homemade cream of wheat farina

Homemade Cream of Wheat Using Your Grain Mill

Homemade Cream of Wheat Cereal Using Your Grain Mill

KoMo Fidibus 21 grain mill
Using a grain mill to grind soft wheat berries into homemade Cream of Wheat farina

If you have a grain mill, you can make farina, a hot breakfast porridge made of finely cracked wheat grains cooked with water or milk or a little of both. 

History of Cream of Wheat

Better known by its brand name, Cream of Wheat, farina was invented in 1893 by wheat millers in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is a cold-weather breakfast staple in the USA and Canada. The product made its debut at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Cream of Wheat was marketed by Kraft Foods under the Nabisco label until January 2007, when it was sold to B&G Foods. 

Creamy in both color and texture, most folks prefer to eat their farina fairly plain. A dab of butter and a sprinkle of sugar are the most popular toppings. 

What is farina made of?

If you’re interested in making your own, perhaps you would like to understand what it is. Farina is comprised of wheat middlings, the product of the wheat milling process that is not flour. 

All-purpose white flour is made entirely from the endosperm of the wheat, the center starchy portion, leaving behind the bran and the germ. The bran is the outer layer of fiber that encases each kernel; the germ is the heart of the grain, which includes the fat lipids and most of the protein, vitamins, and minerals. The middlings include some parts of each bran and fiber, along with some of the endosperm. 

Let’s make farina!

Sure, you can buy boxed Cream or Wheat or Malt-o-Meal. You can scoop it from a bulk bin in some well-stocked grocery stores. Either way, it has been sitting for a while and has lost a good share of its mild, nutty flavor along with its freshness and nutrition. 

So let’s get down to the business of making our own farina. 

Start with whole wheat grains – not flour. The whole wheat grains are referred to as “berries.” Wheat berries in whole form store really well for at least two to three years (probably much longer) in a cool, dark location in a sealed container. A 5-gallon food-grade bucket with a Gamma Seal lid is a good way to store wheat berries. It protects them from sunlight, which damages vitamins, and inquisitive critters like mice, which love to snack on them!

Gamma Seal lids are a marvelous invention. The lids easily spin open and closed – you can do this with one hand! No more prying a lid off in eleven places to get to your stored grain. 

What kind of wheat can I use?

You might be wondering what kind of wheat to use. All kinds of wheat work.

Traditional whole wheat, also called hard red wheat

White whole wheat, also called golden 86 wheat

Soft wheat, which is also known as pastry wheat

Soft wheat makes a quicker-cooking cereal, so that’s what I use, but you can use any of the above. 

Can I use other grains?

You can also use Kamut Khorasan wheat, spelt, einkorn, rye, barley, white or brown rice. Each type of grain has its own special flavor.

Milling wheat into farina

Equipment needed:

Grain mill with adjustable grind

Regular kitchen strainer with fine mesh

Step 1: Grind a little wheat

Start with a little wheat – just a tablespoon or two.

Adjust your mill to a coarse setting and run a tablespoon of wheat through it into a bowl. You may need to adjust the setting a time or two to get it right, so just start with a tablespoon or two at a time. 

You will probably have a mixture of cracked grains and powdery flour. This is normal.

Step 2: Sift the mixture and adjust your mill

Take a small strainer with a fine mesh and pour the wheat through it. The flour will sift through. What is left in the strainer? Now feel the wheat that is in the strainer with your fingers. What size pieces of grain are there?

If the wheat is too coarse, coarser than Cream of Wheat, then adjust your mill to a finer setting. If it is all powdery flour, adjust to a coarser setting.

Try again. Mill another tablespoon or two of wheat. Sift. Feel it with your fingers.

Step 3: Store farina and flour separately

It may take a few tries before your sifted, ground wheat resembles commercial Cream of Wheat. When you’re satisfied, you can grind as much or as little as you like. I have found that I end up with almost equal amounts flour and farina. 1 cup of wheat will yield about 1 cup of farina plus a scant cup of flour. This can vary, depending on your grain mill.

It can be helpful to estimate how much Cream of Wheat your household consumes in a given period of time, say a month or three months, for example, and mill that amount. 

Sift it well to remove the flour. Store the flour in a jar in the fridge and use it in your baking. 

Divide the farina between two or more jars. Keep enough for a week or two in a jar in the cupboard for convenience. Store the rest in the fridge or freezer. When your cupboard jar is empty, simply refill from your fridge or freezer supply. 

Step 4: Soak farina before cooking for best nutrition

Now, let’s cook our farina in a way that maximizes the nutrition and flavor and saves time. The way to accomplish this is to soak the farina overnight in water, by itself, or with a starter to unlock the best nutrition.

Measure 3 tablespoons of farina per person into a jar. 

Add an equal amount of water.

Optional: add ½ teaspoon sourdough starter per person. Or use whey (the liquid that floats on top of yogurt), kombucha, or yogurt. 

Stir well. Cap the jar and store it in the cupboard or on the counter overnight. If you eat porridge daily, you can get a system going where you use and replenish your soaked farina daily with little effort.

Step 5: Cook your cereal in 10 minutes

The next morning, scrape most of the soaked farina into an appropriate size saucepan. Leave a little behind in the jar to inoculate your next batch of farina if you want to prepare for tomorrow’s breakfast. 

Add 1/3 cup milk or water (milk makes it creamy like “real” Cream of Wheat) and a pinch of salt per serving to the pan. Put the lid on at a tilt, leaving a little space for some of the steam to escape. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Just the barest simmer if using milk. Stir occasionally to prevent lumps. Cook until the texture is just the way you like it, about 10 minutes. If your porridge is too thick, feel free to add a little more water or milk to thin it.

Step 6: Soak the next batch of farina

While it cooks, add more farina and water to the unwashed soaking jar. You don’t need to add more sourdough starter as a culturing agent because the lactobacillus bacteria are present in the unwashed jar. Cap the jar, swirl to combine, and set aside for tomorrow. If you opt not to use a culturing agent such as sourdough, then go ahead and wash the jar.

Dish into serving bowls and add a dab of butter and a drizzle of honey, jam, maple syrup, or your favorite toppings. Homemade Apple Butter is tasty! https://chocolateboxcottage.tv/recipe-box/crock-pot-apple-butter/

A hot bowl of homemade Cream of Wheat farina is sure to “stick to your ribs,” giving you the energy you need on cold, blustery days. 

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Homemade Cream of Wheat Using Your Grain Mill

If you have a grain mill, you can make Cream of Wheat farina, a hot breakfast porridge made of finely cracked wheat grains cooked with water or milk or a little of both. 

  • Author: Michele Pryse, FNTP

Ingredients

Scale

 A few tablespoons of whole wheat for experimenting

——–

3 tablespoons of farina per person 

An equal amount of water, for soaking

1/3 cup water or milk per serving, for cooking

Optional: add ½ teaspoon sourdough starter per person. Or use whey (the liquid that floats on top of yogurt), kombucha, or yogurt. 

Instructions

Step 1: Grind a little wheat

Start with a little wheat – just a tablespoon or two.

Adjust your mill to a coarse setting and run a tablespoon of wheat through it into a bowl. You may need to adjust the setting a time or two to get it right, so just start with a tablespoon or two at a time. 

You will probably have a mixture of cracked grains and powdery flour. This is normal.

Step 2: Sift the mixture and adjust your mill

Take a small strainer with a fine mesh and pour the wheat through it. The flour will sift through. What is left in the strainer? Now feel the wheat that is in the strainer with your fingers. What size pieces of grain are there?

If the wheat is too coarse, coarser than Cream of Wheat, then adjust your mill to a finer setting. If it is all powdery flour, adjust to a coarser setting.

Try again. Mill another tablespoon or two of wheat. Sift. Feel it with your fingers. 

Step 3: Store farina and flour separately

It may take a few tries before your sifted, ground wheat resembles commercial Cream of Wheat. When you’re satisfied, you can grind as much or as little as you like. I have found that I end up with almost equal amounts flour and farina. 1 cup of wheat will yield about 1 cup of farina plus a scant cup of flour. This can vary, depending on your grain mill.

It can be helpful to estimate how much Cream of Wheat your household consumes in a given period of time, say a month or three months, for example, and mill that amount. 

Sift it well to remove the flour. Store the flour in a jar in the fridge and use it in your baking. 

Divide the farina between two or more jars. Keep enough for a week or two in a jar in the cupboard for convenience. Store the rest in the fridge or freezer. When your cupboard jar is empty, simply refill from your fridge or freezer supply. 

Step 4: Soak farina before cooking for best nutrition

Now, let’s cook our farina in a way that maximizes the nutrition and flavor and saves time. The way to accomplish this is to soak the farina overnight in water, by itself, or with a starter to unlock the best nutrition.

Measure 3 tablespoons of farina per person into a jar. 

Add an equal amount of water.

Optional: add ½ teaspoon sourdough starter per person. Or use whey (the liquid that floats on top of yogurt), kombucha, or yogurt. 

Stir well. Cap the jar and store it in the cupboard or on the counter overnight. If you eat porridge daily, you can get a system going where you use and replenish your soaked farina daily with little effort.

Step 5: Cook your cereal in 10 minutes

The next morning, scrape most of the soaked farina into an appropriate size saucepan. Leave a little behind in the jar to inoculate your next batch of farina if you want to prepare for tomorrow’s breakfast. 

Add 1/3 cup milk or water (milk makes it creamy like “real” Cream of Wheat) and a pinch of salt per serving to the pan. Put the lid on at a tilt, leaving a little space for some of the steam to escape. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Just the barest simmer if using milk. Stir occasionally to prevent lumps. Cook until the texture is just the way you like it, about 10 minutes. If your porridge is too thick, feel free to add a little more water or milk to thin it.

Step 6: Soak the next batch of farina

While it cooks, add more farina and water to the unwashed soaking jar. You don’t need to add more sourdough starter as a culturing agent because the lactobacillus bacteria are present in the unwashed jar. Cap the jar, swirl to combine, and set aside for tomorrow. If you opt not to use a culturing agent such as sourdough, then go ahead and wash the jar.

Dish into serving bowls and add a dab of butter and a drizzle of honey, jam, maple syrup, or your favorite toppings. Homemade Apple Butter is tasty! https://chocolateboxcottage.tv/recipe-box/crock-pot-apple-butter/

A hot bowl of homemade Cream of Wheat farina is sure to “stick to your ribs,” giving you the energy you need on cold, blustery days. 

 

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag me — I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Abbreviated Steps to Homemade Cream of Wheat:

1. Grind

Grind wheat on a coarse setting to resemble commercial Cream of Wheat.

2. Sift

Sift to remove the flour. Set the flour aside to use for baking.

3. Store

Store farina in an airtight jar in a cool cupboard up to 2 weeks or in the fridge or freezer for a longer period of time.

4. Soak

The night before, soak equal parts farina and water with a dab of sourdough starter in a covered jar. Set aside for morning.

5. Cook

Scrape most of the farina into an appropriate size saucepan. Add 1/3 cup water or milk and a pinch of salt per serving. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft and creamy, about 10 minutes.

6. Repeat

Add equal parts farina and water to the unwashed soaking jar, cover, and set aside for morning.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does soaked farina taste sour like sourdough? No. It doesn’t taste any different than unsoaked farina if these directions are followed. If your sourdough starter has been unfed for a period of time and is extremely sour, or if you add too much, then it could. Don’t use the liquid on top of sourdough starter to inoculate your farina.
  2. vWhere do I find whole wheat berries? Check the bulk bins at your local grocery store or look for packaged wheat under the Bob’s Red Mill label for starters. Azure Standard carries big (25 and 50 pound) bags. Affiliate link: https://www.azurestandard.com/?a_aid=r9AO3OhbYm
  3. Can I use a blender or food processor instead of a grain mill? A high speed blender, such as a Vitamix with dry container works; a food processor does not.
  4. What kind of grain mill do you recommend? I use and love my KoMo Fidibus 21, purchased secondhand. Mockmill is a good alternative. Just about any grain mill will work for making homemade Cream of Wheat.
  5. Can I let my farina soak longer than overnight? If it soaks longer than 24 hours, it may turn more tangy. Two days is usually fine, but if you aren’t going to use it that first day, just put it in the fridge where it will hold another day or two. Understand, it doesn’t go bad, but it will taste sour if stored longer than 2 days.
  6. Can I make my own steel cut oats using this method? No. Oats are commonly sold in rolled form as rolled oats or oatmeal. In order to make steel cut oats you need the whole grain, oat groats, and a special cutting tool not available for home use.
  7. Can I grind corn in my grain mill? some mills can; check the instructions that came with your mill.
  8. Is it safe to not wash the soaking jar? Isn’t it dirty? It is safe to continue using the same jar without daily washing if you use a culturing agent like sourdough starter. The pH of the sourdough starter and the fermentation process protect it. If it ever develops mold, scrape it into the compost, wash the jar in hot soapy water, and start a fresh batch.
  9. What if my farina is too thick or too thin? If it is too thick, add more water or milk; if it is too thin let it cook a little longer and it will thicken.
  10. Can I cook farina with water instead of milk? Yes. It will not taste as rich, but it is still good.
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