nutrimill

I was really excited to see the enthusiasm with the “Real Food” food budget series.  It seems like many of us are living on a budget and could learn from one another on how to save money, yet, keep good wholesome food on the table.

I wanted to start the series off with my favorite kitchen appliance, and most used, that saves my family real money in our grocery bill.

Owning a grain mill.

I have never actually spent time documenting exactly how much I save, so starting this month I’m going to keep real records on my end and hopefully share that with you in a month.  That will show me how much I’m spending and saving by owning a grain mill.

For now, I’m going to show you exactly what a grain mill does, the different kind of wheat berries that I use, with an estimate of what I’m spending a month on baked goods.

What is a Grain Mill?

A grain mill is a home mill that grinds wheat berries into homemade flour.  If you’d like information on wheat berries, check out my post on sprouting wheat berries.

Not only are we saving money by grinding our own flour, but we’re also getting the benefits of a flour rich in all of its nutrients.

Within 72 hours of the wheat berry being ground, most of its nutrients will be lost and the wheat germ will begin to go rancid.  Often, whole wheat flour you buy at the grocery store has been sitting in a warehouse for some time and can be void of any nutrients at all.

When you grind your own at home, you are able to use the flour immediately retaining all of it’s minerals and vitamins in your baked goods or store your leftover flour for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or longer in your freezer.

How Does a Grain Mill Work?

There are many different kinds of grain mills on the market.  I own a Nutrimill and absolutely love it.  It grinds my wheat berries into a fine powder just like you’d find at the supermarket.

Below is a video which will show you how my Nutrimill grinds wheat berries into a fine flour.

What Kind of Wheat Berries Should I Use?

wheatberries

There are different kinds of wheat berries that you can use.  Myself, I stick to two types of wheat berries that work beautifully in my baking.

I could experiment with other kinds of grains, but when it comes to baking, I’m in my zone.  I like to use what my family loves and works.

I use a combination of organic soft white wheat berries (left) and hard red winter wheat (right).

I use two different types because they each contain a different amount of gluten and protein.

Soft White Wheat

The soft white wheat berry is a lighter wheat with less gluten and protein.  I compare it to white flour.

I use it for…

  • pancakes
  • pie crusts
  • cakes
  • cookies
  • any other low rising baked good

When you need to make a high rising baked good, you’ll need to use a “hard” wheat berry for the gluten which will allow your baked good to rise.

Hard Red Winter Wheat

The hard red winter wheat is high in gluten and protein.

I use it for…

  • whole wheat bread loaf
  • hamburger/hot dog buns
  • english muffins
  • pizza dough
  • tortillas
  • any other high rising baked good

For most of my high rising breads, I use a combination of both flours.  More hard red than soft white.

The Taste

For myself, the best thing about grinding your own whole wheat flour is the taste.  It taste nothing like the whole wheat flour you buy at the store.

It’s soft, sweet, and it’s flavor is comparable to a white flour.  It’s not the dense and gritty type of end product you get with store bought whole wheat flour.

No one will be left saying, “you used whole wheat, huh?”  Really… it’s amazing!

How Do You Use it in Recipes?

milled_flour

When I find whole wheat recipes online, they usually are a combination of whole wheat and white flour.

I substitute it one for one.  So if a recipe calls for 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup white flour, I use 2 cups hard red wheat and 1 cup soft white wheat.

Easy peasy.

Now, since it is freshly milled and lighter for every cup of flour I add an additional 2 heaping “big” spoons of flour.  You know, the big spoon, not the little spoon ;)

That’s really it.  Every recipe turns out great.  I never have any problems.

The Cost

The Nutrimill cost around $230.  I was able to buy mine over two years ago on Craigslist for $190.  It was pretty much brand new and still works like the first day I used it.

It is expensive but worth it.

Organic wheat berries cost around $30 per 50lb bag.

Two, 50lb bags of wheat berries last my family about four – five months, depending on the season.  I bake more during the winter.

Even if it lasts 4 months, that means I’m spending $15 per month on baked goods.  (Well, without adding in honey and whatever fat I’m using to add in.)

Per Month I bake (approximately)…

  • 8 loaves of bread
  • 16 hamburger buns
  • 24 tortillas
  • 8 batches of pancakes
  • 4 batches of pizza dough

All of that for $15 per month.

If I were to buy all of that at the grocery store it would cost over $50 and that is on the low end.  If I were to buy organic, the price would be higher.

Now remember, this is an estimate.  I’m going to start keeping records to find out approximate costs.

Time

What this doesn’t add in though, is time.

I do own a kitchen aid stand mixer which does all of my kneading for me, so really, the time is cut down that way.

But what if you work full time, outside of the home, and don’t have the time?

I’m going to start sharing my recipes to give you an idea of how much time it takes to make these things.  Things like pizza, tortillas, and pancakes are quick to make.

Bread and buns can be made on a weekend or if you don’t want to spend your free weekend baking (which I understand) just buy the longer rising breads at places like Trader Joes or Whole Foods that offer great varieties on sprouted, whole wheat, and organic breads.

You gotta do what works for you family ;)

But for those of us budgeting on mostly a one income family, a grain mill is a great investment to save on our groceries.

Do you own a grain mill?  What kind?  Please share any advice with us in the comments below.


32 Responses to The Cost Saving Benefits of Owning a Grain Mill

  1. I use my kitchen aid and it works good. Working my way up to a nutra mill :)

  2. Amy Cook Case says:

    I have a Blendtec blender which will grind wheatberries into flour. In fact they have a whole recipe where you go from wheatberries to dough right in the blender… I really should do that! I’ve owned it for years and never tried. :)

  3. Have 2 mills. Nutri Mill and my Lee Mill which is a stone mill I’ve had for around 38 years. Comparatively the Nutri mills as fine a flour as the Lee. Right now I use the Nutri Mill strictly for Gluten Free flours. I pretty much grind brown rice flour. Need to start grinding some of the other GF flours at some point. Doing this omits contamination that could take place grinding in a mill that sees wheat, etc..

  4. Kristine Winniford says:

    We have a nutrimill and a Country Living

  5. Rick says:

    Thanks for the great post. We have been talking about getting a wheat grinder for some time now. We have a little tax return coming so I thing this year may be the year. Thanks for the good advice.
    Rick recently posted..Early Potatoes

  6. Julie says:

    Wow, I’m really looking forward to these posts. I love the thought you are putting into this series. Thank you SO much for taking the time to figure out the details and share it with all of us! What a blessing you are to us ;)

  7. Kim says:

    Will the Nutrimill grind beans for flour?
    Kim recently posted..In Which I have an Epic Fail as a Crunchy Mama…

  8. Chrissy L says:

    I’m just curious where you get your wheat berries? I’d like to find a more local source (at least in IA) if possible. Thanks!
    Chrissy L recently posted..What I’m working on!

  9. Diana says:

    Great Article… I can’t eat gluten, but I am really interested into looking into grinding my own gluten-free flours. I’d love to get the whole family eating gluten-free all the time, but it is so expensive! This would be a great way to accomplish this. Seeds of Nutrition: Any insight on where to begin would be most welcome!

  10. Excellent post, I’ve been wondering about grinding for a while now. I’m think this winter after the garden settles down for the year it will be time to start. I’m booking marking this post for future use!
    Foy Update: Garden. Cook. Write. Repeat. recently posted..Fruit Smoothie – It’s Like Ice-cream for Breakfest

  11. Laura Kate says:

    Where do you buy your wheat berries?

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Laura, there are a few places. I buy them locally from Des Moines Feed and Seed, through Azure Standard, Paul’s Grains, and I’ve even bought them from Walmart as they sell Montana wheat berries chemical free.

  12. Megan says:

    I own a Family Grain Mill. You can grind it by hand, or you can get the electric stand. You can also get different attachments, like to roll your own oats fresh. The reason we got this one, was that it uses steel burrs to grind the flour, which doesn’t heat the flour as much, and doesn’t lose as much nutrients. I like it a lot, and it’s easy to use. HOWEVER, even on the finest setting, it doesn’t grind the flour as fine as stuff you’d buy at the store. So when I use hard red wheat to make my sourdough bread without commercial yeast, I found the need to sift out the bran and either leave it out, or regrind it in a coffee grinder. This is where I got it from: http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/family_grain_mills.aspx

    P.S. My dad lives near Paul’s Grains in Iowa, and is a faithful buyer of their products and loves them!

  13. Jenna says:

    I have a Blendtec Grainmill and it’s one of the most important gadgets in my kitchen. I don’t use it for wheat though – I have celiac, and honestly? I saved so much money using the grain mill that it paid for itself in the first 4 months of buying it! All I have to buy for GF baking anymore are the starches (can’t make those at home) and I buy everything else whole. Which has an added spiff for me – I can have superfine brown rice flour (or beans, corn, etc) to make with BUT I’m not locked into ‘just’ flour. If I buy the whole grains – then I have flour. I have grain for side dishes and things last longer on the shelf. I also can have flours that my local shops just don’t sell. Red lentil flour is tasty, so is black bean flour. Popcorn flour is great in pancakes, and I LOVE using forbidden rice flour in my breads. I think I could give up my main oven before giving up my mill!

  14. Rachael says:

    Do you sprout all of your wheat berries? I have recently begun grinding my own flour (also with a nutrimill, which I really like), but I have not yet mastered a system of sprouting, dehydrating and then grinding. Thank you so much for your real food budget series!

  15. [...] It was great seeing so many people eat up the muffins without even realizing they were eating whole wheat baked goods.  Just another reason I love grinding my own grains [...]

  16. [...] The cost saving benefits of owning a grain mill.  This is one of my most essential kitchen items that saves my family quite a bit of money.  I’ll be sharing my recipes for whole wheat pancakes, bread, buns, rolls, tortillas, english muffins and more.  I save so much money by buying my grains in bulk and forgoing the entire bread (highly processed) section completely. [...]

  17. [...] I’ve written about the differences in refined versus natural sweeteners, bleached products that you can replace for a natural alternative, and even the nutritional benefits of grinding your own grains. [...]

  18. [...] all of my baked goods I grind my own grains.  Besides it’s nutritional value, the reason I absolutely love milling my own wheat berries [...]

  19. Amy D. says:

    I’m planning on buying a nutrimill as soon as I can afford one (should be early Jan – I’m really excited!). However, I’m having a hard time finding wheat berries at the prices you’ve quoted. Hopefully, the bulk bins at my local Buy4Less or maybe even the local Whole Foods will have them for cheaper than ~$70/45lb pail…

  20. Rebekah says:

    When I use soft white, my stuff comes out weird. I stopped using it because it seemed to mess up my once great recipes. I used it for cookies, they turned out super flat and the biscuit didn’t rise at all and were really dense. Any suggestions? I just found your blog so I will be reading up!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Rebekah, I use soft white wheat berries for baked goods that do not need to rise. The gluten level is much lower in the soft wheat so I wouldn’t suggest it for biscuits. However, my cookies turn out beautifully with it. Maybe a bit more baking powder or soda?

  21. [...] and the texture is also quite different!  Here is a wonderful post from Spain-in-Iowa explaining The Cost Saving Benefits of Owning A Grain Mill!  It is an investment, but it clearly pays for itself in a short amount of [...]

  22. Wow! This site is wonderful!! I just stumbled upon it while looking for something else.

    My mill was bought about 15 years ago and for the life of me I cannot remember its name, but I have to wear ear protection when I run it, it is LOUD. But I haven’t been able to buy einkorn wheat berries around here so have to buy them online.

    After reading “Wheat Belly,” by William Davis, M.D., I was horrified to discover what the “food scientists” had been doing to our wheat. It has been genetically modified to the point that it has almost nothing in common with the wheat we used to eat prior to the mid- to late-’60s. They THOUGHT that what they were doing was to increase the amount of wheat, but at the same time they introduced material that is a main cause of obesity and other diseases.

    I have psoriasis. It is not curable. However, when we stopped eating regular wheat and went to eating organic wheat berries or the heritage einkorn wheat berries from Europe, my psoriasis began to disappear. The psoriasis first appeared in the mid-’60s…just at the time that GMO wheat was entering the food chain. I’m not claiming that eating non-GMO wheat is a cure, but dang it, it has had a profound effect on my life.

    I am a firm believer that the Kitchen Aid is the second most important appliance in my kitchen. I use it to pre-knead my bread. I say pre-knead because there is something so satisfying about hand kneading that I enjoy even though my arms ache sometimes, I still hand knead as much as possible.

    I’ve experimented with various methods of making bread, etc., and when I’m really in a hurry, I can bake a small loaf in about 90 minutes from start to finish.

    Instead of sugar, I prefer making my own malt. It is so simple and really adds extra flavor to my bread. All I have to do is sprout some wheat berries, let them try, then grind them in a coffee grinder. Ta-da! Malt.

    BTW…when I went organic ONLY, I lost 70 pounds in about 11 weeks. I was NOT on a diet, I didn’t starve myself, the only thing that changed was eating non-GMO foods. When I go to a grocery, I shop the OUTSIDE aisles only. If anything has ANYTHING added, it has been processed and this kid (hah, kid, I’m 72 years young but STILL a kid) does not EAT them.

    My doctor told me that what I had accomplished was the same that I could have received by having a lap band surgery. The instant that I eat GMO, such as in a restaurant, I gain weight. But it no longer bothers me as I know I can lose it in a matter of a few days.

    Thanks for this wonderful blog…I am going to come back and come back and come back and get my friends hooked on this site as well.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Beverly, thank you so much for sharing all of that! That’s great to hear how organic, real food can heal. Many blessings to you and please, do come back :D Have a wonderful week :D

  23. Emily says:

    Just coming across this post after reading the emails from the 25 day series. Does anyone have experience with the attachment that you can buy to put on your stand mixer to grind?

  24. […] a lot of money in the long run to be able to grind your own wheat berries to make your own flour. You can click on this post here to learn the cost saving benefits of owning a grain mill. In this post I also share with you a bit about the different types of wheat berries you can buy […]

  25. amanda says:

    Just wondering if you can share your favorite hamburger buns recipe and pizza dough? thanks!

  26. Melanie says:

    I have a Vitamix blender with the container for dry foods and it does and AMAZING job grinding wheat berries. Plus, I’m able to grind up about 3 cups or so at once, in less than a minute. That being said, my Vitamix way lots less expensive than normal. I bought a refurbished one and was able to get a discount because my brother works at the company.

    I highly recommend buying Vitamix and buying refurbished.

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