The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Retsel pros and cons?

Mylissa20's picture
Mylissa20

Retsel pros and cons?

I am looking into buying a mill (I dont currently own one) and have been doing some research.  Frankly, I"m torn.  I have read a lot about the Retsel, and am impressed by the durability, manual options, and flexibility of this grinder.  I also like that I won't have to triple check my grains for stones.  The price is considerable but I'm not sure if it really is worth the pros.  My other consideration is the nutrimill.  I'm rather stingy with money so I really want it to be well spent if I'm going to lay down that kind of cash.  What are your opinions?

loydb's picture
loydb

Well, IMO there is no contest between the DLX and Nutrilmill as far as which mill is better. The DLX is a true stone machine, not an impact mill, and treats the grain far more gently.


The only downside that I've found to the DLX is that you'll probably wait 2-3 months for one to get delivered, and that their customer service is fact-challenged when it comes to ship dates.


Loyd


 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Your comments all refer to the DLX but it seems as though you're actually discussing the Retsel mill. Am I missing something here?

Bread Buddy's picture
Bread Buddy

Has anyone used the grain mill attachment for the kitchen aid mixer?  If so, how good is it?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

see http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3793/kernals-or-berries#comment-18786 and http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3793/kernals-or-berries#comment-18907


You can also check out the comments for the KA grain mill on Amazon.


This mill is serviceable for producing flour for bread, but cannot mill a really fine flour (even with sifting and remilling). It is *not* good for milling pastry flour from soft wheat.


It is nice for producing coarse grits or cracked gain (something most micronizer mills cannot achieve).


You'll notice I prefer the design of the older (Hobart-era) model of the grain mill. These are frequently available on eBay for $50 - $100. They should fit a 5-quart lift bowl KA model.


======= edit ========


PS The manual for the current KA grain mill model may be found at http://www.fantes.com/kitchenaid-grain-mill.html


================


My beloved, venerable Hobart-era KitchenAid K5-A with the Hobart-era grain mill...


Syl in Canada's picture
Syl in Canada

I have a large family and therefore I really did put this grinder to the test for several years.  I just recently sold the unit.  It is basic and the steel burrs do an ok job, but it's very loud on the Big Professional Kitchenaid with steel gears (not the smaller units with plastic gears, which I would highly recommend you do not even try grinding with).  It also really was too much for the machine.  We ended up renewing the kitchenaid on warranty once, and rebuilding the gears 3 times over the years.  I sold it completely overhauled, however to a small family that will not be putting through the same amount as we did.  If you are a serious bread baker though, I could never recommend this mill.

athagan's picture
athagan

I just bought a Retsel Mil-Rite.  Because of the cost I spent a month searching for every mention of the Mil-Rite that Google could find. 


Keeping in mind that I've only had it somewhat less than a week now I'll tell you what I think.


First - they are slow, slow, slow in shipping and they are not commuincative.  Ten weeks from receipt of payment to when they shipped my mill.  No communication from the time they said they received payment until the day they handed it off to UPS.  This in spite of two e-mails and two phone calls.


Second - this is one solid machine.  It weighs about thirty five pounds.  There's no plastic on it anywhere but the knob of the adjustment screw.  The thing that convinced me to order it were the several accounts I found from various people (one of whome I know) that they'd had their machines for over twenty years of regular use and they were still going strong. 


Third - I've spent several hours over the last several days using both the stone and the steel burrs playing with settings to see how coarse or fine I could mill various grains too.  The stones were able to mill as fine as my old Grainmaster Whispermill on the setting I usually use with it to make bread with, but could be opened up enough to make a very nice corn meal or even grits (a coarse meal). 


Fourth - It's also much quieter than my 'Whispermill' but the obverse of that is that its output is much slower as well due to those low rpms.  Allow yourself more milling time to get the flour you want.  Do get the two way switch.  It makes it much easier to adjust the plates with grain still in the mill.


All in all if you're willing to wait a long time for them to build then ship your mill and are willing to pay what they want for the things I think you'll get a mill that will go the distance.


.....Alan.


 


 

30 Chickens's picture
30 Chickens

Hi Alan,

How is the mill working out for you? Can you tell me how much the flour heats up?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Pearl

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I bought a Retsel, second hand, from an old couple who raised their kids using the very same mill for 20 years.  Twenty years later I bought it and it still works very well.  Alan is right, it's one solid machine without a piece of plastic.  It's a work horse and it's still pretty loud to me (not sure if there's a mill that's quiet).  Their customer service is really bad but once you get their mill it's all good.  Make sure you get some spare parts with your first order because you never know when you will need them and it takes forever to get your order through the same customer service people.  Having extra small parts will save you a lot of griefs.  Best of luck!


athagan's picture
athagan

This is a good point that you bring up.

What spare parts do you recommend getting?

When I ordered my mill I bought an extra Woodruff key since it's so small and easy to lose if ever it has to be removed.

Now that I've used mine for a few days I think I'd probably want to get an extra adjustment screw and another feed auger for just-in-case.

.....Alan.

i8dpie's picture
i8dpie

Personally, I don't think there is any mill that can compare to Retsel. I bought the Mil-Rite several years ago after thoroughly researching all available grain mills. I have grinded all sorts of grain fine ground to coarse with no problems. As another poster said, it's quiet-beside quality,this was a major deal breaker for me. Most grain mills are horrifically loud. It's also solid and heavy so it won't shake around the table. I wrote a longer review here  http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2442066/grain_mill_review_retsel_milrite.html?cat=22

beenthere's picture
beenthere

20 years ago, I bought a Retsel at a 2nd hand store for $100.  No idea how old it was, but it worked steady for me for all this time - and then left with my roommate, so I ordered a new one from Retsel for over $400 in new dollars. There is a site that says they are discontinuing selling Retsel due to backorders and quality degradation.  I see no difference between the old one and the new one, which has been working fine for a couple of years now.  Just be prepared to put your order in and forget about it for a few months - you won't hear anything from Retsel, but eventually your machine will arrive and worth the wait.  Don't bother contacting them as they have no customer service and everything is done on faith and patience!  It's a workhorse and holds it's value (try to find one used).

srise's picture
srise

Hi, I noted people commenting it took months to receive anything from Retsel so was prepared for that when I ordered from them, but it seems they've gone over the line and now are taking money for products and not shipping....ever.


They insisted on being paid by check and refused to take a credit card which was the the first red-flag I should have heeded.  I just saw so many people were receiving mills that I figured they weren't going to steal the money.


But after the expected 1 month delay then 2 month delay then 3, they simply stopped communicating, would not respond to my emails or phone calls.  5 months later now I'm pretty sure my money paid by check is long gone and I'm never going to see a product.


Just wanted to warn anyone else contemplating buying anything from them.  Think I'm going to go buy a Samap now - using a credit card from a reputable dealer!

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer


Retsel is not the best when it comes to customer service but fraud is a pretty serious accusation.  Their head office is in Idaho and they are supposed to have a 24/7 customer service line 208-251-3757, and their email service@retsel.com.  I understand it's frustrating when they don't communicate.  The last time I emailed them it took them days to get back to me (supposed to check their email twice daily during their office hours).  If I had paid that much money for a mill I definietly wouldn't give up.  I have just sent them an emial asking them about their payment method.  I don't expect a reply until next Tuesday or Wednesday because of the long weekend.  I hope you can get this resolved very soon.  Best of luck and please keep us posted.


Al



sphealey's picture
sphealey

One advantage [in the USofA] of paying by check and sending that check via US Mail is that much more strict postal and financial instrument fraud laws apply than for credit card transactions (particularly cc transactions via Internet).  In a situation like this, you should take two actions


(1) write a letter to Senior Fiduciary Officer, Offending company laying out your complaint and desired resolution.  Send this letter to the company via US Mail with a delivery confirmation receipt.


(2) if no action is forthcoming after a reasonable period of time (say 10 days), then write a letter of complaint addressed to Postmaster at the city and zipcode of the company's mailing address, laying out in clear unemotional language the situation with the vendor.  State specifically that both payment and complaint were sent via US Mail.  Generally you will get a fairly fast response from the offending vendor a few days later.  If not you have good documentation to send to the Attorney General of that state and the US Attorney's office for that district (don't bother with things like the BBB; either the appropriate prosecutor is willing to look into it or noone will).


sPh


I was involved in a really annoying credit card fraud case at a web site I was supporting.  Police, FBI, Secret Service were all involved but not making much progress, when the case was cracked by... the US Postal Police.  I didn't even know the Post Office has its own police force, but they do, and those guys sure do know mail fraud!

srise's picture
srise

Thanks so much for the fantastic idea to engage the post office.  Indeed I mailed in a check via regular US Mail.  Retsel actually emailed me a UPS tracking number two months ago that the UPS web site reports never had a package sent in for it.


So between that and the cancelled check I have pretty decent documentation of their failure to deliver paid-for product - hopefully enough for the Postmaster to take action.  Really appreciate the great suggestion, thank you!

Kent's picture
Kent

I also have ordered a Retsel Mil-rite. It has been about three month's and no mill. But they have answered my calls and responded to my satisfaction. I did a lot of research before ordering the mill and knew beforehand that the customer service was very slow. I knew what to expect and knew that it would be several months before a mill arrived. i do not believe that they are trying to cheat anyone. All of the reports of the mill that I have read is positive as far as it's use and durability.

Kent's picture
Kent

This is a follow-up from my post on May 29th. I ordered my Retsel on March 27th. It arrived in the mail today. A little over two month's. That seems to be consistent with the delivery times from Retsel that I have read on various sites when I was looking to purchase one. Kent

Crider's picture
Crider

I received it about six weeks ago. Works well and grinds fine flour. I got it as one of their daily specials, the mill painted white, both the stones and the steel wheels, and the fly wheel for motorizing. The price would have been $236.85, and the discount brought it down to $157.95. Not a bad deal!


Here's the review I wrote on their website:


"It took more than 9 weeks from the time I ordered before I received my Uni-Ark on one of those 'Daily Specials' deals. There's craziness at Retsel with their powdercoating nonsense. They really can't meet their orders in a timely way if they offer twelve different colors! After all that time, and ordering a standard white color (it was part of the special deal) and getting a deal on the 12-inch fly wheel, when I opened the package the smell of the powdercoat was very fresh -- had just been painted. Not only that, the name "Silver Nugget" was cast on the body of the Uni-Ark! They used a Nazko Silver Nugget body, sold it as a Uni-Ark at a discount and didn't even bother to grind off the name of their competitor. In the end, does it make fine stone ground flour (sifted through a #50 sieve) in a single pass? Yes, with effort and with the output of about .6 grams per revolution. I watched a youtube vid of somebody who had a Wonder Junior with stone wheels, but then got a Mil-Rite and they said their Wonder Junior didn't grind as fine as the Mil-Rite. Apparently, the composition of the stones really matters!"


I'm in the process of motorizing it now, and although I found a motor quite cheap, the rest of the needed things cost almost $100. I hadn't really thought through how much those 'rest of needed things' were going to cost me. Those are: two 1.75" pulleys, one 7.25" pulley, one keyed shaft, two flange bearings, two v-belts. The plywood to construct a cabinet I already have. All those pulleys are needed to drive the mill at 60rpm.


I was confident the hand mill would be perfect for me, but I'm getting lower back soreness from my age and blisters on my hand from grinding as much flour as I do.


If I was doing it over again, I would get a Retsel Grister Convertible, which are motorless versions of the Mil-Rite and Mil-Master. They cost $249 and $294 respectively. They're quite a bargain, actually! All you need to do is directly couple a suitable motor. No pulleys or belts.



Crider's picture
Crider

I've been watching ebay and recently there were two former-model electric Retsel mills. They're both smaller than the Mil-Rite, with 4" wheels and spinning at only 30 rpm.


The first is called the Romper. It has a 1/10 hp motor and the seller claimed it was from 1974.


Retsel Romper


The second is called a Mil-Maid. It has a 1/6 hp motor and the seller claims it was from 1982.


Retsel Mil-Maid


What really surprised me was that the Romper sold for $242.50 and the Mil-Maid sold for $246. Sheesh!


 

CJ's picture
CJ

I found a reasonably priced circa 1985 Retsel Mil-Rite on Craig's List. It came with both stones and burrs and mills like a charm.

Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to get the back stone off the shaft in order to change to the steel burr. I ordered a manual from Retsel and it says that the feed auger pull off but I can't get it off to save my life removed the front stone.

Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong or if the feed auger is simply frozen on the shaft?

Many thanks in advance if someone can offer advice.

C.J.

loydb's picture
loydb

It sounds like it's frozen to the shaft. There's a big brass piece that holds the back plate assembly on. Can you grab it with some lock channel pliers?


 


 

charbono's picture
charbono

The auger should slip right off.  Try a light hammer tap.


 

CJ's picture
CJ

Many thanks to those who responded to my request for help.


The feed auger was DERINATLEY frozen on the shaft.  Here is the solution and cause.


This afternoon I took the mill to my local mechanic guy.  He had me hold a heat gun on the auger while he pryed the auger off the shaft by placing a lever under the threads on either side of the auger.  It  took about 5 minutes and wasn't an easy operation.  We had to be careful not to damage the back stone by putting too much pressure on the levers.


Once it was off, what we found was a lot of petrified flour, gunk and corrosion.


Moral:  Even if you think you are going to use the machine tomorrow, take a minute to take the stones off and clean the shaft and auger.  The woman I bought it from told me she hadn't used it for 16 years.  I'm sure that when she put the machine away the last time she used it, she never imagined it wouldn't be turned on for another  16 years.


It works great.


C.J.

Wyatt's picture
Wyatt

I have a Mil rite and it does, or rather did, a fine job of milling however I would NEVER buy a Retsel again, On mine as I was milling some hard wheat berries, the auger broke into 6 pieces after only milling 2 lbs of clean Hard white wheat.  I didn't misuse this machine and I still can't find any reason why this piece could have broken except for the poor quality metal used to make it, which I confirmed by taking it to a machinist.  Retsel wouldn't cover the part under the warranty, though its supposed to be covered for 10 years and I had only had it for 4 at the time furthermore it took me 6 months to find that out, they just refused to respond.  Worst company ever in my opinion. As for the spare parts suggestion, the parts are prohibitively expensive and you just might end up spending as much as you paid for the mill on parts.  For example the augur alone, which is just a little piece of cast stainless not much better quality than pot metal, costs $100.  Sure the part on my machine might have been just a defective fluke but the way this company treats its customers just plain sucks, there is no excuse for having to put up with a broken machine under warranty simply because the company is so arrogant they can't be bothered to provide any sort of customer service once the machine is sold  Its still out of commission because I can't see giving this lousy company any more of my hard earned money the way they've treated me so far, I have no guarantee the new part will be any better than the old one (if they even bother to send it after paying the $100 of which I have serious doubts given my experience), and I can't see throwing good money after bad; I bought this mill because it was American made and seemed solid at the time but I'm buying a German one now.  I really liked my Mil-Rite til it broke but the best advice I can give now is stay away from Retsel..  When you spend this much money on a mill it should last longer and have a heck of a lot better customer support than Retsel provides, which is virtually NONE

charbono's picture
charbono

I am wondering what your broken auger is made of.  

I bought a used Retsel Mil-Rite several years ago and have had no problems.  (It was originally shipped Jan 2001.)  The auger appears to be made of aluminum, which seems like a strange material for that critical part.  Retsel now offers the option of brass or stainless steel augers.

Wyatt's picture
Wyatt

It does kind of look like aluminum but it feels a bit too heavy to be that metal.  I could be wrong.  I didn't notice the brass auger but saw it when I went back and looked.  I once thought very highly of Retsel but since I've had this problem and can't get the company to respond, and believe me I've tried and tried, my opinion of them is pretty low.  Even if I hadn't had these problems with them the quality of the replacement augers they show are pretty bad.  The picture below is what they show as an example on their website for what they call, and I quote,  a "VERY PRECISION, PROFESSIONALLY MACHINED PART"  It looks like its ready to break right out of the box!  I don't know know anyone could say that this part is a high quality machined part much less use it as an advertising image, Seems Retsel really doesn't care about quality anymore.  f they are showing this bad casting as a premium example worthy of being used to sell these parts how much worse will the part the send me be?  That is if they ever bother to give me the time of day!!.(my machine is still under warranty for all the good its doing me)

FEED AUGER, STAINLESS STEEL

Anyway I"m an artisan baker, part of my income comes from baking artisan breads for market, and they have cost me a chunk of change with their bad attitude.  I'm not happy with them at all and they have made me regret ever buying this machine several times over.  When you pay that much money for a machine that is supposed to be of the highest quality you don't expect this sort of treatment or such crappy replacement parts that cost a fortune, if in fact you can actually get them.  I need this mill but right now its just an ugly doorstop.  I understand that things sometimes break but this situation is absurd.  I'm glad yours is still working, and I hope it continues to do so, but it it ever breaks you will see what I'm talking about.