Burnt Cabins Grist Mill
Burnt Cabins Grist Mill
Nestled in the mountains of quiet south-central Pennsylvania the Burnt Cabins Grist Mill is a historic and culinary wonder. Originally built at the present site in the 1750's the Grist Mill is churning out quality, old-fashioned flours in the same manner as it did back then. The Burnt Cabins Grist Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
1) The Mill Race and Water Flume
The process for producing flour has to begin with the water, which is brought to the Grist Mill through a system of channels called forebays. The water comes to the mill from a stream called a millrace and usually is diverted away from the mill to an adjacent pond. In order to make the water move into the mill a dam is placed into the watershoots and the level builds and eventually begins to flood into the mill and over the waterwheel.
2) The 16 foot Waterwheel
Once the water enters the Grist Mill it moves over a waterwheel, hence the name "overshot wheel", and generates the grinding power for the stones. The wheels in this Grist Mill are located inside the structure which is a better design as they are not effected by weather as much as the traditional outside wheel. This spinning waterpower is then transferred to the gearing systems.
3) The Mill Gearing Systems the waterwheel is located in the Grist Mill's basement so the power has to be transferred upstairs to the grinding stones. These gears are large and simple yet effectively move the huge set of grinding stones located on the main floor.
4) The Grinding Stones
The grinding stones are two sets of 1500-pound stones that were originally set over 200 years ago. They rotate one on another at a speed determined by the amount of water flowing over the waterwheel and the grains are feed between the stones by a cam system that is also actuated by the water flow. This speed is very important to guarantee that grain is neither ground too coarsely nor that there is an absence of grain between the stones. The output is the perfectly ground flours.
5) Mixes are Blended
Mixes are blended from the flours produced in the grinding process. Of course the flours go straight to packaging but the ready-to-eat mixes need to be blended first. The process happens in the mixing bin can last for three hours that still utilizes the original machines and methods as millers did a century and a half ago.
6) Packaging the Mixes and Flours
From the mixing bin the mixes are transported via a flour shoot to the packaging bin. The mixes are then all hand-scooped into the two-pound bags, which are weighted, tied and packed.