As promised, let's explore the reasons to make your flour at home. If you are still unsure whether you should take the pain to wash, rinse, soak, sprout, dry, dehydrate, and pulse or mill your own flour at home, then there are strong reasons to do so. Let's see why you should make homemade atta from millets, legumes, pulses, and whole grains. This is in continuation of our series on making your own baking ingredients at home.
Why Make Your Own Atta
1. Phytates are toxic anti-nutrients
Do you know that plants have naturally protective properties that they use to protect their flowers (fruits) from predators (humans included)?
Now, what is that natural protective cover? Plants develop a natural protective coating around their fruits (including grains/millets/cereals) that is known for its anti-nutrient effect. In that case, the cover containing phytic acid coating is toxic and binds around minerals, thus preventing their absorption in the gut. As a result, our bodies are not able to derive the benefit of these essential minerals, such as iron, zinc, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and calcium.
Phytates or phytic acid salts affect the nutritional value of the grain, hindering the digestibility of protein and starch and inhibiting mineral bioavailability. Therefore, it is important to take steps to reduce phytic acid. How can phytates be reduced?
Parboiling is one way to do so, soaking, dehulling, germinating, fermentation, and roasting also help reduce phytic coating on food and improve nutritional quality. I prefer to soak, dehydrate, and dry roast millets at home before pulsing them to powder.
What is Parboiling?
It is one way to treat rice and millets. The method includes soaking millets or rice in hot water before drying and then steaming and drying and dehulling the grain. The process can improve the nutritional quality of food. However, the soaking temperature is an important factor to determine the loss of phytic acid during the process.
Research shows that parboiling can reduce phytate concentration. Increasing soaking temperature is the best way to reduce phytates and 80°C is the ideal soaking temperature.
Well, we continue to harp on the fact that a wholesome balanced diet is a way to stay healthy. This includes whole grains, millets, legumes, and pseudocereals (such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, water chestnut). Depending on one grain or cereal does not deliver the same dietary benefits, especially as our diets are drained of nutrition. So why not include different types of cereals and pseudocereals in our diet to make the most of each ingredient. What's more, even those with gluten intolerance can enjoy their meals, snacks, and tea time like never before. We have all types of flours available these days. But there is a lack of trust factor.
The increasing amount of adulteration of food (including contamination) leaves us with doubts as to whether we are actually eating healthy in the name of health. I suggest avoiding marketing gimmicks and tall claims of food businesses that try to sell nutritionally deficient goods under the garb of such terms that sell - oats cookies (tons of such cookies that sell on the market are hardly 8-10% oats and 60-80% maida). Can you believe this? It's just one example.
Food adulteration is more than adding artificial colors and additives. When we were kids, our science lessons taught us of some kind of adulteration in food, and dad would specifically mention the addition of stones in pulses, papaya seeds in black peppercorns, and brick powder in red chili powder.. But there is much more to food adulteration than this. By consuming adulterated food products on a regular basis, we are risking our life and health. This brings us to the topic of discussion - why make your own flour at home?
3. Nutrient-rich, hygienic (Storebought flours vs homemade atta)
When you make your flour at home, it is 100% Hygenic and rich in fiber. Since you grind it at home or get it milled, you know it is pure and not mixed or adulterated with cheap ingredients.
Your homemade flour is 100% powder of the ingredient so it has the bran, endosperm, and germ intact when you powder the same, giving you fiber, protein, and nutrients.
But when you buy from the store, can you get the same guarantee?
My experience with homemade millet flours vs storebought atta
Making your homemade millet atta gives you the guarantee that it is packed with nutrition.
Additionally, when you make millet flour at home, you follow the whole process of soaking, dehydrating, and milling. This ensures the reduction of phytates.
Many of you wonder why some flours have a bitter taste!
So now you have got a strong reason to not hesitate from putting the effort needed to make hygienic, healthy, pure, unadulterated, unrefined flours at home, which taste yum, are packed with nutrients, and smell amazing too.