July 2, 2014 - 6:53am
Retsel Mill-Rite Advice
My new Retsel arrives this week (with both stone and metal plates), and in anticipation I'd like to hear from Retsel Mill-Rite owners on using it well and its limitations.
I will mostly be grinding wheat and want to be able to get a very fine grind most of the time. THIS is the main focus.
I'll also mill rye and other grains into flour for bread, and do cracked grains for porridge and porridge breads.
Once in a while I would like to mill corn for cornbread.
I currently use the Vitamix to make nut/seed butters (VERY smooth) but would like to hear about people's experience with the metal plates on this front too.
First, I wouldn’t obsess over granulation. Fine powder is not necessary for good bread.
Secondly, remember that hard winter wheat can be ground more finely that spring, while heating less, generating less damaged starch, and tasting better.
Use precious little torque when tightening the stones. If you tighten further, the process slows down; and the temp rises. If the flour is not fine enough, use a sieve (say #20). You can put the “overs” back into the hopper with the remaining grain.
Soft wheat will clog the mill on a tight setting; it will likewise move more slowly through a fine sieve. However, it readily breaks to fairly fine flour.
Regarding maize or corn, you need to address some questions: What type of corn (flour, dent, flint)? What size kernels? Do you want the cornbread cake-like or gritty or in-between? Do you want grits, mush, or polenta? With maize, you will probably need at least one sieve. The steel burrs are usually used, the exception being for small or medium-sized flour corn. Retsel recommends not using popcorn, but I’ve done it on a coarse setting.
My Mil-Rite doesn’t have a shroud. I clip a plastic bag around the bottom of the hopper like a bib to keep the bigger pieces from flying out.
thanks for all that...very helpful...
Can you explain why hard winter wheat has those characteristics?
Also, what are your views on making multiple passes of increasingly fine settings for wheat flour milling with the Retsel (everyone seems to have their own method)?
I'm not sure what I'll be doing with corn, as I haven't checked out what is available here...
Hard winter wheat has less protein and is not as hard as spring wheat. The milling characteristics follow. As for the flavor difference, I can only speculate.
Some people use multiple passes as part of an elaborate process, including tempering, to remove bran. I assume your question pertains, instead, to achieving a fine average granulation. With a moderately fine setting, the Mil-Rite produces a preponderance of reasonably fine flour on the first pass. Sieving and re-milling the coarser particles is do-able, but rapidly becomes tedious with finer sieves. I would not re-mill all of the flour, which would be hard on both the flour and the mill.
The question on passes is also from my past experience using a Country Living mill a number of years ago... in that case it was very helpful to do one pass on a course setting (giving me well cracked grains or meal, not flour), then another pass on a fine setting...but that was largely because it was just to hard to turn the wheel going from whole berries to flour.
that is very helpful, thanks...and your approach to milling fine flour (multiple passes or no)?
worked really well for me. I sifted once in a while but that was just another time consuming step that I eventually stopped doing all together. I found the flour to be more fine than KA whole wheat. My beef with it was the weight and collection but it is an awesome mill overall.