Culinary Dictionary - MILLING
MILLING In stone milling there are two round granite stones shaped like truck tyres. Each weighs hundreds of kilos and is cold to the touch. Fitted with hardware one rotates slowly while pressed heavily against the other. When the miller layers whole grains between the stones, the first turn produces great cracking sounds as the berries are broken into thousands of coarse chunks. The rough meal falls from the outer edges and down the center hole and are collected beneath. It is then ground again and again till finally one gets the desired texture.
Stone milling is the oldest, slowest and the best method of grinding whole grains into dense and creamy flour. It is a gentle and cool process which preserves every good part of the grain- all the proteins, oils and vitamins from the germ, all the sugar and starches from the endosperm and tiny bits of bran are there in the final wheaty fresh flour. High in nutrients and rich in proteins, it has powerful bread making qualities.The stone mills however like the tortoise in the fabled race with the hare, do their work slowly and surely. The natural coolness of the stones do not rob the flour of its natural vitamins, or essential oils.
The very existence of the stone mills were threatened in the middle of this century by the high speed roller mills commonly used by commercial flour makers. Steel rollers or hammers mill the grain at remarkably high speeds. Operating at high temperatures the mills destroy essential vitamins in the berry. The flour is bleached white with chemicals, bromated with potassium, enriched with minerals and vitamins lost during milling. This process guarantees a longer shelf life because the perishable oils in the flour have been removed. It also promises an abundance of flour on the supermarket shelves because roller milling is very fast.
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