The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Country Living vs. Wonder Jr grain mills?

  • Pin It
Crider's picture
Crider

Country Living vs. Wonder Jr grain mills?

Even thought I bought my grain mill last summer, I find that I'm still a geek about these things. It's fun to visit websites, check Youtube and eBay to see what's out there and follow changes, etc.


I visited the WonderMill website last evening and found they have a new video up that compares the speed of their Wonder Junior and the Country Living grain mills. The speed test is quite simple -- eighty revolutions of grinding some sort of grain in a period of one minute. Then the volume of milled flour is measured. Surprise, surprise, the Wonder Junior grinds almost twice as much grain as the much higher priced Country Living mill. Hmm . . .


This simply doesn't make sense to me. The Country Living mill has five-inch grinding wheels and the Wonder Junior has only four-inch wheels. Now, five is only 125% larger than four, but when you do a little math, the area of a five inch circle is substantially larger (156%) than a four-inch one. So I did a little more detective work. I downloaded images of both the Country Living and the Wonder Junior wheels. Then I opened them up in Photoshop, which has a nice measuring tool. I was able to determine the diameter of the inner-circle cutout of each of the grinding wheels and get a more precision estimate of the total grinding area of each mill.

Country Living
Outside: 5"
Inside: 1.85"
grinding area: 16.935" square
Wonder Junior
Outside: 4"
Inside: 1.75"
grinding area: 9.81" square

I've got a Retsel Uni-Ark hand mill at home, which is very, very similar to the Wonder Junior mill. Here's its spec.

Retsel Uni-Ark
Outside: 4"
Inside: 2"
grinding area: 9.42" square

I ran my own tests with the Retsel. Eighty revolutions of milling soft white wheat gave me a tiny bit more than one-half cup of flour. Seems reasonable. So how did the guy from WonderMill get one cup and a quarter out of his mill? I backed-off the setting and ground a very coarse flour. Eighty revolutions gave me just over one cup. It simply flew out of my little mill! And it actually looked like flour. Not that it was fine enough to use for  anything, though.

I suggest the speed test was with the Wonder Junior producing coarse, unusable flour -- not much of a test at all! I don't think there's anything wrong with that mill, but it isn't in the same league as the Country Living. Can't wait for the Wonder folk to shoot a test of the Wonder Junior out grinding one of those thousand-dollar Diamant mills!

proth5's picture
proth5

I'll put that big old flywheel up against anything with a crank.


And I can get the flour to fly out of the Mighty Diamant...  :>)


I guess the good news is you know that home milling has arrived when folks use deceptive marketing practices to sell a mill...


But I will have to measure the output of 80 turns just to see how it goes...

Crider's picture
Crider

Can't wait to read the results.

Big John's picture
Big John

Country Living vs.  Wonder Junior Deluxe  Grain Mill

OK   My name is John and I am one of the Owners  of the Wondermill Company we have had several people tell us about  the  skeptics  making  comments on this web site  about  the speed test  of our Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand mill  v/s the Country living mill.  First let me Say we really admire the folks at Country Living they make good products and nobody should ever be ashamed about buying one. If you do you will have a good mill that will last you a lifetime. Having said that I want to assure you that the speed tests were totally fair and accurate. Both mills were set to a Bread flour setting if you look closely at the results on the video you can see that they both produced a nice fine flour. Because they are both great mills.  My criticism is of the reviewer who without ever seeing our hand mill in action or personally testing both mills side by side attempted to come to a valid conclusion through simple downloaded photos.  Wow! I hope that is not how they do it at Consumer Reports Magazine. I have read  many reviews  from real professionals  who  have actually used  both mills , made real  comparisons and then  used  the actual data to  make valid conclusions.  Not one of them ever looked at pictures and then tried to conclude which mill performed best.  That’s like looking at a picture of two cars and saying that car A is the best because it has larger tires than the other one.  Kind of silly when the one with smaller tires has a high performance engine hi tech transmission and the larger tire car have a small engine with low end transmission.  That’s    how silly it is to compare photos of the two grinding heads of the mills and try to make a comparison. Even worse  to suggest  based on photos  or video  that we were  being  deceptive somehow just because the Wonder Junior outperformed  the Country Living in an actual side by side test. 

I won’t ramble on and on but here is   the bottom line.  The test is legitimate  , both mills were set to produce  a fine bread flour, the Wonder Junior Deluxe  not only  outperformed  the  Country living mill but  it can do things  the Country Living  mill cannot do ,like grind nut butters , flax, and other oily grains.   The Wonder Junior Deluxe  comes  with everything  you need with  your purchase to grind any type of oily or dry grains  nuts, seeds, beans, Legumes ,corn ,herbs and much more. It comes with the best Table clamp on the Market Period. The Mill is heavy duty and will last a lifetime. All of this for $219.95   . You do not need to buy a corn auger, or a clamp or a handle extension The Wonder Junior comes with everything, in fact by the time you bought all the extra accessories for your Country living mill that come standard on the Wonder Junior Deluxe hand mill   for the low  purchase of price of $219.95   you would have to spend over $550.00 and you still wouldn’t be able to grind half of the things you can grind with the Wonder Junior deluxe Hand mill.  So you can listen to some guys that have looked at some pictures and jumped to some conclusions without really testing the mills side by side. Or you can read some valid reviews by real professionals who have compared the actual mills and tested them and provide a valid opinion from more than just a couple of pictures.  The facts  are in the  professionals  have spoken  and the evidence  proves  that for the money  the Wonder Junior is the best  and most  versatile  hand mill on the Market . We challenge you to look for yourselves, read the reviews and make your own judgments.   Good luck and please feel free to call us at the Wondermill Company if you have any questions about anything.  Thanks for letting me have a chance for Rebuttal. And if you are ever in the neighborhood please come in and we will let you perform the speed test for yourself. We have one of almost every every hand mill on the market   in our warehouse and would be happy to let you compare and test for yourself. That way you can look at more than just pictures.

John at the Wondermill Company

PS  here are links to some real professional reviews from professionals who actually touched them

http://www.thewondermill.com/index.php/module/statics/action/view_listing/page/13

Crider's picture
Crider

Here's a link to the video in question comparing the milling speed of the Wonder Junior to the Country Living.

proth5's picture
proth5

I take what I say on these pages seriously and read the all the reviews that you referenced. Here is what I find:

Some like the Wondermill because it is lightweight and will be easy to take along in a "bug out" situation.  OK, that's great, but it does not address the output of the mill.  If judged on that basis (the ability to carry it and run), larger mills will not fare as well - but for many of us, that is not our primary concern.

One of the true comparison reviews - that of Cindy Dorfsmith in Simply Flagstaff - states that the output of the Country Living Mill is, indeed, higher than that of the Wondermill (although I would really have preferred the measures to be weight based rather than volumetric.)

Most of the other comparisons compare the mill to really small mills, like the Corona (one hopes your mill is better than the Corona - which I have used)  or the Back to Basics.

Not one compares the Wondermill to the Diamant.  I've used a Diamant for some years and the output is pretty darned good.

Many reviewers talk about "best for the price."  That may well be true, but "best for the price" is different than "best."

No doubt you have a lot of pride in your product and it seems that many people like it.  I won't dispute that.  But after reading the reviews from "real professionals" I am forced to find that when a true comparison is made, the Country Living outperforms the Wondermill in terms of "output."

Which brings us back to the beginning.  A video provided by you shows the comparative output and as we speculate about the evidence we cannot see how it could be accurate.

If I am in the neighborhood, I'd love to try your mill - and you just never know when I'll be there.

Good luck with your product.

Pat

Crider's picture
Crider

Having said that I want to assure you that the speed tests were totally fair and accurate. Both mills were set to a Bread flour setting if you look closely at the results on the video you can see that they both produced a nice fine flour.

I disagree. The flour had absolutely no clumping as you transferred it from your catch pan to the measuring cups, which indicates a mealy grind. You failed to address my own experiment on my Retsel Uni Ark mill where I nearly duplicated your 'results' by cranking back on the adjustment to produce a coarser grind. The Wonder Junior, the Retsel Uni Ark, and the Nazko Sunshine Nugget are virtually identical in their design. And all three come from the same small area of Idaho! I wonder why that is? I stand by my assessment using the Uni Ark to nearly match your 1 1/4 cup of 'flour' from 80 revolutions. Looking at the Wonder Junior Manual, I see there isn't a 'bread flour setting' like you claim, but that the coarseness/fineness is done 'infinitely' with the screw which mounts the outer wheel — the same way the Uni Ark and the Sunshine Nugget.

My criticism is of the reviewer who without ever seeing our hand mill in action or personally testing both mills side by side attempted to come to a valid conclusion through simple downloaded photos.

Funny. I DID see your mill in action — through the video in which you apparently garnered some rather fraudulent results by pitting it against a Country Living mill under conditions with only you controlled. As for my use of the photos, can you confirm that the grinding wheels of the Wonder Junior are 4" outside diameter and 1.75" inner-circle cutout?

Don't forget, the Wonder Junior has a a total milling surface of 9.81 square inches, and the Country Living milling surface is 16.935 square inches. With a nearly half the surface area, do you still wish to perpetuate your claim that the Wonder Junior grinds nearly twice as much flour per revolution as the Country Living mill?

Now the rest of your post was advertising, so I'll join the fun by putting in a plug here for the wonderful folks at Compatible Technology International, a non-profit organization which designs and produces all sorts of inventive devices for use in third world countries, such as water purification, food preservation and processing tools. They even sell some of their items in the US, and may also sell their items in Europe. They make two grain mills, the Omega VI, and the Ewing IW. Their design looks very inventive, and I sometimes wish I had found them before I had bought my own mill because my money would have gone to support their efforts.

proth5's picture
proth5

Yes, I've done some obsessing over this "rebuttal" post and keep thinking "We all know that a larger grinding area will mill faster - what's up with the video?" (And I can say that a car with bigger wheels will go further on one revolution of those wheels than one with smaller wheels to use the example given.)

I'm gonna have to let it go.  We will never hear back from the poster, but if we did I would love to see better evidence on the fine-ness of the flour,  hear a little more of the methodology of the tests, and hear about what technical innovations the grinding surfaces of the mill bring to bear that it allows it to mill more grain with a smaller surface area.

From what I can read from more independent reviewers, the Wondermill is no slouch as a mill, but I have become particularly allergic as of late to folks who simply rant about others being incompetent and consider that voicing their opinion over and over makes it right.

I still like my mill best  :>) (And I'd better, I paid a lot for it and it is bolted down to a pretty heft piece of furniture!)

Peace.

Pat

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

this link -  http://www.grainmillcomparison.com/2009_02_01_archive.html - is to a comparison of manual grain mills by an independent reviewer.


The March page reviews the Country Living mill and the July page reviews the Wondermill Jr. The February page gives the testing scenario. The site is small; you'll find it usefull to click on all the links.


I find the video you posted to be rather self-serving (small surprise, given the source), since there are other considerations to the effectiveness of a grain mill than the amount of flour produced by 80 revolutions. In the link I gave, the author evaluates each mill based on flour fineness, grinding speed and the physical effort required to turn the grinding plate.

proth5's picture
proth5

That's a great site and I look at it from time to time when I am obsessing.


No matter what hand mill reviews I read, they'll always pick one that is "best" and say - well, except for the Diamant.


Now I realize that people aren't made of money, but the chortle I always get is that I bought mine before they were made in Poland and before the whole exchange rate issue caused the price to skyrocket.  And then on eBay to boot where I bought a new (still in packing grease) Diamant for way less than current prices. (It's mean, I know, but I seldom get such a bargain, and generally I am never happy with anything I do - so give me this one...)


Although I do disagree with the reviewer that you "need" different plated for a fine grind - but everyone has their different methods and I have mine.


That cast iron flywheel means something in terms of hand grinding effort and I'm not sure I could have done what I have done with a lesser mill.


So, after I shuffle off this mortal coil, TFLer's should watch for the estate sale because there will be a Danish made Diamant probably selling for a bargain price.


Applications for being included in the will can be submitted :>)


 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

All I want is the Diamant (not the diamonds) - is that too much to ask?


If I predecease you, I promise to come back from the dead to claim the Diamant.


in hopeful anticipation, yours truly - SF


 

proth5's picture
proth5

but what's in it for me? :>)


PS: May car and my mill are actually the same color - everybody wants my car (it is becoming a classic and has very low mileage) and everyone want my mill but again, what's in it for me???? :>)

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Does YES mean that [1] I have been included in your will?? OR [2] To be included in your will is "too much to ask"??


Re your comment "what's in it for me? :>)" - what do you care? You're gonna be dead.


Re the matching color of your car and your mill - I am color agnostic. Hope that helps.


:)  :)  :)  :)   - SF

proth5's picture
proth5

consider pledging novenas or dances to the Great Spirit for the repose of my soul.


 :>)


Yes, it's worth considering.  I'm gathering the applications to see who is most worthy.

proth5's picture
proth5


You judge yourselves against the pitiful adversaries you've encountered so far - the Romulans, the Klingons. They're nothing compared to what's waiting. Picard - you are about to move into areas of the galaxy containing wonders more incredible than you can possibly imagine - and terrors to freeze your soul.


Q in STTNG "Q Who"



Ok, that's a bit dramatic, but the results are in (Here's where the folly of volumetric measure comes in, but here goes...)


Diamant grind amounts - 80 turns


Fine Crack - My first step in milling  7 oz - 1.75 cups


Medium grind (this is hippie whole wheat flour) - 5.95 oz - 1.5 cups


Next to finest grind - this is about the fineness of commercial whole wheat flour - 5.15 oz 1.25 cups


Fine grind - this is finer than most commercial flours  - 5.45 oz  - 1.25 cups - Why more?  I think that this reflects that fact that the finest grind is a re mill of earlier passes and some of the grain passes through without being further reduced. But most home millers wqorking with hand turned mills would not even attempt this fine a grind.


Just to rub it in. 


This isn't a minute of grinding.  On the fine grind, which is the one that takes the most effort I can do 80 turns in 50 seconds.  And I'm just a little old lady with a head cold. (And it's just a cold.  I feel fine.  I feel like taking a walk....)


Don't think we'll see the Wonder Jr against the Diamant anytime soon.  Yes, it is expensive - now we see why...


Happy Milling!

Crider's picture
Crider

I once timed myself doing the Uni-Ark by hand on enough for a loaf and my natural speed was 46 rpm. Now that I motorized the thing, it turns at about 60.


When I was shopping for a mill last summer, I didn't see a single used Diamant mill. But I was looking for milling on the cheap so that didn't matter!


 

Olodum's picture
Olodum

Due to the fact that Country Living Grain Mill is a hand mill, there aren't not official or unofficial productivity numbers. I have read from 5.2 libres per hour up to 12 lb/h. If I buy one of them, I'm going to motorize it by myself as my family consumes almost 180Kg (~400lb) flour annually, and I think this amount cannot be done by hand!

But if I use the motor, are there any restrictions? Is there suggested rotation rate (let's say 100rpm) fro fine quality or a higher limit before flour get "burned", for higher yield? What I would be grateful to know but nobody reviewed is HOW MUCH flour (lb) i can produce in 1 hour. I understand it depends on the motor (I'm thinking of 0.25hp one) and the rotations. But someone could say an average.

Thanks in advance!

SweetMK's picture
SweetMK

My grinder does flour at a much higher rate, but, it is home made;

A cup a minute, or more, is how much it produces. I used a 3/4 HP motor.

It is basically identical to the Magic Mill wheat grinders you can see on eBay.

Ours is over 35 years old, and is used at least weekly.

Since it is producing flour at such a high rate, the flour does not seem to get a chance to heat, no way it gets to 95 degrees F.

85 or 90 degrees is more likely,,,,,,

pmiker's picture
pmiker

My CL mill is motorized.  Over the weekend I had just over 3 lbs of wheat to grind.  It was mixed about 50/50 red and white hard wheat.  The hopper showed 7 cups or more.  At one hour it was not finished milling and I shut it off for awhile to cool down.  The flour was up to about 95F.  About half an hour later I turned it back on and finished.  I'd say it had milled 4-5 cups of flour in that hour.  (Sorry, I was just curious about how long it would take.)

CL states that white wheat takes longer to grind because it's not as hard as red wheat.  The same for soft wheat.  I have milled them separately and hard white takes much longer.  I mill in one pass.  CL does not recommend multiple passes.  The flour I get is very fine and soft.

The setup I use is the one sold by CL.  It has the motor, belt, base and shroud (belt cover).  I've been using it for a couple of years at least without problem.

BTW, when I first bought the mill, I used it by hand.  It's not bad but finer grinds are tougher.  With the motor, I can be doing other things while the flour is milling.

Nicolae's picture
Nicolae

Ive used the Wonder Junior for all of my day to day milling. It is a strong and well built grain mill for a price that is hard to beat but its getting rustic and old. Im planning to get a new one and I stumbled across a youtbe video showing the Wonder Junior vs. the Country Living. The guy got more heaping, almost 1/2 cup of flour more from Country Living mill with the same amount of turns. Is this the latest model http://ourhappyhomestead.com/country-living-grain-mill.html ? I cant find that one on Amazon.