Do you want to make the most delicious cookies, cakes and bread? Feeling a little frustrated because your recipes are missing that special something as that extra edge? Well, the answer to your baking woes might be on your countertop, not in your pantry. And it’s actually an appliance that’s been around for quite some time – a flour mill.
This device was once found in almost every farmhouse kitchen and it was used to grind wheat into flour. Over the years, flour mills have evolved into the sturdy and reliable appliances that we now see in modern commercial kitchens, whether you’re running a small business or a large-scale operation.
What Kinds of Commercial Flour Mills Are There?
Based on the mode of operation, a flour mill for commercial purposes can be classified as either electric or manual. There are pros and cons to both types and learning a thing or two more about them can help you decide which option is better for your needs.
Electric Flour Mills
These devices are powered by either a single-phase or three-phase electric motor. The motor drives the grinding mechanism inside the machine, which does all the work of converting wheat grains into flour. You won’t have to exert any physical effort when using it, making it a great option for those who want to avoid any strain on their wrists or arms.
Unfortunately, they’re a bit on the expensive side and they also tend to use a lot of electricity, which can increase your costs. But if you have a lot of wheat to grind, they can be a real time-saver.
Manual Flour Mills
As you may have guessed, manual grain mills require you to put in a bit of elbow grease to get the job done. This involves cranking a handle or wheel to rotate the grinding mechanism and produce flour. As such, they’re not as fast as electric models and they can be quite tiring to use.
The upside is that they’re much cheaper than their electric counterparts and they’re also more compact, so they won’t take up a lot of space on your countertop. They’re also great for emergency situations where you don’t have access to power.
Things to Look For in a Flour Mill
Regardless of the type of flour mill for commercial purposes you choose, there are certain features that you should look for to ensure that it’s the right one for your specific needs.
This is by far the most important aspect of any grain mill because it will determine how efficiently the device can grind wheat into flour. The best option is a stone grinding wheel, as it doesn’t heat up the seeds and destroy their nutrients the way metal grinders do.
If you don’t mind a little bit of heat, then you can also opt for ceramic burrs. These are almost as good as stone grinders, but they’re not quite as durable. They often need to be replaced after just a few years of use.
You should think about how much wheat you’ll need to grind on a regular basis and choose a device with the appropriate capacity. If you only need to grind small amounts at a time, then a mill with a capacity of 1-2 cups should suffice.
But if you have a large family or you run a business, then you’ll need a device mill that can handle 5-10 cups or more at a time. These usually come with multiple grinding wheels so that you can work through larger quantities of wheat more quickly.
Some models can be quite loud, reaching up to 100 decibels when in use. This can be off-putting for some people, so you may want to look for a quieter model if noise is a concern for you.
The noise level directly correlates with the power of the motor, so keep that in mind when making your choice. A weaker motor will usually result in a quieter machine, albeit one that takes longer to grind the wheat.
Ease of Use
Since you’ll be handling this kind of device on a regular basis, you need one that’s convenient and easy to use. Check the size of the opening where you’ll be adding the wheat and make sure it’s wide enough that you can comfortably pour in the seeds.
You should also have a look at the build quality and make sure that it feels sturdy and well-made. You don’t want something that will fail after only using it a few times, do you?
The grain mill needs to be cleaned frequently to be functional and long-lasting. Most models come with a brush for scrubbing the burrs and other parts of the machine. There’s usually a dedicated opening for adding the brush, so you won’t have to disassemble the entire device.
Some models are even dishwasher-safe, so you can easily pop them in when they need a good clean. Just make sure to first review the manufacturer’s instructions.
Benefits of Using a Flour Mill Machine
Thanks to the bustling technological world we live in, there are now many gadgets and appliances that make our lives easier. This is certainly true when it comes to grinding wheat into flour. While you can do this manually, using a tool created just for the job is far simpler and faster. The key benefits include:
When you do your own grinding, you have complete control over the entire process. The wheat is milled to your specific standards and that no harmful chemicals or additives are used in the process.
Many commercially-milled flour products have bleach and other harsh chemicals added to them in order to make them look whiter and cleaner. Needless to say, these ingredients aren’t exactly good for your health.
Better Flavour and Aroma
Another advantage of freshly-milled wheat flour is that it simply tastes better. The process itself releases natural oils and aromas that enhance the flavour of baked goods. Commercial flour doesn’t have this same fresh taste, as it’s often been sitting on store shelves for weeks or even months.
While grain mills aren’t exactly cheap, they’re still cheaper than the store-bought alternative in the long run. A good quality device can last for years with proper care, so you won’t have to keep buying new bags of flour all the time.
Rancidity occurs when flour is exposed to oxygen, which causes it to go bad. This not only affects its taste but also makes it less nutritious. The more finely ground the wheat is, the more exposed the flour will be to oxygen. Having your own mill allows you to grind only as much wheat as you need, so there’s no risk of it going rancid before you can use it all.
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