On the way to visit our new idyllic grandchild in New Hampshire, we visited this idyllic grain mill in Sudbury, MA, near Boston. Rich, the miller and historical custodian, answered our questions and gave us a quick tour.
We left with a couple small bags of flour, whole wheat and “white” flour. Their white flour isn’t like what you buy in the store. They simply sift the whole flour through a bolting cloth to remove the larger bran flakes, leaving the nutritional germ and the finer bran. The flour appears to be about half way between whole wheat and white flour and the bread made from it has a wholesome nutty flavor that you’d expect to get from whole wheat but is light and open like what you’d expect from white flour. A great combo that’s not difficult to duplicate at home with a home mill and sifter.
These granite mill stones show several types of patterns, called the dress, that were cut into the stones to improve their grinding and cooling efficiency. With the top stone turning at 120 revolutions per minute, a set of millstones can grind 500 pounds of grain per hour, necessitating after 2 weeks a re-sharpening, called re-dressing, of the lands and furrows of the stones. This task takes about 14 working hours per stone. Tradition and preference determined the dress of the stone while the life of the millstone, which varied from 10 years to a century, was determined by composition and use.