The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

For aspiring home millers

proth5's picture
proth5

For aspiring home millers

I was idly looking at the Lehman's site (I'm dreaming of their hand cranked version of a Bosch mixer...) when I happened upon a serious sale on Nutrimills.  I don't know if this is the lowest price anywhere, but they are reduced in price to  $199.99.  Might be a good time to finally get the equipment to home mill.


As you may have guessed from other posts that I have made, I do a lot of business with Lehman's and I have found them to be a top notch organization. Except for being a satified customer, I am not connected with them in any way.


Of course, you could always spend the money on the Diamant....(I love mine)


Happy Milling!

dlt123's picture
dlt123

?????? Alright, you have my attention, what are you referring to when you say "hand cranked version of a Bosch mixer "?  I would really like to see this tool... :)


Could you post a link so I and others can see what you are referring to?


Never mind, I found it... Ouch.... the price ... my eyes... my eyes!!!


http://www.lehmans.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=7152&itemType=PRODUCT&RS=1&keyword=mixer


Thanks,


Dennis
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Belief has no affect on reality.

My Website: http://www.roadtobetterliving.com

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

But for a moment, I read the label on the side of the mixer as "Toybuilt" rather than "Troybuilt." I notice that it was "Conceived and built by a local Amish craftsman." Are they becoming more modern these days?

proth5's picture
proth5

The Amish are an innovative and hard working people.  They reject certain aspects of technology (like cars and being connected to the electrical grid) because they will serve to connect people too much to the world and take them away from their families and their religion.  They accept other technologies (roller blades, cell phones - in limited ways) because they are useful and do not cause this separation.


It is not a matter of freezing time or being "quaint." It is a matter of evaluating technology and deciding if it supports their faith or not. (I've done some study on this...)


A hand cranked Bosch mixer is so very consistent with that - a premium tool that does not require connection to "the world."


And so way cool.  I am sure it is largely hand crafted - thus the fabulous price...

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

the Pennsylvania Dutch area, there were Amish who weren't even using buttons because hooks and eyes were more plain. That was, admittedly, a good 20 years ago. The Mennonites were more progressive.


I was less curious about the fact that it was a hand crank than the fact that it looks to be made out of plastic.

proth5's picture
proth5

Buttons are still forbidden on women's clothing for the Amish because they have military connotations and potential for ostentation.  Plain buttons can be used on work clothing.  This same association with the military causes mustaches to be forbidden. 


Mennonites are, indeed more progressive, but are similarly commited to non-violence.


Plastic is not forbidden in any way or they could not allow roller blades (which was a big decision from the church elders a while back.) There are no issues of association with violence or over connection to the world with plastic. The Amish do not regard technology itself as evil, they are, however careful to assure that technology supports their religious life.


But fine craftsmanship is a tradition among the Amish as well the "PA Dutch" (of which I am one-the "fancy Dutch" as it were - PA "Dutch" is generally defined as people of German/Swiss background whose anscestors settled in Pennsylvania prior to the War for American Independence and who at one point shared a language that is similar to the Schwabian dialect) in general.  Which brings us to the considerable passion that I put into my bread and my milling (to stay on topic)

Nim's picture
Nim

I am looking to buy the KoMO Fidibus classic grain mill. It is sold as the Wolfgang Mill from Tribest here in the US, but nauraleurope.com has it for $50 less. Has anybody used it? I like the fact that it uses stones (I have a wet grinder from India for my idli/dosa batters that uses stones and I love it! ) and it is electrical.


Proth5, could you tell me how difficult it is to mill the wheat grain by hand. I am tempted to go for a manual one but don't quite trust myself to be able to do it very well. I remember the hand grain mills at my grandmother's place in India, but it was smaller and used mostly for milling rice and small spice mixtures.

proth5's picture
proth5

Once we talk burr milling (as opposed to micronizer mills) the difficulty of milling is first and foremost the skill in preparing the grain, determining the milling methods, maintaining the burrs, sifting and etc.  This is the same whether the mill is hand turned or motorized, but does vary between steel and stone burrs.


But I suspect that you are asking  - how hard is it to actually turn the mill and grind the grain?  This will vary with the mill.  My Diamant has a very large cast iron flywheel.  I am hardly a model of fitness and I can put two pounds of wheat (or rye) through one pass of the mill in 5 minutes.  (I will add that the more I mill, the stronger I get.)  Other mills, such as the Country Living have flywheels and "power bars" and probably can get close to that speed.


The small, inexpensive mills (such as the Corona) require a lot more effort and grind more slowly.


So, the answer really comes from knowing how much flour will you be milling and how much physical effort you want to put in to grinding flour.  I rather enjoy the physical effort and therefor have not let the manual mill languish.  But if I wanted to do very large quantities of flour, I would want to motorize the mill - or at least have a better method to turn it than my old arms.  My mill can be motorized - this was a consideration when I bought it.


Hope this helps.

Nim's picture
Nim

That is helpful..thanks!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

There is a lot of nice stuff on the Lehman site, including a video on how to make butter. Thanks for the posting.


http://www.lehmans.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=1002&itemType=PRODUCT&RS=1&keyword=butter


--Pamela

proth5's picture
proth5

they dont really show how to work it which, of course, is a large factor in the quality of the finished product. 


That's the same little butter churn that I use!  I really like it. I enjoy using non-motorized products.


Happy Churning!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

You mean the video doesn't show the final product only how the churn works?


I bet I could make such a device with a jar and a drill fitted with a paddle.


--Pamela

proth5's picture
proth5

to be unclear.  The video doesn't show the working of the finished product - the patting and kneading of the butter to make sure every drop of liquid is gone. Yes, it just generally shows how the churn works.


I'm sure you could rig up such a thing.  I always evaluate the material cost, my general skill level, and the cost of my time when I undertake to build my own tools.  As you might be able to guess - I enjoy using fine tools in my culinary efforts and since I take good care of my toys they tend to be "once in a lifetime" purchases.  (I am lucky to be able to (carefully) indulge myself in this way, and I know this.)  Under this set of assumptions the price of the churn seems very fair to me... But I'm sure you can do a good job.  I would say that for me, the trick would be to make sure that the system is water tight and splashless. When I churn all of the liquid stays in the churn.


Some observations on the churn.  The gearing is very firmly attached to the jar lid.  There is a circular metal base which is riveted to the jar lid and some kind of bushing (combination metal and nylon) where the shaft goes through the lid.  The paddle is stainless steel and is welded to the shaft.


Since you are interested in cultured butter, I will say that the top handle is very important while churning through the somewhat thicker cream, so you want to make sure whatever you use is fairly comfortable as you would be holding it for quite a while.  With slightly chilled cream, I average 45mins to an hour with the cultured cream which seems to churn more slowly than fresh. 


Good luck!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Do you think the final result/product of churning with a churn vs. using my KA to accomplish the churning is different?


--Pamela

proth5's picture
proth5

Again, as you might expect of me, I have spent some time researching the production factors that go into making high quality butter.


I think the way the butter is washed and worked is probably more important than how it makes the journey from cream to butter.


That being said, I have gotten some hints that the way the butter crystalizes and the size of those crystals is a factor.  How much, I am not exactly sure, but there does seem to be some evidence that a more moderated churning speed is "better."  Although I will say that my little hand cranked churn gets going pretty fast. I think this matters "on the margins" and I'm not sure I am really there.


I just dislike the noise and mess from the KA when I am making butter.  Also, I can wash my butter directly in the churn by filling the thing with water and churning very slowly.  This uses less water than rinsing the butter mass and is a bit easier.  I don't think you could do that in a KA.


Hope this helps.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks for your thought on butter making with a mixer vs. a churn. I didn't mind the noise of the KA and I used the flour shield so there wasn't a lot of mess until it came to the washing and buttermilk extraction. That was fairly messy.


I'd really like to have a real churn at some point; thanks for sharing you knowledge and experience. It sounds like your churn is a good investment.


--Pamela

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

When I bought my first mill which was a Nutrimill the company was supposed to be coming out with a hand crank attachment. They never did. I called last year and asked why they didn't do this and was told that they didn't think it would sell. I for one would have bought the crank for it and still would should they become available. The Nutrimill is a good machine- loud- but it does a decent job. I use it now for my sprouted flours and use the stone mill for the rest.

Amadeus's picture
Amadeus

What is the stone mill, if I may ask, and what is the difference in finesse of the the flour between the 2 mills? Thank you!