The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cleaning wheat.

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clearlyanidiot's picture
clearlyanidiot

Cleaning wheat.

There are loads of articles online about home flour mills, comparing designs. Etc. However; there seems to be a lack of information about cleaning wheat on a small scale, beyond a few tinkers, and machines that clean tons of grain per hour.

Is there a small, inexpensive, UN-labour intensive device for cleaning grain, specifically wheat, at home?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Nice find Mini - thanks...,

Wild-Yeast

adri's picture
adri

I assume that by "cleaning" you refer to removing ergot? (if not, skip reading ;) )

Usually wheat isn't as contaminated as rye. (And I have no idea why.)Is it really too much work to sift it and then do the screening by eye?

I don't think there are machines for home use to clean wheat from ergot. Even though visual pattern recognition is something well under research, I've never seen such a machine in a smaller scale outside of a university.

A view years ago, even small mills couldn't afford such a machine and had to use traditional unreliable methods and check the result manually.

Maybe you'll find a smaller mill, that cleans your wheat for you? I'm lazy and buy my grains after they passed the screening step in a mill.

clearlyanidiot's picture
clearlyanidiot

I'd like to be working with rye, but not having found a bulk supplier (farmer) here I kinda assume that the stuff I get in sacks from a food coop is ok.

 

The contaminants I usually run into when getting wheat from a farmer's grain bin are chaff (easy enough to sift out after milling, extra fiber if it really get's ground in).

Canola (Not really something I want the whole seed in my bread, but there usually isn't much).

Weed seeds.

But the big problem is wild oats, the dark husk splits when milling into a hair like strand, after baking it puffs up and looks like facial hair. I thought there was a lapse in my hygiene practices when I first saw it in baked bread.

Also there can be a bit of general dust and dirt.

 

I tend to make batches of 8 loaves at a time, with work and school I don't really have time to sift by hand anymore.

Just for reference what are signs of ergot contamination in rye? I keep my grain in a cool dry place and it isn't so much of a problem in this climate, but I should still be wary.

adri's picture
adri

The contamination happens on the field, not at storage.I have to admit, I haven't seen ergot in over a decade. Back then, my mother bought some grains directly from an organic farm.

The mushroom looks like dark grains, usually a bit longer and thinner.

Here you can see a picture: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0703.htm#ergot

clearlyanidiot's picture
clearlyanidiot

Thanks. I'd watched a documentary on ergot once, but never looked further into it. On the upside, if I ever did see that stuff in a bag of rye, I'd assume it was mouse droppings and scrap it.

clearlyanidiot's picture
clearlyanidiot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVcOOJXKjYw 

If there was an easy way to make something like the above more compact, but I'd rather just buy something.