When I got married my mother-in-law bought me a kitchen mixer with a grain mill attachment for grinding my own gluten free flours. It served me well, but after 25 years of use I decided it had earned its retirement and I needed a replacement.
My food processor was great for the tasks it was designed for, but chopping grain into flour was not one of them, unless you like cakes with a crunchy, gritty texture. My coffee grinder made a better job of it, but I didn't want to process only enough flour for one cookie at a time!
Of course I could always revert to buying my flours from the grocery store, but with a 15 mile trip each way to the nearest town and limited varieties on offer when I got there, that wasn't going to work either. Online ordering was an option, but with just myself on the gluten free diet I didn't really want to buy in bulk in order to save delivery charges. The flour would have been stale and rancid before I got around to using it!
I decided that the time had come to treat myself to a dedicated grain mill and I knew just the one I wanted!
Baking in a non-celiac household involves all-purpose flour and perhaps a strong bread flour, however the requirements of a gluten free kitchen are much more varied.
Although it is possible to bake with just one type of gluten free flour, the best results come from using a mixture.
Although some expensive, specialist flours were on offer, it seemed that they had been sitting there for some time, as their sell by dates were fast approaching. Not only that, they were displayed in amongst the wheat flours and the chance of cross contamination was just too high for me.
As soon as my WonderMill was delivered it was put to use. There was no complicated setting up to do - the mill and the flour bin were connected with a pipe attached to the flour bin lid. A separator cup was clipped to the underside of that lid and a filter popped in the top, and I was ready to start milling grain at home.
My first test was something that my previous machine had never managed satisfactorily - black eyed beans (or peas - depending on where you live).
I set the mill to the coarse setting, turned it on, poured half a pack of beans into the hopper and a few minutes later I had a pretty speckled gluten free flour, ready for use in my baking.
Next I tried brown rice on the Bread setting, which proved to be the setting I used most of the time. If I wanted super-fine flour I used the Pastry setting.
Clean up was quick and easy, just a case of tapping the filter and lid, to remove any loose flour clinging to them, and then popping the lid onto the mill to prevent any foreign bodies falling into the hopper.
Having the grain mill in the kitchen, always ready for use, meant there was no need to ever grind large quantities of flour. Grinding a little flour when required, allowed me to use it while it was at it's freshest and full of nutrients.
Very small gluten free grains, such as quinoa or millet, could clog up the mechanism so it is important to pour them into the hopper slowly. You can even grind peppercorns and other spices in this manner!The manufacturers do not recommend grinding seeds or nuts with a high oil content, such as flax or almonds in the electric mill. However, the Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Grain Mill will cope admirably with these ingredients.
They call it the WonderMill. I WONDER how I ever managed without one!