Thursday, March 24, 2011

Look, Ma, I Made My Own Oat Flakes!

Getting a grain roller/flaker has been on our wish and want list for quite a while now. Last week, we finally made the final selections, took the plunge and ordered both an electric model and a manual hand-crank model.

The electric one came today. Talk about a new toy to play with. Outta my way, I wanna see what this baby can do!

Our electric version is in the form of an attachment that fits on our KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

A grain roller/flaker is not the same as a grain mill that will grind flour. The one function of the roller/flaker is that it enables you to put any grain (and many seeds) through it and out comes the grain in the form of a flake. We'll probably use it mostly for making oat flakes out of oat groats. However, I used to make a cooked cereal with a combination of oat, rye and wheat flakes, but I can no longer find the rye or wheat flakes to buy. I also used a mixture of these same flakes in my granola mixture. Now I should have the capability of making my own rye and wheat flakes.

Here I have a handful of oat groats (otherwise know as oat seeds or grains).

Here are the oat groats after they were put through the roller/flaker. Viola, oat flakes to use in making oatmeal!

In the above picture, on the left we have the flakes just made in our new roller/flaker and on the right some oat flakes I had purchased. The difference (biggify picture to see more clearly) seems to be that the purchased flakes (on the right) look more "pressed" while the ones we made last night (on the left) are more "crimped."

I could hardly wait to see how the flavor of these homemade flakes would be in our oatmeal this morning. Do you think there will be a noticeable difference from oatmeal made from the purchased flakes that have been oxidizing since they were smooshed who-knows-how-long ago?

Okay, this is what we thought after making and taste-testing the oatmeal with our freshly made flakes. First off, the oatmeal cooked up to a creamier consistency. Why? Dunno.

Next, we could both detect a different flavor to our bowlful of "oatiemeal," as my mom always called it. I labeled the flavor "nutty" with my first couple of spoonfuls, then almost in unison we said, "It tastes oat-ier!" Yup, that was it. There was more flavor of oats to the oatmeal this morning. Well, that makes sense because along with any vitamins or minerals any oats (made into flakes a looong while ago) might lose through oxidation, flavor would probably be lost, too. But the actual taste of the oats wouldn't have time to oxidize and/or disappear in the freshly made flakes.

All in all, I definitely feel I will be making and feeding us a superior quality of grains in the form of flakes from now on.

This talk about flakes reminds me of the fact that when we were following a vegetarian diet, I used oat flakes in many, many recipes including one for a delicious "meat" ball and a burger. I'll post some of those recipes in the near future. Even for those of us who claim to be dyed-in-the-wool meat eaters, if there were ever to come a time when procuring and storing meat was difficult, knowing how to use more grains in our diet might come in handy.

So tell me true. Do you think there is something seriously wrong with me because I'm so excited about being able to make my own grain flakes??

Next up: To try making some flakes from other grains and seeds. And to patiently wait for the hand-cranked roller/flaker to arrive to see how good a job it does.

26 comments:

  1. Obviously I don't find this strange. I have looking at the manual roller for a while. I can't wait to hear how that one works. Also how long did it take you to get these rolled. It will be interesting to see the time difference in manual or electric for processing.

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  2. Seriously wrong because you're excited?? Absolutely not!!! I'm excited just seeing it because I've been thinking of getting me a manual roller, too. I'm anxious to see how yours works. I love that it tastes oatier and good. But, why wouldn't it since it's home made and fresh!

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  3. Wrong with you??? Are you kidding me? I LOVE it!

    Raise your glass if you are wrong...in all the right ways!

    Ok, that's one of my favorite songs in case you don't recognize it :)

    I do wish however that blogging wasn't such an expensive past time. :o) Dang wishlist just keeps growing!

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  4. That makes perfect sense - especially for those of us who inhale our multigrain flake hot cereal every morning. What models did you decide to get, if you don't mind me asking? Thanks to you and Jane, I can add to my meatless file. There are a lot of times when I feel the need for 'substance' but I don't want meat. Looking forward to your recipes.

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  5. Oh, I want that gadget! I have some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket. Tramp 1 eats oatmeal every weekday - I should too (but it is cheerios for a start that way). Much easier to store grain than store oatmeal. Tell us what and where to purchase your wonderful items!

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  6. Fantastic - the handful of the ones you did just LOOKS yummier and more wholesome, I really like my food to taste and feel like you think it would from looking at it, so the thought of this home flaked oatmeal and granola and all that good stuff has me very interested. I seriously need to start looking into how far we would have to go to find oats/grains/etc for home processing.

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  7. That motorized roller does a really good job. That is exciting! I will be interested to see how the manual one does. Now if you could only tell me how to remove the oat seed from the outer hull, we could do that with the oats we grew last year.

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  8. We have a Marga roller / crimper and have used it for a couple of years now. And I agree that the freshly rolled groats taste more "oatie". The only "problem" with the Marga is that it doens't have a very large hopper so you have to continually empty it....although not bad if you just want to make a cup or two at a time. But making a huge batch of granola (which I tend to do) takes a little time to roll out all those oats.

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  9. Makes me want one too! That looks so very good. I start almost every day for years now, with oatmeal, walnuts and raisins. Somehow never tire of it and it feels so very good to me, but home-rolled sounds like it'd taste so much better. Just curious though, why do you need a manual one was well? What's the different result or purpose for having both?

    I'm allergic to wheat, and use rolled oats in a lot of meals that call for bread crumbs, crushed crackers, and the result is really great, and much healthier.

    I buy them in 20 pound bulk and use them in everything. Starting from the grain should save money and storage space.

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  10. NO! You are not crazy! I think your oat roller is wicked awesome!!! I am so jealous!!! We down a ton of "oatiemeal" in this house and soooo want my own oat roller! I would love to see you post some of your recipes for using different sorts of grains in unconventional ways.

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  11. When I get a Kitchenaid, I'm totally getting that attachment (and then figuring out where to get oat groats). That's SO cool!

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  12. Well, I'll be. I never knew there was such a thing as a flake-maker. I learn so much when I come here!

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  13. That is so cool! You are so retro! ;) Seriously, that is really interesting....I didn't know one could get such a Kitchen Aide attachment and I had never really thought much about nutritional loss in "old" oat flakes.

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  14. I am so envious! A roller is on my list too. What brand manual model did you get? Country Living has one, but it's a little steep. Love the idea of oatier oatmeal! Also of rolling the other grains you mention. I found rolled barley at our co-op. Pretty tasty.

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  15. Clearly by your comments, your post is quite timely for all! This is on my list for adding to the pantry before summer ... as is a meat grinder attach. Can I ask, where are you buying your whole grains? I live quite remote, and haven't seen them in local stores. Online shopping will likely be my only option... wondering about yours!

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  16. Jane - The instructions with this unit say that a cup of rolled oats is produced in a minute. I haven't done a timed "flaking" yet, but it seems to me that my first trial run was much quicker than that. We received the manual roller/flaker . . . but not the one we had ordered! Arrrgh.

    Alla - I just hope this doesn't give more people a chance to call me "Flaky." ;o)

    APG - There are certain things we weirdos just gotta have!

    Susan - Our electric version is a Messerschmidt Flaker Mill, Model 4002, for use with KitchenAid Mixers. I had no idea so many people would be interested in meatless recipes. Cool!

    2 Tramps - We ordered ours from www.everythingkitchens.com/.

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  17. Erin - Because you're one who appreciates good food and makes a point of feeding her family the best, this would be right up your alley!

    Melissa - When you do things from scratch (grow your own) there's always that steep learning curve! Don't know how to help you on that one.

    Carolyn Renee - It's the Marga brand that we ordered but they sent us the cheap Chinese knock-off instead! If the Marga looks just like the one they sent us, I can see what you mean about the container for catching the flakes being small. Hmmmm . . .

    Trailshome - We wanted both the electric and manual because we assume the electric will be much quicker to turn out a bunch of flaked grains, but having the manual will be another step toward self-sufficiency in that it requires no outside electrical power. Starting from the grain will also give you a more nutritional product. Don't forget that important point!

    Tiny Gardener - Thanks for the support! I'll get going on some of those recipes.

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  18. Dr. Momi - Got a birthday coming up? There's always a Christmas list you could put one on.

    Kaytee - I have definitely used my KitchenAid Mixer more with the various attachments than for just . . . well, mixing!

    ThyHand - And I learn so much from YOU!

    Claire - We gotta eat so it just makes sense to put the best possible food into our bods!!

    Leigh - I love barley and that is one that I'm eager to try! We paid $110.95 (free shipping) for this Messerschmidt attachment. It seems to be very well constructed and should last us the rest of our lives. The outer part is plastic (premium Lexan) but the roller is made of hardened surgical steel.

    Anna - We really like our meat grinding attachment for the KitchenAid. Quick and easy. We are lucky to have a great organic foods co-op (independently owned by members) right here in our small town. You can buy small quantities of a variety of grains right in the store but can also special order in bulk which I do. Usually 25# bags of whatever I need.

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  19. Nothing wrong with you at all, this is the kind of stuff I get all hyper over. Who wouldn't want the freshest, highest quality food available??

    Maybe a little more moisture in the fresh oats that led to the creaminess/ Oh, that must have been a good bowl of oats.

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  20. Mama Pea, that is just awesome!! I can't wait to hear how the manual flaker works! It's a great thing to be able to do these things ourselves, but it certainly is a storage challenge!
    I'm very interested that you were able to find this for the kitchen aid. I've been hoping that I could find an attachment that would allow me to make nut butters, instead of getting another food processor for that purpose. I have a tiny food processor that I have to hold the button down on to make it work. My thumbs are worn out! I'm inspired to keep searching!

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  21. Kelly - Papa Pea has been asking for Oatmeal Cookies made with the freshly flaked oats . . . just for experimental purposes, of course, to see if they taste superior! I keep reminding him that we're not supposed to be eating cookies right now, but he says it's only to test out the flaker. Hmmmm . . .

    Patty - I hope you find what you're looking for. Having the right tool makes all the difference in the efficiency of our tasks.

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  22. Ha! No, I don't think you are crazy for thinking this is way cool. I've been making granola recently, and have wondered about getting a roller thingy myself. You'll have to keep us updated on how you are using it, and what you are making.
    ~~Lori

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  23. Lori - Apparently roller/flakers have been widely used in Europe for years and years. (Yes, they seem to know how to do food more nutritionally-sound than we here in the more "advanced" U.S. of A.!) We had Oatmeal Pancakes for breakfast this morning made with our freshly flaked oats . . . it would have been interesting to have had a side-by-side taste test but hubby and I both agreed this morning's batch seemed to (some how) have more body. Sort of like the oat flakes blended more with everything?? Flavor was wonderful.

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  24. I know this is a couple years old but a couple of questions, I have a flaker and don't know where to buy oat groats. Also, if you make flakes out of other grains, quinoa, buckwheat, etc. what can you se them for? just hot cereal like oatmeal?

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    1. Hi, Tina - I buy my groats as a special order through our organic foods co-op. If you have such a store near you, you could ask them if they can obtain them for you.

      I have to plead ignorance as to making flakes with any grain other than oat, wheat and rye.

      I use the flakes I make in cookies (such as oatmeal cookies) and as a binder in some vegetarian (and non-vegetarian dishes . . . like meatloaf) recipes such as meat(less) balls. And I make my granola with a combination of oat, wheat and rye flakes.

      Hope this helps a little.

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