The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Retsel showed up!

loydb's picture
loydb

My Retsel showed up!

It only took 3 months! /rolleyes


Just ran a quart of hard white wheat through it, I'll do another quarter before I start using the flour.


It did let me establish that my finest seive is almost a perfect 85% extraction when I need 'white' flour.


 

charbono's picture
charbono

Which Retsel did you get?  Did you get stones or steel or both?  What mesh is the sieve?


 

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I love my old Retsel grain mill.  Retsel is notorious of their bad customer service but once you have the mill, it's heaven.  Enjoy and make the best of it!


Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Retsel seems to be one of those companies that cannot do anything right except make a good working mill.........which is more than can be said for Ford and GM.

loydb's picture
loydb

I got the Mill-Rite with both stone and metal grinders.


I've got a soaker and a biga going from 90% Hard Red/10% Hard White using a slightly modified PR WGB recipe. I keep smelling them, they smell incredible, much better than bagged WW.


I hope it tastes good, I'll bake late morning tomorrow.


I have no idea what my seive is, I'll shoot a picture tomorrow.


 


 

loydb's picture
loydb

. . . is rising now. I'm excited. The dough feels really good, and the smell is still amazing.


 


 

maurdel's picture
maurdel

Whenever I have tried someone's bread which they present as made from home ground flour, (maybe 4 or so times in the past) it has seemed to me to be made with some amount of sand.


Is this true about home ground flour? It feels sandy?


Is it true about SOME home ground?


I have not done any research online about this particular mill, but what do all you users have to say about the fineness, or texture of home ground flour?

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

I have never had a sandy texture to any flour that I have ever milled. I really like the texture of the flour that comes out of the mill, it is nice and fluffy.

loydb's picture
loydb

Nothing sandy about mine.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), it really depends mostly on the quality of the grain mill.


Some mills (usually the less expensive ones - or some grain mill attachments to mixer motors) are incapable of producing a finely milled flour.


The Retsel is a high-end, adjustable mill so it can produce finely milled flour to grits, depending on setting. As noted by other Retsel owners, Retsel offers different "stones" depending on what you want to mill.


High-end (eg - expensive) grain mills, whether electric or manual, are generally capable of milling many grains at different levels of fineness or coarseness.


One of the pleasures of home milling is to be able to mill grains (and beans) at different levels of fineness and use a mixture of fine flour and coarser flour (or grain grits) to achieve an interesting texture (and visual appeal) in bread without producing bricks.

maurdel's picture
maurdel

Thanks for all the info about the sandiness factor.


So it is something that would occur with an inferior mill,(or possibly one not broken in or used correctly).- all good to know.


With my experiences I was pretty sure a home grinder was not adequate to truly make floury flour. OR someone may have been trying to murder me by puting ground glass in my gift of bread.  (Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean they are not after me. :))


It's good to know there are in fact good mills out there.


Do you all mostly buy grains and beans from a health food store, i.e. Whole Foods?  Have you found other good sources?


 


 

loydb's picture
loydb

I'm getting all mine mail order via Pleasant Hill.

charbono's picture
charbono

I have a Retsel Mil-Rite.  On a fine setting, the flour is very fine.  You can sift out some bran; but if you leave it in, there is not much textural impact in the bread.  After a proper break-in, there is no grit.


 

loydb's picture
loydb

This is is the best-tasting whole wheat bread I've ever eaten.



We also ground some popcorn using the steel wheels for cornbread last night. More about that in another post. I'm going to go have another piece of bread.


 


 

charbono's picture
charbono

Advice on the Retsel website for the Mil-Rite says: “Stainless steel wheels will effectively grind small nuts, berries, soybeans, field corn (not popcorn) ...”. I would like to hear of your experience using the steel buhrs to mill popcorn. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think a coarse setting would be OK.

loydb's picture
loydb

That would explain the awful results I had with it. Yes, it would make a nice coarse corn grit, but after about a cup's worth of what I'd consider coarse meal, it would start flaking. I bet there was too much moisture in the popcorn.


I'm trying to figure out where I can get some field corn to grind (other than that intended for deer feeders).


 


 

charbono's picture
charbono

Using the steel buhrs, I milled about 200g of popcorn with no problems. I used a slightly loose setting. I got 60% grits, using a #16 strainer to let the meal pass through. The cooked grits were quite good. (I remove floating chaff with a fine strainer.) Since I don’t have a good source of other flint or dent corn, it looks like popcorn will be my grits corn.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I found on the Internet:  You will find step #2 for preparation is missing.  That's how it was when I found it.


ABC's of USING your RETSEL HOME GRAIN and SEED MILL An owner's manual supplement for electric and manual hand operated Retsel manufactured stone and or burr grain and seed mills.


Congratulations on your choice of your Retsel grain and seed mill. You are now going to enjoy some of the best food you have ever eaten, plus the satisfaction of creating things from basic grains and seeds. You are also about to learn to do new things you never thought possible. This may not come overnight, and you will have a few failures (If you are like the rest of us) but, as you persist, you will master and perfect art of truly creative cooking and baking.


Friends and relatives will be amazed at how much better your food tastes than theirs, unless they too own a grain and seed mill. BEFORE you do it your way, PLEASE try it our way. When you un-package your mill, look it over to be sure there is no damage from shipping, and that all of the parts for your mill are received. If damage is determined, notify Retsel and the shipping company immediately to make a claim on the damage.


It is recommended that you not use the first hopper of flour milled. This flour will not hurt you, but may contain a few particles of stone grit. Retsel mills using stones are designed to mill all cereal grains with a low moisture content like wheat, rice, barley, oats, corn, rye, buckwheat, millet, spelt and small size dried beans peas and lentils, etc. Care should be taken to avoid grinding meat, vegetables or damp popcorn or rice with a high moisture content. Our Retsel stainless steel Ni Hard burrs are designed to grind Soya beans, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, linseed, sunflower seeds, sunflower kernels, lupins and other high oil and high moisture grains, beans, peas and lentils. Care should be taken to not to get the stones wet. The stainless steel Ni Hard grinding Burrs are dishwasher safe and can be washed as often as you use them. Please remember to dry burrs before storage.


IN PREPARATION FOR MILLING GRAINS:


1. Remove flour adjustment knob and clean milling chamber and both stones or burrs with a suitable small dry clean brush like a toothbrush with strong bristles. When the milling chamber and both stones or burrs are all clean and free from flour or grains replace milling stones or burrs and flour adjustment knob.


3. The Mil-Rite electric grain & seed Mill auger is removable to allow you to change from using stones to burrs and visa versa. Simply undo the Mil-Rite adjustment knob, remove the rotating stone or burr. Then remove the auger, which slides forward on a woodruff keyway, built onto the drive shaft. To re-assemble first place the fixed stone or burrs casting assembly onto the front gear case housing. Next replace small auger onto drive shaft making sure steel woodruff key and special cut auger woodruff keyway on auger are aligned so it will slide on easily. Replace the rotating Stone or Burr so that the set of stones or burrs faces are true and flat on each other. Should one the grinding wheels be slightly off centre, this is normal and will not affect the milling process in any way.


4. Using only the finger strength of a two-year-old child, tighten your adjustment knob to hold the two milling stones or burrs together in preparation for milling flour at home. Please note: No greater finger strength is ever required to mill fine flour…


5.Either fill or part fill your grain hopper with grains and turn your manual handle and or click the ON switch for your Mil-Rite electric grain and seed mill. Congratulations! You are now milling super fine flour At home in your own home kitchen.


6. Your Retsel Mil-Rite, Grister Convertible, Little Ark and Uni Ark Mills adjustment knob allows you to choose the degree of fineness or coarseness of the flour or cereal grist you feel or learn from personal experience is best for your bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries, deserts and or breakfast cereals made at home in your kitchen.


7. Subject to having a low grain moisture content the flourmill adjustment on the Retsel grain and seed mills have been designed to give you an almost infinite choice of degrees of flour fineness, coarseness, and or roughness. Moisture, high moisture is the dictator that will limit just how fine you may grind a particular bag of grain that you are using. . Moisture content 10% or less is a recommended maximum.


8. It is easy to learn how to select a degree of fineness that is perfect for our baking needs and will at the same time give good fast flour production from the slow turning stones or burrs. Evidence that we have chosen the correct milling grind is that our mill can and will continue milling on that grind for up to 24 hours a day without any adjustments needed. Selecting the best fine flour grind will also preserve the long life of your mill and avoid glazing which may occur due to using grains with too high a moisture content for the fineness of grinding that we have selected with our adjustment knob.


9. In preparation of selection of the perfect Retsel home flourmill flour milling grind. Allow your mill to grind at a super fine flour grind for a maximum time period of 5 to 10 seconds. Stop milling, turn your black adjustment knob in an anti-clockwise open up direction a quarter of an inch for the Mil-Rite or Grister Convertible or an eight of an inch for the Little Ark or Uni Ark mills. Start milling again by manual hand power or electricity after a maximum milling time of 5 to 10 seconds. Stop milling, turn your black adjustment knob in an anti-clockwise open up direction a quarter of an inch for Mil-Rite or Grister Convertible or an eight of an inch for the Little Ark or Uni Ark mills. Continue this procedure of grind, stop, adjust until you achieve a good fast production of fine ground flour which we would describe as a full curtain of flour falling freely down from in between and across the full width of the milling stones. The evidence you are to look for to show you that you have made adequate number of [grind, stop, adjust] adjustments. Is that the milling stones will only warm up in operation to just a little more than blood temperature in their doing their important hard work of milling living grains into fresh ground living home ground grain flour. Once you have achieved the perfect mill grinding adjustment you may stop making flour grind adjustments and mill all of your flour on that specific perfect grain flour milling grind selection. Or you may repeat this process as above again and again. Until you have achieved the exact degree of fineness, coarseness or roughness that you may require for a specific days home baking flour or cereal requirements.


10. In following our written instructions you will notice that your Retsel mill will lock itself on each new flour grind setting. This is due to the fine tolerances and trueness of the two unique milling stones, and the pressure build-up between the stones of the grains being milled into fine flour in operating your mill in accordance with our instructions.


11. At no time should you ever endeavour to adjust your mill from a course grind to a fine grind by trying to tighten the adjustment knob in a clockwise direction.


12. Should your flour grind be to rough or course for you next days baking requirements , the you should follow our instructions for cleaning your mill stones and milling chamber. And then start again from the beginning with clean stones and no grains or flour in between the stones or in the milling chamber whatsoever. In other words, once you get started it is always possible and permissible to adjust from any degree of fineness to a courser grind by following our instructions as above by turning the adjustment know in an anti-clockwise direction. BUT you must NEVER try to adjust your mill from coarse to a finer flour grind by turning the adjustment knob in a clockwise direction.


13. Glazing on milling stones in its appearance is like a shinny glass like surface. It will occur if we try to mill too high moisture content grains on too fine of a grind. To avoid the possibilities of Glazing it is essential that we choose to use grains with ten percent moisture or less than ten percent moisture content for milling fine ground flour.


14 Should glazing occur when using your milling stones this is what you will need do to remove the glazing? Mill hard grains like wheat or rice through your mill on a rough grind setting. In other words the hard grains being ground into broken bits and pieces slowly tear off the glazing. This process will not harm your mill and will not harm to you milling stones. It is important to remove all traces of glazing as glazing may re-occur again next time you are milling grains if any traces of it are left behind on the milling stones. NEVER ever wash your stones or use TOOLS to remove glazing or traces of glazing as this may hurt your milling stones. Grains ground into broken bits and pieces in this process of removing glazing may be sifted from the flour and the flour used in baking and the broken pieces without the flour may be ground with normal grains next time you mill flour.


GRAINS FOR MILLING:


It is essential that you locate a good and reliable supplier of your wheat, rice, barley, oats, corn, millet, rye, buckwheat, etc. [All of these grains fall into the classification of dry cereal grains which would be suitable for home stone flour milling with a low moisture content ]


All cereal grain suppliers should be prepared to guarantee the following:


1. Wheat supplied should have moisture content of 10% or less.


2. Wheat supplied must be cleaned and free from smut and foreign materials and unwashed. Should the grains supplied to you not meet these vital specifications, the grain suppliers must be prepared to accept return of the grain supplied to you in error on a "Freight Collect" basis , and replace the grain with good grain to you on a "Freight Paid" basis. Or, alternately REFUND in full your purchase price. Having received your bulk supply of wheat or other grains, mill some of it , the day it arrives, into fine ground flour and observe the milling process for 5 to 10 minutes. Should the production of fine flour reduce or stop during this time, immediately turn your mill OFF. Remove the rotating kup casing milling stone. Clean both stones with a small stiff natural bristle brush and carefully inspect them by looking at them to see if glazing has occurred on either or both stones. Should this be the case that glazing has occurred, you must not use this grain as it will certainly have a moisture content which is in excess of the ten percent moisture content maximum recommended.


We suggest for your convenience you report this problem to you supplier by telephone or letter and work out an a suitable arrangement for return and refund or replacement of good dry grains for return delivery of the unsuitable high moisture content grains.


NOTE: One day you may discover yourself in a position whereas you have received free of charge or at a special low discount price from a friend or a grain farmer, a bag or bags of grain which you know right then or may discover later on that this grain has a high moisture content in excess of ten percent recommended for milling and long term survival storage. Should you choose or desire to mill this FREE grain in your Retsel home mill, it is important that carefully by trial and error, you select the grind that is not too fine for the high moisture content of the grains to be milled so that no glazing will occur during the milling process. It is essential once you have determined the correct setting that you NEVER try to mill the grain finer with this particular high moisture content grain with you milling stones. In following this procedure you will preserve the long life of your mill and milling stones.


HOWEVER using your kitchen oven on a low setting of 150 degrees, with the oven door slightly open, spread the grain thinly on a shallow baking tray and leave it this way for up to two hours. Excess moisture should then be removed. Of course the best guarantee is to always buy grains with the right moisture content in the first instance.


GRAIN STORAGE AT HOME OR BUSINESS: Either large or small metal or plastic containers can be used, some containers seal airtight (others do not) e.g.: Metal or Plastic Rubbish bins. The containers that do not seal airtight must be lined with a heavy-duty food grade plastic bag, which with a tie can be made airtight. The same day you buy grain, store it on a wooden floor or wooden platform of some sort. (NEVER directly onto a concrete or earthen floor.) Next, place one or two bulbs of dried garlic inside of the container. Our customers have told us that small amounts of either 3 or 4 bulbs of garlic and or an abundance of bay leaves inside the grain containers are excellent deterrents to weevils and other harmful insects. Please remember for weevils or insects to walk or move away the container must have an opening for the Garlic and or Bay leaves to do their work as a natural deterrent. And then some time later on when you are happy that no more harmful insects are left behind to eat the grain.


The container may be sealed airtight. Now you are ready to store your grains in a dry place at home with minimum of temperatures changes. Be sure to check it on a regular basis when using Bay leaves and garlic as a deterrent. For long-term survival storage it is important that grain should be stored in sealed container in an atmosphere of food grade carbon dioxide or nitrogen. On the same day that you take delivery of your grains, remove it from the grain bags and pour it right into you food grade clean containers. Which must either sit on a wooden floor or blocks of wood (NEVER directly onto a concrete or earthen floor.) Use either Silica Gel or fresh rolls of natural toilet paper with the plastic wrapping removed and then place either the [Silica Gel in small mesh bags] or [unwrapped toilet rolls] inside the containers with the grains all around them. Silica Gel and dry unwrapped toilet rolls absorb moisture from temperature changes.


Having done all of the above right now you will be ready to seal your containers. We are making the assumption that insects and or weevils have a change to walk away from the bulbs or Garlic and or Bay leaves located through the grains in the container first of all. Or that you have put dry ice in the containers displace the oxygen in normal air with CO2 carbon dioxide. Or BOC the gas people have hired the CO2 or Nitrogen equipment for displacing the normal air inside the grain containers prior to sealing each container for survival storage We trust the above instructions on how use of your mill and the home storage guidelines may be of some help to you as our customers and or friends of our customers who have passed this information on to you, Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions...


dimsumthinking's picture
dimsumthinking

I've had the Retsel just under a month. The bread I've made so far with flour milled from the Retsel has tasted great but been challengingly dense. We often use it for croutons or toast because it's just too heavy for ordinary bread.


Do you sift the flour? If so, what grid size do you use? I'm having a lot of trouble getting true window paning. I get light wonderful results using KA WW so I don't think it's my baking technique. Perhaps I'm not milling fine enough?

loydb's picture
loydb

The 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich bread from Peter Reinhart's book _Whole Grain Breads_ is the lightest WW loaf I've found so far. I heartily recommend that book. I've begun experimenting some using his soaker/starter methodology from it, I'm a fan.


I make it using Walnut Oil as my oil, and Agave Nectar instead of honey.


Loyd


 

athagan's picture
athagan

I've had my Mil-Rite for about a month now as well.  I've been using an original Grainmaster Whispermill for some years now.


When I first started with the Mil-Rite I got a sample of the flour I ground with the Whispermill to gauge how much to crank down on the adjustment knob of the Retsel.  Took a few minutes (that two way switch really helps) to get it to where it produced flour that felt just as fine as what the Grainmaster produces on the setting I've always used.


And made a dense batch of bread. 


The second batch was better and I expect this weekend's batch will be back to what I've been producing.  The particle size of the flour is the same with the Retsel as it is with the Whispermill so far as my ability to judge by feel can determine, but there is a difference in the way the Retsel milled flour performs from what I am used to.  So a period of adjustment is necessary to get back to what I know I can do.  I'm sure that with another batch or so I'll be back to making bread just as good as any I've made in the past.  Likely you'll have to do the same as well.


.....Alan.


 


 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Q> Why did you chose to upgrade to the Retsel from the Whispermill?


Quote:
there is a difference in the way the Retsel-milled flour performs from what I am used to (with the Whispermill)

Q> What adjustments are you making so that the Retsel-milled flour performs as well as the Whispermill-milled flour?


Looking forward to hearing from you.

athagan's picture
athagan

We bought the Mil-Rite because my Whispermill is now ten years old and has had occasional spells of erratic performance which led me to believe it may give it up before much longer.  It's had a LOT of wheat and corn put through it over the years.  It has stopped reliably feeding corn but for the life of me I cannot find any blockages in the mill throat though I have not gone so far as to fully disassemble it for fear I could not get it back together again afterwards.  They are not meant to be taken completely apart.  It still feeds and mills wheat OK.


A grain mill has become as important to us as our stove or refrigerator so we wanted our next one to be one that would work for decades.  I considered motorizing our Country Living, but decided instead on the Retsel so that we could save the CL as our no-power backup.


The biggest adjustment between the Whispermill flour and the Mil-Rite flour has been to give the dough more time to absorb liquid.  The Mil-Rite flour does not seem to absorb it as quickly as the Whispermill flour has.


My starter has also slowed down a bit lately which may be due to the weather which is causing rise times to slow as well.


My first batch of bread using Mil-Rite milled flour.  It needed another half-hour of rise time, but I wanted to get to bed on time so I went with it as-is.



The second batch of bread using Mil-Rite flour.  Still not quite the pan-fill that I normally get, but closer.



My last batch using Whispermill produced flour.



These are all three using a sourdough starter.


I'll be baking again this weekend and I expect to be back to what I was doing before changing mills (I hope).


.....Alan.


 


 


 


 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

...for your reply - plus a 2nd thank you for the great photos.


All your breads look great and, frankly, I cannot tell the difference between the ones made with flour from the Whispermill and the Retsel Mil-rite.


You rock.

charbono's picture
charbono

All the loaves look great. For those who might be considering these mills, these additional comments might be useful.

The Mil-Rite is a buhr mill, which leaves relatively large pieces of mostly bran in the flour. It’s easier for me to see them and to sift them than it is to feel them. I think that larger pieces will slow water absorption and may detract from rise. When milling, I usually sift some of the bran out with a medium sieve, and return the bran to the hopper.

The Whispermill is a micronizer, or impact mill. Such mills are known for fine, uniform granulation; sifting would have little value. I have seen commentary that impact mills produce a higher level of damaged starch, which will increase initial absorption and have other subsequent effects. From what I’ve read, micronizers also produce warmer flour.

As Thom Leonard said in The Bread Book, every mill type leaves its signature in the flour.

athagan's picture
athagan

OK, this is the last photo I'll post, but I did want to show what the third batch of sourdough made using the Mil-Rite flour came out looking like.  Still not quite what I was getting with the last batch of Whispermill produced flour in the photo above, but much closer. I proof in the oven and bake from a cold start.  Saves having to find a place to proof six pans of dough while I'm cooking supper.



Got that one annoying crust bubble but the color came out nice.  Sure makes the house smell good.

.....Alan.