Country Living Grain Mill

Mama Liberty's picture

Finally, at LONG last I have the grain mill mounted on a sturdy table and in operation! I bought the mill in the fall of '07, but could never use it because it had to be mounted somewhere - and I didn't have a somewhere for it!

Anyway, the first day I milled two cups of my white wheat berries, coming up with about 2 1/2 cups of fine meal, not really yet "flour" after running it through a second time. It will take a little experimentation to come up with the ideal texture, but for a first effort this seemed fine.

The mill came with an extension for the handle, to improve the leverage, but it is not threaded right, so couldn't be used. With the handle directly on the flywheel, however, the mill operates smoothly and without undue effort. I forgot to note how long it took me to mill the two cups of grain, but will do that next time. It didn't take long, and I'm sure it will go faster as I get used to it and get stronger!

A motorized "kit" is available from the mill manufacturer, but at $375. it is actually a little more expensive than the mill itself! The lifetime warranty of the mill is void if you use a different motor. I may change my mind as I get older, of course, but for now the hand crank is plenty good.

I will purchase a spare set of grinding plates and a "repair kit" for the drive shaft and other small parts - about $150. The plates are rated to last 5 years for family use, and I suspect they'll last a lot longer for just me, but it doesn't hurt to have spares and they might not always be available at any price. I think I'll also get the extra auger needed to grind corn and other larger seeds. It's another $36., but could be a life saver. (I just visited the website, and some of the prices are higher - just so you know.)

The fresh milled meal smelled SO good!

It would have been best to use a tried and true recipe for this first meal, but I could not find a recipe for whole wheat buttermilk type biscuits - so just used an ordinary recipe, with my usual embellishments and substitutions. Seems I seldom have all the ingredients actually called for in a recipe, or I don't like some of them. [grin]

So, in my wild and wacky way, I made a double batch of buttermilk biscuits. I should have used no more than half whole wheat, but tossed in the extra half cup anyway. Instead of buttermilk, I had sour milk and used that.

They didn't rise as they should have (too much whole wheat), and they certainly smelled strange (sour milk?), but they taste wonderful - almost like graham crackers, except not sweet.

This morning I crumbled two of them with scrambled eggs. YUM!

Next project is to mill enough to make a full batch of bread. I think I'll stick to the ordinary whole wheat recipe I've used a thousand times. I've got years to experiment. :)

Wonderful!

Congrats on getting the mill up and running. Don't know about the sour milk but to each their own. Enjoy.

Sour milk

I've used sour milk in place of buttermilk for a very long time, usually with good results. This was good milk, just had been stored briefly in a jar and allowed to curdle. Smelled good before I used it, so not sure where the smell in the biscuits came from. Not really important, I guess, since they tasted good and are now all gone!

Anyway, yesterday I ground more meal/flour, a bit finer this time, and made a regular whole wheat bread recipe. I did add some dry milk powder to help soften the crust.

The wheat ground nice and fine after two passes (4 cups "berries" took 23 minutes - both passes), but still had coarse bits of the bran in it. I don't know what I'd have to do to get the bran ground flour fine, but luckily I don't care. The bran can remain coarser flakes with no problems. If I wanted ALL fine ground flour for something, I could put it through a sifter.

The bread turned out fantastic. I just can't get over how wonderful it smells and tastes. I've always used "fresh" flour, but this is a whole 'nother world.

I'm hooked!! :)

Butter of days gone by ...

I've used sour milk in place of buttermilk for a very long time, usually with good results. This was good milk, just had been stored briefly in a jar and allowed to curdle.

A very long time ago, I found in a dusty corner of the internet a recipe for old-fashioned butter. It called for this same treatment of the cream—I believe the term used was “clabbered” cream. This leads me to suspect that the differentiation from butter of this sort is why the butter sold in supermarkets is labeled “sweet cream butter”. The former sounds like it has more flavor.

I think I feel some experimenting coming on ...

Just to clarify...

I milled another batch of wheat yesterday evening and discovered that I'd been mistaken in some things in my earlier post.

The hopper only holds 3 cups of wheat, which makes about 4 cups of meal/flour. I got brave enough to tighten the adjustment, so the new flour is much finer and the bran is milled finer too, though still obviously larger than the flour. It takes a bit more effort to mill this fine, but not so much it is a problem. Mama's going to get STRONG, I think! [grin]

Next experiment will be with some of the oat groats I have, which will now replace the rolled oats I've been using in my bread for so long. I'll report on that next.

Good thing I love bread! :)

Milling oat groats is different!

I milled the first oat groats yesterday and have a new wrinkle here. The grains of oat are about the same size as the wheat, but it doesn't feed the same through the mill, by any means! Don't know if the oats have more moisture or more oil - or both, but they seem to plug up the grinding stones and so won't feed through except on a very coarse setting. Even that was VERY slow, and it took much longer to mill 1 1/2 cups of groats than it did either batch of wheat.

When I got done with grinding the oats, I ran a half cup of wheat berries through the mill and that seems to have cleaned out the grinding plates because it was operating normally by the time I got done. So, I'll have to alternate the grains. Would probably do that anyway.

The meal from the oats is very coarse, but may do as well as rolled oats in the bread. We'll see. That will be the next batch I make.

I ordered the larger auger for the corn and beans, so will see if it does a better job with the oats.

But I really must stop milling things now for a few days... I've got enough for at least three batches of bread already in the refrigerator.

Mama's new toy. :) I finally got one that doesn't go bang!

I am THRILLED to hear that

I am THRILLED to hear that someone else is having problems with the groats. I struggled and struggled in the same manner you did and they would clog up the grinding plates. Have you come across any ideas as to how to remedy this. I also tried running a few wheat berries through while attempting to grind the groats. This seemed to help, but very little. Any insight would be appreciated.