Getting into the (Wheat) Grind

    “Getting into the (Wheat) Grind,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 72

    Getting into the (Wheat) Grind

    The five hundred pounds of wheat and dried corn in your basement aren’t going to do you much good if you don’t have a way to crack or grind the grains. A hand mill is an essential part of your food storage. Although electric grinders seem more convenient, they are useless if there is a power outage.

    Before you buy a grinder, check with family members or friends to see if they have a meat, wheat, or coffee grinder from an earlier generation that will do the job. If you don’t find one, you can purchase mills at food-processing equipment stores or back-to-basics stores. Sometimes you can find them at garage sales and secondhand stores.

    There are a wide variety of grain mills and grinders on the market, so consider the following criteria as you shop:

    Ease of Operation. If a mill’s capacity is high, its handle will be hard to turn; if it has a small capacity, the handle will turn easily. So if you are elderly or in poor health, a large-capacity mill probably won’t be the best choice for you. The only way to judge ease of operation is to test various kinds of mills. Most stores that sell mills have demonstration units. Remember, if you want a grinder with a handle that turns easily, you will have to be satisfied with a lower grinding capacity.

    Adjustability. Most smaller mills do not have a throat large enough to grind large grains such as corn and soybeans. And often, mills that can grind coarse products will not adjust tightly enough to make a fine flour. You will probably have to decide which is most important to you.

    Construction. Quality is important; you need a mill that will last. Most hand grain mills are manufactured in Europe and the Far East, but some are made in the United States. Mills are made from cast iron, cast aluminum, and stainless steel. The stainless steel ones are the most durable—but also the most expensive. Mills come with either stone or burr grinding mechanisms; stone mechanisms used to be preferred, but improvements in the steel-burr models have made them the favorite because stones shed grit.

    Price. The prices of hand mills range from $50 to $100—but the most expensive ones are not necessarily the best. Compare the price of each grinder with its features and construction to find the best buy for you.

    Once you have your grinder, make sure it will do the job. Make a few batches of bread with hand-ground wheat to test it. Then use it occasionally thereafter so you will feel comfortable with it and your family will be used to the taste and texture of bread made from hand-ground wheat.—Relief Society General Board