Flour– its a simple thing to buy– so why would anyone want to make it? Honestly, I love the process… I love being able to make things from scratch– that’s probably why I love baking so much. And, its easy and quick!!! On a health note, many flours that we buy in the store are rancid, and most are not very fresh. Nutrition is important to me and my family. If we’re going to eat tasty baked treats, I would like them to be as healthy as possible. Using organic ingredients is a beginning, but you can’t beat the fresh factor! So, if you’re interested in the process for the sake of exploration and fun and of course, health, then here is how you do it…
When I first began milling flour, I used a Nutramill flour mill. This was helpful in the beginning when I was purely assessing texture. After a while, I found that cleaning the flour mill sufficiently was difficult because its a dry mill and it was difficult to get to all the ‘parts’. I found that the flours that I milled didn’t feel as good after a while– as if the mill was not clean enough inside. So, then I moved on to blending my flour. To be successful with blending flours, you need a strong blender like a Vita Mix. You also benefit from having a ‘dry container’ which often comes with the blender.
Using a ‘Vita Mix’ like blender, its a very simple process. Just follow these steps:
- Add 2 cups of brown rice (just dry from the bag, and ideally organic) to the blender, using a dry container.
- Turn on the blender at setting speed 1.
- Quickly move setting to speed 12 and maintain at that speed for 1 minute. (Put your ear muffs on, or as my son calls it– his blender hat!)
- Turn off the blender. [Note: Its important to not run the blender for more then one minute because it may heat the rice flour too much. By heating the flour for an extended period of time, it can break down the flour and cause it to go rancid if not used right away for baking.]
- This process yields 2 1/2 cups of brown rice flour.
I typically use a flour blend ratio of 2 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, and 1/3 cup tapioca starch. (I don’t make the starch at home– further research needed!) This blend is taken from Annalise Robert’s Gluten Free Baking Classics (my favorite gluten free cookbook!). You can find the starchs at Whole Foods or other food grocers. I typically order Bob’s Red Mill potato and tapioca starch from www.amazon.com. I create my all purpose flour blend in a large sealed container and then put the rest of the remaining starch in the freezer to maintain freshness.
The process of making your own flour is pretty simple, and not very time consuming. You can use this process for making all kinds of flour, not just rice flour. For example, you could blend:
Other types of rice (sweet rice flour can be helpful in some recipes in small amounts)
- Millet (the only alkaline grain!)
- Buckwheat (great for earthy pancakes)
- Beans such as garbanzo
- And don’t forget corn! [Note: For corn, sometimes, there are still some small chunks remaining of the corn kernals, so it is helpful following the blending process, to pour it through a mesh sieve.]
I typically follow this process a couple times per month and make enough to last me for multiple baking projects. Ultimately, fresh flour can augment the health of your baked goods, which for me is the greatest benefit.