Grinding grain

shirley-calgaryFebruary 28, 2007

I buy my organic grain from the health food store near me. I bought a variety of whole grains one of which was Quinoa - the girl said that it needed to be washed to rid it of little "o" type hulls. That is all well and good but how would I dry it in order to grind it. Or do you use Quinoa whole unground in making bread? I planned to use whole wheat, spelt, kamut, amaranth and a bit of quinoa.

I also would like to know about grinding buckwheat to make flour for buckwheat pancakes - what mixture would I use like how many parts buckwheat flour to regular whole wheat flour??? or white flour? Thanks I appreciate the info.

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gran2(z5 INDIANA)

I'm confused too about the washing part. Could she have meant dry washing, like I do with popcorn or wheat right out of the combine? I rub the kernels together to loosen the chaff or husks, then pour from one bowl to another repeatedly in front of a fan or outside on a breezy day. When nothing flies away from the pour, I'm finished.

I make a really good buckwheat pancake batter by using half buckwheat flour and half all -purpose. My recipe:

Master mix (good for pancakes and biscuits - it's a staple in my kitchen)
9 cups flour
1/3 cup baking powder
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
Sift this mixture three times, yes 3!
Work in 2 cups shortening (like Crisco) with a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse and no big lumps.
I like to not have to worry about the milk supply, so I add 1 cup powdered milk to the mix before the shortening. It's too coarse to go through the sifter.

Add water and an egg for pancakes, just water for biscuits. Really good

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 10:56PM
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Quinoa has a bitter coating that can turn up in food. I have never ground it (and honestly, have never washed it, either). We use it in soups and like rice--it cooks up with the same ratio as rice. I like to use it cooked in bread. Much as you would leftover oatmeal. I have never noticed the supposed bitter taste, but maybe certain types are more prone? anyway, hope this helps! Dannic

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 9:26PM
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I bought a grain grinder from Lehman's and discovered that it hurt my arthritic spine to grind I asked them about using pedal power. They told me that it would void the warranty if I used pedal power because they are afraid that I will over torque the shaft, or make it run too fast (more than 80 rpm).

Well I thought about this and realized that if I make a 170mm hand crank separate from the grinder that will turn a small pulley to go to a larger one on the grinder unit, that I can increase the ease of cranking with out increasing the torque any more than what a strong man will produce by turning their large diameter crank arm. And it will spin no faster even though I will be cranking faster with a lighter touch.

The question is: what gear ratios to use??? I'm thinking a 3" that goes up to a 6" or 8" inch pulley. Keep in mind that I don't want to increase the torque by much.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 2:53PM
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Torque as it is applied to the mill is determined by how much resistance is taking place in the mill compared to how much force is applied to the input shaft of the mill. Therefore, as the mill needs to turn to work, torque to the input shaft of the mill is determined only by what is being ground and the setting of the mill burs. How that turning force is generated prior to reaching the input shaft of the mill does not matter. You could have an army of hamsters turning a wheel or a 5000+ horse power diesel engine and the torque on the mill would be the same.

I think the manufacturer's/vendor's concern regarding the adaptation of modified drive mechanisms has to do with the reduction in human fatigue. As the mill will last many years if it is only used to the degree someone is willing to crank it by hand. If the mill is motorized or connected to a bicycle or something similar, the mill will probably wear our earlier.

Lateral force applied to the input shaft may also result in premature wearing of the bearing on one side if too much tension is applied to the belt. Of if there is a lack of lubrication.

The speed reduction can also be accomplished with a bicycle chain/sprockets or gears.

On my mill, which is a Diamant, I'm using an electric motor. The mill is turning at the manufacturers recommended speed. By using a small enough pulley mounted on the motor, the belt speed is reduced to the point where the mill is turning at the correct speed.

I also disassembled the mill, drilled, taped and mounted oil cups to allow the oiling of the bearing surfaces of the mill. Small diameter holes alone would also work. I have an oil can filled with vegetable oil and I oil the mill every time I use it. As the bearing contact surfaces are riding on this film of oil, the mill will last many years, even though it is motorized. The bearings on this mill are pressed-in sleeve bearings, they can easily be replaced, however I doubt if this will ever have to be done. So, because I exceeded the design specifications of the bearings by motorizing the mill which applies a lateral load on the bearings, I compensated for this by providing a method of lubrication to the critical wear points.

As for speed, this needs to match what the mill is designed for. To calculate, first divide the diameter of the driven pully (mounted on the mill) into the diameter of the drive pully (mounted on the hand crank). This will tell you the ratio. Draw a sketch, it will help.

Example: a 6 inch diameter drive pully (at the hand crank) turning a 12 inch diameter driven pully (at the mill) will reduce the speed of the driven pully (at the mill) in half. 6 inch divided by 12 inch equals 0.5 So, if the input speed at the mill needs to be 80 rpm, the hand crank pully would need to turn 160 rpm (revelutions per minute) double the speed. 160 rpm divided by 60 seconds per minute equals 2.6 turns per second.

The benefit to all of this is that your torque at the input side (where you are cranking) will be cut in half from that needed at the mill, however your rpms (revelations per minute) will be double. Of course there is a little added torque due to the friction inherent in your belt and pully setup. This configuration is generally referred to as a "jack-shaft". Something to think about would be to have your crank arm adjustable. The distance,(radius) from the center of the shaft to the center of the crank handle. Ergonomically, this will allow for the adjustability of the crank location and will be a great benefit to you.

As grinding our own grain is a step toward personal empowerment, I will help whomever asks. You can email me at and I will do what I can to assist.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 7:28PM
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I have heard that you should wash quinoa for the very reason mentioned above--to remove the bitter residue on the grain. I think it is just a quick rinse with clean water. I haven't done it myself, so this is just hearsay. You would then dry it well prior to grinding. If you are mixing it with other flours, it probably doesn't make a difference, but if you use it as a breakfast cereal or porridge by itself, it may make a difference.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 4:47PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

The little hulls on quinoa are tender. We just eat them.

I was taught how to cook quinoa by a Peruvian lady (where the grain is a staple food). She said not to cook the quinoa covered or it might be bitter.

So I always cook it uncovered and it's never bitter. Of course, for all I know, it might not be bitter if it is cooked covered. Cooks up fine without a cover on it, though.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 5:17PM
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