The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

grain mills

Nim's picture

grain mills

I have now been baking my own bread for approx 3 years and I am ready to take the next step and buy a grain mill. I have heard many suggestions/discussions/opinions on the different types of home mills available. I have kind of narrowed down to the Komo Wolfgang mill or the Retsel. What do people think about these two? How do they compare? I really like the description and look of the KoMo Fidicus classic, but since I have not used any I don't know how to decide.

Thanks for your help.

BjD321bJd's picture

I have had the Retsel MillMaster for last 1 1/2 years.  Have made about 700 loaves since then.  I attached a 1/4 inch piece of masking tape (like painters use) to both the black adjustment knob and to the face plate holding the front burr.  I placed the small pieces of masking tape opposite each other when I thought I had the right setting...... and then made small adjustments to fine tune the final setting.  Over time, as the burrs wear in, small adjustments will have to be made.  I then adjusted the small pieces of tape so they were opposite each other.  This worked very well for me for seveal months.  THEN, Retsel came out with a $49.00 adjustment device that is adjusted with an allen wrench.  (Check their web site.) This, to my thinking, is one of the biggest developments Retsel could make for a user friendly grain mill.  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that one does not make the burr adjustment too tight as this will place undue pressure/tension on the internal gears with them wearing out early.  I prefer having a loose adjustment at first and then working towards the "right burr setting" then to have a tight setting and working towards the loose and correct setting.  I am now only using the metal burrs as I prefer not to have very fine whole wheat flour.  "They" say whole wheat flour is better for you when it is not that powdery texture.  Some "roughage" is better for your digestive system!  The Retsel MillMaster is a "work of art."  With the power of that 1/2 hp motor, it has to be operated with careful kindness!  Bernie D.

Nim's picture

Thanks for that detailed reply, it is very useful.

charbono's picture

I’m satisfied with the Retsel Mil-Rite I’ve had over a year. It doesn’t look as good as the Wolfgang, but it has larger-diameter (5-inch) stones, a steel buhr option, and can be operated manually. To clean, one simply backs the adjustment knob completely off; and the stones and auger come apart. It’s about as noisy as a microwave oven. The highest flour temp I’ve been able to measure is about 100°F, although I think the flour is briefly higher.

The Mil-Rite’s negatives are fairly minor: Large, posole corn doesn’t feed very well. On a loose setting, the bed (supposedly stationary) stone is a little loose; and grits can fly out the unshielded sides. Too tight a setting with soft grain results in flour back-up. Setting the stones to a pre-determined width is a little problematic.

2setters's picture

I just started milling my own flour, and purchased the Wolfgang Flour Mill about 3 weeks ago. It is a beautiful mill, takes up very little room on the counter, and is very quiet. I love it. You just turn it on, and twist the top to set the courseness of the grind. I have been using it adjusted for the finest setting, and it grinds a really nice fine flour that is perfect for bread and pastries.  Before buying this mill I did a lot of research into the different types, and brands, and finally decided on this one. I am glad I did, as it meets my needs perfectly. 

caviar's picture

This may be off the subject but I have tried to find a way to grind dried corn (soaked in cal and cleaned) with something other than muscle power to make masa for corn tortillas.

Does anyone have any experience with this?    Herb

charbono's picture

I’ve tried using the Mil-Rite with steel buhrs to grind nixtamalized corn, without success. I think if the corn was dry enough, it would work; but then you’d lose freshness.

For those who don’t want to mill manually, there is a machine called the Nixtamatic that seems to be perfect for the counter-top. If you search that name and look for Steve Sando (Rancho Gordo) you’ll find it. It’s normally sold in Mexico and costs about 300USD.

charbono's picture

there is a Nixtamatic on ebay now.


ilovecorn's picture

Please tell me where on ebay I can find this to buy one Ill even buy a used one. Ihave searched ebay with no success. Thank you so much.

LeadDog's picture

This might help.  I have milled corn in my mill with no problems.  Here is a picture of it.

Pedal Powered Grain Mill

You can read about my mill here.

shakleford's picture

I'm another satisfied user of the KoMo Fidibus Classic.  I've had it for almost a year and a half and have been very pleased with it.  However, I've heard nothing but praise for the Retsel mills as well.

I went for the KoMo because it was smaller, cheaper, and nicer-looking.  The main advantage I saw in the Retsel mills was the capability of grinding beans and seeds with steel plates, but that wasn't important enough to me to justify the tradeoffs.

Nim's picture

Yes, the good looks of the Fidibus classic was an added attraction for me too. Since also make Indian rotis (Indian bread) I need the flour to be very fine. Though both the options look very good, the slightly better price for the KoMo is also tempting. I will mull over this one...and then make my buy.


Thanks for the reviews.