Tag Archive for Grinding flour

Teaching Kids Where Their Food Comes From

A big draw for getting kids in the garden for me, is showing them where their food comes from. This year, we did a cool experiment with wheat to see how it’s grown and how it becomes bread. Click here to see how to grow it.

When I first began growing food with my kids and I asked them what they wanted to grow, I got answers like spaghetti and hamburgers. Kids today are so far removed from the process of growing and producing food, they have no idea where it comes from. I think that is a dangerous thing for our society.

Producing food is a skill people need for many reasons. It helps you relate to the process and how much work it takes to produce food. It also gives people a skill to use in case our food system fails. This is a very real possibility with our current food system. Another important reason is the food supply is very unhealthy and unsafe. People who can produce their own food can grow healthier food. Growing your own food is an important skill to have.

I make my own flour for my Little Sprouts by buying wheat berries from a local farm and grinding it in a wheat grinder. I have a Nutrimill like this:

I make the kids homemade bread in a bread maker like this:

Make your own food, so you know what’s in it. 

To insure they have the most nutritious food possible. I make pancakes, muffins, cookies, and most of their other bread products here as well. Most of these foods are 100% whole wheat from freshly ground flour. I do use some unbleached organic white flour in their pizza crust, some cookies, and I use it for pie crust and a few other things, but well over half of their bread products are made with flour I grind myself. I use store bought pasta, tortillas, crackers and some cereals. Click here to see my recipe for bread.

Why do I go to all the trouble to make their food from scratch? Our food supply is full of GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, and other chemicals. So much that it is literally killing us. Click here to see why I don’t serve my kids store bought bread. Look into it and you will see how important the quality of food you feed your children really is. Click here to see a report about pesticides in our current food supply. Click here to see a report about chemicals added to our current food supply. 

Food looses nutrients quickly.

Freshly ground flour loses 70% of its nutrients within 72 hours of grinding. So the flour we purchase at the store, is rapidly becoming devoid of nutrients. I want my kids to have all the good health they can, so I strive to give them what it takes to do that. One way you can keep your flour nutritious longer is to freeze it immediately when you buy it and keep it in the freezer until you need it.


Growing our own wheat.

This year one of our experiments in the garden was to grow our own wheat. We planted some of the local wheat berries I buy for making flour and watched it grow. Wheat needs to be planted in Oklahoma by November 31st according to my cousin who farms wheat, so we made sure we did that. It grew all winter and was ready to harvest in early summer when the heads were golden brown and starting to bend down to the ground. I remember helping farm wheat as a kid, so I knew that part.

kids growing their own wheat. learning where food comes from

kids growing wheat in the gardenkids harvesting wheat

We cut our heads of wheat off with scissors and beat them on the inside of a bucket until the seeds came out. This is called threshing and it was a ton of fun. Then we had to winnow the wheat or clean it of all the hulls and things that were in the seeds. You can do this by laying your wheat out and blowing it or placing it front of a fan. The chaff blows out of the wheat and your berries are left.

wheelbarrow of harvested wheat, teaching kids where bread comes from, growing your own food.farming wheat with kidsgrowing food with kids

We got a few cups of berries from our little patch of wheat. The next thing we did was run them through the wheat grinder and make flour. The kids were fascinated with the texture of the flour. It was a fun sensory experience.

kids growing food, learning where flour comes fromkids winnowing wheat, learning how to grow flour

Making bread from wheat we grew. 

Next we tossed the flour and the other bread ingredients in the bread maker pan and let the bread maker do all the work. When it was done, we punched it down and put it in a bread pan. After the second rise, we baked it and had it as a side dish with meatballs and veggies for lunch. The kids thought it was delicious and ate the whole loaf.

home grown wheat berriesnutrimill with home grown wheatpunching down homemade bread dough, teaching kids where food comes from

homemade bread from flour we ground from home grown wheat

I loved how when we talked about the wheat berries and I asked the kids what we could do with them if we didn’t grind them into flour, they said, we could plant them. They knew they were seeds. I love all the things they are learning in the garden. It’s an amazing place to teach so many things to your kids. Click here to see more benefits of gardening with kids.

I’d love to hear what your kids are learning about the food supply; please comment with anything you are experimenting with.

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Teaching Kids Where Their Food Comes From

How to Grow your Own Wheat

You wouldn’t believe what wheat means to me. I can’t tell you the memories I have of planting it, harvesting, taking it to the elevator for sale, and any number of other things. One of my fondest childhood memories is of sitting in the back of the wheat truck when the combine would come up beside it and dump wheat all over us and bury us. That’s good stuff!

We would chew the wheat for “gum” while we worked hard in the fields at my grandparent’s house during harvest time. After all the wheat was cut, we would go back and cut straw from the stems that were left in the ground. Farming wheat is in my blood. These fun memories were at my grandparent’s house and they were some of the best times of my life.

My grandparents, great grandparents, and great-great grandparents were wheat farmer’s by trade and my uncle and cousin still farm wheat today. It’s an important part of my history. My Mom’s Grandfather ran in the Oklahoma Land Run with his parents to get their family land.  

I was raised in the city, but the memories of what went on at the farm always cried out to me in the back of my mind. The cows, horses, sheep, goats, chickens, grandma’s big ole garden, and the wheat and alfalfa grandpa grew are part of my upbringing and are part of who I am today.

Kids should know where their food comes from.

Click here to see how you can teach them that.

My mom is a smart woman and has so many skills from her time growing up on that farm, it’s amazing. She has talents and abilities as do her brothers and sisters that would amaze you.

I make all the bread I feed my kids from scratch and I make it from freshly ground flour. I use local, top quality wheat berries to make my flour so my kids get the very best I can give them Click here to see why I don’t feed them store bought bread and click here for my everyday bread recipes if you want to make your own.

whole wheat bread maker bread

Many people talk about gluten intolerance and grain free food, especially gluten free, but I really feel that what makes a lot of people sick and tired is not the gluten or the wheat itself, but the massive amounts of chemicals in the bread products that wheat is made into and you have a recipe for some pretty serious diseases and illnesses. I’m not sure it’s the gluten for all people, although I KNOW it is for some. I think much of it is the process we’ve done to the wheat.

I wanted to show my kids where those wheat berries come from. Although I don’t plan to grow all of our wheat as cleaning it is quite a chore that we don’t have the equipment for, I wanted to grow some wheat to show them the source of those beautiful golden nuggets of flavor.

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wheat growing

We took some of our wheat berries we grind for flour and planted them back in November. Previously, I tried to grow wheat with the kids, but I didn’t remember that you grow it throughout the winter here in Oklahoma (no natural instincts for growing), so I talked to my cousin Joe about what could have gone wrong. He said to have your wheat in the ground by November 30th. This is called winter wheat and it’s the only wheat you can grow in Oklahoma. It’s too hot here for anything else.

Winter wheat or hard wheat is good for making bread or other products that are made with yeast, spring wheat or soft wheat is good for pancakes, muffins, and things that don’t contain yeast.

Last year, we met that goal and watched our tiny wheat grass grow throughout the winter a tiny bit at a time. Once the days started getting longer, our wheat took off and now it’s making seed heads. Our rows aren’t straight like on the farm, but we are farming this wheat nonetheless. We have a 3 x 10 bed of it growing and will harvest it when it turns golden and the seeds will shake out of it. I’ll come back and update the blog when that happens.

planting wheat with kids

Steps to growing wheat:

  1. Find your wheat berry seeds. Research what type of wheat will grow in your area and when it needs to be planted. If you are in or around Oklahoma, do what we did, and get winter wheat in the ground by the end of November.
  2. Prepare your soil and make a trench about 2- 2 ½ inches deep. If you have a huge area to cover, you can broadcast your wheat seeds and then till them into the ground to about 2 inches. If you are planting spring wheat, you will need to plant it around 1 inch deep instead. Cover the seeds with dirt and pat down the earth gently to remove any air pockets.
  3. Water weekly until grain stalks and heads begin to turn golden and heads droop toward the ground.
  4. Check your mature grain weekly. Shake a few seeds out of the head and taste them. If they are doughy, they are not ready, but if they are firm and you can chew them for a while without them disintegrating, they are ready. Remember the “wheat gum”?
  5. Store them for a few weeks in a dry place until they are ready to clean. They will be dry and won’t dent with your fingernail when ready.
  6. Beat the heads on the inside of a trash can until all of the seeds fall out of the heads. Then winnow the seeds by pouring them from one container to another in the breeze or in front of a fan until all the chaff blows out of the seeds. Get them as clean as possible before use.
  7. Store them in an airtight container so moisture or bugs won’t be able to reach them.

growing wheat with kids

wheat, growing your own

I can’t wait to see how excited the kids are and how much they learn when we harvest our little wheat patch and grind it up into flour to make bread. What a wonderful learning experience for them that will stimulate all of their senses. Sensory experiences are the best way for kids birth to three to learn, and can you think of anything else that smells as good as homemade bread coming out of the oven? It can carry you away.


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How to Grow your Own Wheat

Why Not Just Serve the Kids Store Bought Bread?

At Little Sprouts I make all of our bread products from scratch. I grind wheat to make flour, and I use it to make bread, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, bagels, etc. I do buy store bought crackers, and I do use store bought white flour to make cookies and cakes.
I started making my own bread products because I am allergic to sulphur. I had a severe reaction to a sulpha-drug prescribed to me by a doctor. Since then, when I eat sulphites, I swell up with fluid and get a rash. Sulphites are in chicken, dried fruits, most processed foods, and a huge percentage of other products from the grocery store. Check your food labels. You’ll be amazed. If it begins with sulph, I’m allergic to it.
When I realized what was causing these reactions, I did some research into these substances. Manufacturers use sulphfites to preserve foods. If you go to the store and buy a Twinkie, you don’t have it eat it that day for it to be fresh. It can be eaten a week later, a month later, a year later, or many years later and it still will maintain a similar flavor and texture as the day you bought it. Compare that to a homemade cupcake. The first day it’s soft and moist, and maybe even the second day, but if you keep a homemade from scratch cupcake for a week, it loses some of its qualities and becomes stale, dry, or even moldy.
So what do preservatives such as sulphites do to our bodies? The more I looked into sulphites, the more I realized NOONE should be eating them. The ingestion of sulfites is linked to so many diseases, it would be best for everyone to avoid them. Some symptoms include: heart palpitations, ear infections, yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, immune deficiencies, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, bloating, diabetes, depression, indigestion, joint pain, muscle weakness, nose bleeds, skin conditions, and the list goes on and on.
After doing my research, I set out to find some bread I could eat. Organic breads from the health food store cost $6 and up. That was not a feasible long term solution for my problem and they tasted awful. There is an Amish village nearby that makes homemade bread without chemicals. Their bread was $4 a loaf, but it’s a 45 minute drive to get there. Not very feasible to do continuously. So I decided to get a bread maker and make my own bread. One by one, I learned tried and true recipes for all of the bread products I make, and I was on my way to a less sulfur infused world.
I started making multiple loaves of bread and storing them in the freezer so I would have a steady supply. I decided if chemical free bread was so much better for me, I would make it for the daycare kids as well. I could do everything the easy way and feed them chemical laden bread from the store, but I want their “whole” education to be important, not just writing their names. I knew the symptoms listed above are not any better for the kids than they are for me, and I decided they were worth the extra effort. I want to give my Little Sprouts the very best nutrition I can because I know good nutrition is part of growing good kids. The easy way is not always the best way. I make a dozen loaves at a time, let them cool, slice them, and store them in the freezer for ALL of us to eat.
As I continued to study, I learned flour loses 40% of its vitamins within 24 hours of milling, and 85-90% in 2-3 more days. Why does this happen? Mainly because B vitamins, which are supplied by whole grains, are destroyed by light and air. So I began milling my own flour.
Yesterday I made 22 loaves of bread because the hot part of the summer is upon us. Here in Oklahoma, it can be over 100 degrees with unbearable humidity for weeks or even months. Before the temperatures are over 95, I wanted to get some baking done so we would have supplies without turning on the oven as much. With a bread maker, all you have to do is toss the ingredients in and go, so I am able to do loaves of bread during a work day.
Bread Machine Whole Wheat Bread
Add ingredients in the order listed.
1 room temperature egg plus enough warm water to make one cup
2 T. Sugar (I use unrefined sugar)
2 T. Oil (I use olive oil)
1 tsp. Salt
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Yeast
1 T. Vital Wheat Gluten
I set the bread maker on dough and after it is processed I shape it into a loaf and let it rise in a loaf pan.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.