Imagine a world with no bread. Your favorite sandwiches, gone. Breakfasts, ruined. Pizza is no more. Even tortillas are a form of bread, thus eliminating Mexican cuisine as we know it.
Simply put, bread is the food equivalent of water, a nourishing staple that’s sustained civilizations for thousands of years. And the best part? It’s simplicity. At it’s core, bread is merely milled grain and water. Add yeast or other leavening agents and bread takes on thousands of new dimensions.
But there’s a problem. As food production has been industrialized and local bakeries have been replaced with large commercial bread producers, the quality of bread has deteriorated to a point that virtually all of its health benefits have evaporated. Look at the packaging of bread at your local grocery store, and you need a PhD in chemistry to understand the ingredient list.
Simply put, making bread is no longer about providing vital nourishment, it’s about creating something that has the longest possible shelf life.
The Commercial Bread Making Process
To understand commercial bread in America, you have to understand the basics of grain and how the commercial bread making process works. In the U.S., where most bread is made from wheat, the process begins with fresh wheat being ground and sifted. And it’s this initial step where the problem begins. In sifting the flour, the wheat’s bran and germ are removed, but it’s these two elements that contain virtually all of the nutrients offered by the grain.
Due to their high nutritional value, the bran and germ are sold as feed for livestock and other animals. What’s left is white flour, a highly starchy substance with little nutritional value, and it’s this white flour that’s the primary ingredient in so many breads. From a statistical perspective, 95% of flour sold is of the white variety. And if that isn’t bad enough, oftentimes the flour is bleached simply for the sake of making it whiter, which adds in a lovely dash of benzoyl peroxide or chlorine as well (despite the fact these substances are banned in the European Union).
“What about whole wheat?”, you ask.
Whole wheat is better, to be sure, but it’s an incremental improvement. I told you how wheat is ground and sifted. Whole wheat flour is still sifted, with the key difference being the bran is added back in. What you’re missing, however, is the germ, which is a key component to wheat’s nutritional value. The germ is the wheat’s embryo, and it’s the most vitamin and mineral rich part of the wheat kernel. Without going to specifics, wheat germ is loaded with B vitamins, fiber, phytosterols, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and the list goes on.
So why is the germ left out? Because the germ’s healthy oils go rancid quickly, making it more difficult to use because the wheat can’t be stored as long. Difficult isn’t cost effective, so the germ is left out. Even without the germ, however, store bought bread is still loaded with preservatives, many of which are banned in other countries and all of which negatively affect your health.
So what are your options?
You’ve got three. If you’re completely opposed to baking yourself, you can find a bakery that uses freshly ground flour to produce their breads. The second option is to find a source that freshly grinds their own wheat and purchase flour from them. The third option, and the one I highly recommend, is that you purchase a grain mill and use your own freshly milled flour to create your own baking masterpieces.
Sound too difficult? It isn’t.
As the owner of a Komo Duett 100 grain mill, I’m here to tell you that milling your own grain is about as simple as you can get. Anyone with even the most basic baking skills can use a Komo grain mill to grind their own flour, and the result will be a bread that is simply astonishing compared to anything you’ll find in a grocery store.
Read on and I’ll tell you what makes Komo grain mills so great.
Who is Komo?
Based in Germany, Komo is a company founded by Peter Koidl of Austria and Wolfgang Mock of Germany, and they’ve been manufacturing grain mills for over 25 years. Their grain mills come in a variety of designs and sizes, with the key differences being the style of the exterior housing as well as the speed of grinding. All our housed in gorgeous furniture grade beechwood, and all are stunning in design.
To ensure consistent, low temperature grinding , Komo mills utilize a combination of corundum/ceramic stones. Stones have been used for centuries as the optimal way to mill grain, but unlike other stones that have a tendency to wear out over time and require a relatively high amount of maintenance, Komo’s proprietary stone grinders offer the benefits of stone milling with a material that’s self cleaning and virtually indestructible. The result is years of hassle free grain milling with virtually no maintenance required.
Another engineering element unique to Komo is their patented spring tensioners for the millstones. As opposed to fixed millstones that have a tendency to be very loud, Komo mills’s stones are spring tensioned, which not only signficantly cuts down the noise when grinding, it also helps preserve the millstones themselves.
The Komo Duett 100 Overview
Picking a Komo grain mill is a case of picking a design that fits your kitchen and picking a size that can handle the amount of grain you want to mill. There’s a total of eight different Komo design configurations, six of which are strictly grain mills. The other two, one of which is the Komo Duett 100, offers both a grain mill and a flaker in a single unit. Highlights of the Duett 100 include two separate electric motors (360W for the mill and 140W for the flaker), 3.35 inch diameter mill stones and a 2 lb. 10 oz. hopper fill capacity.
So why did I pick the Komo Duett 100? I picked it for a couple reasons. Number one, I knew that I wanted both a grain mill and a flaker, which meant I could either buy both units separately or buy both in a single unit. While there are advantages to both, for me, the advantages of the Duett 100 outweighed purchasing two separate units. Cost wise, it’s cheaper to buy the Duett 100. I’m a fan of saving money, so that’s a clear advantage for the Duett. Secondly, because I planned on keeping the Komo on my counter as opposed to putting it away after every use, having both the mill and flaker in a single unit makes the design a little more streamlined (one unit on your counter instead of two). If I was short on counter space or planned on putting the mill away when not in use, then I would have seriously considered splitting up the units.
The second reason I picked the Duett 100 is simply because I liked its design. It’s simple, it’s rustic with a hint of elegance, and I like the sweeping curve over the flaker. Because it’s going to be staying on my counter, I wanted a design I could look at everyday for years to come, and for me, the Duett 100 fit the bill perfectly.
As for what the Komo Duett 100 can mill, the list is extensive. Hard and soft wheat, dehulled oats, rice, triticale, kamut, spelt, buckwheat, barley, rye, millet, teff, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum and dent (field) corn. It will also grind spices, lentils and dry beans (pinto, red, garbanzo, kidney, etc.). What you don’t want to use it for is herbs, oilseeds (flax, sesame), popcorn or fibrous materials. As for the flaker, it’s ideal for rolling all softer grains.
The Komo Duett 100 in Use
So how does the Komo Duett 100 work? It works fantastically well, and just as importantly, it’s fantastically easy to use. If you’ve ever ground coffee, then you know exactly how the Komo mill works. First, you fill the Komo’s hopper with your grain of choice. We’ll use wheat as an example. Once you’ve filled the wheat, you turn the mill on, and voila, the wheat is ground. Depending on the type of flour you need, whether coarse or fine, you can rotate the adjustable grind setting, giving you a grind as fine as pastry flour up to a relatively coarse grind. As a side note, for some grains, I’ve found it’s better to turn the Duett on first, then add the grain for milling.
Once the wheat is ground, you can then choose to use the flour as is, keeping all the bran and germ and their corresponding health benefits. You can also choose to sift the flour, removing as much or as little bran and germ as you wish.
On the flaker side, it works exactly the same. Add your wheat, turn the flaker on, and you’ve got an instant, incredibly healthy breakfast.
For me, the Komo translates into an on-demand mill. It’s rare for me to grind anything in advance. For example, if I’m making waffles or pancakes for breakfast, my first step is heading to the mill, grinding the exact amount of flour I need, and using this flour in the batter. It adds maybe a minute to the breakfast making process, with the benefit being the flour is absolutely fresh and retains all of its nutritional benefits.
Baking for the most part is exactly the same. If I’m baking a couple loaves of bread, I head to the Komo Duett, place a bowl on a scale to weigh the flour as it’s being ground, and grind exactly the amount of flour I need. The exception is if I’m sifting the flour, in which case I have to account for the weight being removed. It’s rare for me to grind flour in advance, simply because it’s such a simple task that it adds hardly any time to the baking process.
Taste wise, there’s absolutely no comparison between freshly ground flour and that of the store bought variety (whether you buy flour or already baked bread). In milling it yourself, you understand what grains should taste like. Whole wheat breads made from commercial flour taste are typically bland and dry, more reminiscent of cardboard than something you actually enjoy eating. And for good reason. Taking out the germ is taking out the healthy fats.
Imagine doing the same thing with meat (we’ll use steak as an example). The beauty of a well marbled steak is the fat. It’s what gives the steak it’s gorgeous texture and taste. Take away the fat, and you’ve completely taken away what makes the steak great. Wheat is no different. Take away the germ, and you’re taking away the fats that give the wheat it’s taste and texture attributes.
Keeping the germ, freshly milled wheat takes on a completely different perspective. Bread is so much more flavorful, with a distinctly nutty taste, and the bland, dry texture is gone. The same is true for pancakes, waffles, or anything else you use flour in. You’ll experience entirely new tastes in virtually everything that you eat, with the added benefit that it’s now loaded with additional vitamins and minerals.
The Komo Duett 100 Conclusion
If I have one regret about the Komo Duett 100, it’s that I didn’t purchase it sooner. As an avid home chef with a growing family, I’ve come to analyze everything that I eat. I want my food to taste as good as possible, but I also want it to be as healthy as possible.
You are what you eat, and for most, bread in one form or another is an integral part of daily life. After learning more about the state of commercial bread making and flour processing, I decided the only way to truly gain the health benefits inherent to grain was to mill it myself. I control the quality of wheat that I purchase, and I control it’s nutritional benefits. And the best part? How easy the Komo Duett 100 makes it to do so.
By adding a minute or two onto whatever it is I’m baking, I’m getting 100% of the grain’s nutrients. Not only that, I’m opening up a world of new tastes in everything I prepare. Bread tastes incredible, waffles and pancakes taste incredible… everything I make with flour takes on an entirely new dimension.
Do you want to know why grains have been the primary staple food for thousands of years? Purchase a grain mill, grind your own grain, and you’ll find out. It is, in no simpler terms, the perfect food – the basis for cuisines across the world. With a Komo mill, you’re not just eating grains, you’re eating grains as they were meant to be eaten, with their full flavor and nutritional value in tact.
To learn more about Komo mill as well as the Komo Duett 100 in particular, head over to Pleasant Hill Grain, the U.S. distributor for Komo mills. The current pricing for the Komo Duett 100 is $859, which includes shipping. While you’re there, you can also see the full lineup of Komo mills along with the full specs of each, as well as various accessories that can accompany Komo mills. Once you purchase a Komo mill, Pleasant Hill Grain also offers a huge variety of grains and other baking equipment, allowing you to experience a world of new baking without leaving the house.