can turn your nut flour into nut butter in the blink of an eye
What it can grind: Nuts and seeds are the best, along with rolled oats. Experiment with grains and legumes- it just depends on the model.
5. Grain Mill.
And finally, the specific machine to grind those grains and legumes. Owning a grain mill is great if you plan on grinding a lot of grains for baking either with gluten or gluten-free. The electric grain mill makes quick work of large batches and can often grind the finest flour (even before sifting.) These machines run anywhere from around $200 upwards of $700 for a top of the line model.
Pros: Grinds through grains and legumes like a champ, controlled coarseness of the flour, great for large batches
Cons: It’s a one-function machine, can’t grind nuts and seeds, a bit more expensive
What it can grind: great for whole grains and legumes. Won’t grind nuts and seeds (too oiling- will gunk up the motor) and use caution with small grains like amaranth and teff- these can also clog the motor if done too rapidly.
(disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links that help me to keep the site running. Also, every machine pictured is one I use and can vouch for. Always research and review reviews before purchasing.)
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