A reader of this blog recently asked about our buying of wheat and other grains, storing them and making bread with them. So I decided I would write a post to answer the questions as much as I can and link to places where I have already answered the questions. So here we go...
We buy our wheat, corn, rye and some dry beans from a grain elevator. My Dad was the one who first found the place we use but if you live in an area that grows grain I would just check around. Look in the phone book or just stop in at one (they are pretty easy to spot in a town because of their tall elevators) and check and see if they sell grain that can be used for human consumption. This has been by far the cheapest way we have found grain. This last time I spent $13 for bags of wheat that were 50 or 60 lbs. Sometimes we have paid as much as $22 (that was only once) and often it is even cheaper- I think $8 per bag is the least we have paid. Corn cost me $8 a bag this time.
Other options for buying grain are:
Azure Standard, what I can't get at the grain elevator I usually buy there (Oatmeal, rice, etc. but they sell wheat and such as well.).
We also used to buy our wheat through the local health food co-op. They would give me a little discount when I would buy a 50 lb. bag at a time.
Making Pita Bread
A friend of mine who lives in the twin cities (where we are not aware of any grain elevators) has bought her wheat for a pretty good price through a local bread bakery (or something like that). Just start asking around locally and you might find a very economical source.
My dad has been able to get a bunch of food grade 5 gallon buckets for free from some restaurants in town. We wash them out and dry them very thoroughly and put our grain in them. I have an out of the way spot in my laundry room where I put the buckets full of grain. I also will put some of the grain in smaller one gallon (ice cream ) buckets. As long as they are dry and air tight it has lasted very well for us. Some people but sticks of mint gum in the bucket to keep away some sort of bug. We haven't had problems with bugs however.
Ken's parents gave a Whisper Mill grain grinder for a wedding gift. As the years have gone by I use it more and more. I have been very happy with it. Grinding your own grain just as you use it allows you to have fresh (not rancid) flours with all their vitamins intact. Here is a post of mine with more details on grinding grain.
Whole Wheat Bread
Using Whole Grain Flours:
I do usually have white flour on hand but I use our own whole grain flours more than 10 times as much as the white flour. I just put it in place of the white flour in pretty much every recipe I make. Sometimes I will put a little white flour in as well but not always. It does taste a little different and sometimes it can be drier so adding some extra moisture can sometimes be nice but overall I like the taste much better. If whole grains are a new thing for your family then you might want to slowly add whole grain flours and then start using more of them and less of the white flour just gradually. Taste buds will adjust.
Here are some recipes that I do like to use for making our wholewheat breads: