Kitchen gadget: The grain mill (and a bonus recipe)

Kitchen gadget: The grain mill (and a bonus recipe)
A hand-cranked grain mill. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Have you ever considered milling your own flour? Whether you go for an inexpensive hand-cranked mill or a larger electric grinder, you'll find that you can vary the flavor and texture of breads, cakes and more when you grind your own grains.

There are a variety of grain mills out there, including the small, hand-cranked one we use in the Test Kitchen (pictured), attachments you can fit on your mixer and costlier stand-alone options. If you're new to milling and curious about it, I'd recommend a cheaper hand-cranked model. Yes, you do need patience when hand-milling your own flour. And, yes, working a hand crank can get tiring (but think of the toning it will do for your arms!).


A small, hand-cranked mill should set you back no more than $50. Mixer attachments can run $100 to $150, and an electric stand-alone mill can cost more than $200. Mills are available at select cooking and baking supply stores and are easily found online.

For more information on grinding your own grains and milling your own flour, check out this Food story by Alba Dwass and Emily Dwass: Flour power: The joy of grinding your own.

Cooking is fun – at least it should be! No matter how long you've been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it's a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef's knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at


Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: Makes 6 pancakes

Note: Hard red wheat berries can be found at select well-stocked markets and health food stores. Serve the pancakes with syrup or fruit compote.

1 cup wheat flour (ground from 2/3 cup hard red wheat berries)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 large egg

1 cup whole-milk plain yogurt (or one cup low-fat milk, plus two tablespoons melted butter)

2 tablespoons sugar


1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. With a spatula, push the dry ingredients to one side of the bowl. Add the egg to the empty side. Whisk the yogurt (or milk mixture) into the egg, then add the sugar and vanilla.

3. Once the wet ingredients are whisked together on one side of the bowl, use the spatula to quickly mix the wet with the dry ingredients. Just stir until blended together, do not over-mix.

4. Heat a grill or skillet over medium heat, greasing it with butter or oil. When the grill or skillet is hot, spoon the batter into the desired-size pancakes; the recipe will make about 6 pancakes of about 5 inches in diameter. Cook until the top starts to bubble. Flip over and cook until the other side is lightly browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Each pancake: 122 calories; 5 grams protein; 21 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 3 grams fat; 1 grams saturated fat; 36 mg cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 240 mg sodium.

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