Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Around here and grinding wheat

I'd like to talk to you about my home ground wheat because a couple of people have requested more information.  But first, bear with me because I have lots of other things I want to tell you about life around our place.

Firstly let me tell you, I believe I have finally successfully brainwashed raised one of my children!  The farmer's market was held on the weekend.  I wasn't going to go but Pumpkin insisted.  No-one else was interested.  And what did she come home with but.....  two tagasaste  plants (Lucerne trees) and a container of worms!  I couldn't believe it!  A little permie in the making.  Tagasaste is quick growing, puts nitrogen into the soil and is often grown to protect other plants while they become established.  It can also be used as fodder.

So home we went to make a worm farm.  Found what we needed....
Pumpkin added compost and straw....
and lots of worms!!
TA DA!!!!!
The change of weather has meant spoilt chooks.  Hot mash for brekky!
If I can judge by all the bottoms in the air, I'd say it's a hit, wouldn't you?!
Hubby made them a great feeder for their wheat from bits and pieces!
 The chooks peck at the bottom and more wheat comes out.
A lovely local lady has organised a group purchase of 'real' free-range chicken.  I was happy to jump on board.  You wouldn't believe how different it tastes to supermarket free-range!  Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
 I grabbed my veggie peelings out of the freezer, browned my chook, then veggies.......
and added water and herbs to make yummy stock.  We've enjoyed a roast and have heaps of chook in the freezer for other meals.
So I've finished telling you all the fun bits we've been up to.  Now, the flour!  I first saw a flour mill in action during my permaculture design course.  After watching how it worked, we were served an afternoon tea of cake made from freshly ground wheat.  The flavour was amazing and it had a texture to it like no cake I had ever eaten!  There was a slight crunchiness to it and it tasted so ALIVE!
I was sold!  We bought a wheat mill from here. I'm very happy with it.  It does make quite a bit of noise but it only takes a minute to grind enough flour for a cake so I don't really mind.  Flour that has been freshly ground has all it's nutrition still intact.  I only grind what I think I will need so that we can get the maximum benefit.  I make muffins from the flour and use it half and half in bread and cakes.  It makes a beautiful pastry and we make wholemeal pizza bases some of the time. 
I would like to make cakes and bread solely from the wholemeal flour but I just haven't mastered a completely wholemeal cake yet!  I know it can be done but mine always end up gluggy in the middle.  Any recipes or tips would be greatly appreciated!  As for the bread, I find it is too heavy if I don't add unbleached white flour so I have accepted that I will just keep making it half and half.
I just remove the lid, pour the wheat in the top and turn it on.  The lever at the side moves the stones closer or further apart.  That's so you can grind different things but, apart from playing with coffee beans once, I've only ever ground wheat. That's only because I'm busy and sourcing different grains isn't high on my list of priorities.  One day! 
I buy my wheat from here.  They usually sell smaller amounts than I would like so I ring and order a 25kg bag when I know I'm headed to that part of Victoria.  It's biodynamic wheat and I'm very happy with it.  I store it in a food safe bucket in the pantry.
Still, I am hoping to change where I buy my wheat soon.  I have a friend who buys wheat from a more local source.  It's not certified organic, but from a commercial grower who puts aside a crop, which is not chemically treated, for his own use as well as for selling to a few people that buy from him.  I like the fact that it is more local and LOVE the fact that  if I buy from him, I'm actually helping to create a new organic grower.  Imagine if he found so much business he decided to move away from chemically treated crops altogether!  How cool would that be!
My friend will give me some of his wheat to try out sometime soon.  I can't wait to make bread and muffins with it!
So if you are interested in finding wheat, do some investigation.  Talk to people everywhere you go.  It makes sense to buy it as close to home as possible. If you can't find anything locally and need to buy organic wheat through the shops I have found that the prices vary incredibly so do google well or ring around.
 I hope I have covered the main points and that you find the information helpful.  Happy baking!


Lynda D said...

Well done Pumpkin. I usually come home with worm juice - as my farm is not quite up to speed yet. I had some cake made from fresh ground flour on the weekend, divine. It was fig - sorry no recipe as David Holmgren's wife Sue made it for afternoon tea at the permie day. Your chooks look so funny with their bums up - must be good. Cheers. :)

Linda said...

Ha! 'Twas Su that gave me the cake! She even told me how she made it and I wrote down every word! But mine don't turn out like that. :(

Zara said...

Worm juice is a favourite here. We have two worm farms up and running and the plants sure love their weekly feeds with the juice.
Wow the wheat mill looks nifty. It's amazing that you can create your own flour for baking.

Tracey said...

That all sounds terrific! Love your pot on the wood heater - wish we had room for a wood heater of some sort, but we don't *sigh*

Thanks for the info on your wheat grinding :). They were the mills I was looking at, but just don't feel I can justify the cost and the 'one more thing on the to do list' right now. My mum was telling me about a farmer she has met that lives not far from here and sells organic wheat, oats and hay. I'm excited as we will buy hay from him once our goat arrives. Sadly though, the drought has meant he's completely sold out of grain as the local organic dairies have bought it all. Fingers crossed for good rain so that farmers like him can keep going.

Kim said...

Lots of lovely things going on at your place. I would love to have a grinding mill but I think I have far too many gadgets now as it is.Totally agree about the chickens too...we had the experience of having 2 chickens in the freezer, one from a local farm and one from Woolworths ...I cooked them both on the same tray - the result , the kids stipped the local organic one to the bone and left the other one on the plate!

Kate said...

I'd suggest sifting out some of the coarse bran; that's what makes wholemeal so heavy. Use the bran elsewhere, eg in breakfast cereal, so its not lost completely... just shifted!!

Linda said...

Hi Zara, I'm not confident about the worm farm! It's our first shot at it. I don't even know how long before I can expect worm juice! I hope I become as proficient as you (and not kill the poor little wormies)

Tracey, the mills are expensive but once you've paid the initial outlay, you quickly forget about it and just enjoy fresh flour at the flick of a switch. But I know how you feel. I would like to make my own rolled oats like Kate at Purplepear but haven't been able to justify the cost yet. I love that you found a local farmer!

Yes Kim! REAL chook is sooo much better in every way!

Oh Kate! Thank you for that suggestion! I will try it. I actually do sift the flour but then I tip the bran back in. Can't wait to get some time to try again now!