The Fresh Loaf

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grain/flour mill flow restriction device

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

grain/flour mill flow restriction device

I've been using a small stainless steel funnel with a 1/2" opening flor flow restriction on the second and final stage of milling my wheat berries.  I've been running the first pass at a setting close to 6 on the Mockmill Lino 200, which keeps the temperature at around 100 F.  I typically run the second final pass at the "just touching" setting.  If I dump everything in the mill the temperature can creep up significantly, getting close to their recommended 140 F threshold.  After setting the mill to the fine setting, I scoop the coarse meal with the funnel and hold it over the hopper.  The coarse flour typically exits in spurts and I gently tap and/or shake the funnel to get a semi-continuous but restricted flow of coarse wheat flour into the hopper at the correct rate to produce the final fine flour.  With this approach, I can keep the temperature between 100-110F.  I have also read that reducing intake between the stones can lead to finer and more consistent flour, which makes sense, and is an added bonus, although I have not attempted to confirm this in any way.  I'm looking for a more permanent, and importantly, an unsupervised solution that would allow me to load 500-1000g at a time, resulting in a relatively smooth and constant flow without interruption.  Ideally, it would allow for some fine-tuning, but ultimately I want the rate to be well below the capacity of the mill, such that there is no accumulation in the mill hopper, but the stones are constantly buffered during milling.   Due to the physical properties of the flour, a purely gravity-based solution is likely to lead to clogging, and I suspect a proper solution may require a somewhat mechanical contraption.  I suspect there are other domains where this type of flow restriction problem pops up and would like to find something close to an off-the-shelf solution if possible.  I supposed a funnel with some kind of solenoid might work.  I figured I would post a question to the forum to see if anyone has gone down this path already, seen a similar solution, or has ideas that might help.

 

phaz's picture
phaz

Think along the lines of the screw, sometimes the simplest tool is the best. Enjoy! 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Have you tried chilling the berries in the fridge and doing it all in one pass?

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

I have tried that, although I was chilling in between the first and second passes of a two-stage milling process, after reading about this practice in Flour Lab.  I was initially using the fridge and then started using the freezer to expedite things.  I've been experimenting (in the limited way that semi-daily baking allows) with tempering lately with the goal of testing both lighter high extraction bakes and separating bran for processing and re-inclusion in 100% whole grain bakes.  I'm still undecided if this is worthwhile.

I was reading through home-tempering-and-bolting-wheat-get-high-extraction-flour for tempering tips and read the following:

Don't mill cold wheat. Milling cold wheat will tend to cause the bran to shatter and not flake off making it hard to sift off.

I recall reading a similar thought in another post on TFL previously, and the idea itself made sense, so I've switched gears.  I did see an increase in separation when I returned to room temperature milling.  I'm making an assumption that it corresponds to higher bran vs endosperm separation but have no quantitative way to confirm this.  At that time I was actually storing the coarse milled grains in the freeze (presumably the fridge has a similar but less extreme effect).  Since I'm currently bolting, I stopped chilling altogether and have been trying this alternative solution to keep temperatures down.  I also like that it avoids another schedule constraint, and potentially improves the flour uniformity.  The main downside is that it is slow.  I don't think I fully conveyed that in the initial post.  I have experimented with fine-tuning the funnel spout diameter but for any reasonable size the milled flour clumps, and to get the right fine stream of flour I have to hold it and continuously tap it with my finger.