Turn plain rice into rice flour at home. This is as close as I’ve ever come to homemade superfine rice flour. Save cash MONEY in the long run for sure.
How did we get here?
Well, color me surprised. I never ever thought I would be encouraging anyone at all to grind their own rice flour at home for gluten free baking (or for anything else). But ever since I offered my online gluten free flour course to my email subscribers, I’ve been determined to be able to do just that.
I have so much to tell you! If you just want the basic facts on how to get it done, scroll down to watch the video or see the recipe portion ⏬. If you’d like all the facts, keep reading!
(Oh, and if you’d like to know how to use rice flour in your gluten free baking, please see my gluten free flour blends page! Rice flour must be combined with other flours to create an all purpose gluten free flour blend.)
Why is finely ground rice flour so important?
When I first began baking gluten free, I used a bean flour blend for my recipes. With you all as my witnesses, I will never ever do that again. Bean flours smell awful, at every level of baking. Just no no no.
Ever since I first started using gluten free flour blends with a rice flour base, I’ve known how important a finely ground rice flour is. In fact, the two most important characteristics in a proper gluten free flour blend are how finely ground the rice flour is, and (of course) what else is in the blend to balance out that rice flour.
You could even argue that a finely ground rice is more important than a balanced blend, since you can sometimes rebalance a flour blend with other recipe ingredients (although that can be tough). But a gritty rice flour is a dead end.✋🏻 There are two reasons for that:
One, a gritty rice flour is often the reason that people will say that a gluten free baked good is “good, for gluten free.” Not just plain good. The mouth feel of grit is just the worst. It ruins the entire experience, and frankly everyone will judge your baked goods harshly. Because they just won’t be very good.
Two, a gritty rice flour will often mean that the ingredients in a recipe simply don’t combine properly. Think of how you can combine different colors of fine sand into a lovely, unified design. But a bunch of pebbles in a jar will always have empty spaces between and among them.
There is one exception, though. If you are allowing the rice flour to rest in a mixture for a long time before baking, as in a slow rising yeast bread, gritty rice grains will soften.
How to make rice flour from rice grains
The only brand of truly superfine rice flour that I believe you can buy retail is made by Authentic Foods (affiliate link). It is silky smooth, no doubt. It’s what I’ve always used and recommended, and I still do. But it’s not very available in stores (although I buy it online easily), and it’s super expensive.
There are other brands of so-called superfine rice flour, like from Vitacost, but in my experience, they’re not up to par. And nothing is going to be cheaper than buying long grain rice itself, and grinding it into flour—in the long run.
Since rice itself is so inexpensive, and rice flour is nothing more than ground rice, we should be able to make our own rice flour. For that, we need a grain mill. I’ll explain why.
Which grain mill should I use?
This post is not sponsored. The product links do contain affiliate codes, which earns me anywhere from a few pennies to a few bucks if you use them to purchase. Feel free to shop around!
I’ve tried making rice flour at home with a high speed blender. If you search online, you’ll find a few sources who promise that it works well enough. But in my experience, the result is nothing but a grainy rice flour.
Since high speed blenders create heat while they work, you simply can’t run flour through the blender twice without a lot of trouble. And even if you could, it wouldn’t be finely ground enough.
Most grain mills are designed to grind wheat. Since there are harder and softer varieties of wheat, and wheat in general is not as hard a grain as rice, there are more options for wheat-eaters. Pretty quickly, I was able to narrow down my choices to three, none of which are suitable for wet or oily grains:
One, the Komo Classic Grain Mill, is made by a well-respected German company. The casing is made from beechwood, and it’s a “stone burr” grain mill.
The adjustments you can make in texture with a stone burr grain mill are more precise, as you have a lot of control over adjustments. Fancy, right? Well, Komo mills cost about $450 U.S., give or take.
Two, the Nutri-Mill Grain Mill is a much more reasonably-priced “impact grain” mill. It retails for a bit less than $220 U.S. It has a very nice compact design, but is louder than option 3 below and I’ve read more than a couple reports of the compact design being the cause of mold growing in the housing in between uses. Yuck!
Three, the WonderMill Grain Mill . This one is my pick, as you can see. The price is the same as the Nutr-Mill, and the WonderMill is also an impact grain mill. You can only select one of three settings, Pastry, Bread and Coarse, but since I want the finest grind, I don’t need more control. This is the mill I selected and purchased.
But one fact remains: if you run the rice through the grinder only once, your rice flour will have a gritty feel overall. It’s not that there will be a few larger flakes here and there, which sifting the flour would remove. You must grind twice. That means passing the rice through the grinder once, then passing the once-ground flour back through the grinder once more.
What about wet grinding?
Indian cooking frequently uses finely ground rice flour in making such dishes as roti. From the research I did online, it seems like wet-grinding is the most common traditional method.
I searched online for a wet grain grinder, and was able to find a few machines sold in the U.S. that seemed to be good quality. But there were warnings everywhere that even the best versions often arrived broken, and customer service was nonexistent. No thank you.
You cannot grind anything wet in any of the three mills I mentioned above. But based upon the fact that Indian cooks use wet grinders, I tried soaking rice in hot water for 2 hours, fully drying it at room temperature, and then passing in through my WonderMill dry grinder twice.
To my surprise, the soaked rice was grainier than the rice I hadn’t soaked! 😳 I’ll chalk that up to being one of life’s little mysteries.
Is it worth the price?
Now, we arrive at the ultimate question: price. And the answer is? It depends (of course).
Based upon the current price of Authentic Foods superfine white rice flour of $5.99/pound, and the current price of Mahatma long grain rice of $1.29 a pound, grinding my own rice flour costs $4.70 less a pound. That’s a savings of 78%. But, of course, that doesn’t take into account the price of the grain mill, which is about $219.
Over time, if you grind all of your own rice flour, you will save money, no doubt. But it will take some time for you to earn back the $219 of the machine. After about 46 pounds of ground rice, you’ll have made back your money. And then the rest is yours.
When I purchased this machine, I assumed that I would use it enough to learn whether I could recommend it to you. Then, I would write this post, consider the mill a cost of doing business, and set it aside. But I made at least 10 pounds of rice flour in my testing.
I’ve been using it to make my lovely gum-free blend. So far, I’ve made pancakes, enchilada sauce, crepes and pudding. So far, so good. It’s not as finely ground as Authentic Foods, but it’s quite fine. And way, way less expensive.
I’ve also used the mill to make oat flour from old fashioned oats and chia flour from chia seeds for smoothies. I’m rather enjoying myself.
Only you can decide if it’s worthwhile for you to purchase a grain mill to make your own rice flour (and other flours) at home, of course. But the option is at least there. Options are good! 👍🏻Oh, and if you’d like to take some of that rice and make rice pudding, I’m not planning to talk you out of it.