[Sca-cooks] Chickpea and Barley Flour

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Mon Jan 28 13:00:20 PST 2008

Ah one of those irritating little ideas.  Medieval people didn't have modern 
machines, so they can't do things as finely as we can today.  Which 
completely ignores the real limits of Medieval technology and avoids the 
idea that a Medieval craftsman might beat out his modern counterpart in 
labor intensive tasks that can't be easily or inexpensively automated.

The fineness of any meal depends on the quality of the milling process. 
Medieval milling was dependent on the quality of the stones and a mill that 
had hard, fine-grained stones and close tolerances was likely to be better 
patronized than one that didn't.  The real difference between Medieval and 
Modern milling is the extraction rate.  Optimal Medieval milling reduced 
about 85% of the grain milled into useable flour, while a roller mill can 
extract 95% or higher.  In both cases, the unusable portion of the flour is 
removed by sieving or bolting.

The actual differences are less obvious.  Because of storage and shipping, 
modern flour would have less moisture than Medieval flour.  And the Medieval 
flour would be a whole grain flour because the wheat germ would not have 
been extracted.


> We tend to think of medieval flours as more coarsely ground than our
> modern ones, but sometimes we overstate. (Like the people who want to use
> 'cracked' mustard in their mustard recipes, instead of grinding it.)
> -- 
> -- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa
> jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

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