Thursday, October 29, 2009

closing the gap

Wheat is also referred to as the 'staff of life'.

Its believed that man's ability to cultivate grains is the reason we evolved from a hunter gatherer society to an agricultural society. Grains are a highly nutritious living food (the are the seed after all and if you plant them will grow).

Modern processing of wheat into flour basically has turned a wholesome and living food into a unwholesome and dead food. The nutrition of wheat is lost within about 3 days of when the flour was milled. And many components of the wheat are actually removed from the flour as byproducts that can be sold for an extra profit (eg wheatgerm and bran).

We recently purchased a home grain mill (just a small bench top variety) to grind our own fresh flour as we need it. Partly for the health reasons - to actually get really nutritious bread and other baked 'stuff', and partly to bring us one step closer to closing the gap on the cycle - one step left to grow the grain, and thats what we will work on next.

As I only bake sourdough bread, good flour is really important. Bleached ordinary flour will kill the sensitive cultures of my sourdough leaven, as will chlorinated water. Freshly milled flour is like a whole food for the leaven, as it is for us.

What has been amazing, besides more flavour (the flour I used to buy was a very good one - so the difference is probably more subtle, than if we had been used to ordinary white flour), is the colour. I always bought unbleached flour, but the freshly milled flour is more honey coloured, so even unbleached must recieve some form of lightening process...

The mill was not cheap - I lashed out and bought a pretty good one and an electric model (no guilt here as we are totally solar powered!!). It mills about 1kg of flour in about 4-5 minutes, its only downside is its pretty noisy on the fine setting. There are cheaper models and hand operated models available too, but since we go through about 3-4kg of flour a week, it seemed sensible to get the best we could. And it runs perfectly on our solar power system, doesn't even make a dint on the battery charge!

So, another step towards self sufficiency has been achieved, minor as it is. I look forward to the day I can bake our bread using our own home grown wheat. First we need to buy the pigs, who will be our rotary hoes and prepare the soil for grain growing.... Before that I need Brad to build a pig shelter!!!! One day!

Oh, we still have the goats - Dorka and her baby - they didn't abandon us, and we are getting milk each day (although less than we first thought we would get - so no cheese as yet...)

1 comment:

  1. l agree home milled flour is absolutley delicious good on you for doing this when you have such young ones and l'm looking forward to hearing about the growing of your own grain adventure.