Well the happy thing is that I need not live another day without freshly milled flour. My sister mills. I have friends who mill at home. The women who work in our house and neighborhood in Mumbai don’t buy flour. They take their grains to the shop to have them freshly milled. The corner shop mills grain every day and sells it in bulk, but many of the middle class consumers prefer to buy brand name flour in packages, even though it may be several weeks old.
In the US you cannot find a corner shop that will mill grain for you, but you can buy a family size mill for home use. A friend of mine bought one several years ago. She has gone back to school now. With that plus two kids, she isn’t milling like she used to. She mentioned that if I wanted, I could try it out sometime.
Reader, I borrowed it.
Then I set out to find wheat. One local shop, David’s Natural Market sells wheat berries, but only in 25 pound bags. My sister, who hasn’t bought flour in years, buys wheat in 25 pound bags but I hesitated to commit at that level just yet. Luckily my friend Lisa goes to an Amish store called Solanco Market which sells wheat in smaller quantities.
So at last I had my wheat, I had my mill, I just had to stop procrastinating. The only way to do this was to stop buying flour. The night before the primary, I realized I had nothing to pack for lunch the next day, and I would be leaving home before 6 in the morning. No leftovers. No bread, no flour to make bread. I did, however have wheat berries. So I got down and milled some flour. I couldn’t stay awake to bake it in the oven, so I threw everything into the bread machine and turned it on. I also made hummus and the next day took bread and hummus to work at the polling place. Both were a hit (why wouldn’t they be?) and it was a great non partisan topic of conversation with my fellow poll workers.
The second time I milled, I had time to bake the bread in the oven. I could not even wait till the bread was baked to shout out from the rooftops about the wonder that was my dough.
So excitedly was I talking about milling that naturally people were asking me more about it. So the third time I milled, I thought, I should take the pictures, etc.
First, the result. This is the third time I baked with wheat I milled myself, but the first time I got the camera in time.
And this is before I explored bread art … using a knife to draw lines before baking – also known as scoring the bread, which results in all kinds of beautiful patterns. More on that later. I will write more about my adventures in milling in part 2 of this post, coming soon.