We’re Giving Away a Grain Mill!

Oh boy, am I excited about the giveaway that I have for you this week!

I have had an electric grain mill for just about a year and a half now, and it is one of the most used appliances in my kitchen. I love it!

Read this post about when I got my grain mill, and see my top four reasons for owning one.

And now I get to give one away!

I am part of a group of bloggers called Positively Real Media. (This is an awesome group of like-minded natural Christian bloggers. Check it out here if you are interested!) Together as a group, we are giving away a Wondermill Grain Mill to one lucky reader!

We are so excited to offer this chance to win the world’s #1 rated electric grain mill! Watch this video to learn more about the grain mill and why it’s the perfect accessory for every kitchen!

Enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter below. The mandatory entry is super simple – just hit Enter! Then you can earn additional entries for following your favorite blogs via Facebook. Increase your chances by liking them all!

This giveaway is only available in the United States and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sourdough Starter: Days 2-7

Well, I was very pleased when I walked into the kitchen and got out my sourdough starter this morning!  There was already quite a bit of activity going on in my little jar of flour and water.  There were LOTS of bubble and it had grown significantly!SourdoughPictures

If your sourdough is showing this much activity after 24 hours, yay!  But if it’s not, don’t be discouraged!  The first time I made a starter with store-bought whole wheat, I did NOT have that much activity after one day.  But I was still able to grow a wonderful starter that I used and enjoyed for over a year (before it crashed and fell to it’s sad, sad death!). 

Freshly-ground wheat has more organisms and yeast present then store-bought wheat does, so if you’re using store-bought, be patient for bubbles and growth.  It will take a week or two before your sourdough will show reliable growth and be usable (whether you are using freshly ground wheat or not).

On days 2-7 (or longer if your sourdough isn’t growing reliably after day 7), you will do the same thing everyday.

SourdoughDirectionsDays2-7

Detailed Version:

  1. You will need a spoon, 1/2 cup filtered (not distilled) water, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, and your sourdough starter from day one.
  2. Remove half of the sourdough from the jar and discard it.
    • This may seem wasteful, but it really is necessary.  If you don’t remove some of your starter, it will grow so large that it will be unmanageable.
    • Removing some of the starter also gives your sourdough a better chance at success.
    • After you have a working, reliable starter you don’t have to discard the starter that you remove.  You can use it to make things like pancakes, waffles, biscuits, and lots more!
    • You don’t want to use the starter that you are removing in this early stage because there may be some bad bacteria in it.  You want to give the good, friendly bacteria in your sourdough a chance to take over before you actually bake with it and eat it.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of clean, filtered (not distilled) water to your jar of sourdough.  Stir very well to incorporate some air into your starter.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour to your jar of sourdough.  Stir until completely incorporated. 
  5. Scrape down the sides to prevent yuckies and mold from growing in your jar.
  6. Cover loosely and put in a warm place for 24 hours.

Repeat every day until your sourdough has doubled in size for at least three feedings in a row.  At this point you have a fully functioning sourdough starter ready for use!  Congratulations!

Notes:

  • Please see Sourdough Starter: Day 1 for more information on what kind of water and flour to use, what to cover your jar with, and where to store your jar.
  • After I added the water and flour to my jar on day 2, I realized that there was not much room for growth, so I switched my sourdough from its original 2 cup Ball jar to a 4 cup (quart-size) Ball jar.  It now has plenty of room to grow and I don’t have to worry about it spilling over the top of the jar.  Adjust your own container size as needed.

Upcoming Schedule of Sourdough Posts to Keep You Going:

  • What’s Going On Inside Your Sourdough Jar (some of the science behind sourdough – I’m NOT a scientist, but I will try to explain this to you in common language!)
  • How to Care for Your Sourdough (so you can enjoy it for many, many years to come.)
  • Plus lots of recipes for you to use and enjoy your sourdough.

Sourdough1-3

Sourdough4-6

Like what you read?  Don’t miss the rest of the sourdough posts!  Make sure you sign up for a free subscription, either through e-mail or RSS to get the new posts automatically sent to you!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!  I would love to hear how your sourdough is coming along as well!

Sourdough Starter: Day 1

Well, I have made a successful sourdough starter once before, let’s see if I can do it again!  I hope that you will give it a try also!  I promise that it is very simple and does not take a lot of time. 

I will be detailing the rest of the days throughout the week so you can see the whole process.  I’ll also give you some more information about your sourdough starter, and what’s going on inside your jar when you’re making a starter.  But for today, I will just show you what you need to do on day one.  Let’s get started!

Making a Sourdough Starter: 

SourdoughStarter

As I mentioned in my post about my ruined sourdough, all you need is flour, water, a small jar or bowl, and a spoon.  I recommend using a glass jar or bowl over a plastic one.  Glass is more sanitary than plastic, and it will not leach chemicals into your sourdough.  I am using a two-cup Ball jar for my sourdough starter.

Once you gather your supplies, it’s really very simple!Sourdough Instructions

Got it? Smile

Okay, I will explain in a little more detail for those who like details (like myself!).

  1. Add 1/2 cup of room temperature water to a glass jar.
    • To give your sourdough the best chance at success, use un-chlorinated but not distilled water. 
    • You want minerals in your water (which are taken out of distilled water.)
    • To de-chlorinate city tap water, either boil for a few minutes and then let cool, or let it set out overnight.
    • I am using our filtered (through a Brita pitcher) tap water.
  2. Add 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour to the water in the jar.
  3. Stir the flour and the water together vigorously.
    • Stirring very well and vigorously will incorporate some air into the mixture which is good!
  4. Once it’s well combined, use your spoon to scrape down to sides of the jar.
    • This will help prevent crusties from forming on your jar. Eww!
    • It also will help prevent mold from forming inside your jar. Double eww!
  5. Cover your jar with something that will still allow it to breath.
    • I just loosely cover my jar with some plastic wrap.
    • You could also use a small, clean dishcloth (or several layers of cheesecloth) secured by a rubber band.
  6. Place your jar in a warm place to rest for 24 hours.
    • Sourdough does best in a warm environment.  It’s starting to get a little chilly where we live, so I just found a warm spot in a closet in my kitchen – on top of our water heater!
    • Other good warm spots in your kitchen – on top of the refrigerator, on top of your stove, by a crockpot in use, in your (unused) oven with the pilot light on, etc. (If you choose to put it in your oven, you might want to put some sort of reminder around your preheat buttons so you don’t accidently bake your sourdough!)

That is it for day one – very easy, huh?

See Sourdough Starter Days 2-7 to see what to do after the first day.  (I promise it’s not any harder than what we did today!)

Upcoming Schedule of Sourdough Posts to Keep You Going:

  • How to Care for Your Sourdough (so you can enjoy it for many, many years to come.)
  • Plus lots of recipes for you to use and enjoy your sourdough.

Like what you read?  Don’t miss the rest of the sourdough posts!  Make sure you sign up for a free subscription, either through e-mail or RSS to get the new posts automatically sent to you!

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask!

This post has been shared with Pennywise Platter, Tastetastic Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Your Green ResourceHealthy 2day Wednesday, Traditional Tuesday, and Monday Mania.  Be sure to visit them for more great ideas.

My New Grain Mill! (and My Ruined Sourdough!)

As I mentioned on my menu plan this week, I have a brand new toy in my kitchen that I have wanted for a LONG time – a grain mill!  I am so thankful and excited that I can barely stand it!  I have known of the benefits of grinding your own grains for several years now, but the upfront cost of a grain mill was just never in our budget.

To tell you the truth, our new grain mill still was not in our budget, but we ended up only having to pay $20 for this gem!

Yes. Only $20.

We had accumulated enough points to pay the remaining $200+. 

Like I said, I am so thankful and grateful that we were able to get this brand new Nutrimill!

GrainMill

Top Four Reasons to Own a Grain Mill and Grind Your Own Flour:

  1. More nutrition.
    • All commercial flours (even whole wheat) have the germ removed to prolong the shelf life.  This is the part of the grain that contains healthy nutritious oils.
    • Once grains are ground into flour, they immediately start losing their nutritional value.  A grain has protective layers that keep all of it’s nutrition intact, but once is is ground into flour it immediately starts oxidizing.  The older the flour is, the less nutrition it has.
    • Here is a great article that details the benefits of grinding your own flour a little more.
  2. The taste and quality is far superior to store-bought flour.
    • When my Nutrimill was delivered last Wednesday, I immediately ground some wheat berries to make a loaf of bread.  I also had some store-bought whole wheat flour left, so I decided to make an identical loaf with that flour to compare the two.  I made both loaves in exactly the same way, at exactly the same time.  So the only factor that was not the same was that one loaf was made from freshly milled whole wheat flour while the other loaf was made from store-bought whole wheat flour.  Wow.  I cannot even begin to describe the difference in the two loaves.  I can’t believe that I didn’t take a side-by-side picture of them to show you the difference.  The freshly milled loaf was light and fluffy and had the most delicious fresh, nutty flavor.  The store-bought loaf was tight and dense and honestly tasted rancid compared to the other loaf.  There was no comparison - the freshly milled loaf was definitely the winner!
  3. It will actually save us money.
    • Cost for a 50-lb bag of organic hard red wheat berries (through The Bread Beckers):  $31.41
    • Cost for a 50-lb bag of (non-organic) whole wheat flour (through Amazon): $62.49
    • Basically, you can purchase wheat berries for half the price that you could purchase the same amount of flour!  Since we make all of our bread, pizza, muffins, cookies etc. at home, this will definitely amount to a significant savings for us.  Yay!
  4. We can use grains that we otherwise would not be able to use.
    • Read this great post from Lindsay about Variety in Grains and see all their different uses/benefits. 

Review of the Nutrimill:

So far, I absolutely love the Nutrimill

It is fast, not too loud, and completely dust free.  It grinds the flour to a perfectly fine consistency, and all of my baked goods have been turning out beautifully!

Although I have only owned the Nutrimill for a little over a week, it has gotten plenty of use in that time.  I’ve made my whole wheat bread x 3, rye bread, blueberry muffins, cornbread, chocolate peanut butter cookies, biscuits, homemade pasta, and the best grits that I have ever tasted in my life!  (Wow, I guess we’ve consumed a lot of carbs over the past week!)  And we’re having pizza tonight, so yeah, I have been using this thing like crazy!

Grits

As far as cleaning the Nutrimill, it could not be any easier.  It basically does not need cleaned in between uses!  The inside of the machine, where the actual mills are, is self-cleaning.  The only thing that could be cleaned by hand is the actual bowl that the flour goes into, but really there is no need to clean it.  I just tap all of the excess flour into the sink rather than wash the whole entire bowl between uses.  Sue from The Bread Beckers says she doesn’t wash hers in between uses either – sounds good to me!

I have been nothing but happy with my new grain mill!  I’m still a little bit in shock and disbelief that I actually own one.  After dreaming of owning one for over two years, it seems strange that I actually do now!  Strange, but wonderful!

My Only Complaint:

RuinedSourdough

I haven’t really talked about my sourdough starter much here, but I started it with nothing but flour and water back in September of 2010. 

Since that time, we have enjoyed so many delicious sourdough waffles, english muffins, pancakes, bread, and muffins from this wonderful starter. It was such a trooper.  I neglected to feed it many, many times, but no matter how much I neglected the poor thing, it refused to die.  It was always so quick to spring back to life after a good feeding of flour and water, and it had the most delicious flavor. 

But tragedy struck the day after I received my Nutrimill.  My entire bowl of sourdough starter came crashing down from a high shelf of my pantry rack and was ruined!

When I first realized what happened, I immediately considered trying to save a small amount.  But really, it was hopeless.  There was glass everywhere and I couldn’t risk it.  Ugh! I seriously almost cried! 

I mean, the day after I get my Nutrimill (that I had been dreaming of for years!), my steady, faithful sourdough comes crashing to it’s death! What are the odds!

Well, I am over the death of my sourdough now, and am ready to move on to a new one.  I told my husband that God must want me to make a brand new sourdough starter using my freshly ground nutritious wheat!  So that’s what I am going to do!

Want to Join Me?

I will be starting my new sourdough starter on Monday.  If you are interested in starting one yourself, I hope you will consider joining me.  It is honestly very simple and not nearly as difficult as it might sound.

All you will need is flour, water, a bowl (or jar) and a spoon.  That’s it!  I’ll show you exactly what you need to do and answer any questions that you might have.

It usually takes about a week or two to start a sourdough starter, but you will only need to spend about five minutes a day on it (max).

Sourdough makes some of the most delicious bread and baked goods, plus it is very healthy.  (Katie has a good article here on the Health Benefits of Sourdough if you are interested in reading more.)

So make sure you have some flour and water on hand and let’s start some sourdough on Monday!  

This post has been shared with Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.