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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to start milling my own grain and baking my own bread. However, I want to ensure that whatever methods, recipes, grain storage methods I use are workable in a situation where I may have limited or no power.

What if I can't power an electric grain mill?

What if I don't have access to butter or milk for bread recipes?

How long can I store yeast and what kind should I store?

Dutch oven for baking? Does anyone here bake bread with a fire?

I'd like to get setup on a good method, recipe, oven construction and then actually practice baking breads without power incase it ever comes to that.


· Wild Edibles Expert
10,143 Posts
1) Hand-powered mills. 2) Many liquids can be substituted for water... maple sap comes to mind. 3) Yeast can be kept alive for a long time, just keep feeding it something with sugar -- many wild plants and trees have sugar content. 4) Dutch ovens are fine for bread. One does, however, use different shapes and different wood for different baking jobs. Bannock and raised bread require two different techniques.

Learn how to make primitive breads with modern conveniences then move over to an open fire.

· Registered
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This is pricey ($395) but is the best non-electric grain mill.

The Country Living Grain Mill will grind virtually all dry grains and legumes, including wheat, corn, beans, peas, amaranth, etc. It is designed to be quickly and simply motorized if you want to.
Expect a 10-14 day delay on the shipment of mills due to high demand.

You can buy dehyrdated butter and milk from many sites. I got mine from You can also buy bulk yeast from them and lots of other places but the recommendation is to keep it in the freezer until you need it.

Here is a dutch oven 'no knead' bread recipe I found a while back at

No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.
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· Registered
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Mills must have gone out of sight over the last few years. I was looking at mine and I paid $49 and $79 for them. I have different set ups for milling. All my mills are manual. Don't want anything electric if I can help it.

My Mom gave me a pasta maker several years ago. that is a fun device. Wish I could find another one today.

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There are posts here on Sourdough bread making.I dont use anything bar wild yeast flour salt and water, and they keep coming back for more.
I have sold a few of the grain mills, but personally like the idea of what a friend had.
His bike hooked up to the grain mill so he could exercise at the same time, and it did not use power.
Have a look on YOu tube,it probably shows the same thing, or how to grind wheat without power.
I also sold a couple of powerless grain mills, but stopped quick because the brand was not reliable enough.
The powered grain mill mention above are the most popular here in Australia, along with Retsel

· Bleach blonde on fire :p
6,172 Posts
Low cost grain mill-new wooden bat (use the buisness end-large end) and a metal coffee canister. It works really well, it takes a little power behind that bat though!

Seen it used on a preperation site, has a video that shows just how well it works.

· Registered
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Dry yeast


Makes sense to start with a conventional oven and move over to fire. How long will dry yeast keep?

Is there a good book someone can recommend to get me started?
I purchased 8 lb. of dry yeast in 4 2lb vac-packs almost 6 years ago. I have kept it in the fridge since purchase and opened one package to use. Haven't baked much in a while and had the yeast that was opened in a screw-top 1 qt. mason jar in the fridge. Just started baking again and when I proofed the yeast, it worked like a champ.

I have been working on easy sourdough for the past month, supplementing the "mother" with a little of the dry yeast and have had great success. A 2lb. free-formed loaf baked for 35-40 min @ 350 F in a conventional oven lasts me and the wife about 3 days. I paint the top crust with olive oil and "spritz" the loaf a few times during the bake with water in a spray bottle to give a nice browned and chewy crust. (The recipe is off of Frugals').

Kneading dough is a great way to work out aggression!

· Learn something new today
122 Posts
My vitamix is awesome. So long as I have power, that is. Where do people buy wheat berries? I tried the feed stores. wheat is wheat, right? Maybe I have to try a high-priced healthfood store? I am going to try to grow grain amarenth in the spring. About cooking bread. . . I've seen people cook pizza-crust-looking dough on a grill before. Hey, if it's all you've got. . .

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My vitamix is awesome. So long as I have power, that is. Where do people buy wheat berries? I tried the feed stores. wheat is wheat, right? Maybe I have to try a high-priced healthfood store? I am going to try to grow grain amarenth in the spring. About cooking bread. . . I've seen people cook pizza-crust-looking dough on a grill before. Hey, if it's all you've got. . .
On a youtube video, someone had bags from Walmart or Sams, not sure of the size ( I don't think they were 50lb bags, maybe 20-25. My local store does not carry but obviously some do.

I get my wheat berries from a local mill. It's a vacation/touristy type town that has a mill (corn and wheat) - it was $35/50lb bag.

I'm looking for a wheat farm/producer that is within 3 hrs. Supposedly, they sell for something like 8-10 cents per lb - just open the hopper into the bed of your pickup.

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My vitamix is awesome. So long as I have power, that is. Where do people buy wheat berries? I tried the feed stores. wheat is wheat, right? Maybe I have to try a high-priced healthfood store? I am going to try to grow grain amarenth in the spring. About cooking bread. . . I've seen people cook pizza-crust-looking dough on a grill before. Hey, if it's all you've got. . .
Wheat berries are available through the LDS church storehouse on line, (you do NOT have to be a church member). It is more expensive than the feed store, but if you're in an urban area like I am it is the next best option, (they do not charge you shipping). LDS is also a good resource for preps and learning how to "get by". Nice people and no "pushy" sales speech regarding joining the church.

this is my experience, YMMV:thumb:

· Registered
1,367 Posts
You might look at this one that I have too:
The Family Grain Mill Modular System
This truly vestal machine might be something for you to consider.
Originally, I was skeptical of a partial plastic grain mill that can do so many things with so many attachments. The more I looked, the better the Family Grain Mill looked so I let my wife review it too (hint: this is, usually, a wise idea when you are venturing into “Women Territory”). She really liked it so apparently some of our tax return money will be reinvested this mill. We are looking at the package below. I have never had an electrical grinder or mill before so a new adventure awaits. I will post reports.

1. Motorized base with Grain Mill, Flaker, Grater/Slicer & Meat Grinder - $410.00
2. FREE Hand Base with order
3. shipping to 48 states is included
4. Set of FGM replacement burrs (cone and ring) - $41.00
5. “Cooking & Baking with Fresh Ground Flour” book- $11.95 when ordered with the Family Grain Mill

The Family Grain Mill Modular System:
1. One 5 cup Hopper Grain Mill Unit.
2. Motor Base
3. Hand Crank (Free with any Motor Base Package)
4. Grain Mill Attachment -- Grinds small or large dry seeds, corn, beans (not popcorn)
5. Flaker Attachment (makes rolled cereals like Oatmeal)
6. Vegetable Processor Attachment with 3 Stainless Steel Drums: Fine, Coarse, Slice
7. Optional Stainless Steel set of 3 Shredding Drums: Masher, Julienne, Puree
8. Meat Grinder with:
a. 4.5 mm Grinding Plate (for hamburger)
b. 8 mm coarse for meat salads
c. 6 mm sausage or chili grind
d. 3 mm Grinding Plates coarse nut butters, baby foods, soy beans
e. 2 mm flax, sesame, smooth nut butters, infant foods, puree' and spaghetti pastas
f. Sausage Stuffer works with Meat Grinder
Modular Design:
1. Any component of the Family Grain Mill may be purchased either individually or in multi-component packages.
2. The hand base or the electric drive base (or both), and all accessories will interchange between the two, locking in place easily with a twist of the wrist.
1. The grind is infinitely adjustable, from fine for bread flour, to medium for "Cream Of Wheat" style cereals, or coarse for steel cut or cracked grain.
2. The milling head grinds corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice, buckwheat, millet, coffee, quinoa, spices, dried herbs, but not popcorn!
3. Large five cup hopper capacity.
4. The vegetable processor head processes vegetables, nuts, fruits and cheese with 3 included stainless steel drums.
5. The flaker head flakes soft grains and is popular for fresh homemade oatmeal.
6. To Grind Corn into corn meal put the corn through once on 3 to crack the corn, then put it through on grinding for meal. You can vary the fineness as desired.
7. Make Spaghetti Pasta from Whole Grains with the Meat Grinder and smaller Grinding plates.
Lifetime Warranty (excluding replaceable burrs) Review:
The Family Grain Mill is German made and of high quality but just can't compare to the all-metal construction mills like the Country Living Grain Mill but this manual grain mill's advantages lie in it's ease of use. The Family Grain Mill is the easiest to turn grain mill we have ever tried. Some manual grain mills are so hard to turn that you feel like you need to be a muscle builder to use them. The Family Grain Mill is so easy to use that even a 7 or 8 year old child could do it. The output is about the same as the Country Living Grain Mill - 1 cup per 2-3 minutes of fast grinding, but is done with a lot less effort. The Family Grain mill also has a huge advantage in price for the manual version. Another advantage to this grain mill is that it is modular, so VERY easy to motorize. You have the option of buying a hand crank base, a motor base, grain mill attachment, flaker mill attachment, plus an array of other food processing attachments, and they all twist on with a snap to either the manual or electric grain mill base. All the attachments will fit onto the Bosch Bread Mixer with an adaptor, which will save you a ton of money if you already have a Bosch Mixer. Very versatile, as you can see. The Family Grain Mill does not grind as finely most of many electric mills or quite as finely as the Country Living Mill, but on the finest setting, the flour is still acceptable for bread making. Not recommended for pastry flour. Perfect for the person who wants to grind flour easily by hand, but wants an easy way to motorize the unit, or the flexibility to add other attachments. Comments About Each Of The Grinders In The Test
The Family Grain Mill: This little German made grinder really surprised me. I expected it to have about the same performance as the Back to Basics Grinder. This is because the Family Mill's cone burrs look so much like the Back to Basic's burrs. Was I ever wrong. As far as performance goes, this is one fine little grinder. It turns easy and is really fast.
One draw back is it grinds only a coarse flour on the first grind. I found that putting the coarse flour from the first grind through the Family Grain Mill a second time just wasn't a big thing. During the second pass, the handle turns almost effortlessly so the second grind is really easy. And even including the second pass in the efficiency calculation, the Family Grain Mill is the only grinder I tested that had a better efficiency ratio than the Country Living Mill, the acknowledged champ of grinders. After the second grind, the flour was about the same fineness as the Country Living Mill. I also don't like about the Family Grain Mill. Most parts are made from plastic, including the body. The grinder itself is small and two of the interconnecting drive pieces are made out of light weight plastic. I have my concerns if these plastic drive pieces would stand up to long term use, especially if larger seeds such as beans or corn were ground. Of all the grinders in the test, this grinder seems to be the least rugged of the bunch and would probably break the first.
However, if you look at it's performance compared to the other grinders, it's worth every penny, and then some. Another plus, the Family Grain Mill has several attachments, one of them being a flaker mill. The flaker can take oats or any other grain about the size of wheat or smaller and roll them. I've been told it won't roll hard wheat as it's too hard but I didn't have any trouble when I tried it. I like the way the flaker works.
I'd really like to get a few reports from people who have put a couple of tons of wheat through these things to learn if this grinder holds up under long term use. A great performing grinder, which this one is, isn't worth very much if it won't pass the test of time.
Since writing the above I have talked to the importer who for 8 years has been supplying these mills to different retailers in North America. They are aware of only one mill that has broken the plastic drive in all that time. They added that the mill grinds beans and grains just fine. Popcorn is the only seed they don't recommend grinding in the Family Grain Mill

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My vitamix is awesome. So long as I have power, that is. Where do people buy wheat berries? I tried the feed stores. wheat is wheat, right? Maybe I have to try a high-priced healthfood store? I am going to try to grow grain amarenth in the spring. About cooking bread. . . I've seen people cook pizza-crust-looking dough on a grill before. Hey, if it's all you've got. . .
Unfortunately, wheat is not wheat. Much of the feed grain is so low in quality that it cannot be used to make breads and other items. It can be eaten, yes, but the nutritional value is usually very low. When making breads, it is usually more difficult to get the right consistency.

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We get our wheat from the local Feed Stores. There is a local Bird Seed company that recleanes local hard wheat, bakery ready, for artisan bakeries and individuals that make their own flour as a sideline. If you can only get soft starchy wheat, you can still buy "enhancer" which adds gluten protein that helps it rise. 230gr
Wheat Types and Uses

TRITICALE: is a stable cross between durum wheat and rye which combines the productivity of wheat with the ruggedness of rye and has a high nutrition value. The kernels are gray-brown, oval shaped larger-than-wheat and plumper than rye. It will make a raised bread like wheat does, but its gluten is a bit weak so wheat flour is frequently added to strengthen it. Because of the delicate nature of its gluten, excessive kneading must be avoided.

WHEAT: comes in a number of different varieties each more suitable for some purposes than others based on its particular characteristics. The most common classifications of these varieties are based on their respective growing season, hardness of kernel, and color of their bran layers - spring or winter, hard or soft, red or white.
The hard wheats have kernels that tend to be small, hard in texture, and with high protein (primarily gluten) contents. As a general rule, hard varieties have more protein than soft varieties. Yeast raised breads that need a lot of gluten are where it's at for the hard wheats.
The soft wheats have kernels tending to be larger, plumper and softer in texture than hard wheats. As their gluten content is lower they are primarily used in biscuits, pastries, quick breads, some pastas, and breakfast cereals where a higher gluten content would contribute an undesirable tougher texture. Soft wheats do not produce as fine a loaf of yeast raised bread as high gluten hard wheat, though it can still be used.
Durum wheat also has a very hard kernel and a high protein content, but of a somewhat different nature than the other hard wheats. Durum is not primarily used for breads but is instead consumed mostly in the manufacture of pasta where it lends its characteristic yellowish color to the finished product.
Winter wheats are planted in the Fall, over winter in the field, grow through the Spring and are harvested early the next Summer. Spring wheats are planted in the early Spring and are harvested the following Fall. Red wheats comprise most of the hard varieties while white wheats comprise most of the soft (although the are Hard Spring Wheats).
The hard red varieties, either spring or winter, are commonly chosen for storage programs because of their high protein content which should be no less than 12% with 14% or more being excellent.

All Purpose Flour: . This refined flour is typically made from a blend of hard and soft wheats with a protein content that can range from as low as 8% to as high as 12%. It is enriched and can be had either bleached or unbleached. You can make anything from cakes and pie crusts to sandwich bread.
Bread Flour: A refined white flour with a higher protein (gluten) content than most all-purpose flours to achieve better performance in making yeast raised breads. Protein levels should be at least 12% with 13-14% better still. It will be enriched with added vitamins and iron, and can be found either bleached or unbleached.
Whole Wheat Flour: Real whole wheat flour should include 100% of the bran and germ so read your ingredient labels carefully to be sure this is so. Protein contents can vary, but as most whole wheat flour is used in yeast bread making it should be at least 12% with 13-14% being better still. This is good because the bran and the germ can interfere with good gluten development as the dough is mixed and kneaded. Approximately 90% of the total protein of a kernel of wheat is gluten with the remaining 10% other proteins being mostly found in the grain germ. Whole wheat flour may also be called "Graham Flour.
Four to six weeks is generally enough time for rancidity to become noticeable. One can, of course, package the flour in good containers with oxygen absorbers and the like, but better still would be to buy the flour in the form of whole wheat berries and mill them yourself.
Vital Wheat Gluten: Sometimes labeled as simply "wheat gluten." This is the purified gluten of hard wheat extracted from flour. It is generally 75-80% protein and is used to strengthen weak or whole grain flours for making yeast raised breads or made into "seitan" a wheat protein meat substitute. If your whole wheat bread is not rising for you as much as you'd like then an addition of a few spoonsfuls of gluten or some high gluten flour may perk it up a bit.
Cake Flour: Typically the lowest protein content (6-8%) flour available to the home baker and will make the tenderest cakes, cookies, and biscuits but performs poorly for yeasted breads. The flour is nearly always bleached (chlorinated) both to give it a bright whiteness and to improve its moisture holding capacity for cakes calling for a high ratio of sugars or fats
Pastry Flour: Similar to cake flour, but generally slightly higher in protein, used to produce tender pie crusts, biscuits, etc
Semolina/Durum: Produced from durum wheat this flour is typically high in protein, 12% or more, enriched, unbleached with a distinctive pale yellow color. Used in the production of pastas, noodles, and couscous, but some specialty bread types call for semolina flour. Farina, a coarse meal used as a breakfast cereal, is made from durum wheat.
Self-Rising Flour: This is ordinary refined and enriched all-purpose flour to which approximately 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder and 0.5 teaspoons of salt have been added to each cup of flour. This flour has its fans, but it's not well suited to long storage as the baking powder wants to go flat over time even with special packaging. Nor is it suited to making yeast raised breads. Most self-rising flours are in the mid to low end of the protein scale (8-10%) because this is where chemically leavened quick breads perform best to achieve good rises and textures. You can make your own self-rising flour by adding in the requisite amount of double acting baking powder and salt mentioned above which is what I recommend doing rather than trying to store the ready-made product.
Instant Flour: This specialized flour product is also sometimes known as "shaker flour" for the shaker can in which it's usually found This is a low-protein flour in a granular form processed for easy and rapid dissolution into hot or cold liquids for making sauces, gravies, and batters.
Bleaching: Cake flour is generally chlorinated not only whiten but also to improve its moisture holding ability when used in cakes with a high ratio of sugar and fat to flour. This bleaching also further tempers the already low gluten of the flour to produce the tenderest possible texture. Home bakers often add their own vitamin C to their breads. A small amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are often added as a dough conditioner and yeast nutrient. . A mere 1/8 tsp of ascorbic acid per cup of flour is all that is necessary.
Malting: Many bread flours and some all-purpose flours will have small amounts of malt, malted barley flour, malt flour, or diastatic malt added to them. This additive improves the performance of the yeast by providing enzymes which speed the conversion of some of the flour starches into the digestible sugars the yeast use as fuel which can improve both the rise of the dough and the flavor of the finished product. The malt can also serve to improve the appearance of the bread when baked and lengthen its shelf life. You can add your own diastatic malt in the ratio of about 0.5-1.0 teaspoons for every three cups of flour.
Storage: If you want your white flour to stay at its best for the longest possible time then package it in Mylar bags, glass jars, or metal cans air tight with oxygen absorbers. At a decent storage temperature sealed in a low oxygen environment you should easily achieve five years of shelf life or more.
might also include these relatives of wheat.

Kamut is a close relative to wheat whose kernel is about the same shape as a wheat seed but a Kamut kernel is more than twice as big. Even though Kamut is very closely related to wheat, many people who are wheat intolerant can eat Kamut with no problems. Kamut also has some pretty amazing nutritional strengths. And as an amazingly versatile grain, Kamut can be used in place of all the different wheats; the hard and soft varieties and also durum wheat.

Spelt comes from a wheat-like plant whose seed somewhat resembles wheat but is a bit longer and more pointed. You can make all the same dishes such as pancakes and waffles, muffins, cakes, crackers and cookies, pastas and breads. Spelt contains 15 - 21% protein which is much higher than wheat. It's also higher than wheat in complex carbohydrates, iron, potassium and the B Vitamins. Spelt is easier to digest than wheat products because of it's higher solubility in water. Many people who are allergic to wheat can tolerate Spelt.

Rye has many of the characteristics of a wheat seed but is a little less plump, is a little longer and has a darker, grayer color and has a little stronger flavor. When cooked, rye takes on it's distinctive flavor that makes this bread such a treat. Whole rye kernels take a long time to cook - as long as two hours.
It grow so well, even on poor soils, under dry, cold conditions and at high altitudes - on lands where other grains didn't produce well. For many in the dark ages, rye was a grain that could most often be counted on to give them enough of a return that they wouldn't starve. Although rye does have some gluten, it doesn't contain enough to make good bread and must be used with other high gluten flours, however, rye contains twice as much of the amino acid, lysine as wheat. This is especially significant because lysine's the limiting amino acid in wheat and most other cereal grains which necessitates food mixing to develop a complete protein

· workin on it......
1,109 Posts
I just bought a Victorio hand crank grain mill today. And I also picked up a 2lb bag of hard red wheat and a 2lb bag of soft white wheat.
I want to try the flour in some muffins to see how we like it. Hopefully, it will turn out well. LOL

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878 Posts
I bought a Survival Ark grain mill from Retsel about 18months ago. It is hand powered, which was fun for us and visitors until the novelty wore off, then my husband insisted on converting it to electric with an old washing machine motor. We got the correct belt and pulleys from Retsel. They have given us very good service.
Since we've had the mill, I've made nearly all our own bread. To get a good rising loaf, I've found that it is best to use some plain white bread flour with the 100% wholewheat that I've milled. The reason for this is that the bran in the wholewheat cuts the gluten strands as the bread is rising, so the holes in the dough cannot form as well. I've made a few "bricks" while experimenting, but they have all had good flavour. I've also experimented with other ingredients, like rye, spelt, corn, lentils, soy, linseed.
Most of the time I'm not sure what kind of wheat I'm using, because I get leftovers from the silos, farmers or truck drivers, but if it seem to be low in gluten I use a good tablespoon of gluten flour per loaf to help it along.
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