Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grind Your Own Gluten Free Flour

When I first began a gluten free life over 12 years ago, the high price of alternative flours hit pretty hard. I was a single mother of two with a very tight budget. Initially I bought rice and other flours, but soon became frustrated with the cost. After some online research, I found other gf people were making their own flour. What an idea—kind of like the Little Red Hen—I’d be making my own flour and using that to cook and bake my food!

First Attempts at Grinding Flour
I began grinding my own flour while still living in the U.S. I bought a Blendtec grain mill for around $200. That was a huge investment for me at the time; however, the grain mill ended up paying for itself after making several batches of flour over a year.

To make the rice flour even cheaper, I bought 25 lb bags of rice from our local health food store. The bags cost around $20 (that was several years ago), but lasted a long time. I stored the rice in a plastic bin in a cool, dry place in our home. The rice lasted 3-6 months with no problem. 

The Blendtec did a great job at grinding the rice. It was slightly grittier than buying rice flour from the store, but the taste was fresher—and the flour was much cheaper. I didn’t mind the slight texture change of baked or cooked goods—it was a joy to be able to cook and bake with gluten free flour more often.

Experiment with Different Types of Rice

Our local health store sold many different types of rice. One time I ended up buying 25 lbs of jasmine rice, by mistake. It wasn’t possible to exchange the rice, so I ended up using it. Jasmine rice made fragrant and flavorful breads, muffins and more. From then on I began to experiment with other types of rice to create new flavor variations. 

Moving to the Czech Republic

When I moved to the Czech Republic, I had to leave my grain mill behind. The cost of shipping it was way too expensive. Thankfully many health stores in Prague sold alternative flours, including rice flour. Here, too, rice flour is pretty expensive. 

Flour Grinding Alternatives

Lately, the price of rice flour has gone up in Prague, so I’ve begun exploring different ways to make my own. Grain mills are very difficult to find here; however, electric coffee grinders are available. After a little online research, I found that many people make their own flour using a coffee grinder. They report that the flour isn’t as fine as the rice flour at the store, but the savings are enormous. 

I’ve decided to go ahead and get a coffee grinder to see if this be a good way to lower the price of rice flour. One of Prague’s electronic shops has a good one for sale for about $35. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Tips for Coffee Grinder Gluten Free Flour

Here are some tips I learned about making gluten free flour in a coffee grinder:
• You can run the rice through the coffee grinder several times in order to make a finer flour.

• Pulsing the coffee grinder is better than allowing to run till the flour’s done, as this keeps the grinder from burning out, when using it to make flour.

• Be sure to sift the flour after grinding or before using it to bake or cook. There may be rice grains that weren’t ground; encountering one of these when eating could break a tooth. Sifting more than once is also recommended. Save those bits that were not ground down—use them the next time you make some gluten free flour.

• Store ground flour in an airtight container; place the container in a cool, dry place.

If you’d like more information about using a grain mill to make your own gluten free flour, check out my article at HubPages


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