The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Motorizing My Retsel Mini-Ark and Review

yeast infection's picture
yeast infection

Motorizing My Retsel Mini-Ark and Review

I do my milling out in my shed. I think it's geared down to about 120 rpm's. It does warm the flour, and this is a concern to some people, but I'm not bothered by this, I figure it'll get even hotter than that when it's cooked. The burrs do get a bit uncomfortable to handle when it's been run for a while. I may slow it down to approx 60 rpm in the future, make a bigger hopper for it, and move it around so I can hang a big catch bucket from the edge of the table so I can let it run without watching it. Best $118 I ever spent; the rest of it is cobbled together from recycled parts and a few store bought odds and ends that came to another $20.


andychrist's picture

What a great setup!

Would love to see a video of this puppy in action. Hint hint.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I don't know what temperature it comes out at, or how that compares to the temperature of commercially milled flour, but obviously, you can refrigerate the grains before grinding to get a cooler flour if one is desired.

I believe it may be incorrect to assume that any temperature is fine so long as it is lower than the temperature it is exposed to in the oven. This may be especially so if you are using the flour to create a soaker -- i.e., to take advantage of certain enzymatic activity that occurs during a long soak. 

I could be way off on this score though.

Also, when flour is exposed to high temperatures in the oven, it is not exposed as flour, but as dough. In other words, it is protected by all of that moisture, whereas it has no such protection when being milled. I have no idea if this makes any difference to the final product, just pointing out that it does not necessarily follow that any temperature is fine so long as it is lower than the temperature it is exposed at when baking.



clazar123's picture

If the flour hits about 120F or above it can cause extensive damage to the starch grains and you will notice a big difference in the bread and dough. It will not maintain the gluten strands and will only be good for flat breads such as roti. In fact, this is a problem with many whole grain flours in India-they cannot make a decent loaf bread due to the fact that it was milled in a high heat environment.

That said, I have a problem when I mill in my Wondermill during the summer. I usually freeze 8 cups (my mill's hopper capacity) and then mill the frozen grain. Otherwise the flour is about 130-140F output. It took me a while to figure out why my bread dough was so awful.Starch damage from hot,milled flour.

Great setup!


yeast infection's picture
yeast infection

Well then if I put another 10" pulley on it, I'll get 36 rpm. And the burrs can go in the freezer. That should do the trick. It very well may be the case that the burrs are hitting 120 deg. They do get quite warm. However, my bread rises about the same (read not much) whether it's hand powered or motor powered. I'll know more as I get experience.


I seem to be getting the nutrition I'm looking for as it sits, lots of fiber in the wheat bread, and it sure is tasty with the wild yeast. I'm very pleased with it.