How to Make Flour the Old-Fashioned Way


Take the idea of baking from scratch to a whole new level by making your own flours. Without reverting to pounding grain between two large flat rocks as in ages past, you can still enjoy the old-fashioned goodness, healthfulness and economy of grinding a variety of fresh grains into flour. Do it manually with a mortar and pestle or grinder or electronically with a modern-day food mill. You can buy or grow your own grains, such as wheat and rye, or buy rice, barley, almonds or nuts at a local market or specialty store.

Things You'll Need

  • Mortar and pestle
  • Manual food grinder
  • Electronic food grinder or mill
  • Use an old-fashioned hand grinder or one of its more modern counterparts. For a truly old-fashioned experience, you can make small amounts of flour by pulverizing the grain by hand in a mortar and pestle. You can also use a manual counter-top grinder or coffee mill to make your flour the old-fashioned way. Manual processing often leaves larger bits of unprocessed husks or shells; continue your old-fashioned process by sifting the ground flour through a piece of loosely woven cloth. These approaches are manually labor-intensive and best suited for those occasions when you need only small amounts of flour.

  • Grind your own flour with more efficiency or in larger quantities by switching up to the electronic age. You can spend $40 or $50 for a small manual or electric food grinder or up to $500 for a heavy-duty mill for home use. The latter is best for hard-shelled grains or for people who do a lot of home flour grinding, but also takes a bigger dent out of both your budget and your kitchen counter space.

  • Measure the desired amount of grain into your grinder or mill. Study the instructions that came with your appliance to know how long to run the grinder to get the right texture and to efficiently grind the amount of flour desired. With such appliances, you typically feed the grain into a hopper or bowl-type attachment, close or cover the section and turn the grinder or mill on to process the grain. Check the grain after the first processing to ensure the flour is the desired consistency; the longer you grind it, the finer and softer texture you obtain.

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