The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Time Milling

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SallyCO's picture
SallyCO

First Time Milling

Hi.  I'm Sally and I've been following the forum but haven't posted yet.  I got a Farm Market mill as a gift and tried milling Montana Prairie Gold Wheat Berries for the first time.  I was just playing and ran it through about 5 times getting the blade-things (don't know what they're called) as close as possible and it's still very coarse.  I've attached a photo.  I guess I was thinking I'd mill it into a flour consistency.  Is this the best it will get or should I keep playing with the mill?

Thank you very much for any input you may have time for.

Thanks again.  Sally

embth's picture
embth

I did a quick online search for your mill (since I have no experience with it) and found comments that it is not made to mill wheat to a bread quality flour.   From what I read it is better suited to course meals….which seems consistent with your results.  Perhaps Cracked Wheat Bread for your next baking project?  I think Wheat Montana products are among the best on the market.

SallyCO's picture
SallyCO

Thank you very much! Should it work if I try to smoosh it more using the mortar and pestle I wonder?  I appreciate your help.  I look forward to learning more from this forum.  Have a wonderful night.

SallyCO's picture
SallyCO

I tried putting it through a coffee bean grinder for a few seconds after having hand-milled it and it looks beautiful!  Thank you for your help!

embth's picture
embth

Bake a loaf and see how it works….experimenting is half the fun!   Certainly it will work to add texture and flavor to a loaf.  I have looked a grain mills and decided that I could buy a lot of good flour for what I would spend on the mill.  There are no wheat fields within a few hundred miles of my home.  If I were in wheat country, I can imagine making a different decision about milling my own.  It would be fun to go through the process from grain in the field to bread sliced and buttered.  : )

Welcome to TFL and best of luck with your bread making!

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Hi Embth

Interesting thoughts regarding flour vs grain.  The flour you buy must come from somewhere and if there are no local wheat fields then there's a lot of transportation probably involved one way or another.  So it's as easy to ship a 25kg sack of wheat or rye as it is to ship a sack of the same flour.  I agree with you that a grain mill is an expense and at face value a bit of a luxury and indulgence.  It is certainly not needed at all to make a great loaf of bread so in one sense the sensible view is to let the expert millers make the flour and for us bakers to use that flour.

There is however another consideration which is self-sufficiency.  We live in troubled times and since 2008/9 there have been worldwide food crises some of which sparked the Arab Spring riots we have seen in various countries.  Much of the USA and UK populations are unaware of that food crisis and how significantly food prices rose in some of those countries forcing people onto the streets.  In the USA there are already literally millions of people on food programmes and I personally think this will get worse and worse.  The USA has to pay down it's horrendous debts to other countries and guess what?  those countries are not interested in being paid with US Dollars whose value is plummeting (and may well totally crash in the future) and so the USA is busy exporting foods that it grows because that is what those countries really need.  With all that exporting to pay down debt that leaves less and less food for the citizens of the USA itself, and hence what is left rises in price.  Hence we have all seen food prices rise a lot in the past few years.  It's going to get worse. 

So for me personally, the decision to invest in a grain mill is not about better flour but rather about self-sufficiency.  Put simply, you can store wheat, spelt, rye grains for years and years if you pack them in airtight, vacuum packaging.  A 25kg sack of wheat in the UK is currently about £20, rye is about £18.  It's not too much different from the same quantity of flour.   However, flour won't last.  It goes rancid after a few months.  So with a grain mill and a store of grains that won't cost much you will have the safety net of being able to make your own flours for a very long time should the world get worse and shops start to run dry.  It may never happen, but its within your reach right now to give yourself that fall back position.  One thing is for sure.  If/when the SHTF, you won't be able to buy a grain mill for love nor money !   You can buy a manual hand mill for under £50 here in the UK at present so if you do decide to buy a counter-top electric mill, probably worth just a little more investment to get a manual one as well to cater for when the electric grid goes down.   Just a thought :-)

EP

embth's picture
embth

I grew up at a time when school children crawled under their desks in rather silly "air raid" drills.  Even as a 6 year old, I knew that desk was not going to help a lot.  As I got older, I figured as the the rest of the population fled the nuclear attack, I would run towards it yelling, "I'll catch it!"  Somehow I think that when the proverbial S… hits the proverbial fan, we will have much more to worry about than how much grain we have to mill.  But as a nod to your points,  as soon as our 4 feet of snow melts, I will locate a flat rock and a nice round hand sized rock and put them in a safe place.  : )  Meanwhile I will just enjoy baking bread.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

I'm not expecting any nuclear attacks.  What I do expect is increasing levels of civil unrest which will impact retail and transport and the thus the stocks in shops.  We say just a couple of years ago some bad riots in London which were just the result of tensions caused by the shooting of a young lad.  That will be nothing compared to the rioting that will take place when hyperinflation kicks in.  It's happened in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and other places and as I said the USA is in a terrible mess.  People often suggest we will have "other things to think about" but it's worth thinking this through and looking at other disasters that have happened elsewhere and what happened liike for example in Haiti or New Orleons.  First to go is the electric grid and water supplies and then rioting and looting ensues in the town/city centres.  Eventually hoards head out of town to go find rural food and water sources (the "golden hoards") and then come those who made no preparations whatsoever except for guns (the "Brass hoards") who intend to simply threaten or kill others for what they have.  I contest that those who have "other things to think about" when disaster strikes, are those who had zero foresight and made no simple preparations themselves.  Those people will have no capability to make fresh potable water from any water source, will have no long term stocks of food, no means of cooking and will suffer both from the fear and hopelessness of it all and from the lack of resources.   Having a means of water purification (like for example a small portable high quality bottle filter), having stocks of grains and pulses and rice that last years and other foods that can sustain you for up to 6 months will take much of the panic and fear away.  I would guess that the average household which is hopelessly dependent on the state and local amenities would run out of foods to make reasonable meals within a week and a high percentage won't have any water purification ability whatsoever. If I were forced to leave my home which is some 10 miles from the nearest city, I could load up a car with foods already in plastic tubs, with water purification equipment, grains, pulses and rice and a small light manual grain mill and cooking / camping equipment pretty easily.  I would only do that if absolutely necessary though.  I'd be happy in a crisis to bake breads for my local community and play my part as far as I could.   I don't consider myself a "survival prepper", just someone who has made some prudent precautions and educated myself on the things that will matter in a crisis.  The state isn't going to look after you or me.  In such a time people will need to come together and share their skills.   :-)