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Old 08-15-2006, 03:22 PM   #1
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Grain mill

As I type this my Nutrimill Grain Mill is "On FedEx vehicle for delivery." My first use will be cornmeal.

Are there any other home millers out there who would offer any guidance to a beginner?

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Old 08-18-2006, 11:03 AM   #2
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If you're storing your milled flour, make sure it is cool to the touch before sealing it in any container.

Unless you're using the milled flour within the week, refrigerate or freeze it. All whole grains and legumes contain oil in the germ which can become rancid over several months if stored at room temperature. Soy beans are especially high in oil (I notice your grain mill can make flour from legumes - very nice!). All whole grain and/or legume flour keeps well if frozen.

Burying a few fragrant bay leaves in your whole grain is supposed to discourage insect infestation.

Keep your whole grains clearly labeled, including date of purchase. For example, it is difficult for the beginner to distinguish soft wheat grain from hard wheat grain but they make different flours. (Soft wheat, when milled, makes whole grain *pastry* flour whereas hard wheat makes whole grain "bread* flour.) Also, clearly label the resulting flour (type and date of milling) if you're going to store it.

Besides milling flour, try experimenting with cracking grain. For example, speciality grains like kamut and spelt crack cleanly and the cracked grain can be cooked like bulgur. (You could also try cracking any hard wheat). I like to use these cracked grains to make tabouli or as a substitute for rice.

I'm sure you'll enjoy your grain mill. It looks very versatile.
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:11 PM   #3
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subfuscpersona,
Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. Can you recommend any sources for whole grains?

The machine seems to be very well made and I expect to be making breads and pastries from the flours it mills for the rest of my life.

I was a little disappointed with the range of textures it is able to produce at the coarse end of the spectrum. Grinding dent corn with the two adjustments set to produce the coarsest possible product resulted in cornmeal a little finer than Hodgson Mill.

Can you elaborate a little on the processes and tools used to produced cracked grain.
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:26 PM   #4
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I can.

www.bulkfoods.com
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:53 PM   #5
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Half Baked,
Thanks for the link. The prices are quite a bit higher than Walton Feed or Country Life Natural Foods but the shipping is free so that cuts the actual cost a lot.
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Old 08-18-2006, 05:47 PM   #6
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I buy most of my whole grains at local health food stores that sell them in bulk from dispensers (I hope you know what I mean ) and there is one supermarket that has a good natural/organic section.

Bobs Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills also sell organic prepackaged grains and legumes. Check out mySoyLoafBread-part1 - scroll to the very bottom for store-finder links that can locate markets near you that carry their products.

I don't generally order online since I can't store large quantities and also the shipping costs bump up the prices quite a bit. Price-wise, you're probably better off exploring local sources.

I use a very early model of the KitchenAid grain mill attachment to mill flour. It looks like this


The grinding plates are adjustable, so, with experimentation, I can "crack" hard grains like hard wheat, spelt or kamut. I've never used an expensive grain mill like the one you bought, so maybe it is not suited for cracking grains. Your mill, however, will produce a much finer flour than I can using the KA grain mill attachment. This makes it versatile for all sorts of home baking. I'm envious
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Old 08-18-2006, 06:48 PM   #7
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subfuscpersona,
Thank you very much for your last reply. Your picture of the Kitchenaid attachment is very similar to an Estrella or Corona grain mill. These are very often used to grind alkali teated corn (nixtamal) into masa.
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The grinding plates are adjustable, so, with experimentation, I can "crack" hard grains like hard wheat, spelt or triticale.
I have only used my Estrella mill for grinding alkali treated corn into masa but I'm thinking that this might be a low tech way to produce a coarse grind for grits or polenta.

Has anyone out there used a Corona or Estrella mill to grind very coarse meal?
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Old 08-19-2006, 08:59 AM   #8
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the first grain mill I ever owned was a hand-cranked metal one - I think it was a Corona. I didn't like it. It needed to be very securely bolted to a surface and was awkward and heavy to assemble and disassemble. It could only produce a coarse flour (hard wheat) but it was not sufficiently adjustable to crack grains cleanly.

My understanding is that a primary virtue of the kind of grain mill you purchased is its ability to produce a finely milled flour, something my KA grain mill attachment can't achieve. Maybe the manufacturer can help you with your questions.

I bought my KA grain mill decades ago because, back then, whole grain and legume flours were hard to come by (its a lot easier now to find them). However, I still enjoy using it and it definitely has a role in my kitchen.

There are many reasons people purchase a home grain mill. Mine were convenience and variety. Nature designed the seed for durability. I store my grain and legumes in well sealed containers in my kitchen cupboards. I don't have the refrigerator or freezer space to store a lot of different whole grain or legume flours and I don't use them in large quantities anyway. I mill the amount I need right before baking for maximum freshness and flavor.

I experiment with different flours for baking (primarily bread - yeast rising/quick/flat). I am fond of adding some soy flour to yeast-rising bread dough as it helps the bread stay fresh longer. I came up with a bread that combines bread flour with some lentil flour (just milled from supermarket brown lentils) that even my kids loved (plus the combination of grain and legumes boosts available protein). So don't be afraid to experiment. You may come up with a wonderful new recipe that you, your family (and your neighbors - if you like to share) will love.

You're not restricted to baking either. For example, I like tofu (bean curd) a lot but find the prepackaged tofu sold in supermarkets to be far inferior to freshly made tofu. Tofu is made from soybeans. I've made it from scratch starting with whole soybeans; it is a rather labor-intensive (but not difficult) process. Right now I'm experimenting with making the soy milk (from which tofu is made) starting with a home-milled coarse soy flour (rather than whole beans) to see if it will shorten the labor time without appreciably affecting the final product.

I think you'll find lots of uses for your grain mill even if it it turns out that you can't crack grains with it. Best of luck in all your cooking efforts!
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