Can I Clean the Sand Stone Burrs?

My first ever stone grinder made me hate almost all of them. They are real hard to setup. Aligning the rotor and stator is like playing hide-and-seek. There are only three aligning screws but I just can’t get a good setting no matter how long I try. Well, I guess low cost machines really lack precision. Manufacturers are making efforts to make their product low cost as possible in sacrifice of performance. A poorly aligned setup will eventually align itself (two stones rubbing against each other). That is if the setup will be left untouched.

Second. The stone burrs are porous and absorb some material under grinding. It should be removed for thorough cleaning every now and then. Nope, it should be removed for cleaning every after use. The food clinging to stone will surely rot and cause contamination to the next batch. Removing and re-installing will bring back the above problem again, the pesky alignment.

Time for cleaning attempt. The stones color before use was dirty white. Now it is brown as caused by grinding cocoa nibs. I used to clean it with warm water and soap with no much success. I am trying the boil method this time. I have not tried this before as it might weaken the substance binding the stone together. The new grinder is now in place so cooking this stone and possibly breaking it is fine. I boiled it in water for almost 15 minutes. Took it out and I witnessed the non significant result. Maybe longer boiling time with frequent water replacement is going to do the trick. It is waste of water and energy however.

For this reason, a pair of burr used for grinding cocoa nibs may not be used for peanut butter, sesame and others. Assumption is not true for grinding dry commodities. Dry powders won’t sip through the sand stone pores.

sand stone burrsOne great advantage of stone grinders is the low heat build-up. Recommended for heat sensitive products. It also eliminate the need for efficient cooling system.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

One Reply to “Can I Clean the Sand Stone Burrs?”

  1. Hi,
    I am reading all your posts at once and found them very interesting,your approach is based on observation and I really like it. I am working on building a nut butter business and wanted to share my conclusions with you as you do so.
    After consulting some mills manufacturers ,( Fryma Koruma, IKA, ..) it seems that when it comes stone colloid mills, they all use the same stone, Corrundum. as you explained , the stone keep the temperature low andyou avoid cooling systems.
    regarding the gap adjustement, it really depends on manufacturer, the above said manufacturer have mills with very accurate adjustements, but I know it’s really costy but you can find some used machines from all over the world , the price of these 30 years old machine come close to those in China brand new (around 3000$) but the mechanical design and the eletrical motor can still run for decade or more .
    Keep up the good work and the posts !!!!!!
    Best regards,

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