Friday, November 23, 2012

Grinding Flour Using a Mortar and Pestle

Swirl!                                       Swirl!  
Shake!                 Shake!  

I was grinding my flour... finally!  It took a while, but I finally found the pestle that my daughter had absconded with.  Where was it?  Deep inside the darkest corner of the couch.  Where else does something like that go?

I got my supplies together,

wooden mortar and pestle, small bowl, 1 stem with grains attached, a sieve (actually a tea strainer)

flexed my muscles, and went to work.

First, I removed the grains (seeds by this time) from the stem, placing them in a bowl in order to have a visual indicator of how much I was going to be working with.

Grain removed from stem and sitting within a small white bowl

Not much.

I added the grains to the mortar, ready to grind it into flour.  I grabbed my pestle, which had transformed into a great and terrifying  +1 Club of  Pounding, and went to work.  My inner Kitchen Ogre rejoiced.

I alternated between a cyclical grinding motion and outright pounding.

Loud pounding.

The kind that makes your dogs bark, and causes the neighbors to wonder if they should alert the police to unusual activity.

Ok, maybe it wasn't quite that loud... but one of my dogs did panic at the sudden loud sounds and let out a single bark, so I'm going with the first version.  It's more fun.

I also had to shake the mortar (softly) to remove fragments that had gotten stuck to the side pretty frequently.

In total, I'd say I worked on this for about 15 minutes.

That seems like a long time, but when you consider that I was using half of the recommended minimum amount of  material, that makes sense.  It's always harder to grind anything when there's very little of the grain to grind against each other. The result was a pretty course grain, but it was flour nonetheless!

Very course grained flour, brown in color

Another problem had to do with my choice of sieve   I used a tea strainer, because that was the best I could come up with.  The holes within the strainer were a bit too wide to produce a fine powder.

That's ok, though.  

I didn't need perfection.  I just needed to see whether a mortar and pestle would work to produce enough flour to make a single cookie.

It didn't, but that had more to do with the amount of material than with the process.  I can always add in a little bit of the store bought stuff to make up for the lack of home ground flour.   The process itself was valid.


Definitely more green than buying packaged flour from the store... and it gives a good workout, too!

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