Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Testing and Examining the New Roller/Flaker Mill

I had a little trouble finding a place to try out my new Family Grain Mill Roller/Flaker.
Fits just right in the milling spot in
the pantry...but how to fill it?
Flat/straight base means round
kitchen table edge won't work...

All our kitchen countertops are too deep for the clamp

For now, the sewing room
counter will work

I think I will have Hubby build it something special so it can be always ready to use.  I don't really want the kids moving it around and having to attach it every time they need to roll oats, because when completely assembled, it's kind of top-heavy, which makes dropping it a possibility.  The directions aren't super thorough, but they do say not to drop it.  :-)  Besides, if it means setting it up, it won't get used as much.

My current grain roller 'motor' at work  :-)
Oat groats went into it first, of course, and it did a fine job rolling them.  For a serving or two of oatmeal, hand-cranking isn't bad at all.  But when thinking of rolling 12 to 15 cups for the batches of granola I make, it seemed I might wish for a motor to do the job for me.  I will have to think about saving for the motor base.  The mixer attachment seemed like a good idea, initially, but that means getting out a whole other appliance, which is more hassle and another thing that will discourage the roller's use.  Right now, anyway, Hubby is glad to roll the large batches of oats for me, as he loves the granola and will do the work to make sure there is always some on hand for breakfast.                                                                                                                                          
I was always disappointed that in my other roller/flaker, grains other than oats just were crushed by the rollers and turned to gravelly dust, not flakes.  But this one rolled soft wheat, rye, and barley for me.  The flakes aren't quite as consistent and there is a little more dust than with oats, but I am thrilled.                                                                                                                            

Hubby came in just as I finished my testing and wanted to do a bit of his own.  He was the most experienced with the Shule mill and noticed positive differences in the Family Grain version.  First, he approved of the thick, quality plywood they'd used for the base.  Just turning the handle, he commented on how much smoother it turned, and rolling a few oats, he said how much easier it worked.  After having the other one apart to try to fix it, he had to take this one apart to see why it worked so much nicer. 

One roller.  The grain goes down in where you see the
steel plate angled out.  

As a builder and woodworker, and instructor who has taught classes in metalwork, wood technology, construction, and even small engines, he is someone who appreciates a well-made tool.  He oohed and ahhed over what he discovered inside the Family Grain Mill roller/flaker.  He admired the German engineering with the simplicity of the design, the high quality bearing, the close tolerances of the moving parts, and how every part fit into every other part so precisely as it went together.  He approved of the materials used (steel and Teflon) for durability and smooth operation.                                                                                                                                
So, so far, 2 thumbs up for this tool from our house.


  1. Thanks for the great review! Love the close up taken apart pics. They discuss how close tolerances are so important in making a finely engineered product in WD's intro to engineering class. I'll show him these pics when he gets home from school today. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your experience with milling and rolling/flaking grains is such an inspiration. Stupid, I know, but I have wondered what rolled oats are and if there is any significant difference cooking with steel cut and rolled oats. Nice review. Thanks for the pictures.


  3. Never saw or heard of one of those but I suppose it's all the city living I do. It will be interesting to see how you like the results -- as you say with big batches it's a lot of milling. Those perhaps it will be perfect for certain things. Always glad to see you stop by. Still interested to hear how the IL kitchen is progressing. Will watch for that, too. Jane

  4. Intro to Engineering sounds like a great and interesting class for WD!

    Well, Cotehele, I've used rolled oats all my life and have little experience with steel cut, so we're just opposite. The steel cut ones I've had seemed similar to cracked grains... Makes good hot cereal, and could go in bread, but not the same as rolled for things like cookies, and granola?

    Jane, it is a lot of milling, but this one does a better/quicker job than the Shule mill, so we're not suffering. We definitely prefer the results to something like Quaker Oats. Using the mill is especially bearable for things like morning oatmeal (each person can roll their own 1/2 cup), and the kids don't balk at rolling 3 or 4 cups for cookies...But doing 12 cups for granola was a job for which I'd prefer to use electricity!

  5. Oh, forgot to address the question about the in-laws' house. Not anything to create a post about or show pics of yet. It is now painted, I hear, but I haven't seen the result. Appliances are here and waiting to go in as we get ready. DH is putting in toekicks and kitchen flooring this weekend, so he can install cabinet boxes soon. Doors and drawer fronts are ordered. Vinyl goes in the bathrooms this week, and I have been assigned to choosing lighting fixtures. We obviously didn't make the hoped for deadline, which was today. Lots to do, lots to do. Poor DH has much more of the load than I, and his full-time job besides.

  6. My kids would love this! And so would I. Would much prefer their kitchen time spent rolling oats than cutting.

    Must taste so fresh!

  7. Do you cut your own oats? Is there a gadget for that?


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