This week, I’ve been playing with my new Family Grain Mill (known at Lehman’s as the “German-Made Family Food Mill”). I’ve been thinking about getting a grain mill for several years; what sold me on this one is its good performance and the fact that it’s not a one-trick pony. You can get attachments for this that will grind grain and beans, shred and slice vegetables, grind meat, stuff sausages, and roll grains (make your own oatmeal). It also has both electric and hand-crank bases, and when I bought mine, EverythingKitchens.com was offering a deal where you got the hand-crank base free if you bought the electric base. I did this, and got the grain grinding and vegetable attachments.
Overall, I find this machine a breeze to use and to clean. I will probably not use it for certain vegetables any more, but I’m definitely going to keep experimenting with making flour. Details after the jump…
For firm, non-fibrous veggies and cheese, the shredder was fantastic. I shredded carrots (large grater), Parmesan (small grater), and sliced potatoes and cabbage (slicing drum) with great success. I can see myself using this to prep veggies for pickling.
Other things were not so great. Ginger, for example, was too fibrous. Onions were a problem because they tended to separate into layers, and once, a layer got stuck between the chute and the food pusher and effectively cemented the two together. Maybe if I were shredding instead of slicing the onions? In any case, dealing with onions and cabbage is a snap without the machine, so I might not haul it out for those two items.
I was impressed, though, that this mess of ginger cleaned up with just a quick rinse under the tap. The carrot juice stained a little and took some scrubbing, but the rest of the veg and grain was no-effort on the cleanup. The cutting surfaces are also not microplane sharp, so I’m not worried about cutting myself during handling or washing. You can actually run your fingers across the cutting surfaces without bleeding.
Then next day, I switched attachments and tried my hand at grinding wheat and rye into flour. I used hard red wheat and some rye that I’d grown and harvested last year (plain old ryegrass sold for erosion control). First I tried the coarsest setting – this made something that would work as a hot cereal, I think (lower left). Then I dialed it down to the finest setting (lower right), and got something much closer to commercial whole wheat (top).
I did one batch of all wheat and one cup half wheat and half rye. I mixed the whole berries and ground them together; I’ve heard that rye can gum up your mill. In both cases, a cup of berries turned into about two cups of flour.
I’m making bread with these flours as we speak; I’ll let you know how it turns out!