A grain flaker is simple a device that crushes (or flakes) a grain between several rollers. A grain flaker is also often referred to as an “oat roller,” since it is usually used for flaking (or rolling) oat groats to make rolled oats for oatmeal. We’ll use the terms interchangeably in this article. Oat rollers have long been popular in Europe, and they are increasing in popularity in the U.S. among those looking to feed their families wholesome, unprocessed food.
Oat rollers come in both electric and hand-powered varieties; however, for home use, hand-powered oat rollers are most popular, as electric oat rollers can run upwards of $400, and hand-powered oat rollers are not difficult to crank, and rolling enough oat groats (unprocessed oats) for breakfast or a batch of oatmeal cookies only takes a few minutes.
Grain flakers can roll a variety of grains including wheat, oats, rye, barley, and quinoa. These grains can often be purchased in the bulk section of natural foods stores, and are becoming increasingly popular at regular grocery stores as well. Whole grains can also be easily purchased online. Grains in their whole form usually only cost pennies per serving, making flaking your own grains a very economical option.
Although several different grain flakers are available in the U.S., they all have several parts in common. There is a hopper on top, where you will place your oat groats or other grain. The hopper feeds the grain down into the rollers, where the grain is squished. The flaked grains then fall into a catching container below and are ready to be used.
Most oat rollers also require very little maintenance. Occasionally brushing off the rollers will usually be enough.
When selecting an oat roller, you may want to take the following into account:
- Capacity – How large are the hopper and catching container? A small hopper and catching container will mean you will need to be frequently adding and removing grain while flaking.
- Throughput – How quickly can it flake the grains? Generally, larger rollers will flake grains more quickly than smaller rollers.
- Adjustability – Can it make different thicknesses of flakes? Some grain flakers are also capable of producing flour.
- Price – Hand-powered grain flakers range in price from $100 to $140 for the Marga Mulino, all the way up to $150 to $230 for the FlicFloc.
Grains that have been freshly rolled still retain all their nutritional value, which is one of the reasons more and more people are starting to use grain flakers in their homes. Rolled oats from the store have lost most of their nutritional value either through oxidation or though the steaming process intended to destroy a grain’s enzymes and increase its shelf life.
Fresh rolled grains are also naturally delicious. Oatmeal made from freshly flaked oat groats is rich and creamy and is often a hit with children as well.
In summary, flaking your own grains is easy, economical, wholesome and delicious.
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