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I made a witbier last weekend from a recipe which called for a pound of unmalted wheat in the grain bill (along with 8 oz pilsner malt, 8 oz flaked wheat, 4 oz flaked oats, and 6 lbs dry malt extract). The unmalted wheat was too hard for the mill at the local homebrew shop. I tried crushing it with a rolling pin with no success. So i wound up using it whole, which left me wondering if that was really effective.

Are there specific techniques for crushing unmalted wheat (assuming you don't have a mill)? Could i grind it in a coffee mill, or a blender?

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3 Answers 3

Flaked wheat is your best bet. It is unmalted as well.

Otherwise, if you truly have simply dried wheat you need to perform a cereal mash on that stuff to get at the starches (even if you did crush it).

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Wheat gelatinizes at mash temps. A cereal mash is not necessary. –  Denny Conn Feb 27 at 16:30
    
Maybe cereal mash wasn't my best choice of words. I considered suggesting conditioning the wheat to make it easier to crush (i.e. wet milling). But that can turn to a horror story if not done right. My intent was to use a cereal mash instead of trying to crush it. That would open the kernels and get it accessible. Regardless of gelatinization temps. Or at least that's how I'd handle it. –  brewchez Feb 28 at 12:31
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I'd just go back to the homebrew shop and tell them to keep running it through their mill til it was crushed. –  Denny Conn Feb 28 at 16:01

I doubt that the wheat was too hard for your LHBS' mill (which is likely motorized and has heavy stainless steel rollers). The issue is that the gap is too big, and the knurled rollers have nothing to grab onto. So the wheat falls between the rollers without being crushed.

Reknowned homebrewer and beer historian Randy Mosher states, "generally roller mills don't do such a great job with huskless grains as wheat, which should be ground very finely. I use an old grocery store coffee mill, which works briiliantly for this." (Mosher, Randy; "Radical Brewing", 1st edition, p. 40.)

Recently, I ran malted wheat through the LHBS mill several times, and then resolved the unsatsifactory crush with a rolling pin.

I don't think a blender would work, unless maybe if you had a supercharged one like a Vitamix. Source: experience - my mother-in-law tried to make wheat flour with my really nice drink blender/ice crusher, and ended up burning out the coupling within a minute.

Edit: deleted inaccurate info on cereal mash.

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I think a food process would work better than a blender. A blender is made for wet materials the blades are small and need to wiz the liquid around. If you do you a blender dry (from experience with oats) shaking of the jug blender is required. I would not even consider a hand blender. –  Another Compiler Error Feb 27 at 20:50

As brewchez indicated, flaked wheat can be used directly. However, if that isn't easily obtainable for you, your next best option is to use a blender. You can blend 1-2 cups at a time this way. It helps to add a little bit of water to the mix to help keep the kernels from bouncing around as much.

Just keep pulsing the blender until the wheat kernels are the consistency you want. There are pics at Wheat Malt in All Grain Brewing

Note: the linked article talks about it in terms of milling malted wheat this way. However, the same principle applies to unmalted wheat - some people use a blender to grind wheat into flour for baking. You are doing the same, just stopping before it's gets that fine.

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