While making your own flour at home may conjure images of women in the kitchen in “the olden days” slaving away with what we may deem nowadays as unnecessary manual labour, I’m here today to try and convince you against this, and encourage you to try making your own flours at home.
If you have a high-speed blender, fresh flours can be incredibly easy to make at home and can also be a lot more economical. Unless you are buying processed white flour which is usually incredibly cheap (and, I would like to point out, incredibly devoid of nutritional value!) some flours these days can be quite expensive, especially if you are buying organic, wholegrain, heirloom and/or sprouted flours. All of these labels seem to be incredibly fashionable at the moment and attract a high pricetag – arguably with good reason (the process for gaining ‘organic’ certification can be a long and expensive one) which can often deter the budget-conscious shopper.
But most, if not all of these fancy fours can usually be made quite quickly and easily at home. And all you really need is a high-quality food processor like a Vitamix. Okay, okay – so I’ve just tried to convince you that it’s more economical to make your own flour, and now I’m telling you you need an expensive electrical appliance to do so… A bit of an oxymoron I know! But if you are lucky enough to already own a high-powered blender then it’s definitely economical for you, and if you don’t then there are other options such as a coffee or spice grinder which can be picked up quite cheaply.
Another plus of making your own flours at home is that – as with most homemade foods – homemade flour tastes better. It has a fresher flavour than most store-bought flours, and as it’s so quick to do, it’s easy to grind it fresh each time you want to use it – or if you know it’s a flour you’ll use often, then grind it in bulk and store in an airtight container as you would normal flour. It also means that you can experiment more easily with different types of flour. Not only can grind all the regular grains and seeds, as well as nuts, but you can also grind pulses and beans.
Today, I’m sharing with you how to make your own chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo or besan flour). This can be added to veggie patties and burgers, used to make pie crust or used in cookies and other sweet treats. And later in the week, I’ll share with you my current favorite chickpea flour recipe.
Step 1 (optional) – Sprout the chickpeas
I usually use dried chickpeas here to make my flour, however, for increased nutritional value you can sprout and then dry the chickpeas before grinding them into flour. To do this, add a cup of chickpeas to a large jar, loosely cover with some cloth and soak 12 to 24 hours, then rinse well. Drain the beans and place in a sprouting container and rinse every 6 to 12 hours. Note that if its warm or humid where you live, you will need to rinse more frequently to avoid mould growing.
Small tails should appear around the second day – after this you can continue to sprout the beans, but make sure not to let the tails get too long – after they grow to the length of the bean, the bean will start to develop a bitter taste.
Once sprouted, the beans will need to be dried in a food dehydrator. The time for this will depend on a few factors – how big the chickpeas are (some seem to be a lot bigger than others!), how dry they are after you rinse them after sprouting (if you dry them off well with a tea towel and let them air dry half an hour or so it will speed up the process a little), and of course, it will depend on the model of food dehydrator that you have. As a guide though, it should take around 18 – 22 hours.
Alternatively, you may be able to dry them in your oven at it’s lowest setting, however note that this will mean that the beans are no longer “raw”, as the lowest setting in most conventional ovens is above the required 117 F | 47 C temperature to still classify food as raw. The other draw back of drying them out in the oven is that you will need to run the oven for quite a long period of time, often overnight.
Step 2 – Grind the chickpeas
To grind the chickpeas, add the dried chickpeas (ie either straight out of the pack or if you have sprouted them, then dried via a dehydrator) to a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix.
Turn the machine on, increasing the speed until you reach the maximum. Blend until the chickpeas have been ground as finely as possible. You may need to stop to stir any larger pieces out of the corners of they get stuck there.
The end consistency should be quite fine, though if there are a few larger bits don’t stress – you’ll deal with those in the next step.
Step 3 – Sift the chickpea flour
Using a fine mesh sieve, sift the flour into a bowl. This will seperate any larger pieces from the chickpea flour. Once you have passed all of the flour through the sieve, return any larger pieces that didn’t fit through the sieve back to the blender and process again to break them down further. If there are only a few smaller pieces and they do not blend when you turn the machine on, increase the speed to maximum and the power of this should force the pieces up and start to grind them.
You may need to repeat this step once or twice more to get all pieces finely ground.
And there you have it – freshly made chickpea flour! This flour can now be used straight away, or store it in an airtight container. I usually make it in smaller portions, but if you make it in bulk, you might want to store it in the freezer to increase it’s longevity.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas | garbanzo beans
- Add the dried chickpeas to a high-powered blender and turn on, increasing the speed to the machine's maximum. Blend until the chickpeas have been ground as finely as possible.
- Using a fine mesh sieve, sift the flour into a bowl, and any larger pieces that did not fit through the sieve, return to the blender and process again to break them down further.
- You may need to repeat this step once or twice more to get all pieces finely ground.
- Store in an airtight container, preferably in the freezer.
- **Note For full instructions and tips, refer to the detailed steps in the body of this post.