Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Why My Bathroom is Covered with Flour (My Grain Mill Escapades)

May 15th, 2010 · 139 Comments · Uncategorized

Nutrimill grain mill I wonder if my husband will notice the flour dust on the cover of his Sports Illustrated magazine and the clean socks on the bathroom counter? I’m hoping his tendency to oblivion of all things related to dirt will prevail…

I just ground wheat in our downstairs bathroom, a.k.a. “The Man Cave.” It has an insanely large counter (that of course, I wish was upstairs!). I decided that it was easier to move the grain mill a few feet down the hallway, plug in and turn on, than to carry it all the way upstairs to the kitchen. Am I crazy?

Here are my first experience grain milling lessons:

  • You need to find a place for everything:
    • Whole grains
    • Grain mill
    • Any extra flour you might end up with, whether you plan to mill for the week or just have a half cup too much for your recipe
  • Grain mills are very, very loud. It scares my toddler, and my preschooler covers his ears, but also is drawn like a bee to pollen to watching the grain go down the hopper. Nutrimill grain mill 1st try (1)
  • You can’t be the type of person who worries about a little flour getting on the counter. Seriously – you have to be okay with flour dust drifting around the grain mill for about a 2-foot diameter. I make enough messes as it is, so the flour getting everywhere does kind of bum me out, because it’s just impossible to contain without making a mess.
  • Key winning factor: You do not have to wash it. It would break me to have one more appliance that needs to be washed after using, especially one that necessitates working carefully around motor parts and that needs to dry 100% perfectly.
  • Grain mills are BIG. I was shocked at the size of the thing. Many people think a KitchenAid mixer on the counter takes up a lot of space, but this appliance has it beat, twice over:
    Nutrimill grain mill and KitchenAid mixer (2)
    Yes, that’s my bathroom. The KitchenAid doesn’t usually live down there, but I brought it in from the van where it lives when we “set” the house for a showing, and it was easier to just bring it down rather than…I know. Weird.In the interest of full disclosure, yes, also, that’s a coffeemaker in the background. In the bathroom. And yes, it does usually live there, thank you very much. My husband works from home, in the basement, and…I know. Weird. Life is much more complicated around here than it ought to be! Anyone want to buy a great starter home with a small-ish kitchen?
  • Those of you who own a Nutrimill can commence laughing now…Aaaaaaaand be sure to doublecheck that you pushed the bowl in all the way before you walk off to, say, write one quick tweet, lest you come back to flour literally blowing out into your bathroom. I wish I had taken a photo for y’all before I very efficiently cleaned that one up. Suffice it to say that there was an inch tall horizontal lump of flour on the canister next to the grain mill, like you’d see if you ran a snowblower directly next to a building. That thing has some power!

I’m sort of getting a good routine. I can just pour the whole grains out of their container in the basement into the grain mill, carry it into said bathroom, plug in, and then do something briefly with laundry nearby while it whizzes. Then I carry the bowl upstairs, use a measuring cup that I’ll use in that night’s recipe to dip the flour into a glass jar. I made a place in the freezer (a feat in and of itself, believe me!) for the jar to safely fit.

As much as truly freshly ground flour is best, there’s no way I can handle doing that every time I need a cup and a half, or a few Tablespoons to soak oatmeal. I’m freezing it, for sure! I have another glass jar in the refrigerator for another kind of whole wheat flour. Maybe someday I’ll get them both in the freezer, but for now, this will have to do.

Is this sounding negative?  I’m really not a negative Nancy, but I struggle with “the new” until I get a good routine.  That’s why it took so long to even open the box.  I’ll get there!

I really can tell that the taste of the freshly ground flour is superior to the store stuff, particularly when I made homemade tortillas.  But most of all, I’m thrilled that I’m getting the most out of my grains, with nutrient density at its best and no chance of rancid oils.  The native phytase is highly active for soaking grains and the reduction of phytates.  It’s also cheaper to grind my own flour.  I’ll write more on the praises of freshly ground grain in the future as I bumble through with my new appliance a bit more, you can be sure.

A sidenote: If you want cooking lessons from another very experienced Real Food blogger who has probably been grinding her own grain for years, check out Nourished Kitchen’s new online cooking eCourse.  More details in today’s other bonus post!

I Love my Regular Readers!  Bonus Entry for You!

Seriously gals (and guys, the 2% of you out there), you feed me.  I always want to read my comments before I buckle down and write the next day’s post.  I love seeing emails from real people.  I’m so very pleased when one of you wins a giveaway, instead of a random visitor just checking out the giveaway.  Sooooo…since I’m the boss around here, I get to play favorites.

Any comment by someone who was already a subscriber before reading these words is an extra entry for a brand new Nutrimill grain mill from Pleasant Hill Grain.  The giveaway won’t happen until fall, as long as we’ve reached 5,000 subscribers (RSS and email) by then.  That means that it would be just lovely if you passed along your favorite KS recipe or post via Facebook, email, or word of mouth and sent others on over here to join the real food movement.

So please…comment away!  If you want to make them even more fun for me to read, tell me your weirdest real food moment…especially if it involves food in the bathroom!  Thanks, all, and have a great weekend.

(Comments will be closed Tuesday at midnight.)

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139 Comments so far ↓

  • Evelyn

    Maybe my weirdest real food moment would be when I went to the farm to pick up eggs and got excited that the farmer had 70+ pounds of pig and beef fat for me to pick up! It was an exciting day :) But really, almost everyone I know thinks all of it is weird. I’ve always got jars of yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, kefir, ginger carrots, sourkraut, sprouts, kombucha, and/or vanilla extracts going. And my brother in law asked me where the label was on my milk (to which I commented that it appeared he knew what it was without a label, lol :)

  • Angie

    I’m sure I have a funnier story, but since I just woke up, I can’t remember them! Mine is just my husband’s reaction to things. He’s stopped asking what the jars of fermenting stuff are sitting around the kitchen and has learned to be brave but wary when dinner time rolls around!
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Forever and a Day… =-.

  • Greta @ Mom Living Healthy

    I am drawing a blank right now for weird food moments…too funny that you have your appliances in the downstairs bathroom. As someone who just went through the home selling and staging process, I can really identify with that. Here’s hoping you sell soon! We had a smaller kitchen too and ended up selling to a single guy.
    .-= Greta @ Mom Living Healthy´s last blog ..Moving Matters: How Much Physical Activity Do Families Need? =-.

  • Starving Student Survivor

    I was so disappointed when I realized that my Nutrimill didn’t fit in my cupboard. I do not have an appliance-on-the-counter kind of kitchen! But I solved the problem by taking it apart after each use. It just barely fits in my biggest cupboard if I separate the grinder half from the bowl half.
    .-= Starving Student Survivor´s last blog ..Crockpot Yogurt =-.

  • Lenetta @ Nettacow

    I also have not pushed the bowl quite in, but thankfully I just turned around to check the recipe on my laptop on the kitchen table instead of leaving the room! I keep a paper towel or small rag handy, and stuff that in the hole on the left side near where the flour goes into the bowl. That seems to help a bit with the flour shooting all over, and it doesn’t come out the other side quite so much, I don’t think.

    That reminds me… I think Laura at Heavenly Homemakers had a few posts where the comments had good tips on grain mills. Think I’ll head over there next…

    PS – I kind of miss your sidebar links to people you read…
    .-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Spring Cleaning Carnival – Get the Pesticides Out? =-.

    Esther Reply:

    Lenetta–Thanks for the tip about helping to keep the flour from shooting out. I’m getting a grain mill when we move next month and the thought of having flour all over my kitchen raises my anxiety level a little too high!

  • peg

    How about putting the wrong spice into a cheesecake….cumin anyone!! Since then I have separated my spices for baking and cooking!! Love your site…..thanks for the antics and recipes.

  • Andi

    We only have one bathroom and it doesn’t even have a counter but when we were renovating the kitchen it was the only source of water I had! The tub was used for everything and I even had a great two bucket system set up for washing dishes – slightly weird for anyone who might have been visiting at the time…
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..My First Scrapbook! =-.

  • Karen

    This post made me giggle. Unfortunately, even those of us with a few years under our belt with the NutriMill still make those types of messes. Mine typically come with my older kids learning how to run the machine. But there is some benefit to that one. . .they clean it up.

    I am new here and just love your blog. I am not new to real food but have struggled to break old habits. Just last night I had the opportunity to help my dh understand where I want to go with our diet. I just gave birth to my last baby. He and I are seeing the transition with her arrival as a time to begin new. So this blog is helping me take those steps. As well as giving me a few giggles and bringing back a few bad memories. hehehe!!! God Bless.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..The Long Story of a Deceptively Short Labor =-.

  • Emily @ Little Home

    Hmm, I’m sure I have some interesting moments with my skeptical husband, but I can’t think of any right now! I’ll comment again if I think of one… I am a fairly new subcriber and am enjoying your plethora of information!

  • janelle

    I can’t think of a weird food moment right now, but I have an embarrassing one! When we were first married (15 years ago), both in college & living in the married housing on campus, I tried to bake bread for the first time. It burned to a dark-brown lump of nastiness. That very afternoon, our neighbors brought over a perfect loaf of bread. My husband said, “Oh, thanks! Janelle just burned a loaf this morning!”

    Now he is proud of my bread, and dislikes store-bought stuff.

  • heather harris

    Sorry…but I am just rolling at the thought of the bowl blowing up flour everywhere! I did that myself my first time 2 years ago and I am STILL seeing that picture in my head when I mill grain! The idea of a coffee pot in the bathroom actually isn’t that weird to me…my hubby also works from home and ours is in our bedroom, on the dresser…
    .-= heather harris´s last blog ..Storm Warning-reviw =-.

  • sarah w

    i’m a regular subscriber. as for disasters – well, i let my husband use the nutrimill once and it sent flour everywhere. my personal problem is i tend to drop things on the oven door as i’m taking them out, leaving gooey burning messes on every part of my oven. i got one of those mats for the oven floor to help with cleanup – but it doesn’t protect the door.

    as for cooking mistakes – i think my most famous one was using hashbrowns in my lasagna instead of mozzarella cheese. my roommate kept ziplocs of hashbrowns in the freezer and they looked just like my ziplocs of preshredded mozzarella. i made the same mistake another time with pizza. both tasted fine, though! i even had guests over for both dishes and they all agreed it tasted great.

    Mary Reply:

    Remember to pour salt onto the gooey mess to help with clean-up. It is great on any spill on the oven floor because it stops the smoking AND if you keep forgetting to clean it out and use the oven repeatedly, you’ll find that clean up is very easy and complete without scrubbing.

  • Diana

    I’m a regular reader – have you on my Google Reader! :) I don’t have any good cooking mistakes / food mess stories. At least, none that come to mind at the moment!

  • Erin

    I’m a regular reader on my Google Reader! Real food weirdness – probably while I was catching my own sourdough starter, it went through a VERY stinky phase. If the preschooler is telling you something is smelly, you can believe it. The kitchen smelled a bit of gym socks for a couple days. All is good now, and I get very fluffy non-stinky bread!

  • Amie

    Wow I can’t actually recall any “weird” real food moments. Then again I am not very far down this path. I grew up in a household where we ALWAYS ground our own wheat, so no disasters or surprises there. I have used sourdough, but never had any disasters. Probably the worst that has ever happened to me is losing count of how many cups of flour I have already dumped into the bowl. (My favorite recipe makes 4 loaves and calls for a total of 12 cups of flour.)

    Okay, here’s a *potential* disaster. I always proof my yeast and the bowl I use is always just the right size. It bubbles right up to the top, but never over, even if I have to walk away. I’m sure that one of these days I am going to come back to a huge mess.

  • Frances

    The first weird food moment that came to mind: our family parakeet was very curious about the sourdough starter, which had accidentally been left lidless on the counter. She tried to check it out and ended up falling in!! I don’t remember what exactly happened next, but I know it involved bathing the very flustered bird and getting some new starter from someone else. :)
    .-= Frances´s last blog ..An expansion in our recycling services =-.

  • karen

    My sister uses her grain mill outside on the deck. My main cooking disasters involve forgetting sugar or salt. Rhubarb pie with no sugar? Not even salvageable.

  • Marci@OvercomingBusy

    I’ve been a regular reader (Google reader) for a few months now and love it! I have wanted a grain mill for some time now, but after reading this and laughing so hard, I need to re-think where I need to do my milling!

    Growing up on a farm, we grew almost everything we ate. One of the funniest/stinkiest memories was when my dad made sauerkraut in the basement from our bumper crop of cabbage. The house smelled horrible for the weeks that it took to make the sauerkraut and then for weeks afterward!! We couldn’t have anyone over or go in the basement at all!

  • kanmuri

    Ummm, real food moment… It’s not really funny, but I can still remember the first time I put ground flax seed in my smoothie. I put too much and it was… well not nasty, but not really tasty!

    I want to take a few minutes to thank you. Ever since I discovered your blog I made many changes to my diet and my way of life (especially with plastic!) Well, yesterday I went to see a nutritionist at the gym and she told me there was only small changes to make to my eating habits in order to get my body ready for training. I thinks this is partially thanks to you!
    .-= kanmuri´s last blog ..To the Gallows! =-.

  • Mermaid

    I can’t think of anything right now. I will say that my dad keeps his coffeemaker in their half bathroom. It’s beside his office and closer than the kitchen, I suppose.
    .-= Mermaid´s last blog ..Mother’s Day =-.

  • Jenny

    Hmmm. My mom made tuna melts… and forgot to put the tuna in…. two weeks in a row.

    I’ve been following along on Google reader for a while now, and have been trying to follow through on the Monday Missions.

  • Lora

    I also get frazzled by new equipment until I learn to use it routinely. I haven’t tried a grain mill yet, and the experience sounds daunting!

    When I was a child my father made dandelion wine from weeds that we gathered. I never had any of it since I was so young, but I remember that it turned out stronger than expected. After glasses of it were served to guests they had to stay longer than planned because it was so powerful.

    I subscribe via Google Reader.

  • Kelli M

    It’s not a weird food moment, but we did the exact same thing the first time we used our food mill – didn’t get the bowl all the way in and the hubs and I ended up looking like some healthy food version of Casper the Friendly Ghost.

  • Mary

    I am still chuckling about the flour dust.
    One caution if you use a vacuum cleaner on flour dust: change the bag more often because the fine dust can clog the bag and the filter.

    I am an e-mail subscriber.

    Hopefully I will get to taste something made from fresh ground flour in the near future.

  • Anna

    My favorite real food moment was when I was making a fruit sauce for pork. My husband had poured kombucha in an old fruit juice container and I accidentally added kombucha instead of juice. I thought I had ruined it! Surprisingly a blackberry kombucha reduction is actually quite good on pork.

    I love your sense of humor! Thanks for being such a fun part of my google reader.

  • Tracy

    Your honesty is refreshing! I love reading your posts and learning and laughing my way all the way to my kitchen to soak something!

  • Michele @ Frugal Granola

    My weirdest food moments always seem to involve my father-in-law! :) I think he has twice now accidently eaten organ meats which he helped himself to, from a cookpot off the stove, when I wasn’t looking). He politely choked it down! (I don’t usually intend to serve them to guests, but I cook them up at the same time I’m cooking something else!) :)

    I would love to have a grain mill to grind up gluten-free grains. (Since I have to be very careful with gluten-free cooking, I can’t buy a used one.)
    Blessings,
    Michele :)
    .-= Michele @ Frugal Granola´s last blog ..Journey of Blessing Series: The Impossible =-.

  • Kate

    My kitchen is ridiculous. There are tons of things “growing” everywhere — sourdough, kombucha, vanilla extract, who knows what else. Today I’m going to try to start some dill relish following Food Renegade’s recipe.

    I can’t decide if a grain mill would be worth it, since my Vitamix does grind for me. Hmm….

    Btw I just might do an experiment, just for you! Buttermilk pancakes unsoaked and soaked, with unsprouted flour. See what happens. :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Journey to Real Food: Introduction =-.

  • Stephanie

    I only grind grains on the back porch. I don’t have to clean up the mess and my kids only freak out half as bad.

  • Lucy

    I haven’t had many weird real-food moments yet, since I’m just learning about it. Some of my friends probably think I’m weird for making homemade crackers, but most of them think it’s neat, and sometimes even ask for the recipes I use. I am so excited to start grinding my own wheat someday!

  • Tara

    I don’t think I’ve had any weird real-food moments yet………. My son did dump a container of raspberries on the floor at Whole Foods today – which I picked up and bought. I just have to remember to wash them!!! I would love to grind my own wheat though!!

  • Annie

    oh, funny stories! Especially the one w/ the no-tuna tuna melts – SO funny! We do utilize our bathroom for meal prep sometimes. When I was a kid I’d use the powder room sink for washing produce if my mom was using the kitchen sink. Doesn’t seem too odd…. is it? lol And I’ve prepped blender pancakes (blanking on the website – Sue Gregg, maybe?) in our basement bathroom while kids were sleeping cuz BOY that is loud grinding up those wheatberries. How cool that you’re using your grain mill – way to go! :)

  • Pam

    I follow you on Google Reader, but not really any food moments to talk about. I’m slowly learning how to cook. I really wish my mom taught me! Your site has taught me alot though, so thanks!

  • katie

    I am a regular reader. I have had too many food mishaps to name just 1. You’d have to ask my hubby which was the worst or funniest.

  • JulieVW

    Great story – thanks for sharing

  • Marcy K.

    Have you ever tried using the mill outside? I would rather carry the thing outside then clean up a mess. And could you just throw a towel over the Nutrimill while it is running to keep the mess down?

    Also, what are the advantages of the Nutrimill over the grain mill attachment for the KitchenAid mixer?

    I don’t know if it qualifies, but one food disaster I had was when I was making raspberry sorbet and neglected to strain the seeds out of the raspberries. I was the only one who would eat it and it went on for weeks.

  • Stacy

    We’ve had that problem with grain mills as well, although I want to say that if it spews THAT much flour you may want to check that everything is where it belongs. Ours is a different mill but it has some sponges that go in the vent areas to stop flour from blowing out.
    Oh, and we have a Magic Mill and it sounds like a jet landing in our kitchen.

  • Barb

    I have been following by email for a while now.
    I honestly can’t think of any weird/funny kitchen stories/mishaps off the top of my head. I do have a lot of new recipes that fail because one or all of the kids won’t try it or don’t like it.

  • Joie

    I am fairly new to the whole foods way of cooking/eating, but I jumped in with both feet.

    Finding the raw milk and other dairy products is hardest for me in the area I live in. There are lots of dairy farms, but none of them sell raw milk and most are not organic or free of hormones and anti-biotics.

    I do enjoy your blog and love to learn from you.

    Thanks,
    Joie
    .-= Joie´s last blog ..Thoughts and Prayers for Isabella Joy =-.

  • Mallory

    I am a regular reader/e-mail subscriber and I’m so thankful for all you do to help people take baby steps so they can achieve healthy changes!

    In my slightly insane pledge to make EVERYTHING from scratch, I’ve had quite a few real food mishaps. The one that stands out most is my first half-a-dozen attempts to make homemade almond butter. My food processor could only make an oily ball of almond mush. I even bought a Vitamix just for this purpose and still ended up eating almond playdough that I had to pat on to my sandwiches! Then, after some intense google-research, I found out that you have to just let the food processor run for 12 minutes. Just when you think you’re going to be stuck with a miserable lump of dough, something magical occurs and a smooth, buttery flow of almond goo emerges! It is SO worth all the agony it took to learn how to do it right!

  • Heather

    I keep my dehydrator on my basement floor next to the recycling. The noise bothers me. Unfortunately, the low hum also scares my girls when they are using the basement bathroom!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  • Laura

    Milling in the bathroom does sound weird although convenient based on your situation. Fun to read & learn from (should I get a mill someday) your experiences! Recently, I soaked biscuit ingredients and set out the remaining ingredients to add in the evening. Well, I forgot the extra ingredients until the biscuits had already been in the oven for a few minutes, so I grabbed the biscuits from the oven, tried to incorporate the ingredients into the half-baked biscuits and reroll them. Not the best result…gonna have to try that recipe again, the right way.

  • Frances

    My bathroom is a little dusty with cornstarch! I have very long hair and washing and drying it is becoming time consuming soooooooo I’m experimenting with dry washing it. I thought you were going to say that’s why your bathroom was covered in flour too!
    .-= Frances´s last blog ..Discount Organic, Fair Trade, Local, Grass-fed, All Natural, and You Name It! =-.

  • Tiffany S.

    I read your blog every day! I love your posts. You inspire me to try new things. Thank you!!

  • Alexis

    Read your posts via Google Reader.

    Very funny stories on here so far – I personally don’t have a weird or funny real food story yet. I’m sure I will as I continue to change my food/eating habits.

  • Dren

    Subscribe via GReader.

    My story isn’t so weird: the look of my fridge is weird, where I have tons of containers that my husband has no clue what they are: whey, buttermilk, cream skimmed from raw milk, starters, yogurt that needs to be drained, yogurt cheese, etc. At least he smiles at me and doesn’t sigh … yet. :)
    .-= Dren´s last blog ..How did this happen? =-.

  • Theresa

    We live in Alaska and received a couple pounds of moose meat from some friends. When my sister-in-law was visiting (for the birth of our daughter, Lucy!) she wanted to try the moose meat. I had just gotten home from the hospital, so she took the meat out of the freezer, and after several attempts to make them into burgers (they were way too lean, and wouldn’t hold) we made MOOSEY LUCY’S, moose versions of sloppy joe’s :)
    LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog, and I have sourdough bread rising right now.

  • Teresa

    I found that the shooting range ear plugs work really well for my little ones (and me also), cost about $3 for a package at walmart.

    I also found that if I scrub down and dry really well the gasket for the bowl less flour comes out the side- of course thats when I put the bowl in right:)

  • MaryBeth @ Four Silly Sisters

    I’m a subscriber through Google Reader, and I’ve been enjoying your blog for the last couple of months. I’m still pretty new to whole foods and making changes in baby steps, but I find your blog to be one of the best sources of info available. Thanks!
    .-= MaryBeth @ Four Silly Sisters´s last blog ..Updates on Our Busy Crew =-.

  • Sara

    The first thing I ever made by myself was apple crisp, but I was so nervous, I accidentally starting following a recipe on the opposite page and added a cup of water to the pan. Needless to say it wasn’t very crispy. I was 9 or 10 – since then I read recipes a lot more carefully!

    After seeing that pic I can guarantee that the grain mill will be in our laundry room, atop the dryer. I had no idea they were so large! We also have a teensy weensy kitchen (aka “one bum” at a time). Love your blog, been reading for a few months, and have delved into the NT, whole food world with much enthusiasm.
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Hard Work =-.

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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