[Sca-cooks] Chickpea and Barley Flour

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Mon Jan 28 10:18:43 PST 2008

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net wrote:

> > Gianott and Johnna or was it Dragon? wrote why make it yourself if you
> > can buy it ready made? Well, I have always felt poor, which is not
> > exactly true, but I scrape so if I have the raw product I make it from
> > scratch. Perhaps that is why I deal with medieval cookery, I live on a
> > close budget. Too, the flour made by me would be more course than if I
> > buy it ready made. I think my flour would be more like it was in the
> > medieval period.
>I think the texture of the flour would depend entirely on the grinding
>process. In some cases, I can try to make barley flour or barley groats,
>but I'm pretty sure the mill I'm using isn't going to duplicate the effect
>of milling the grain between stones. While stone-ground, unsieved flours
>are often more coarse than roller-ground flours, even metal burr flour
>grinders don't always give the fineness one would like for barley; using
>other types of non-flour grinders can give worse results, or better.

Of course, the tool used will affect the results.

>We tend to think of medieval flours as more coarsely ground than our
>modern ones, but sometimes we overstate.

Actually, I think there is enough evidence to confirm that some flour 
was produced to a very high standard and with a very fine grind 
during the Medieval period. Some of the very large millstones used in 
a number of water powered mills are more than capable of producing 
flours as fine as any produced today. To be honest, the process of 
stone grinding really hasn't changed all that much, really only the 
power source has changed. The millstones and grinding speeds are 
pretty much the same as they would have been 1000 years ago in some mills.

Even flour from a small hand-powered millstone can be pretty fine, it 
depends a lot on the feed rate to the stone and the speed of grinding.

One thing that has changed (and not necessarily for the better) is 
that many modern flours have a far lower bran and germ content than 
would have been likely during pre-industrialized times. But even that 
can be shown to not have been universally true. Some of the wheat 
flour produced for the bread served to royalty was often described as 
being of the finest quality and white as snow.

>(Like the people who want to use 'cracked' mustard in their mustard 
>recipes, instead of grinding it.)

Mortars and pestles are period cooking tools. They could have and 
would have used them to grind the mustard into a fine flour for the 
making of their mustard sauces. I believe this is probably fairly 
easy to document from extant period recipes but I can't cite anything 
directly right now.


  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

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