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Discussion Starter #1
We've been discussing this a little bit, but I'd like to find out if someone's actually done the comparison.

Is it better to buy certain things in flour form or grind it yourself?

I'm looking at this because I'm about to purchase tapioca flour, corn flour, etc in large bags to make homemade G-Free mixes. Would it better if I bought things like oats, brown rice, rice, corn, etc in bulk and then ground it myself or buy it already in flour form? This is vital because we're trying to keep our grocery budget in tact.
 

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Grainlady will be along soon to answer your question. A lot will depend on whether you have the room to store the whole grains you will purchase in bulk, the price of the grinder, etc.
 

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Fresh is best, when it comes to ANY flour milled from grains/seeds/beans - whether gluten-free or not. And personally, I'd choose FRESH flour at a higher price, over commercial flour ANY day, because of the nutrition; but generally speaking, purchasing and milling whole grains/seeds/beans is less expensive than commercial flour.

Think of it this way, for every pair of hands it takes to process a food item, the more it costs.

You can grown your own corn to make your own cornmeal and corn flour. Same with beans for bean flour (although all kinds of beans are very inexpensive). By growing your own, you are assured they aren't cross contaminated during storage. If your garden is large enough, you can also grow a small amount of sorghum. I harvested enough amaranth off of 12 plants last year to last me for years. The seeds I used were from the amaranth I purchased at the health food store. So by growing your own, you can cut out the middle man and save even MORE money.

Rice (brown or white) is ALWAYS less expensive than rice flour - and you can easily mill it in a coffee/spice mill. I purchase sorghum from a gluten-free sorghum mill outside of town for pennies compared to the price of Bob's Red Mill sorghum flour. I develop GF recipes for this mill.

I purchase organic yellow dent corn 25# - $15. While Bob's Red Mill sells 6.5-pounds of GF Cornmeal for $9.92 (plus shipping). PLUS, with corn, you can make corn flour as well as cornmeal. You just have to compare prices and find your priced-right sources.

Why fresh is best..... Once the bran coat is broken during milling, the oils quickly oxidize (oxygen) and the nutrients quickly degrade. When you purchase ANY type of commercial flour, it has already lost most of the nutrients. In one study, vitamin loss begins as quickly as 3 hours after milling. Flours that have been warehoused and shelved for several months have lost large portions of their B Complex and C Vitamins.

Fresh flour, high in nutrition, is even more important to anyone with Celiac Disease because of malabsorption of foods and nutrition to begin with. So old flours are contributing little besides calories (energy), NOT nutrients.

As I've explained before, many of the GF grains can be milled in a coffee/spice mill. Which is also a convenient way to mill if you need it while traveling. But I'd suggest 2 mills, when your budget can handle it. The quality of the flour will be much better with a mill designed for flour.

Nutrimill - http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/index.aspx#Nutrimill
This mill will all grains and beans, with the exception of the tiny (teff/amaranth) and oily seeds (flax, sesame, poppy seeds). This mill will also mill a fine-grind cornmeal.

Seed Mill
Porkert Poppy Seed Grinder - Amazon.com: Poppy Seed Grinder PORKERT: Kitchen & Dining Great for tiny and oily seeds.

I mill a large number of grains/seeds/beans and incorporate them as flour, flakes, or coarsely chopped into all my cooking and baking. I make all my baked goods. The savings on those items is tremendous compared to commercially purchased items.

I mill all my cornmeal - fresh, when needed. Most commercial cornmeal has been de-germed, which is where the nutrient-rich portion of the seed is located. Those products that haven't been de-germed should be packaged in a vacuum-sealed container and/or stored in the freezer to prevent the oil from going rancid - but none of them are. And please note, oils don't have to smell rancid to BE rancid. Oxidized oils are free-radicals and damage our cells. One more reason FRESH IS BEST!

I make my own nut meals. I also make nut milk and dehydrated the coarse nut residue from the drained milk, and use it for nut flour. I make Flourless Hazelnut Cake - but I wait to purchase hazelnuts after the holidays when they are 1/2-price, and stock my freezer with them. You can't tell this cake DOESN'T have flour in it!!!

The one GF flour I have to purchase, and love using, is coconut flour. If you haven't given it a try, here are some recipes. It takes very little in a recipe, so a little goes a long ways, but most recipe take a lot of eggs.

http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic_coconut_flour.htm

http://www.simplycoconut.com/Coco Flour Recipes.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wow! Thanks soooo much. :D

I am intrigued about the Nutrimill. It's a bit pricey, which had me looking at the VitalMill. My concerns are that if I buy the pricier model, I'd still have to buy a smaller seed mill. I have no problem having two tools to do everything I need if that means making sure that everything is extremely fresh.

I spent about an hour grinding some oats into oat flour with my Magic Bullet and it worked fantastically. I'll be doing corn today with the coffee grinder and see if it works fine with the Magic Bullet.
 

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Grainlady, have you ever used the Vitamix to grind flour? They promote it highly, but I've never used it for it, I don't have the dry container, but have been considering using it. I already have the vitamix so it wouldn't be a huge expense to add on....
 

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Wow! Thanks soooo much. :D

I am intrigued about the Nutrimill. It's a bit pricey, which had me looking at the VitalMill. My concerns are that if I buy the pricier model, I'd still have to buy a smaller seed mill. I have no problem having two tools to do everything I need if that means making sure that everything is extremely fresh.

I spent about an hour grinding some oats into oat flour with my Magic Bullet and it worked fantastically. I'll be doing corn today with the coffee grinder and see if it works fine with the Magic Bullet.
I hope you haven't tried milling corn in your coffee grinder yet!!! It won't work. Corn is just too hard and large for something as small as a coffee/spice mill. In some regular grains mills you can't do popping or flint corn, it's so hard, and some mills you have to coarsely chop the dent corn before passing it through for corn flour or cornmeal.

When it comes to mills, you will generally get what you pay for.... After years of excellent service, I'm a firm believer in micronizers for the finest flour in the least amount of time, and you should get that with the Vital Mill - at a lower price than a Nutrimill. Just remember, you will probably need to wear ear plugs when milling (I always do), and send the kids out of the room so you don't damage their ears.

I owned two "pieces-of-junk" mills (thinking I was saving money) before getting my first micronizer-type mill, a Whisper Mill (the original impact mill - now goes by the name Wonder Mill). I used it several times a week for around 15+ years before it recently met with an untimely "death" via a freak kitchen accident. The Whisper Mill was my ONLY Christmas gift the year I got it, but WELL worth it! I got the Nutrimill because it also does cornmeal as well as flour. Most mills only mill flour. The coarsest grind on the Nutrimill is perfect for durum wheat for making a wholegrain flour similar to simolina, which is perfect for making wholegrain pasta (flour for noodles, and similina for pasta).
 

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Grainlady, have you ever used the Vitamix to grind flour? They promote it highly, but I've never used it for it, I don't have the dry container, but have been considering using it. I already have the vitamix so it wouldn't be a huge expense to add on....
I have a close friend who used a Vitamix for milling flour for many years. The biggest problem was it doesn't do very much at a time. She recently got a Nutrimill and was pleasantly shocked at how much better her bread and other baked goods were because the Nutrimill mills the flour much finer than a Vitamix. That was her experience - I don't have any experience using a Vitamix. My friend also says the older Vitamix models (like her's) are MUCH better, over-all, than the newer models.

I mill fairly large amounts of flour each week, as well as milling several types of flour (I make all our baked goods), so I don't want to spend 45-60-minutes milling before I ever get started baking. It takes me no more than 5-15 minutes to do the milling.
 

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I have a wondermill (my first one) I love it. I just did about 10 cups of wheat in about 5 minutes. That includes filling it up twice and running it. It might have been even less time than that.
 

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I'm not a person who does milling, although I keep threatening to!

Is corn flour the same as corn starch? Is one finer than the other?

TIA --

Judi
 

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I'm not a person who does milling, although I keep threatening to!

Is corn flour the same as corn starch? Is one finer than the other?

TIA --

Judi
In the U.S. corn flour is flour milled from whole or de-germed corn (de-germed corn is the whole kernel of corn with only the germ portion removed). It's the same as cornmeal, just a finer grind. In Britain, corn flour is the same as our cornstarch. How's that for confusing....:hmmm:

Cornstarch is a flour made from the starchy endosperm portion of the corn. The outer portion (bran) and the germ (where the valuable oils are located) are removed (by soaking the corn), which leaves the starchy inside, which is what they use to make cornstarch.

An interesting use for corn flour is to make your favorite cornbread recipe with it instead of the more coarse grind of cornmeal. It will be more cake-like and not as crumbly. Corn flour is also used in gluten-free cooking/baking.

In a pinch, you can take cornmeal and grind it in a coffee/spice mill to make a finer flour if you have a recipe that calls for corn flour. I mill whole dried dent corn in my mill, just like I would mill wheat into whole wheat flour. I use the same kind of corn to make cornmeal, it's just milled anywhere from fine to coarse, depending on which grind a person likes best, or which grind works best in a recipe.

Masa (or Masa Harina) flour is used for making corn tortillas, and a coarse grind of it is used for making tamales, and is made from corn that is treated with lime.
 
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