Courtesy of Kitchens by Request

Kitchen designers are spotting a growing trend: freshness-obsessed clients who want to mill grains at home.

February 18, 2016

Think milling your own grain is going overboard? Guess again, says kitchen designer Blue Arnold. “Fifteen years ago, it wasn’t normal to grind your own coffee,” Arnold, owner of the Maryland-based Kitchens by Request, points out. “Similarly, grinding your own grains is becoming more and more common. Now people want freshness. They want to do it from scratch. And they want a designated area for milling, just like with coffee.” Bespoke home milling and baking centers like the ones Arnold designs are a trend that, as a board member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, he’s seen spread to kitchens across the country. "People are having fun and focusing on a holistic life,” he says. The simplest way to get started is by investing in a combo appliance, like a stand mixer with a milling attachment. For prospective millers considering a kitchen renovation, Arnold shares some tips on what to keep in mind when designing a grain and baking station.

1. Find a roomy spot: Identify a place in the kitchen island or in an area of the kitchen with at least 36 inches across and 27 inches deep of counter space.

2. Consider the height: If possible, design the area to be 2 to 3 inches lower than the height of a regular counter so that you can peer straight down into the mixing bowl. "Also, if you’re shorter, it’s easier to roll out dough at that height."

3. Go for a cold and smooth surface: Arnold's clients love the feel of marble, whether classic Carerra or a neutral-colored Bodoccino. "Marble just feels right in a baking center. We use mostly honed marble [as opposed to polished]. Caesarstone quartz or granite work too. Natural stones like these make for a very cold surface, so butter doesn’t melt. You can also place an ice bath on the surface to cool it down for rolling out dough."

4. Plan ample storage: "We put in drawers that can hold canisters of grains. Those can come from anywhere, such as a Target, so long as they seal well. We can customize slots for them in the drawers. You should be able to store (or leave out) the standing mixer with its milling attachments in this same location."

5. Baking ballers get sinks: "We do install these centers in small spaces, but if we have the ability and the room  to do it, we like to place a little round sink and faucet in this area, too, for quick clean up."