The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Meat grinder for milling grains?

beurre's picture
beurre

Meat grinder for milling grains?

Hello, I’m very new to making bread so please forgive me if this question is very obvious or silly! I would like to try my hand at making flour at home, but I can’t afford / don’t have access to a mill. I do, however, have access to a meat grinder. Has anyone ever used one for milling grains? Did it work? If so, what type of grains? What was the resulting consistency?

 

Thank you in advance!

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

People use all sorts of methods to remove the bran from the endosperm and germ. 

My first concern is that the grinder will not be able to create a cut small enough to mill flour to a fine standard. I would expect a lot of chunks instead of dust. You might play with different dies and see what happens. Burr or stone mills tune the distance between the plates. When the grain is introduced into the chamber it travels through narrowing surfaces that eventually crack the bran from the endosperm. Depending on the setting of the plates you will get finer or coarser product.

When I mill wheat and rye I will make 2 or 3 passes in order to get the final product I desire. This is determined by the  screen mesh on my sieves. If I want a whole wheat or whole rye product I will continue to mill what doesn't pass through a #40 screen until it does pass. I usually get frustrated because milling whole wheat takes so long, so I generally mill to what is called "high extraction", which leaves out 10 - 15% of the total weight. I will be surprised if you are able to mill to high extraction or whole standards with a meat grinder, and I expect you will be throwing away a lot of product.

One other consideration is that wheat berries are hard, and products intended for a meat grinder are generally soft. I think their is a high potential for breaking something. If you do end up trying this please post your results.

 

beurre's picture
beurre

Thank you for your detailed response! I will probably wait and read more about milling until I have access to a proper mill, although I may try something like AndyPanda suggested & post about it

clazar123's picture
clazar123

You may crack the wheat berries but it won't be flour. You can make a loaf shaped product but it will be moist chunks of chewy grains. It can be quite delicious but not what I would call bread. Kind of like the most rustic pumperknickel only made with wheat instead of rye.

If you want to incorporate whole grains into your breads, spend a little more on a quality whole wheat flour. In the US, KingArthur, BobsRed Mill, Dakota Maid are a few I have found on grocery store shelves. If you still want to use whole wheat berries, throw some in a blender or a coffee mill to add to your dough but make sure the recipe you use has a good, long soak or autolyze in it or you may be chewing hard bits.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

been there, did that

beurre's picture
beurre

Good to know! :)

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I used to make a bread where I sprouted the wheat, patted it dry on paper towels and ran it through a meat grinder a few times.  It made a delicious tasting bread with a very interesting texture but it's a bit tricky to handle as the dough is very sticky.    

beurre's picture
beurre

Do you recall the formula that you would use?

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I don't really follow recipes - I just use the right amount of salt for the weight of the wheat (I weigh it before I soak and sprout it - so 300 grams of wheat I'd use 6 grams of salt) and the amount of yeast I would use for any other yeast dough.   The only difference as far as ingredients/amounts is that you are using moist wheat so you want to pat it as dry as possible with paper towels before you grind it and the dough will still be pretty wet - so no liquid ingredients.  Just moist wheat pulp, salt and yeast.   I would add a little bread flour if it was too wet - but not much - just enough to handle the sticky dough better or you could use some of the bench techniques people use here when handling high hydration dough. 

If you weigh the dry wheat and then weigh your sprouts, you could calculate your hydration - for example if I start with 400 grams of wheat and then after they are sprouted and blotted dry with paper towels they weight 700 grams.  I would know they absorbed 300 grams of water and the resulting dough would be 75% hydration (and about 8 grams of salt would be right for that - and probably 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of yeast depending on how good your yeast is and if you like a long, slow ferment or a fast one)

I did a search and found this webpage with someone making bread this way and giving a recipe - I've never tried this recipe but you could check it out. She calls for a little water and honey -- I've done it with and without honey but I've never needed to add water as my dough was plenty wet enough from the moisture in the sprouts:

http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/2009/01/sprouted-wheat-breadday-3-with-meat.html