As I've mentioned here before, I'm now in the process of growing my own grains. This is year two; my total harvest, from less than 120sqft of seed sown, is probably about twelve pounds. Not much--but not bad, when you consider that I started from just over an ounce total from four varieties of "heirloom" seed (Hana, Bere, Maris Otter, and Halcyon), and added in about a quarter pound of modern commercial seed (Conlon) last year.
I've combined the Maris Otter and Halcyon seed, for what I'm calling "MoH". Halcyon is derived from Maris Otter, and it's hard to tell the two apart--particularly when the dogs "helped" with the sowing, and thoroughly "tilled" the patches of sown seed, mixing the two. No loss. They'll be spread across a 50'x50' area this fall, assuming I can get the rototiller started in the next few days.
In the meantime, I've purchased a 25# bag of Conlon seed from the lovely folks at Johnny's Selected Seeds, and built an Arduino-controlled malt kiln and a decidedly low-tech couching bed, as well as a number of food-grade plastic buckets (can you ever have too many?) and an aquarium air pump. With this, let the malting begin!
I'm doing this, at first, in six-pound batches. Once I get things figured out, I might be able to go as high as fifteen; container size is a limiting factor. The first step is to clean and steep the grains. I put the grain into a bucket, covered them with a few inches of water, stirred, and poured off the chaff that floated to the top. Repeat a few times, then just leave the water in, and let 'em go. The picture below is the grains beginning their journey...
|Grains cleaned and steeping.|
Let them "rest" a day or two more, and they'll have developed rootlets:
|Not a bad picture, if I say so myself. Chitting, and rootlet development.|
If you're drying them, there are multiple ways to go. Easiest for most is probably the oven--but be careful; if you go over about 50 degrees C (about 120F), you'll kill the enzymes you need for mashing. This is where my kiln comes into play:
|Arduino kiln, sitting atop the couching bed.|
So, the first attempt used the leftover Conlon I had for the planting--it was fairly old, and I'm not certain I got good germination from it. I've started batch #2, and will tweak the process, and report back. Too much fun!