We have just acquired a new appliance (thanks to our partner in homesteading crimes, further referred to as PIHC) around the homestead. A brand spanking new grain mill and boy will it make my life simpler as we have really been in the dark ages when it came to grinding grains and making flour.
Any one that tells you to pick up a rock and smash your grains into flour has obviously never done it or done it for long enough to be able to make a few loaves of bread from it. It is not the easiest of tasks and although I could do it if needed it is not something I would choose to do on a daily basis unless I just had to. Finding a suitable rock to smash and grind onto is a task within itself unless you enjoy finely ground rock dust in your food as any I have tried to use have made finely ground rock dust interspersed with the flour.
A mortar n pestle or mocajete is a wonderful tool for grinding and smashing. I love my mocajete but for things other than herbs and spices, again, it is a grueling task . Another issue with a mortar is that of space within the vessel itself. Mine is a medium sized household one and one can only grind about a half cup of corn for each fill up, it is also messy because of the pieces n parts flying about. For both the rock and mortar grinding methods, grinding enough corn (1 cup) would take me several hours.
These babies are some pricey gadgets to have but if you are a from scratch cook or you grow all your own grains, I can already say that they are worth the price. The time alone that this will save me will have paid the purchase price in a year or so. Once I spend a bit more up close and personal time with it I will write up an actual review with my thoughts on it in the mean time we are talking about hooking it up to a pulley system to make it bicycle powered for when we need to grind up larger amounts.
Has anyone ever tried roasted barley as a coffee substitute? The other day I was grinding up the PIHC's barley for his beer brewing and the aroma was heavenly and just like coffee. It was quite a nice flavor and although I am sure it could be cost prohibitive for most, it may at some point be a caffeine free viable option to try out as a long term replacement.