Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Hand Crank Grain Grinder

Well, for $25 I couldn't really expect it to perform like the Nutrimill, but my hand grinder is going to be relegated to the garage for cracking corn for the chickens, I'm afraid.

It was a fun experiment, but it wouldn't grind finely enough, and Ben ended up cracking the outside of it trying to tighten the grinding wheel.

Now I'll HAVE to get a Nutrimill, right? Because I have all these wheat berries left.

I think that perhaps this hand grinder would grind finely enough for tamales, if I ever decide to grow flint corn and nixtamalize it. I'm not sure if it could get masa fine enough for tortillas though.

As you can see, my hand cranked grain made a sorry looking dough. I used the Whole Wheat recipe in my bread maker book, and it does have vital wheat gluten added to it.

The loaf came out pretty gritty heavy and dense. It's about half to a third of the height of a regular loaf from my bread maker.

So, I don't know if I will spend the $250 needed to have an effective grain grinder. I've heard the health benefits of freshly ground grain are well worth the price, but I don't want to jump on a bandwagon and buy an expensive gadget that I won't enjoy using.

For now though, I have a grinder that I can use to crack corn for the chickens, which means I won't have to make twenty more corn heating bags from that forty pounds of corn I bought in November. And maybe this year we'll plant some corn for feeding as well. It'll be a fun experiment, and I'm sure Ben will love to rub the kernals off the ears as we watch television! :D

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Mrs. Mordecai said...

I LOVE our electric mill and I think you would love one too. I makes super-fine flour, even better than you can buy in the store. It's called the Wonder Mill. I grind white whole wheat and I can sneak that into almost anything!

Your loaf of bread reminds me of the ones from The Long Winter. I'm sure it would taste pretty good if it was either that or starving. :)

Kathie said...

I have a hand crank too and it takes forever if you want it fine enough for bread. I posted a wanted ad in the local newspaper and had several calls for electric versions. I bought one for $30 that attaches to my KitchenAid Mixer that was still in its box from someone who called from the ad - total investment $34, including the ad price - well worth it. I imagine you could advertise on craigslist for free too.

The electric version is well worth it and makes a mighty fine bread.

chicory cottage said...

did you know that you can 'pop' wheat berries much like popcorn? we've tried that and it has such a nutty taste to it...i imagine that mixing some of that with popcorn might be interesting.

Bethany said...

Mrs. Mordecai, that made me laugh, about the bread in The Long Winter and their little coffee grinder. I'm glad I didn't have to twist straw "logs" in order to bake it!

But, believe it or not, Ben ate most of that loaf toasted and spread with blackberry preserves. He said it was good, but I think he was just not wanting all that arm muscle that it took him to help me grind it to go to waste, lol.

Kathie, that's a good idea to post somewhere looking for one. Every once in a while I check to see if anyone is selling one, but just asking to buy one would be a better way, I'd bet.

Chicory Cottage, I didn't know that! We'll definately try it this weekend, I'm interested to know what popped wheat will taste like.

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