Deciding on a Mill
Hello all !
So I am on the verge of making the next big step in my pursuit of a great loaf of bread: milling my own grain. The general consensus seems to favor heavily the use of freshly milled grains over those milled commercially, as the freshness of the latter is questionable, at best. Perhaps I'm just satisfying my inner control freak; but, isn't that why I got into baking bread in the first place?
I hope that we all understand that this decision is by no means an easy one: while i could chuck up a few dollars for a mediocre hand-mill, I'm looking into this as an investment, one that I will be able to pass down to the coming generations of mini-me's. In a word, I am looking for something solid, something that will last.
However, this is not to say that I am without my own financial limitations. I'd be willing to pay up to $600 if the mill were worth it, but, ideally, I'd be more comfortable in the $300-$450 range.
Additionally, I am only considering grain mills that offer both manual and motorized operations (i.e. a hand crank with a flywheel). I would like to get some experience grinding it by hand (if for no other reason than just to feel the satisfaction of pulsing muscles), but I anticipate that, ultimately, I will design a pulley system with a bicycle, so I can cycle my way to fresh-milled glory.
To summarize: I'm searching for a STURDY grain mill that grinds both finely and coarsely; something in the area of $300-$450, but will allow for a little wiggle-room; and something with both a hand crank and a flywheel. At present, I am considering the Retsel Little Ark Pro or Uni-Ark Pro and the Country Living Grain Mill. I'm hesitant to order from Retsel, given the abundance of horror stories vis-à-vis customer service. However, the Country Living grain mill is considerably more expensive.
Any guidance, advice, admonitions, etc., would be appreciated immensely.
Happy baking !