Thursday, February 9, 2012

Family Grain Mill

Even though I enjoy all the conveniences of a fully electric home I hope one day to be at least partially solar powered if not completely.  I am fascinated with knowing how to get by should the luxury of electricity  become unavailable for whatever reason. I also just really like the idea of  passing along basic skills to future generations. Things like making candles, soap, cheese, gardening, and cooking real food from scratch should not be things our kids have no basic understanding of.  I admire those who live "the good life" to quote Helen and Scott Nearing and strive to get closer to the ideal working homestead that I envision.

One of the items I have had on my wish list for years I finally purchased last Fall. I would love to have the Country Living Grain Mill since it seems to get the best reviews and honestly the old fashioned design makes it look like what you think a grain mill should look like but it is really pricey. After a lot of research I found The family grain mill  which is a good quality hand grinder for under $200.00 that can be attached to a Bosch mixer or a kitchen aid mixer should you wish to power it by electricity. Here is a video demonstration of the grinder in action.
.http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Family+Grain+Mill+Video&mid=E151DFF488C1254A2FD8E151DFF488C1254A2FD8&view=detail&FORM=VIRE1
I see offered by many retailers online so it pays to shop around for the best deal.

 I have been  hand grinding Hard Red Wheat Berries to make whole wheat flour, my entire family has taken turns grinding flour and I am often surprised to discover a freshly ground batch left by someone who felt the urge to expend some energy.  Grinding flour is not easy work I have to say, but it is a great way to relieve tension as well as a great bicep workout. I mounted the grinder to my counter edge in the kitchen. I found that a simple plastic lid like the kind on a coffee can fits nicely over the open bin so I can leave unground berries in it all the time. I grind the wheat into a canister I keep on the counter below it so any time the urge strikes me I can grind wheat for a while. The Family grain mill is also supposed to grind other kinds of flour like bean, oat and rice flour and oat flakes but I have not tried any of those yet. I have been making the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipe  http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Artisan-Bread-In-Five-Minutes-A-Day.aspx experimenting with half wheat /half bread flour since my family likes a fluffy loaf but I like the grainy goodness of whole wheat. I have not been able to get the really light fluffy kind of flour you buy in the market and I am not sure if it needs to be sifted or if it has to do with the quality of the grinder or the type of grinding element it uses, but I find the flour very useable. I plan to experiment with making flat breads and pancakes over an open fire outside just because I think those would a good substitute for baked bread if needed in a pinch. I have had it for a few months now and it seems to be of good quality that will hopefully hold up over time.