May 1, 2021 - 8:09am
Q on Flaking Mills. Are they worth it?
As everyone here knows, I am an extremely happy and satisfied owner of a GrainMaker model 99 mill. Something the Bitterroot Co also sells is a "Flaking Mill," shown here.
I'm trying to understand the uses of a flaking mill. I get that I can crush oats for making oatmeal. Can I run wheat and/or ancient grains through it? Would I even want to do so?
I read it can be used in beer making and spirit distilling. Does it have any application in bread baking? What types of bread-making would having a flaking mill be useful?
Thanks in advance.
I have a Marcato Mulino flaker, and use it to flake oats, barley, and occasionally a few other grains. Most often I make porridge for breakfast, and have started dabbling with porridge breads. I find the flavors to be better with home flaked grain, not unlike home milled grains (I also mill quite a bit of the flour I use). And whole grains in general tend to have a longer shelf life than already milled/flaked grains.
There is just 2 of us, so using a smaller flaker is perfect for us. Would I get this particular one again? Not sure... There are others that are equally good. I tend to prefer things with a low "futz factor". Clamping this to the counter every time I want to use it is annoying, and doesn't do much to inspire more frequent use. I think I also had unrealistic expectations of what to expect from the flakes. I thought I would get the equivalent of Quaker Oats. Instead the flakes are thicker and tend to break more than flake. That issue resolved considerably when I learned how to pre-moisten the grains overnight first. I will see if I can find a link to that and post a separate reply with it.
So bottom line - everyone values things for different reasons. If you don't eat/use flaked grains of any sort now, I suspect you may not find a flaker to be an asset. If you do, you may enjoy flaking your own grains.
Here's the link re moistening grain prior to flaking:
My inerest is as self-sufficiency. I'm closing on my rural property and will be moving there soon. So that's a big motivation.
Another motivaton was buying my GrainMaker, and it opening my eyes to a entire world of home-milling I didn't know existed. I'm wondering if the same will occurr with a flaking mill. One way to find out. :-)
We have a lower end but nicely designed Komo FlicFloc that I use weekly. Whereas I've used it to flake everything from oats to wheat to rye to spelt (flakes especially cleanly) to legumes, my weekly use is to flake brown rice. I imbibe Lundberg Organic Golden Rose overnight then drain and surface dry it with help of a dehydrator (run at room temp). I cook up the flaked rice (in 20 min -- 1/3 the time of intact brown rice) with various flavorings including broths, herbs, spices or saffron and park a bit of it under the nightly stew or curry. Sort of like polenta, or like white rice in asian cuisines. A nice carb 'base' to any meal (note: we eat pescatarian). So I've found it a useful appliance. But the classy hardware you show would likely be a significantly greater $commitment$. Harder to justify. BTW, we've not found home-flaked oats to be better than Bob's Red Mill Extra-Thick, our storebought standard. While we're certainly oat eaters, we're not oatmeal connoisseurs. YMMV.
I had not considered flaking brown rice. I'll have to give that a try. Thanks for the tip, your flavorings sound quite tasty.
Thank you for the tips and insights.. Yeah, Bitterroot's flaking mill is expensive ($1,200), but what's driving my consideration is my experience with their grain mill. My GrainMaker is such an overbuilt "beast-on-steroids" workhorse that I'm willing to pay premium to have that same ruggedness in a flaking mill. Sort of a "pay once, cry once, enjoy for life."
Like I mentioned to Mary, I'm moving to my rural property and I prize equipment I can depend on.
Pescatarian. Never heard that one. Will look it up. Thanks!
I suppose one option is to get a smaller, less costly one and see if you have enough of an appreciation for the results before diving into the deep end of the pool? I did that with milling (used a small hand mill for a bit before investing in my Mockmill). I have (by way of the School of Hard Knocks) learned to appreciate life lessons that don't suck the bank account dry while I figure out if something is really worth doing. (My idea of "Worth" = $ cost + personal value of the intangible pieces, like taste/nutrition/self sufficiency, which are harder to measure.) 😉
I do own a Marcato Atlas 150. I don't recall if I can squeeze the rollers tightly enough to flake grain. Will try that first.
On another site, a European pro baker mentioned German pro bakers often add flaked grain, either as a topping or into the dough, to improve moisture absorption and flavor. That's yet another interesting idea to explore.
Finally, of course, there's the "boys with toys," with its siren song! Lol! Like Anakin Skywalker being seduced by the Dark Side! *warm smile*