Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mortar and Pestle: Grinding Flour For ONE Cookie...

I had one sheaf of wheat seeds staring at me from my raised garden in the backyard.

Just one.

So, naturally, I removed it, and stared with wonder.

one small, wimpy bit of wheat berries

Jokingly, I had mentioned in an earlier post that I thought it would be fun to grind it up when it was ready, and make...

one cookie.

one small, sad, unfulfilling cookie.

The funny part, though, is that now I'm starting to think that may not be such a bad idea!

Think about it.  

How many people do you know that actually grind their own flour?  Unless you live in a farm community, the answer is most likely, 

"Not many."

Or even,


It's not a common skill.  There's nothing wrong with that, of course.  If we want flour, we can just go off to the store and buy some.  It's a no-brainer.

The idea of grinding your own, though... of learning a new skill...

Now that's exciting!

I wanted to know what to do.  What is required?  How hard is it?  What techniques are used?

I started researching.  It's very difficult, very muscle intensive work.  Most people that grind at home have an actual mechanical grinder for the task.  A quick search found that grain grinders can cost anywhere between one and three hundred dollars!  

That's not bad if you plan on making your own flour all the time, but I'm just experimenting... there's no way I'm paying that price! 

All I want to do is make a cookie...

I looked at was was available in my own home.  I had a coffee grinder.  That seemed kind of messy, though.

And a blender is just too big.  Especially for the amount I'm grinding.

It was then that my gaze lit upon my beloved mortar and pestle.  My beautiful, eco friendly, non-energy sucking mortar and pestle.

wooden mortar and pestle... minus the pestle...

Ok, make that... my mortar and missing pestle.  My daughter absconded with the pestle long ago, much to my frustration, and I haven't yet found it.


People were grinding flour long before we had compound machines, so a mortar and pestle may just do the job.  If I couldn't find my pestle, I could always use something similarly shaped, or even make one of my own.  I mean, I do have plenty of black walnut branches, after all!

The hunt was back on.

I did another search for grinding flour with a mortar and pestle.  It's an intense process that requires oodles of muscle work, plus a great deal of sifting, but it's viable.  Especially for the tiny amount of grain that I'm using!

To be honest, I already knew it could be done.  

I had seen a woman making flour from yucca a few years ago, using a huge wooden pestle on a large mortar made of stone.  I just didn't know the full process, nor the appropriate techniques.

That was what I was going for:  Instructions, so that I could produce something worth using in a recipe.  G.K. Bayne actually wrote a nice, simplistic tutorial on ehow, so all I need to do is gather my supplies.

Ok... hunt them down... at least my poor, missing, no doubt abused pestle...

Truthfully, you can make flour from any edible grain, or even nut.  

Those weedy grasses that sprout up in your yard?  They may be worthwhile.  You need to research each grain prior to using it, however, because you don't want to accidentally make yourself a cookie that gets you high.

Or, depending on your personality... maybe you do.  I'm not judging!

Just be sure you know what you're grinding before you do it!

In all honesty, my wheat is past the grinding stage.  It's completely mature, and could be used for planting next year.  But how can I pass up the opportunity to try something new?

That's right.  I can't.

Plus... I really want to make a cookie...

Stay tuned!  Soon I'll be letting you know how the flour grinding process went!

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