The Whole Grain
I started baking bread in 1982 using a recipe from a Betty Crocker Cook Book. It was the beginning of my love affair with making homemade Bread. My bread baking skill evolved however when I received a non-electric stone grain mill in 1985. Soon after, I started collecting whole grains and learning about long term storage of whole grains.
I had never ground my own flour before, let alone know how to use the many grains like rye, hard red wheat, millet, buckwheat groats, rice, whole corn and triticale. One of my favorite guides for learning about whole grains was "The New Laurel's Kitchen" cookbook (1976, 1986). There is a very thorough guide to whole grain in this book as well as some great recipes.
So, before 'GMO' (genetically modified organism) was in the mainstream of our food supply, I started buying and storing whole grains. When grain is stored in the 'whole' grain form and stored properly (sealed in a container and stored in a dark, cool but not damp, and oxygen free environment), it will last almost indefinitely. Proof of this was tested recently during the pandemic of 2020. Across the United States, people were having a hard time buying flour due to short supply. Since I grind my own flour, I hadn't really noticed the flour section at the store was empty. Then I overheard a friend say that she needed some gluten-free flour for baking. So I shuffled through my buckets of grain that I have had stored in my cellar since 1988 and found what she needed - millet and buckwheat groats, both gluten-free grains. In a matter of minutes I had milled up enough flour for her bread baking, and then some.
There is always satisfaction in grinding your own flour, and more so when you are doing it for a friend in need. I never would have thought what a life saver the grain mill could be. I will never take a bag of flour in the store for granted again, but when the electricity goes out I will be ready with the whole grain!