Grain grinders come in a variety shapes and sizes. Some are large, some small. Some hard to use, others much easier. Because there are so many differences between grinders, we've decided to eliminate those which are to troublesome, and give you a good idea what you can expect from each one we stock. Hopefully, this will narrow your search as to which grinder is best for you. The best grinder for you depends on how you plan to use it.
Grain grinders come in three basic types:
Stone Plates. Made of stone, these mimic those of the old mills that used to be found along every river. They are very exacting and produce the finest grains of flour. They are made to work with dry grains; oily foods easily clog the stone, which is then not so easy to clean.
Metal Burrs. You're probably familiar with burrs found in manually operated coffee mills and pepper mills. The burrs' ridges are made to grab the grain or seed, and guid them downward by their movement. The narrowing opening between the moving burr and the stationary burr breaks them into smaller and smaller particles, until they are small enough (or smaller) to go through the bottom opening. These can also work well with other grains, spices and nuts. They are very exacting in their results, but very difficult to clean, so they are recommended for use with only one type of grain or seed. Usually made of iron or steel, they must be kept dry and oiled. (The natural oils in coffee and pepper keep those mills in good working condition.)
Impact Grinders use 'blades' placed in circular rows on metal wheels. One wheel turns and the other wheel is stationary like the manual grinders. But this is where the similarities end. When the two wheels are put together the rows of blades intermesh, running microscopically close, yet never touching the blades from the opposite wheel. The rotating wheel turns at several thousand RPM. As grain is fed into the center of the fixed wheel, the interaction between the two wheels 'impacts' the grain and literally pulverizes it into a fine powder as the grain works its way to the outside of the wheels.
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