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Buying in Bulk on a Budget

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I always give myself some slack in the healthful eating department at the end of my pregnancies and after a baby is born. I know some of you can pull off six-course, from-scratch breakfasts, lunches, and dinners when you have a newborn or are 10 months pregnant, but I'm just not that ambitious.

So for the past few months, we've stuck to pretty simple meals and had more convenience foods than usual. We've haven't gone over-budget and we've not been living on total junk food by any means, but there's been a lot more white flour, sugar, and processed foods consumed in our home than normal.

Now that life has settled down a bit more and we're more adjusted to
homeschooling and having three little ones, we're working on getting back
to more healthful eating around here. We're slowly using up the extra processed foods we've accumulated and going back to cooking and baking from scratch.

One of the things I'm especially ready to add back in again is using freshly-ground whole wheat flour. However, my dilemma has been how to afford buying wheat kernels.

When we were living in Kansas City, I was purchasing wheat kernels for around $0.69 per pound at Whole Foods. Now that we've moved and no longer have a Whole Foods store nearby, though, I've been on a search for a new and inexpensive source of wheat kernels. The health food stores here allow you to purchase small quantities of wheat kernels, but they are over $1.50 per pound–which adds up really quickly when you bake as much as I do!

I found that buying wheat kernels in bulk was going to save me a large amount of money but my only problem was that buying in bulk meant I'd also have to pay a larger amount of money upfront. I thought about just using some extra non-grocery money to buy a big bag of wheat kernels, but then I decided to challenge myself to see if I could set aside a little bit from our $40 per week grocery budget and, over time, save up enough to be able to afford this bulk purchase.

By staying under-budget and mostly skipping shopping one week, I was surprised to find I had enough leftover after only one month of saving to purchase a 50-pound bag of wheat kernels last week!

I was planning to make a trip to a nearby town which has a bulk foods store to pick these up, but my older sister lives near an Amish Bulk Foods Store which has incredible
prices so she offered to buy some for me and bring it with her
when she came down for our little sister's wedding last week.

In addition to the wheat kernels, she also picked up a big bag of wheat germ and wheat bran for me–two items which were much less expensive at the Amish Bulk Foods Store than they are at the grocery stores here.

Altogether, the total for all of those items was only $30! I'm guessing the wheat kernels will last me close to a year and the wheat bran and wheat germ should last me at least a few months.

I was so excited to be able to find a way to creatively afford a bulk purchase like this without going over our $40/week grocery budget. And now the wheels are turning in my brain and I'm contemplating saving up for some other bulk purchases.

Since I'm new to buying in bulk, I'd love to have input from those of you who are more experienced at this. What items do you routinely find are better deals to purchase in bulk? Are there any websites or companies you would recommend for bulk purchases?

**************************

Edit: For those of you who have asked, I have this grain mill.
My dad bought it for me for Christmas two years ago. I usually grind up about 5 pounds of wheat kernels at a time and use what I can immediately and store the rest in the freezer until I use it. If you do this, it helps preserve the nutrients in the flour.

I usually use straight whole-wheat flour in much of my baking and at least half whole-wheat and half white flour in most of the rest of my baking. Here's our favorite Whole Wheat Bread recipe and here's our favorite Whole Wheat Waffle recipe. I hope to share more of our favorite whole wheat recipes soon.

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96 Comments

  • Becky says:

    I’d love to know how you actually grind the wheat into flour. Then, to bake your bread or whatever, are you using a bread machine or doing the job all by yourself? You are amazing!

  • mary beth says:

    Wow! Great buy! Do all those products keep well??? Is there a special way to extend the shelf life of these? I always worry about products “going by” before I can use them.

  • Heather says:

    I would love to hear about creative solutions to safely storing all of that wheat!!

  • Katherine says:

    Try the Honeyville Grain Company website.

    If you sign up for their monthly email letters, they offer a discount on either specific products or an entire order. Singles or smaller families can also find basic products in a more appropriate size that’ll fit their needs.

    The shipping is more than reasonable at $4.95 for an entire order no matter how much you purchase which is certainly a savings on gas.

    Hope that helps!

  • Stasi says:

    How do you grind it? I have bought oatmeal in bulk at an Amish store in Shipshewana (?), IN.

  • Lydia says:

    I have an Amish bulk food store that I shop at too and I have found that oatmeal is usually quite a bit cheaper as well as raisins, coconut, brown sugar and seasonings. Oh and yeast too!

    Don’t know if this is the same in your area…I’m from Pennsylvania.

  • Courtney says:

    Azure Standard is great for buying wheat berries, brown rice, pintos and many other bulk purchases. They also sell five gallon food-grade buckets and gamma seals to store your bulk purchases so they last as long as you need them!

    Blessings,
    Courtney

  • Ruth says:

    I’m very intrigued! How do you grind the wheat kernels? I live in an area with lots of farms and grain mills so I’m encourage that perhaps I could find bulk wheat kernels and grind fresh flour. I assume you grind it as you need it? How do you store it?

  • Kristi says:

    i’m also interested in the grinding process. my hubby’s boss just gave us 3lbs of wheat kernals.

  • Rebekah says:

    That is a really really good deal. I order mine and pay almost 30 dollars for 1 25lb bag of organic wheat.

    Wheat lasts a long time it’s when you grind it into flour that it goes bad quickly. It’s best to keep the flour in the freezer.

  • Katie says:

    $30?????? That is awesome. A 50 bag of wheat (orgainc) cost me about$55!

  • Anna says:

    Congrats to you on finding a great deal. I’d also like to know what kind of grinder you use for your wheat kernels and how you store the flour (freezer?)

    Great website and I really enjoy the personal touch you add to the great deals. I am IMPRESSED and amazed with your goal to buy your house with your savings. It has been inspirational to me and my hubby and I have “upped” our financial goals to stretch us more than we have been doing–and so far we’re on the right track with help from above and hard work.

    Congrats again and thanks!

  • maria says:

    that is a great price…we live in the land of sam’s, walmart, and 1 small local store…don’t have any good stores to buy from like aldi’s etc, More less an Amish or even a LDS bulk store.

    Jealous of course…great buy!

  • Katie says:

    For those of you asking, wheat berries will stay good more than 20 years if stored in a cool dry place. The shell of the wheat protects it until it is ready to germinate (moisture and heat). Wheat berries have been found hundreds of years old and still in perfect condition…GOD is good!

    You grind wheat in a grain mill/grinder. There are hundreds on the market. It’s much better than using store bought flour as that is rancid.

  • Marlene W. says:

    My favorite website to buy in bulk is http://www.bulkfoods.com. Shipping is $5 for orders over $75 or more, so a couple of friends and I make one order for all of us every several months or so 🙂 Then we all benefit from the cheap-o shipping – without having to spend the $75.

    I have also discovered that our local farmer’s market carries dry good health foods in bulk. Who knew?!

  • Lauren says:

    I’ve wanted to grind my flour, so I’d love to know what you use.

  • holi says:

    My mormon friend offers all the time to let me buy into the bulk purchases they do. And she will teach me how to grind it, but I don’t understand really how to use it! On the blogs there are many mormon families that share how to and what to do about the wheat! I think it’s great & if you can, share some first timer Easy recipes! Especially, ones my older kids and DH won’t realize I have made a healthy change!

    tx,
    h

  • I love to buy in bulk~it’s the only way I buy my grains. I also visit a bulk Amish food store about twice a year and stock my freezer-it works great!

  • Carrie says:

    i bought some raw wheat germ from an amish store once, but i ended up throwing it out once i read up online on how quickly it goes rancid and that eating rancid wheat germ can actually have a negative effect on your health. not only had i not gotten the stuff into my freezer as soon as i purchased it — we were at my parents’ cabin so it sat in my warm car for days — but i had no idea how long the amish store had had it sitting on the shelf, when it had been produced, etc. This particular Amish store had a lot of consumer goods on the shelves that were way past their expiration dates, and I don’t know if their bulk items were fresher or not (they LOOKED better, i.e. the labels were not faded, but I don’t know).

    So I’m wary of buying any more raw wheat germ. But as for the wheat kernels, i’m guessing they’ll keep well before they’re ground, right? How are you planning to store it?

  • Kellie says:

    Wheat Montana is the BEST! I always have 50-100lbs of flour hanging around…..with couponing, I’m well stocked to the point of needing to buy a new freezer this week. I’ve saved enough to buy a side of beef. Wow, will we be stocked….talk about buying in bulk! Oh, I also buy coffee in bulk. 25lbs at a time. We are coffee snobs around here and I love my italian roast from coffeeexpress.com I believe. I pay 50% of what it would cost me to buy the same off a store shelf. Next month I need to order flour and coffee, then I’ll be set just keeping up with a few coupons. My grocery budget has dropped from 1,000 a month to 250 a month since April of this year. What a Savings Coupons and Bulk Buying are!

  • 4monkeymama says:

    Ditto on Honeyville Grain!
    I LOVE my nutri-mill for grinding wheat. I also keep white flour, white sugar and rice in 5 gallon buckets with gamma-seal lids in my pantry so that I can just twist them open and get what I need to fill my counter-top canisters.

    Remember to keep an eye out for the price of wheat. Its’ price will vary greatly. (Kinda the way that gasoline does.) I was completely out last spring and HAD to buy at $45 a bag after a crop failure. Know when you will need to replenish and watch for several months before buying. Our family of 6 uses about 75lbs a year for all of our bread. We still use 50lbs of white flour too.

  • Katie says:

    I haven’t seen this question so far, and I’m curious: how many pounds of flour will you have after you grind it? I’m thinking that the 50 lbs. will become less once it’s ground, and it doesn’t seem like it would last a year, if you bake much.

  • Katie says:

    I had to laugh at your one bag a year… We go through 6 of those, 😉 but I guess we do have two more children and we eat a lot of bread.

    Anyway, a great way to keep bugs our of your wheat is to put it in a bucket with 3 or 4 bay leaves on the bottom and 3 or 4 on the top. Since doing this I have yet to have bug issues. (I buy a large container of bay leaves at my club wholesale store)

    *******************
    Money Saving Mom here: Only time will tell how long this big bag lasts us, but since we don’t use all whole-wheat flour all the time, I’m guessing it could last close to a year. We’ll see!

  • Angie says:

    Can I ask where the Amish bulk store you visited was, or how to find them in your local area? Thanks!

  • Tanya Y. says:

    Buying wheat kernels in bulk and grinding them is a great step in the right direction for increasing your families’ health. Try searching for a grain mill called the Wonder Mill,I (and many of my friends have this grain mill as well) have used this for many months with no trouble at all–and my grinder gets plenty of use! Grain mills are not cheap, yet are worth their weight in gold, because of their value in nourishing your family with good healthy grains that are as fresh as you can get (unless you grew your own wheat of course!) The freshness of the flour and the fact you are eating “whole grains”, not part of the grain or bleached grains–yikes!! I purchased mine at lovetolearn.net, yet I am sure there are many places to purchase.

  • betsie says:

    go to beprepared.com and see how much there wheat is. It is usually around the same price as lds distribution has. I know my mom gets stuff through honeyville also.i got all mine when I had a lds cannery near by and was able to get lots of wheat for cheap

  • Linda C says:

    We get our wheat through our church, but you don’t have to be Mormon, anyone can get it as well. You can go here http://www.providentliving.org/location/display/1,12568,2026-1-4-39290,00.html to find the closest home storage center. The phone #’s are listed as well. We get 25 lbs of wheat for about $6. They also have powdered milk, sugar and other items. You can go here to see what they have and the prices:
    http://www.providentliving.org/pfw/multimedia/files/pfw/pdf/121874_Fall2009WE_HomeStoragePriceSheet_pdf.pdf
    You do have to place an order and it takes almost 2 months to get it (they place an order with the Distribution center in Salt Lake once a month and then it takes 6 weeks for it to be delivered). But the prices rival those of Sam’s Club and we have liked what we have gotten from there.

  • amy says:

    Do you ever have issues when going from having pre-packaged, processed foods in the house to homemade things? I find that if I’ve had packaged snacks in the house and then try to offer my son a home-made muffin or something like that for a snack he just wants the packaged food back. So frustrating!

  • shelly says:

    Ditto on the providentliving.com website. Our church lets you buy all these things without being a memeber. A few girlfriends and I got our grinders out and ground a 50 lbs bag of soft white wheat (we heard it was better for baking) for only $13. It actually gave us more than 50 lbs once we ground it. The best way to keep it is to freeze it. It stays good as long as it is kept in a cool place for 12 months but after 6 months, it starts to lose it’s nutitional value. But it will still be better than bleached white flour regardless.

  • Amish stores tend to have cash and carry type stores with dented and expired can goods, but their bulk foods are fresh and if you get something that is not good, they are usually very happy to replace it. (I used to work in one for awhile) Wheat Montana wheat is so good! I am blessed to live within several blocks from a main store so love having that!
    Wheat if stored properly should keep pretty much forever. They even found wheat that was good still in King Tut’s tomb, although I am not sure of the nutrition in it yet!

  • Angi says:

    This spring I called a local health food store chain “Sun Harvest” which is about 2 hrs away, but in the same city our parents live and asked if I could order in bulk. They sell items in bulk but I didn’t want to scoop out 50lbs of wheat into plastic baggies! They let me order bags of anything I wanted and I paid wholesale plus 10%. I got hard and soft white wheat, gluten, real salt, rolled oats, black beans, rice, soy lethecin and succanaut. It was great! So don’t be bashful to call the local stores and ask if you can have a discount if you buy the whole bag. Its really not any extra work for them and they make a little extra.

  • I just got my grinder at the beginning of July, as a birthday present, and I LOVE it! I found a store nearby that sells tons of bulk items, so I get my wheat berries, unbleached white flour, sugar, rolled oats, wheat gluten, wheat germ, various other flours and spices there. Buying in bulk is a HUGE money saver! My pantry is lined with 5-gallon buckets and home canned goods–and I love it. 🙂

  • Kirby says:

    Anyone know where an Amish bulk store is in Texas?

  • Beth says:

    Hi,
    I am in several co ops every year. One is a Walton Feed/Wheat Montana co op and the other is a Raw Honey co op. The honey is twice a year and the other is once a year. I actually buy my wheat for the year with my co ops. It is VERY important to transfer your wheat to a bucket right away, to help keep bugs out. Also extras (since we buy hundreds of lbs. a year) needs to be kept in a basement or somewhere cool. Also, I use a Nutrimill to grind my wheat, rice, etc. I LOVE it and can grind two batches of bread in one sitting. Before I started doing this, I didn’t know there were SO MANY selections of wheat. But there are tons. The types I buy are hard white, hard red, soft white, 7 grain, ezekiel, spelt and kamut. I make my own tortillas and I started using 1/2 spelt and 1/2 kamut and my family actually prefer those over the WW. Here are some of my recipes that I use: http://wisdoms-way.blogspot.com/search/label/recipes

  • Well, I live in Utah, so it’s incredibly easy to buy items in bulk like this! I have my pick of several places. (I know, we’re lucky!) So glad you found someplace inexpensive!!

    One tip: have you ever tried Dough Enhancer? I find it really lightens the texture of 100% Whole Wheat flour items I bake.

    http://www.utahdealdiva.com/2009/04/frugal-baking-homemade-bread.html

    Looking forward to seeing all your fun creations with this purchase!

  • Kendra says:

    We use Azure Standard, too. I can order on the site but a gal down the road is the co-op coordinator here so the truck delivers to her. I love driving 5 minutes to pick up my order 🙂 Takes me 10 to get to the grocery store.

    I regularly keep the following in bulk, whether from Azure or from Costco:

    white sugar
    brown sugar
    unbleached flour
    oats
    Scottish Oats (a family favorite)
    corn meal
    pinto beans
    Xylitol
    wheat germ
    wheat bran
    oat bran
    millet
    Semolina (for scattering on the pan under pizza dough and French bread)
    all spices (kept in freezer)- WHAT an amazing savings to purchase these in bulk rather than the itsy bitsy grocery store bottles

    We buy our whole wheat flour from a young man at church who grinds it freshly for us.

    ~Kendra

  • KellyH says:

    I find buying wheat gluten, oatmeal, brown rice in bulk is much cheaper. My mom usually orders sour cherry balls couple times a year from bulkfoods.com and I order with her. I dont’ think their shipping is too bad.

    KellyH

  • Melissa says:

    Sorry to ask a dumb question, but is whole wheat flour JUST whole wheat grain? Do you add anything to it? Also, I did a search for grain mills and found that there was one for a kitchenaid mixer attachment. Anyone have any experience with one of those?

  • Erika says:

    I buy my bulk foods through the local Mormon Church (and NO you don’t have to be a member, although it helps if you know one, because then you’ll get the “head’s up” on cannery days). I can get rice, wheat, beans (I have 25 pounds of black beans and white beans sitting in five gallon buckets in my pantry right now), fruit drink mix (think Tang), dehydrated carrots, hot chocolate, dehydrated apples and other things through them. You can buy in bulk or in number ten cans (or pouches…not as rodent proof). It is really cheap. I got 50 pounds of wheat for 8.00. It’s a really nice service they offer and since they believe everyone should have food storage, it allows anyone to shop there.

    Wheat keeps for like 25 years stored so long as you don’t grind it. If you grind it, it loses it’s nutritional value pretty fast. My advice is to do what I do. Get five gallon buckets with self-sealing lids, put your wheat in that (no fuss, no muss with rodents or bugs) and then bag and tag it, and store it in a corner of your bedroom closet or in your pantry. Then when you need it, voila! You just pop the lid and you’re good to go.

    Once you grind it, freeze it, or it’ll lose nutritional value really fast (freezing helps delay the inevitable).

  • Shelley Lard says:

    Does anyone know of any place in the south Louisiana area to buy in bulk? We have a Sams here but they are typically full of high end and processed foods. I bake my own bread as much as possible, and thought I was doing quite well, until I read this. Time to step up my game plan. I also have gone from $75 as a weekly grocery budget to $50, thank to your coupon links and suggestions. Keep em coming!! Feel free to email me with any suggestions or links to websites that may be useful. Thanks, Shelley.

  • Tosh says:

    I also had to laugh at the one bag in one year, wow! My family eats a lot of whole wheat bread, pancakes, waffles, cake, muffins, etc. We will go through 8 to 12 bags in a year. Depending how much I make and share with others. I buy my stuff from the LDS Home Storage Cannery. I buy the items I’m going to use within the year bulk to put in the 5 gallon buckets. Then I can a bunch for long term storage in the #10 can. Stored right this can last up to 30 years! It is such a blessing to know I have staples just in case. I buy a lot more than just wheat. Powdered milk, beans, oatmeal, dried carrots, dried onions, dried apple slices, rice and a few more items. These items are so cheap compared to other place and the quality is excellent. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

  • Noochymama says:

    i love to go to the amish store to get all my spices! they are so incredibly cheap. i found great deals on cinnamon, chili powder, etc…even crystalized ginger! i walked out with a HUGE bag of stuff for $25.

  • Sherry says:

    Ditto on all the info on the LDS Canneries. For the gal who asked about a bulk food source in southern Louisiana (looks like there is one in Slidell) , go to this site:
    http://www.providentliving.org/location/map/0,12566,2026-1-4,00.html

    It gives the locations of all LDS canneries in the world.

    Also, for pricing, here is the link to an order form which reflects the pricing:

    http://www.providentliving.org/pfw/multimedia/files/pfw/pdf/121874_Fall2009WE_HomeStoragePriceSheet_pdf.pdf

  • Ellen says:

    This is such a timely post. I’ve been wanting to find a place to buy some bulk goods. You mentioned you grind the wheat & then use up or freeze it. Do you also freeze the wheat that is not ground? How do you store that?

  • Dawn says:

    I bought a 45lb. bucket of wheat for $17.50 at Walmart a couple weeks ago. I live in Utah. I was excited that it was already in a bucket, so I don’t have to worry about finding a container. Go to this link, it is a really great article about wheat storage and a recommendation of containers to use to store it. http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/2009/06/wheat-storage-made-possible-by.html

  • Mary says:

    Has anyone tried grinding rice to make rice flour in one of these? I’ve heard it’s harder on these machines than wheat and I just wondered if anyone’s had any luck, and if the rice flour comes out fine enough.

    Thanks!

  • Kelly says:

    I have the same mill as you do! I found a co-op through breadbeckers.com and they order 4 times a year. I go through a 45 lb. bucket in about 4-6 mos. I also order lecithin and gluten from them, they have lots of stuff on their website! When you order through a co-op, there is a discount on price and shipping.

  • Michele says:

    As far as buying in bulk, I use my budget very differently than you do. I buget $100 per week for food. But I am not strict about it like you are. One week I might spend $200 because I’ve bought a lot of things in bulk. Another week, I may spend $50 because I just bought produce and milk. I don’t care if there isn’t money “in the food envelope” (we have enough to cover it). When I see a good deal, I buy as much as my family will eat as long as it will stay fresh. In the end, I still spend about $100 on average for food. I just don’t stick to $100 week in and week out. I think if you are going to start on bulk buying you may need to “borrow from the future” sometimes in order to do so. As long as you stay within your average for the whole year, it shouldn’t matter what you do week in and week out.

  • Nicole says:

    So how do you find an Amish bulk store near you? I googled it, but didn’t find much. TIA!

  • Jackie Bull says:

    I tried using your bread recipe (Tammy’s because we don’t have a bread machine) and the dough didn’t rise. I was wondering if you have to put the yeast in the warm water before adding the other ingredients.

  • lele says:

    I live in PA right in the middle of Amish and salvage stores, I frequently get unflavored gelatin (to make jello using fruit juice with), raw nuts, coconut, carob powder, yeast and unrefined brown sugar.

  • Carrie says:

    I live close to an Amish settlement and there is a bulk store about 30 minutes or so from home. I get all of my spices from there – all are less expensive, some much MUCH lower. More importantly I’ve found the quality and flavor is better. My shopping list always includes flour, nuts, and flaxseed. I’ve found the ground flaxseed to be a gem! A large bag for just a couple dollars and I can add it to yogurt, smoothies, and baking easily! I go a few times a year and spend around $60, which includes picking up items for family out-of-state.

  • I hate to admit this, but I didn’t even know that “regular people” did this. I guess I’ve never thought about that it’s possible. When I saw those large sacks I was amazed. I’m impressed with this… good luck and good health on getting back into the totally helpful eating habit.

  • RunToFinish says:

    I didn’t realize you used to live in KC! That’s where I live…and sometimes it feels like we are so behind on all the really great health foods that are out there!

  • Laura says:

    I belong to a buying group. We order through Walton Feed and hire our own semi. We get a good discount from Walton, and the shipping is just a few pennies per pound because we hire the truck instead of using a service like UPS.

    I buy hard red and hard white wheat, pastry wheat, oats (did you know that adding a little oat flour to your bread will boost the vitamin E and retard mold growth?), and a few other things that I don’t generally mill – flax, brown rice, etc.

    I can get 25 lb. of quinoa for about $35 – much cheaper than buying it in little boxes. This last year the conventional wheats were about $15 for 50 lb and the organics were about $25 (we really do get a great discount)

    Our food/household budget is $140 a month, and I set aside a little each month for the co-op orders. We have a fall order coming soon – nuts, dry fruits, teas, chocolate, honey and the like – so I’m squirrelling the money for that right now. (Easy, since we eat so much from our garden this time of year.)

    Hope this helps! If anyone has specific questions of me, leave me a note at my blog:
    http://www.tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com

  • Cathy says:

    We order some items in bulk from Country Life Natural Foods ( http://www.clnf.org ) and others from our health foods store. Buying the whole bag of something from our health food store has proven to much more cost effective than getting it from their “bulk” bins or in the smaller bags.

    Items we buy in bulk are: hard white wheat (for bread and yeast-made items), soft white wheat berries (for pastry flour, better for use in quick breads, pancakes, or pretty much anything that calls for baking powder), sea salt, baking powder, evaporated cane juice crystals (a “healthier” sugar), popcorn (both for popping and for grinding our cornmeal), several kinds of dried beans, oats, organic raisins (much cheaper than buying organic ones other ways), brown rice and beef.

  • yamini says:

    wow, amazing. It remind me of India. That’s how we used to do in India. After coming here we buy wheat floor from Indian grocery store. They sell 20lb bags for about $12 – $15.

  • Emily King says:

    I am in Western Arkansas and had to pay $60 for my last bag of wheat. Does anyone know of a cheaper place in my area to buy wheat?

  • Someone asked about using the kitchen aid attachment to grind wheat and I will pass on what I was told. The attachment doesn’t grind the wheat as fine as the wheat grinder does. And it burns up the motor on your mixer faster, then you are out a mixer and grinder. I bought a Nutrimill to grind the wheat and then use my kitchen aid mixer to mix the dough. It works great. the mill is loud but it runs for less than 5 minutes. You can go from wheat berries to 2 loaves of bread in less than 1 1/2 hours! We also bake alot of muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc and freeze for morning breakfasts. The soft wheat makes great cookies also! I wouldn’t sneak fresh ground wheat into my baked goods without letting everyone know. Fresh wheat has an abrasive action in your insides and helps “clean you out and keep you regular”. knowing this would be useful info for some folks. We have been grinding our own wheat for 15 months. Now to figure out hamburger and hot dog buns. Bread Beckers in GA is a great resource and Urban Homemaker in Co is also!

  • Wow, I am coming in late on this convo, so I’m assuming that people have given you tons of tips. I just reposted my first ever “foodie” type post when I had just started my blog. It shows what wheat berries look like, how its ground etc, since it seems like some people have questions about it. 🙂
    http://inpassionatepursuit.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-make-whole-wheat-bread-tasty.html

  • For storing bulk purchases, I called the bakery section of Albertsons and asked them if I could have their left over frosting buckets (about 5 gallon size). They were delighted to give them to me along with lids that sealed tight. All I had to do was wash them out. They said they go through several each day and just recycle them. They were happy to give them to somebody who would use them. I imagine most grocery stores that have a bakery would have these buckets. They are great!

  • Love this! I have still yet to find a good deal around here on whole wheat flour, so I am stuck paying high prices until I find a better deal (I’m in Northeast GA). BTW, love that sweet potato recipe that is with the waffle recipe. I have used that several times with meals, and is so good!

  • Northwest Ga, not northeast. I don’t know what I was thinking…lol

  • Lachelle Jensen says:

    I saw a previous post about providentliving.org; I also get my wheat through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Their prices ARE wonderful!

  • Tammy L says:

    Mmmm, that’s the same wheat we use for our homemade bread. 🙂 The hard white Prairie Gold wheat makes delicious 100% whole wheat bread! 🙂 For those wondering why Crystal paid less than $30 for 50#, it is chemical-free but not “organic”, so it is cheaper than organic wheat. 🙂

    We go through a lot of wheat! 🙂 50# of wheat berries will make 50# of flour. The weight doesn’t change during grinding, only volume.

    Since we do buy our grains in bulk (I use white flour occasionally and buy it in 50# bags as well) breads are an affordable gift or potluck item for us. 🙂 Maybe that’s why we go through so much! 😀

  • Wheat Montana is my favorite. You can order from their website, but it is more expensive than what you paid. Thanks for sharing the info!

  • Kim says:

    I have a Nutrimill Grinder and I do grind brown rice in it. I have not had a problem grinding it. I have had some difficulty grinding corn, but if I stand by it and mix the corn in the dispenser it works fine.
    I needed food grade plastic buckets to store my grains in, but after purchasing the bulk food I did not have money to buy the buckets. I got a great tip, ask your local bakeries for their used icing buckets. It took a little time and I had to find a person willing to save them for me. However, I was able to get quite a few for free.

  • Cindy says:

    I too am interested to find out how this becomes flour and how much you get from it after grinding it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you post something about it. It has piqued my interest.

  • Caroline says:

    I’ve found organic oatmeal and organic rice to be MUCH cheaper buying in a 50# bag from my co-op!

  • RachelN says:

    KellyH, I was about to comment on the kitchenaid stand grinder. I LOVE it! http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-GMA-Grain-Attachment-Mixers/dp/B00004SGFL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1249566537&sr=8-1 I blew up three of the electric ones that was posted. Their little motors just couldn’t handle it. I was processing 50 lb bags at a time for relief society. (Mormons women’s group) I third the provident living site. Being LDS taught me 80% or my thriftiness.

    I have tried doing rice flour and its almost impossible to get it fine enough for me. You have to get out a mortar and pestle! It is possible, my girlfriend has celicas’ (sp? the no wheat thing) and grinds rice in a coffee grinder. The one with the wheels, not the blades.

  • Erica says:

    Does anyone know about an Amish bulk store near Wichita KS?

  • Bree says:

    Thanks for this post. I am really wanting to try the hard white wheat since I hear how nice it bakes with all the same nutrition (but I do love the regular red wheat too) I have a electric mill that my Mom used and I need to test it out to see if it still works. All the comments in this section have been helpful. I researched grain a few months ago and it seemed like it was going to cost me close to $70 with shipping now I know it can be found for way less. Thanks for all the info

  • What a good idea to save up each week. I’m still going back and forth with myself whether I should invest in a grain mill or save up and buy sprouted, organic wheat flour in bulk.

    http://www.sproutedgrainbread.com/products.html

  • Alison Armstrong says:

    Do you have HyVee out there? They order the Montana wheat 25# bag for $13 for me. That is the cheapest i have found wheat. I go through a lot of it though, we eat a lot of bread

  • Alison Armstrong says:

    I forgot to add that our Walmart has been carrying a bad of wheat montana for about $14 / 25# bag too!

  • Merrilee says:

    After canning for the first time last year, my husband and I decided to plan ahead for this year by collecting our change and buying the spices we use the most in bulk. We found the best prices online at Monterey Bay Spice Company (http://www.herbco.com/). Now we’re saving up to buy parchment paper for all our bread and pizza that we bake on the baking stone, and will probably use the WEBstaurant Store for that purchase (http://www.webstaurantstore.com/). I’ll have to bookmark this post, because I think at some point my husband will want to start grinding his own wheat, and I’ll have to come back and re-read all the comments about that subject!

  • Amy J says:

    I like this site. http://www.somethingbetternaturalfoods.com .They deliver with a minimum order of $450 I think. I just formed an informal “coop” with a few friends, saved up my grocery money and bought a bunch. They deliver TO MY HOUSE in their big truck, so it’s convenient. Last time we ordered over 150 pounds of food, so it was a good thing! It’s cheaper this way than paying shipping usually. I think I’m going to save up until I have enough to do a whole order by myself and buy enough grain for a year for my growing family of 6. I usually need about 6 #50 sacks of wheat, 2 #25 sacks of rye, and some other grains. As well as spices, beans, rice, nuts, dried fruit.

    Also, I have a Bosch Universal that I got from here: http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/bosch_universal.aspx that I love. I can make 6 loaves of #2 each made of 100% whole wheat. I can do that in about an hour total, so if I am having a very industrious day, I can bake several dozen loaves and I sell some to local people to help pay for the grain. I usually charge about $6 (it’s all organic, with local honey and olive oil) but one lady insists on paying me $10 per loaf! 🙂

    The things I recommend buying in bulk:
    Grains! ALWAYS store these in food buckets.
    Nuts
    Seeds (for sprouting or grinding and mixing with flour)
    spices (whatever you’ll use in 6 months, but they’re MUCH cheaper this way)
    Dried fruit
    BEANS (great cheap meal when you have no money! )
    honey (I buy a gallon at a time, sometimes 5 gallons)
    SALT (the good stuff! 🙂 )

  • Amy J says:

    Oh, and here’s a recipe for 6 loaves of bread. If you have a Bosch. Don’t try this by hand!

    Grind about 10 cups of (wheat montana brand preferably) wheat flour (can mix barley, rye, spelt, etc too-but make sure it’s at least 2/3 wheat)
    Dump the wheat in the bowl of the bosch.
    Add:
    1/3 cup wheat gluten (any grocery store sells it usually)
    3 Tablespoons dough enhancer (it’s mainly powdered vitamin C to keep it fresh longer)
    1/3 cup SAF instant yeast. (BUY THIS IN BULK-TOO EXPENSIVE AT A STORE. Even Ebay has okay prices)

    Blend those dry ingredients together. Then add:

    1 cup honey
    1 cup Olive Oil
    6-1/2 cups Hot Water(not boiling-don’t want to kill the yeast!)

    Blend together until it’s a wet dough. Then, grind a few more cups of flour and sprinkle 2 cups on top of the mixture. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of sea salt on top of that. Blend it in slowly and add more flour gradually until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in Bosch on high for about 3 minutes, until the gluten is developed (long “strings” start to form on the surface of the dough)

    Let rest in bowl 10 minutes (loosen lid of bowl or it will explode!!!) 🙂

    Slam on board greased with Olive Oil a few times to release the air bubbles. Shape into six loaves. Rise until double (covered with light cloth) Bake in loaf pans. Eat! Freezes well.

    The same dough also makes great cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, dinner rolls, parmesan and herb rolls, hot dog buns, sandwich buns, etc. I use it for everything.

  • I buy Basamati Rice and butter in bulk at Costco. I freeze the butter until I am ready to use it and the rice will stay good for a long time as long as it’s stored in a cool somewhat dark place. I don’t remember the exact cost of each item, but I know they are both considerably cheaper there than any other place.

  • Deborah says:

    What do you all (Crystal & Commenters) use wheat bran and wheat germ for? Do you use it in place of some of the flour in breads?

  • c says:

    Thanks to everyone who posted links to sites for bulk purchases. That are so helpful to me! This is a great post!

  • carrie says:

    If you’re in the NW, there is also Bob’s Red Mill in Clackamas. (Their prices are not as good as Azure, but better than a grocery store in small packages)

    I use my Vita Mix to grind my grain… even though I don’t have the ‘dry’ container. My old Vita Mix lasted 30 years without the dry container, I’m just careful to grind in batches that won’t overheat the motor. ( 3 cups or so.. and then start over. Definitely enough to make a big batch of bread)

    I also buy these items in bulk that I haven’t seen listed above:
    molasses
    baking powder
    vanilla
    oils
    vinegar
    salt
    baking soda
    oatmeal
    rice
    millet

  • Jennifer says:

    These recipes are some of our new favorites – thank you!

  • Erica says:

    I actually found a bulk section in a WalMart up in ShowLow, AZ!!! 40 lb buckets of wheat for $20!! And lots of other bulk items for really good prices. I am trying to find out if this is going to be a new trend, or just a unique thing. The cashier said that it was brand new, so I am hopeful. I haven’t found this to exist in Mesa, AZ though, even though it is largely LDS area, too. You might just want to check with your WalMart anyway just in case.

  • Tasha Allen says:

    I get my wheat through our church. You can visit providentliving.org to see if there is a local cannery near you. You could just go there to purchase it. OR you could order it online. The current price here(TN) is 5.90 for a 25 lb bag of white wheat. I know that red wheat is usually cheaper!! There are also many other things that you can purchase there in bulk.

  • Cindy W. says:

    Definitely looking into finding an LDS cannery near you…it is probably the least expensive wheat you’ll find!

  • Stacy says:

    My Husband used to grind our hard red wheat with a stationery bike! He hooked up a large rubber belt around the grinding wheel and the other end around the front tire. He got a good work out in, too!

  • Saver Queen says:

    I’m lucky enough to live somewhat near an old flour mill – actually one of the only original flour mills in Canada. I buy all my flour and wheat products there in bulk, and it’s very cheap.

  • Jenn says:

    I help facilitate bulk buying in the Cincinnati area. We enjoy bulk buying because it allows us to pantry shop instead of grocery shop all the time. I love it!

  • Carla in MT says:

    So excited to see the Wheat Montana bag!! I live just 2 hours from the farms where it is grown!! Didn’t realize the wheat was so widely distributed. MT wheat is the best!! (just wait til you get to eat pasta made fm MT semolina – Pasta Montana plant right here in Great Falls!)

  • Kristina says:

    We have split our food budget to account for large purchases like CSA memberships or bulk beef purchases. We have a weekly food budget to spend on regular shopping, and also a monthly extra amount for large purchases that can accumulate over several months until we are ready to use it. This works well for us because I always have money ready for bulk purchases without having to wait several weeks to save it up.

  • GME says:

    For PP, Melissa – several friends of mine use their Kitchenaid Mixer attachment to grind their wheat into flour. They love it.

    Our co-op buys from http://www.clnf.org/ a couple of times per month (which is when one of their drivers comes to our area). Several of the ladies buy 50lb bags of wheat and grind their own flour. My children *love* their fruit leather (and I love that it’s FRUIT and not HFCS).

  • sharon says:

    I have never bought anything in bulk yet, so pardon this question. Can you get granola in bulk? My husband loves granola and we have made our own a couple of times with oats, but since you need several other things like wheatgerm honey etc. we thought it just might be cheaper if we could get bags of granola. If they have it is that something Id have to get at a healthfood store? Cause I figured that wouldnt be very cheap.

  • Whitney says:

    I also use azurestandard.com – the brand Oregon Spices they sell has the best prices I can find on bulk spices and some baking supplies.

  • Denise says:

    I struggle with this. Is buying in bulk really a budget. Yes, the cost per whatever goes down with bulk buying but if it goes bad before using it all does it really save you money. As a family we struggle with this idea.

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