FlicFloc Sticker Shock

The Covid crisis has bulged by inbox with questions about many of the topics covered in our two books. Once again, people are baking bread, planting gardens and worrying about the fragility of our food chain.

In recent years we got a bit lazy around the old urban homestead. There were a few too many meals out and an over-reliance on convenience foods. But at least we had experience growing and processing our own foods. When the yeast disappeared from the store I got a sourdough starter going within a week. So I’d say that experience trumps equipment when it comes to the living from scratch lifestyle. It’s never too late to learn. If you’re just getting started baking bread or starting a vegetable garden now is always the best time to begin.

An interesting example of technique over tools comes with today’s blog post. I had intended to write about one of my favorite kitchen tools, the KoMo FlicFloc Oat/Grain Flaker. It’s a manual device that turns whole oat groats into rolled oats. You can then use those oats to make oatmeal, müsli or granola. I had assumed that I’m saving money by rolling my own oats. It turns out that’s not the case.

I bought a 50 pound bag of oat groats for $54 from Central Milling via a bulk order run by the King’s Roost. Already rolled oats are, for some strange reason, a dollar cheaper per bag at $53. Properly stored rolled oats will last up to 30 years without losing much nutritional value according to Utah State University. So here’s the lesson: start with bulk goods in buckets (that you actual cook from) before obsessing over kitchen gadgets (Johnny of Granola Shotgun already pointed this out on his blog). My monkey consumer brain just leaps to the fun gadgets before I consider the prosaic five gallon bucket, time in the kitchen cooking from bulk goods and, ugh, doing dishes.

That said, I still like my FlicFloc. It’s a beautiful object and there’s a certain amount of self-satisfied smugness that comes from turning the crank to mill your own breakfast. Perhaps the freshly rolled oats taste fresher but I can’t prove that. And you can flake other grains such as wheat, rye, barley, millet, spelt, rice, sesame, flax seed, poppy and spices. I can also use the oat groats to make oat flour with my flour mill (another gadget that I’ll cover in another post). Of course, maybe I’m just justifying an expensive euro-trashy kitchen gadget.

But before we leave the sphere of oatmeal I’d like to note one nice hack that Josey Baker suggests in his book Josey Baker Bread. Josey suggests soaking a mix of whole oat groats and flaked oats in water on the counter for a day or two at room temperature. The time at room temperature causes fermentation and gives your oats a pleasant, sour flavor. You can make a batch of it ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator after it reaches the right amount of sour funk. Baker suggests adding nuts and maple syrup to make your oatmeal more interesting.

Lastly, let me add that, back in 2015, I compared the results of the FlicFloc vs. a cheap, surplus store grain cracker. If you want to do your own flaking (I guess that makes you a flake) the FlicFloc works better.

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  1. I’ll store this away for the future. I bought two gadgets in the last year. The first was the Mockmill, which I was deeply concerned was going to end up collecting dust. It so immediately elevated my baking game that it is getting used at least once a week.

    The second was….(runs for cover)….an air fryer. Something I had not planned on ever even wanting. But when quarantine kicked in, I knew we were going to have a hard time without something crispy. The family-style-Mexican dinner last night with air-fried chimigangas, rice, and beans soothed a lot of nerves around this house. And was healthier and more affordable than eating out.

    Buckets of grains and beans is only useful if you can make something truly palatable out of them! 🙂

    • My Mockmill is getting a lot of use too. And I have a friend who swears by his air fryer.

  2. I’ve been buying unroasted coffee bean, roast ’em as I drink ’em basically. Grind them as I brew. Stores better raw.

    This act of grinding I’ve realized I really love doing, with so much time I have now, I think I’m gonna take up bread making and grinding my own grain. What do you guys think of flat bread for beginners?

    Speaking of grinding , if you guys wanna take up Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics , i’m reading Eugene Garver’s “The Cunning of Imagination” right now as guide to Spinoza’s Ethics.

    Garver’s book is a great read. You can read Spinoza’s Ethics online via ethica dash spinoza dot net , But look into Eugene Garver’s book, might be worthy of a blog, both works.

    A great COVID19 project for the mind (and body).

    p.s.– Spinoza was a len’s grinder.

  3. One way this gadget might pay off is if you are on a gluten-free diet. Certified gluten-free rolled oats and other grains are much more expensive than non-gf oats, etc. And yes, oats are naturally gluten free, but there is a lot of cross contamination involved in the milling facilities that also process wheat.

  4. It is awfully expensive, but I’ll never have to buy flaked oats again. The flavor is much better when they’re fresh, and they’re probably a lot more nutritious. I bought one several years ago in better times. I’ve also used it to flake whole grains for bread. As far as oat ferments go, I’ve inoculated the soak with a bit of sourdough starter. Some viili works too, and I’ll bet milk and water kefir do the trick. Maybe throw in some malt for starch conversion enzymes.

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