I don't have the money for a grain mill and I am new to this so I don't yet have a need for one. I was told I could just put the grain in a baggie and use a rolling pin to crack them up. Is this the best method without a mill. Can you guys share other methods with me? THANKS
My 1st all grain batch, used a wine bottle and a cookie sheet, no baggie. and had good results on the batch. so I will say that it can be done, but the 10lbs of grain took a damm long time to do. and will encourage you to get a mill soon.
I wouldn't manually crush any more than 2-3lbs of grain.
I did this same thing last weekend. My 2-row was already crushed but I didn't get my vienna or crystal crushed because I need it to last longer so I had to crush 2.5lbs by hand.
For me I found that using a rubber mallet did a good job of crushing the grain but you need to make sure there isn't a lot in the bag (maybe 1/4-1/2lb) at a time or else it wont be very even. Secondly, you will more than likely rip the bag in a couple of places with the sharp hulls and this can cause quite a mess.
I also tried to use our pasta maker which has adjustable stainless rolls to crush the grain and it didn't pull any grain through the wheels because the rollers weren't knurled.
Manually crushing by hand sucked so bad, the first thing I did when I got to work on monday was to order a barleycrusher!
p.s. I still got 81% conversion efficiency even with the hammer method so it does work in a pinch!