Copyright © May 12, 2011 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.
Flour is used to make bread, biscuits, rolls, pretzels, donuts, bagels, cakes, pies, cookies, crackers and lots of other things. Therefore flour is one of the foods that most people in the United States of America eat nearly every day. For that reason flour will be one of the foods that will be dearly missed by the average person during a long-term hard times event.
Commercially processed flour that you purchase at the grocery store has a relatively short shelf life. It has also had some of its original nutrients removed and replaced by other stuff so it can be called "enriched flour." Many people in the United States have become so accustomed to eating this type of flour that they find the taste of real flour to be unpleasant and in some cases hard to digest.
If you are storing food for a long-term hard times event then you will need to make a decision about how you are going to provide bread for your family to eat on a regular basis. This is not a simple decision because it will have a significant impact on the well being and happiness of your entire family. Consequently it would probably be a very good idea to purchase a small quantity of wheat berries during good times and grind them into flour, and then use that flour to make some bread for your family to eat. This will give you the opportunity to determine if this type of "bread made from homemade flour" is acceptable to your family. If it is not then you may be forced to include commercially processed flour (not self-rising) in your food storage plans and rotate or replace that flour at least once every two years.
On the other hand, if your family will accept bread made from freshly ground wheat berries then you will need a practical method for grinding your wheat berries. There are three basic options for grinding wheat at home:
Rock and Hammer: It is possible to convert wheat berries into a coarse ground flour using a hard flat surface and a clean hammer. This is slow hard work but it will gradually get the job done. This is the traditional method that is still used today by the less fortunate people in the world.
- A clean flat smooth big solid rock and a clean hammer.
- A hand-operated wheat grinder.
- An electric wheat grinder.
|Stone Mill Wheat Grinder||Family Grain Mill||Grain Mill Disassembled
|Flaker Attachment||Flaker Disassembled||Electric Grain Mill
Hand-Operated Wheat Grinder: A hand-operated wheat grinder is a much better option. If you try to convert a lot of wheat into flour then your arm will get tired. Therefore this task is usually done by each member of your family for a short period of time to spread the work load and to prevent anyone from getting a sore arm as a result. The grinder in the above top left picture was purchased in 1975 and it uses two grinding stones. You temporarily attach the wheat grinder to the edge of a solid table or a counter. Then you pour some wheat berries into the metal bowl on top of the grinder and you rotate the grinding wheel by hand. The wheat berries are forced between the two grinding stones in front, and flour falls out from between these two stones. At the current time grinding stones are not recommended for grinding wheat because they contain some aluminum that will gradually wear off and become mixed in with your flour. Aluminum should not be ingested so these stone mills are no longer recommended.
Another option is a hand-operated wheat grinder that does not use grinding stones. One of the most popular of these units is the "Family Grain Mill" which is shown in the top middle picture. When I first bought this mill many years ago it was very reasonably priced. However, at the current time this unit is about $140. You place the wood block against the edge of a solid flat square surface and lower the clamp below the wood surface and tighten the clamp to temporarily secure the grain mill to the top of the table or counter. Then place a clean bowl below the front of the unit. Then pour some wheat berries into the top plastic bucket and rotate the hand crank. Ground wheat will fall out the front of the unit into the clean bowl. To convert this unit from a manual crank to an electric crank you need to purchase a special electric base that replaces the wood base. The electric base costs about $175 plus shipping in the year 2011 and it is frequently on backorder. There is also a flaker attachment for another $84 and it is shown in the above bottom left picture.
Electric Grinder: An electric wheat grinder works exceptionally well if you have electricity. You can adjust the settings on the electric grinder to produce the texture of flour that you prefer, such as a fine grind or a course grind. Since it is electric it will do all the work for you and your arm will not get tired.
In you can afford it then I suggest you invest in a hand-operated wheat grinder and an electric wheat grinder. But if you can only afford one then I strongly recommend the hand-operated wheat grinder because it will work extremely well during serious hardship conditions when there is no power and it will continue to work for many, many years without having to worry about an electronic failure somewhere inside the unit.
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