Cherity asked: Just wondering about the economic aspect of grinding your own flour? Is it really cheaper? I know it’s healthier, but we’re on somewhat of a tight budget and I’m trying to make sure this is something we can invest in right now. I know how many cups is in a package of wheat flour at the supermarket, but how many cups can you get from,say, a 5 lb bag of wheat berries?
Here are a few things to consider…
1. Quantity -grain produces more flour
I have found there is approximately 10 cups of grain in a 5 pound bag, and that 1 cup of grain produces 1 1/2 cups of flour. Which in my understanding would mean you would produce more flour from a bag of grain than from purchasing the same weight in flour, but after weighing a 1 cup grain to 1.5 cups flour, they weighed about the same. So it is hard to say.
2. Flour costs more than grain
Not significantly different, but interesting to note. These are price comparisons from my source, Azure Standard, according to 5 pound quantities. Whole wheat shows the most significant difference.
WW grains – 3.80 – ww flour -5.70
Spelt grain – 6.90, spelt flour – $7.85
Kamut grain – 4.55, kamut flour -4.95
3. Whole grain is easier to find than flour
By this I mean, that it is more difficult to find a variety of whole grain flours at a health food store. In my experience, I have not seen spelt flour, or kamut flour, for example. They are only available mail order. There may be exceptions, but this is my observations. So the benefit of buying in whole form is that you get a lot more choice and variety in your grains! You have more options which provide more variety in nutritional benefits.
4. Storage – buying bulk savings
Most people do not have freezer room for a 25 lb bag of flour, as storage in the freezer/frig is essential for preserving the nutritional value of the ground flour. If you choose the flour method, you will most likely have to purchase in smaller quantities and loss out on the bulk savings. I save approximately $4.50 each time I buy a 25 lb bag over five individual 5 lb bags (differs depending on what grain is purchased).
Obviously, the differences are very minimal in cost comparison, and will not out way the cost of a grain grinder. If cost is an issue, start with flour, store in the fridge or freezer, and start saving for a grinder! Ask for one for your birthday (my SIL is doing this)! I received mine as a wedding gift…for which I am thankful! I believe the biggest issue is the nutritional loss in buying flour over grain.
Another option in using grain without a grinder is to check out Sue Gregg’s breakfast book, and her online recipes. She uses the blender for much of her grinding! This works great and another wonderful alternative, although it has it’s limitations.