Prep Time: 5 minutes
Specialty flours can be pretty expensive to buy, but did you know you can make your own? A grain mill is the perfect way to ensure that you are getting the freshest flour possible, but you aren't limited to wheat. I've been experimenting with different types of flours and have come up with some really fun ones!
You do need a grain mill for these, but it is a very worthwhile investment.
Choosing Your Grains
Your grain mill should be able to handle just about anything bean size or smaller. You should avoid grains with a lot of oil in them. For example, flax is not a great candidate for a grain mill. You could try it in a coffee grinder though. The oils can gum up the grain mill and make it unusable. The grains used need to be very dry.
I also recommend only grinding what you can use in a week. It's best to use fresh flours as they are full of nutrients. Some of the things I've recently used to make flour include:
- Beans: Any kind of dry bean can be used! I like black beans, but kidney beans and cannolli beans also make great flours.
- Brown rice: You could also use white rice, but what's the point? Brown rice flour is better for you and is just as easy to make.
- Lentils: We love cooking with lentils around here, so turning them into flour was just the next step.
- Wheat: While we don't eat a lot of wheat these days, I do try to ensure that we have fresh, whole wheat flour when we do. It's better for you and only takes a couple of minutes to grind with an electric mill.
- Corn: Another grain we try not to eat too often, corn makes great tortillas, so I do make my own sometimes. My grain mill has a coarser setting, as well, which I use to create cornmeal.
What to Do with Your New Flours
How do you use these specialty flours? There are actually plenty of recipes out there for using bean and rice flours, but here are a few ways that I use them at home.
Turn ordinary banana bread into something special by replacing part of the flour with bean flour. I do this on a regular basis for baked goods in general and it works very well. The black bean flour adds little specks of darkness to the baked goods, but you can't taste it.
I've found that nearly any kind of flour can be turned into crackers with the addition of oil and salt. My kids love to munch on black bean crackers and rice chips that I make myself. They are a bit time consuming, but so very delicious.
Add lentil flour or white bean flour to a soup to give it a creamier texture without using milk or cream. This is a great way to increase the nutritional value of soup, as well. Just be sure to cook it well to get the full effect.
You can make your own hummus-like dips by adding boiling water to a bean flour and then flavoring the mixture with lemon juice, salt and garlic to taste. Or get extra creative and break out the roasted red peppers, chipotle and other favorite spices to turn a plain bean dip into something extra special.
I'm sure you will come up with even more ways to use these yummy flours. The best part is, you can keep experimenting because they are super cheap to make when you buy the grains and legumes in bulk!