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About home milling and grains

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About home milling and grains

Here is a list of frequently asked questions about home milling, our mills and flakers and how to handle and store grains.


What are the costs of home milling? Is it expensive?

No. Home milling may seem to be quite expensive at first and rather for those "who can afford it". But contrary to short term thinking, home milling will save money on the long run. An electric grain mill will typically have made up for its purchase costs after 2-3 years, saving you money throughout the years it will do its job thereafter. As an example, organic whole wheat can be bought in bulk quantities of 10-25kg for prices below NZ$2 per kg, whereas 1kg of packed organic wholemeal flour typically costs between NZ$4-8 in stores throughout NZ.

Additionally, from a more "(w)holistic" perspective, you are likely to feel better and healthier, are less likely becoming ill when consuming freshly prepared wholesome organic grains, and your food will taste better while you are enjoying it more. At the same time you are lessening the impact industrial food production and transport has on our planet and environment. These are good reasons that cannot be simply measured in money. We believe there simply is no good reason not to become a home miller - we have been doing it for more than 15 years - easily!


How do I handle the mills and grains to make flour?

All our mills, and the flakers, are extremely easy to operate. Simply turn on the (electric) mill, adjust how fine the flour will be milled, and insert the grains into the hopper. To mill enough flour for one 1000g loaf of bread takes roughly 3-7 minutes or less, depending on the mill. The mill does the job - you can do other things in between. Milling by hand takes longer, about 10-25 minutes, depending on the mill.

The grains need to be relatively dry. The milling of grain requires grain moisture of 14% or less (except some WIDU mills that can handle damp grains). Test if the grains “crack” if you press them hard. If they rather squash then they are too soft. Grains that are bought in stores are usually without problems.

The mills do not require particular maintenance or cleaning. Wipe them with a dry or damp cloth occasionally and once every few years treat the housing with a bit of linseed or similar oil or wax.

Our mills and flakers should last many years - if not decades - if treated properly and with care. It is recommended to always turn on the mill before inserting grains into the hopper and mill all the grains in one go (except for the WIDU mills). This practice is easier on the motor.


What kinds of grains can the mills and flakers handle?

Generally the mills can handle all grains that are dry (under 15% water content) and relatively low in oil content as well as many beans and (non-oily) seeds.

Grains that can be milled include: Wheat, Rye, Spelt, Kamut, Barley, Oats, Millet, Durum Wheat, Amaranth, non-oily Rice, Buckwheat, Linseed, Dried Peas, Quinoa, Sorghum, field.

The 360w and 600w mills can generally also handle corn (not popcorn) and chickpeas - the 250w models can generally too, but corn and chickpeas should be first milled coarsely and then again on a fine setting.

The KoMo mills have a changeable mill chamber and milling stones allowing grinding coffee, spices and gluten free grains separately but with one mill.

Spices that can be ground include: Caraway, Cloves, Coriander, Fennel, Fenugreek, , Jamaican Pepper, Pepper Corn, Mustard Seed, Dill, Cumin, the seeds of Cardamom. Blend oily spices like chillies or cloves with less oily ones when milling. Use only dry spices.

WIDU mills are exceptional it that they can, depending on the model, also handle sprouted damp grains, oilseeds and even nuts.

The flakers can handle most grains. Oats and oilseeds (such as flax or sesame) can be flaked immediately. Other cereals such as wheat, barley, spelt, millet etc. can be prepared before rolling to avoid the shattering of the grains into small pieces instead of rolling into flakes. Place the grains in a strainer and hold it briefly under water. Then spread the grains on a cloth or towel and let dry for approx. 3-8 hours, depending on the grain. This process also enables a benefitial enzymatic process which makes the minerals and nutrients in the grain more readily available for metabolism in the body.


Can I grind nuts or oily seeds with the mills?

Most stone mills cannot handle oily seeds, grains or beans well (e.g. flax, sesame seeds, linseed, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, soy or popcorn) as they clog the milling stones. Do not grind nuts or grains and seeds high in oil content - unless you are using a WIDU mill. Small quantities of oilseeds can be ground mixing 1:1 with a grain like wheat or spelt when milling. Should the stones ever become clogged you can simply clean them by milling some non-oily grains like rye, whaet, barley etc. Milling oilseeds with KoMo mills may void the manufacturer warranty.


How long can I store freshly milled flour, groats or flakes?

Freshly milled flour, groats or flakes can be stored for up to 6 weeks and should be kept in a dark, dry and cool place away from sunlight.

However, ideally grains should be consumed as freshly prepared as possible.

The germs of whole grains are rich in oils and these are prone to oxidation which turns the grains, once milled or flaked, much more quickly rancid and decreases the nutritional value of the grains. See our “Why whole grains?” article.


How do I store whole grains and what is the shelf life of grains?

The shelf life of grains depends on many variables, including the grain type, temperature, light, humidity level, and potential infestations. Generally, grains should be stored in a cool, dry and dark location in a well-sealed container. Granaries are another great option, particularly for those who use grains frequently and like to store larger amounts. The grains are frequently moved - which helps avoid infestations and mould. During hot days grains can be stored in a container in the refrigerator or the freezer.

The shelf life of grains typically varies from several months to several years. A good overview about how to store different types of grain and their typical shelf life is provided here.

 

What are natural granite stones?

Salzburger Mills are one of very few manufacturers that offer mills with natural granite stones and are unique in having 35 years of experience in their manufacture. There are hundreds of different kinds of granite, but only a few of them have proven suitable for use as mill stones. The naturally formed granite is carefully selected and is a completely natural product as found in nature. Until today no forms of allergic reactions to granite mill stones have been reported.

Pair by pair the granite stones are individually and carefully worked by hand and adjusted to each other, which is very time consuming. Each pair of stones is unique and they have proven to have a very long service life. A characteristic of granite is its high resistance to abrasion; it is harder than many types of steel. Granite is strong and durable, however, depending on use, the stones need to be resharpened approx. every 15-30 years. Within the warranty period Salzburger Mills provide this service for free.

It is said by many that granite stones produce the fluffiest and finest flour with the best baking characteristics.

                                                                                             25 and 30 year old granite stones

What are corundum/ceramic stones?

While granite stones are the most natural milling stones available and have been used for hundreds of years, today corundum/ceramic stones are commonly used by grain mill manufacturers. Their advantage is their low cost compared to natural granite stones. Additionally, they are harder than granite, self-sharpening and last approx. 15-20 years, depending on use. Corundum is the second hardest naturally occurring mineral after diamonds. Both corundum and ceramic are natural materials that are also referred to as clay or alumina (dioxide) and are made without artificial additives. The milling stones are created under high pressure when the corundum and ceramic mass is pressed into a casting mould and subsequently burned in a furnace at a very high temperature of around 1300 degrees.


What are naxos-basalt stones bound in magnesite?

These are, like corundum/ceramic stones, "man-made" milling stones that are moulded out of naturally occurring materials, naxos-basalt and magnesite. These are softer than corundum/ceramic and most granite stones and today are mostly used in manual mills that have comparably small milling capacities. Like corundum/ceramic they are self-sharpening and usually also last for a long time (10+ years).


There is no simple answer to the question which stones are best; it depends on your preferences, budget and intended use. Corundum/ceramic and naxos/basalt milling stones can generally better handle damper grains than granite.They are "man made" stones that are very durable, but some prefer the purely natural granite stones and claim that granite ground flour not only has the best baking characteristics but is also better on an energetic level. Whichever stone is chosen, under normal use they will last you a  many years - if not decades - and can simply be reworked or replaced.

We provide replacement stones for all mills sold through us (a set of corundum/ceramic or naxos-basalt stones  costs about $50-$100, depending on the mill) and Salzburger Mills can get your granite stones redressed (sharpened) should that become necessary. To get your granite stones sharpened the entire mill needs to be sent to Austria as this is a complicated process.


How do steel burr mills compare to stone mills?

Mills that use a steel burr have the advantage that they can crush almost all grains, including those with a high oil content. However, they relatively easily become blunt and rather "cut" than "mill" grains, often resulting in coarser flour that has inferior baking characteristics compared to stone mills. Conventional mass-produced flour is almost always crushed by steel burr mills and there is a reason why flour manufacturers always state on their packaging if a flour is stone ground. Stone mills simply create superior results and usually also finer flour from most grains such as wheat, spelt, rye, barley, rice, corn etc.


What do I do in case a mill or flaker that I bought from you has a problem or fault ?

This rarely happens. However, should you encounter any faults or problems, please simply contact us via email or phone and let us know about your problem. If we cannot sort it via email or phone, send your mill or flaker back to us and we will assess the problem and get it fixed as soon as possible. All the mills and flakers are serviced by us in NZ - so they do not need to be shipped to Europe in order to get serviced or repaired, saving you expensive postage. An exception is the sharpening of granite stones. For this process the mill needs to be sent to Salzburger Mills as this requires special equipment and knowledge. We have access to all necessary spare parts and can also provide you with new milling stones - should that ever become necessary.

Please remember: Most problems are caused by using insufficiently dry grains.

Use properly dried grains for milling.


Should you have further questions, please let us know. We are happy to assist.

Happy and healthy milling and flaking!