Adventures in Grinding
I've been wanting to do this for ages but it took me forever to finally get around to it - grinding rice and beans to make my own gluten free flours. When I found out I was gluten intolerant I quickly discovered how expensive gluten free flours can be. I looked in to buying a flour mill to grind my own, but they too were really expensive. Now yes, if you can afford the initial investment it will pay itself off in the long run, but it's making the initial investment that's the problem - I'm poor, remember? For me it's really taking a leap when there are so many different mills out there with varied reviews.
So I've finally bought a coffee grinder for under $20. I was so excited I had to try it out right away of course. And I'm really quite pleased with the results. I tried it on white rice flour, chick peas, and flax seed. The white rice came out pretty fine, and didn't require too much grinding. The chick peas were very noisy to begin with, but once they ground down the flour came out decent, only a bit gritty. (I may not do this again with dried chickpeas as they're pretty hard. I'm afraid they'll crack the plastic. Perhaps I'll soak them, dry them in the oven or dehydrator, then grind) The flax seed ground up fantastically!! I'm really thrilled about that because it can be expensive to buy the flour, whereas the seeds are cheap, and it practically doubles in size once ground. I'm also happy with the rice flour because now I can just buy the rice in bulk and grind it whenever I need it.
UPDATE: I've also tried grinding sprouted seeds in my coffee grinder, with great success. I've ground sprouted lentils and chickpeas in the grinder. While the paste is not entirely smooth, this has not been a problem since I use them to bake breads (sprouted green lentil bread, sprouted red lentil bread, and chickpea bread) and don't mind them being a bit chunky. You could transfer these to a food processor afterwards though to make a smoother paste if desired. I've also used my grinder to make sunflower seed butter! Recipe to be posted soon. The grinder gets a bit messier with the damp sprouts, but mine always cleans up fine if I swish a bit of water in it and wipe it down with a damp towel. The grinder works better than my food processor for the initial break-down of sprouts and flour.
Also - I've now used it to make green pea and white bean flour, which is fantastic because gluten free folks need more protein, iron and fibre in their breads since we're missing out on the nutrients of whole wheat flours.
The important thing to remember about using a coffee or spice grinder to make your own rice flour, or types of flour, is that you should pulse the grinder, rather than holding it on for long periods because this will probably kill the engine and can destroy the oils in your flours. The grinder gets warm when I let it run too long, so try putting it in the freezer for an hour or two before hand, or letting it cool between batches. Also, if you use your grinder for coffee beans, make sure you give it a good clean before you use it for flours and seeds, or else your baked goods will come out coffee flavoured! (This may not be a bad thing, depending on your recipe :)
I'm so pleased with my flours I've decided to try and concoct my own
chick pea/rice flour bread with my freshly ground flours. More on that
later... In the meantime, here's a photo of my lovely ground flax and
my new grinder :)