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Re: [Apicius] Querns

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  • P. Dominus Antonius
    I do have a source for the round disk version from Deepeeka sold by Soul of the Warrior at http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id275.html. I recently found
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 27, 2008
      I do have a source for the round disk version from Deepeeka sold by
      Soul of the Warrior at
      http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id275.html.

      I recently found someone who had one, and was able to use it last
      night. Over several hours, I ground approximately 2 pounds of flour.
      It was interesting. I probably would not have taken so long, but I
      was experimenting and carefully weighing the results after each cycle
      through the quern.

      The top stone weighed 19 pounds. It took 11 cycles though the mill to
      completely grind about 1 pound of flour. I used a screen sieve to
      sift the flour. For the second pound, I the added a 10 pound plate on
      top of the top stone, more than half again it's original weight. The
      number of cycles decreased from 11 to 9. An improvement admittedly,
      but hardly worth the extra weight, particularly in the context of
      mobile infantry. In a static domestic environment it would make more
      sense. The entire procedure to grind the 2 pounds took approximately
      1,000 to 1,200 rotations.

      I have read that the top and bottom stone should be slightly separated
      to allow relatively free rotation. Initially the quern I was using
      did indeed have this slight gap, however for the second batch there
      was a problem. Likely as a result of adding the extra weight, the
      parts were pushed more closely together till the two plates actually
      were touching. With bare stone on stone, turning became slightly more
      difficult, but not unreasonably so. However the grain was left with
      no gap to enter between the stones and begin the grinding process.
      This would seem to require some adjustments and perhaps re-doing how
      the parts were attached. Not something I looked forward to.
      Fortunately this was entirely unnecessary and I think the whole
      spacing issue is mute.

      The spacing problem was completely solved by spreading a couple
      spoonfuls of the grain on the lower plate before attaching the top
      plate. This provided the necessary spacing to allow additional grain
      to enter the grinding surface. Also with grain/flour between the
      stones and more or less lubricating them, there was virtually no
      difference in the effort required to turn the stone. And remember
      that this after I had already processed an entire pound. My arm was
      already tired. I would have noticed a significant increase in
      required effort. Each time I started a new cycle, I just had to
      spread a little first.

      The grinding surface of the Deepeeka design is relatively simple.
      Both surfaces are incised with a radial 4 line cross pattern from the
      axis to the edge. The quarter circle space between the lines is then
      pocked with a number of small divots. The picture on SOTW shows the
      pattern except the one they show has double lines while this one was
      just single lines. The only other inside design I have seen a picture
      of showed a number of lines in a more or less diagonal pattern such
      that the lines on the two stone rather than meeting edge to edge,
      appeared cross each other in a scissor action with the point of
      contact between the lines moving from the axis to the edge as the
      stone was rotated (or out to in if rotated the other way, I suppose).
      I don't know whether this would make for a more efficient grinding
      surface. I suspect it might.

      I believe that a number of the small Roman querns found have been what
      are called a beehive style. This is where the shape of the top is
      more rounded with an inverted cone in the middle of the top stone for
      feeding grain, and the inside like the cone of a volcano . Although I
      have never used one of these, I strongly suspect that this design was
      much more efficient. I won't bore everyone with the details unless
      anyone has any interest in baseless speculation.
      --
      >|P. Dominus Antonius|<
      Legio XX VV
      Tony Dah m

      Si vis pacem, para bellum - Vegetius
      Mahometismus religio pacis, nex omnibus dissidentibus.
    • ranvaig@columbus.rr.com
      ... Since that price includes shipping, I would say it was pretty reasonable. It doesn t say what kind of stone it is made of. Did you notice any grit in the
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 28, 2008
        >I do have a source for the round disk version from Deepeeka sold by
        >Soul of the Warrior at
        >http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id275.html.

        Since that price includes shipping, I would say it was pretty reasonable. It doesn't say what kind of stone it is made of. Did you notice any grit in the ground flour?

        Here are some instructions for making your own from concrete. I'd worry about concrete grit in the flour.
        http://www.engr.psu.edu/mtah/models/quern.html


        >The spacing problem was completely solved by spreading a couple
        >spoonfuls of the grain on the lower plate before attaching the top
        >plate.

        I realize that you were counting the effort, but I think this is meant to be a more continuous process, and that you don't lift the top off unless it jams or something.

        >The grinding surface of the Deepeeka design is relatively simple.
        >Both surfaces are incised with a radial 4 line cross pattern from the
        >axis to the edge. The quarter circle space between the lines is then
        >pocked with a number of small divots.

        The ones I've seen have lines in the surface like modern mill stones, but there well may be examples with the dots.
        http://www.armatura.connectfree.co.uk/concangis/photos/quern.htm

        Here are some more pictures:
        http://www.ydalir.co.uk/gallery/2003/hastings/quern.htm
        http://www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk/images/pictures/cooking/quern.jpg
        http://lh3.google.com/_sA0GMJLjzis/Ra02t8iWJVI/AAAAAAAAAKQ/qquxnjfS7Jk/s800/Quern+b.JPG
        http://www.fordendwatermill.co.uk/images/quern.jpg

        Ranvaig
      • P. Dominus Antonius
        ... I think the price is very reasonable, much cheaper than even shipping alone from England would probably be. Rusty is a good guy. I highly recommend him.
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 28, 2008
          On Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 6:48 PM, <ranvaig@...> wrote:
          > >I do have a source for the round disk version from Deepeeka sold by
          > >Soul of the Warrior at
          > >http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id275.html.
          >
          > Since that price includes shipping, I would say it was pretty reasonable. It doesn't say what kind of stone it is made of. Did you notice any grit in the ground flour?

          I think the price is very reasonable, much cheaper than even shipping
          alone from England would probably be. Rusty is a good guy. I highly
          recommend him.

          I don't know enough about rocks to say what kind of stone it is. But
          it doesn't look like concrete to me. My sister is a geologist. When
          I see her this summer I plan on having her take a look at. I'll let
          you know.

          I did not notice any grit. Though there could certainly have been
          some stone dust. Until I know more about the stone though I don't
          think I'm going to actually bake bread with it. The consistency of
          what I did was definitely much courser than commercially available
          stone ground wheat. Remember I was just using a wire colander to
          strain it though. For finer flour I have heard that you can use a
          light fabric to sift out the very fine grains and then regrind the
          rest.

          > Here are some instructions for making your own from concrete. I'd worry about concrete grit in the flour.
          > http://www.engr.psu.edu/mtah/models/quern.html

          Ya. I'm not much in favor of any concrete grit (or stone grit or even
          dust) in my food. I'm just not "that" into authenticity. You have to
          draw a line somewhere.

          > >The spacing problem was completely solved by spreading a couple
          > >spoonfuls of the grain on the lower plate before attaching the top
          > >plate.
          >
          > I realize that you were counting the effort, but I think this is meant to be a more continuous process, and that you don't lift the top off unless it jams or something.
          >
          Absolutely. Even better if you can have two people. One to turn the
          stone and the other to keep pouring and repouring the wheat in. I was
          only taking the top off in order to completely brush the stones clean
          and weigh everything with each cycle. I did not restart with every
          scoop. Yikes that would be a hassle. Without the weighing, I would
          have just kept scooping up the results and re-grinding. If I had
          ground down to relatively small pieces, and then tried to add more
          whole wheat berries, then I would probably have had to prime the quern
          again because there wouldn't be the necessary spacing. Other than
          that, the priming would be a one time thing at the start of grinding.

          This machine is pretty simple. I can't see how it would ever jam.
          Unless a piece actually broke off, or a pebble somehow got into your
          wheat. That would be a nasty surprise with your morning toast.

          > >The grinding surface of the Deepeeka design is relatively simple.
          > >Both surfaces are incised with a radial 4 line cross pattern from the
          > >axis to the edge. The quarter circle space between the lines is then
          > >pocked with a number of small divots.
          >
          > The ones I've seen have lines in the surface like modern mill stones, but there well may be examples with the dots.
          > http://www.armatura.connectfree.co.uk/concangis/photos/quern.htm
          >
          > Here are some more pictures:
          > http://www.ydalir.co.uk/gallery/2003/hastings/quern.htm
          > http://www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk/images/pictures/cooking/quern.jpg
          > http://lh3.google.com/_sA0GMJLjzis/Ra02t8iWJVI/AAAAAAAAAKQ/qquxnjfS7Jk/s800/Quern+b.JPG
          > http://www.fordendwatermill.co.uk/images/quern.jpg
          >
          Thanks for the links. I'll take a look at them.
          --
          >|P. Dominus Antonius|<
          Legio XX VV
          Tony Dah m

          Si vis pacem, para bellum - Vegetius
          Mahometismus religio pacis, nex omnibus dissidentibus.
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