Monday, July 16, 2012

Roll, Roll, Roll Your Oats

For many years we have dreamed of processing grains (Unfortunately, we are not in a position to grow our own). Apart from benefitting from the freshness and the health giving properties, the home processed product would be cheaper and we would be bypassing the embedded energy involved in the commercial processing system.
Our Schnitzer Oat Roller
We first put our toe in the water by looking at oat rollers. We enjoy a morning bowl of muesli or porridge and from our research discovered that commercially rolled oats often have their natural oils steamed out of them prior to packaging. This process allows the oats to have a longer shelf life without going rancid, but unfortunately results in the consumer missing out on part of the goodness of the whole grain.
After much internet searching we settled on a German made roller (Schnitzer) made out of wood and stainless steel, which we purchased from Skippy Grain Mills ( ) in NSW. Our Schnitzer hand roller is a beautifully crafted machine with a simple but efficient mechanism. It is a little on the expensive side, especially when postage is added, but well worth the money in terms of quality.

Bulk Oats
We purchased bulk (10kg) biodynamic groats (oats without the husk) from Eastfield Natural Food Store in Croydon and were soon enjoying beautifully fresh, delicious oats in our porridge, muesli, soups, cakes and biscuits. The only thing to keep in mind, is that once rolled, the oats will only keep for a couple of weeks. We generally roll our oats the night before and soak them overnight to benefit from maximum freshness. They take a little bit longer to cook than the heavily processed commercial oats in the supermarket, but they taste so much better and of course retain all their natural oils.
To help recover the high price we paid for the Schnitzer, and to share the benefits with others, we decided to take it to our weekly market stall. We use it to demonstrate how it works and sell freshly rolled oats each Saturday. It has turned out to be quite popular – especially during the colder months.
Bicep building
One side benefit of rolling your own oats is the upper body exercise. It takes just a few minutes to roll enough oats for our own personal use, but at the market on a good day we may spend 10 to 15 minutes rolling for other people. If bicep size was important to us, this is a great way to build them up. Heather is not too keen on large biceps, but Andrew has no objection. We must remember to swap arms though, or the result might be over developed muscles on one side of the body!!!
Often at the market, people (especially children) are keen to roll their own oats and we are happy to oblige. This puts a hole in our large bicep plan – but we have to fit in with the wishes of the customer.

We have had the roller for 18 months now, and it has happily rolled around 200 kg of oats. It shows no sign of wear and tear and works as well as it did from the start. We are happy to recommend it. If you are in the Healesville area (outside the old railway station) on a Saturday morning, drop in to our stall and have a look at it (and have a roll if you are game).


Suburban Farm said...

Looks great! This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. You have inspired me to give it a go! The roling machine looks the goods too!

The Potty Knitter said...

They are so yummy. After our visit to your Open Day, I got myself a Schnitzer roller (albeit a smaller one) and we have enjoyed our "fresh' porridge ever since. Apart form the upper body work-out benefits, the roller makes a great chore for grand-children....

Andrew and Heather said...

Thanks for the comments Suburban Farm. It was something that we thought about for quite a while too. We are so glad we didn't wait any longer.

Glad your are enjoying your oats Potty Knitter- but don't forget to change arms when you are rolling oats, or you will end up lop-sided!

You are right about children enjoying the rolling. At our market children often ask if they can help roll oats, and it is such an easy way to get them interested in good wholesome food.

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