100% Michigan Grown Staple Crop Seeds that Empower Your Plant-based Lifestyle Goals

Homestead Skills--Crushing, Rolling, Grinding and Sifting of Grains

I grouped these processes together as there is some overlap in what happens to the seeds as we do these tasks necessary to improve their digestibility. 


Mortar and Pestle

This method is quite cheap but labor intensive.  You won't be making fine flour, however with sifting/screening you'll have the start of 'flour'.  They come in a range of size.  A large as possible is your best hope.   This big one came from a friend in Thailand.

 large mortar and pestle



A metate (or mealing stone) is a type of quern.  This ground stone tool used for processing grain and seeds. In traditional Mesoamerican cultures, metates are typically used to grind nixtamalized maize and other organic materials during food preparation. Ours was being used as a doorstop in a Mexican market and purchased and brought back in a car by a friend.

metate made in Mexico for grinding corn or grain

This Neolitic quern is discussed by the British Museum in an article about ancient farming and their tools.



Traditionally used for dehulling wild rice, we've used it cracking grain.  An elder recommended we crack sunflowers (or was it walnuts?) and pour in hot water to float off the oil. 

Bootaagan for traditional grinding rice, grain and corn (top view)



The next step in the quest for faster grinding adds 'rotation' to the mechanism. They come in a range of sizes.  The smallest ones don't have enough weight to crack wheat berries.  

large hand operated quern to grind grain into flour

Opening up the two stones shows how they were dressed to create the surfaces for grinding grain into flour. This is a 'newly' made antique given to us by a friend in China.

Quern stones opened to show how they were cut to grind grain into flour 

The original hand made querns are a joy to admire. Each culture has a similar functioning machine.

A Swedish culture group reviewed this quern used in the Viking Age (793~1096) 

Another well written article on medieval quern use is found here.



Depending on how powerful your blender is, either put the seeds in directly, or break them up a bit with your mortar and pestle.  Be mindful to not over heat the flour ruining some of the nutrients.

 (picture of ours)


Mockmill on a Standmixer


Mockmill on stand mixer


"Coronoa" mill

Made by Cornoa with many other similar units..

 (picture of ours) 


Manual Grinder

Our go to machine is our Grainmaker No. 99 grain mill.  I expect it last for a very long time. 

 It's adjustable from a fine flour to coarse corn meal great for polenta.  They offer a kit to drive with a bicycle or an electric motor. 


Malting Mill

A malting mill is used for 'crushing' grain, usually barley, that has been malted.  This is one of the steps to prepare the grain for brewing. Malted grains is already brittle and easy to crush.   A malt roller is not meant for making flour. You often find them for sale at home brewing websites. 


Rolling & Flaking Mill

Adjusting the gap between two steel rollers lets one adjust how 'smashed' your oats for breakfast become.  It also used to 'crack' grain to approve their digestion in animals.  Think of the difference between 'whole corn' and 'scratch' for your chickens. Crushing whole grains will take a lot more force than a malting mill would provide. 

I have put corn thru my rolling mill to 'crack' it before putting it thru the hand powered grinding mill to make corn mill. Whole grain is usually cracked or rolled before feeding to animals to improve nutrition uptake.  Think 'scratch' grains from the farm store.

We have this very sturdy unit from Grainmaker of Montanna. 

Grainmaker flaking mill




Pressing or squeezing the juice from the stalks of sorghum is the first step of the process to make sorghum syrup.  Methods range from crushing in a mop bucket roller unit, juicing blenders, cider presses to rolling mills.   

Units range from 'hand powered' like this mill from Grainmaker:

Grainmaker Sorghum Juice Mill


 We once took our mill, stalks and equipment to boil to the library make syrup as documented here.



Someday, we'll do sunflower and soy bean oil extraction.



For making buckwheat flour, we use our seed sorting screens. 

 screening the rolled buckwheat to get flour



For flour, we have one sold here.

 flour sifting screen

They come in 40 and 50 mesh.  In a pinch, I've used my honey screens as well. Raw freshly ground flour is often 'screened or sifted' before selling to remove some of the bran and bit of the germ.  When I bake bread, I put it 'all' in.