The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What flour mill should I buy?

prof_stack's picture
prof_stack

What flour mill should I buy?

I've been making bread for many years, but now want to become more knowledgeable of the different parts of the process and also use fresher ingredients.


I bake once or twice a week, making dense rolls or loaves.  I want to get a flour mill to get fresh flour from wheat and rye berries.


On one side are mills like the Nutramill and Wondermill.  On the other are mills like the Wolfgang.  I'm not considering a hand mill.


Any information or suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks!

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

If you can be more detailed about your needs, you will get better advice. Here are a few questions...


> what's your price range for a mill?


> how much flour (by weight, not cups, if possible) do you want to mill at a time?


> do you want to mill beans as well as grain? do you want to mill small grain such as amarinth or millet?


> do you want to mill coarse flour or grits as well as fine flour? (example: coarse grits for hot breakfast cereal)?


> do you want to make your own high extraction flour (this involves milling, sifting out bran, remilling the sifted flour)


> do you want to mill field (aka dent) corn (many mills can handle popcorn - which millers can use instead of field corn - but some mills can't handle field corn)


These are some questions I come up with; if you can think of others (and include your answers), that would be great.


Also, search on TFL b/c there have been many discussions of grain mills and a number of good reviews by members.


You might also take a look at help choosing a grain mill

prof_stack's picture
prof_stack

 


If you can be more detailed about your needs, you will get better advice. Here are a few questions...  THANKS for your thoughtful reply!


> what's your price range for a mill?  Up to $800


> how much flour (by weight, not cups, if possible) do you want to mill at a time?  Enough to make 1-2 good sized loaves, but using white flour as needed.


> do you want to mill beans as well as grain? do you want to mill small grain such as amarinth or millet?  Hadn't thought about that.  Small grain milling would be good.


> do you want to mill coarse flour or grits as well as fine flour? (example: coarse grits for hot breakfast cereal)?  I'm a hot cereal fan, so YES to this question.


> do you want to make your own high extraction flour (this involves milling, sifting out bran, remilling the sifted flour)  NO


> do you want to mill field (aka dent) corn (many mills can handle popcorn - which millers can use instead of field corn - but some mills can't handle field corn)  NO


These are some questions I come up with; if you can think of others (and include your answers), that would be great.


Also, search on TFL b/c there have been many discussions of grain mills and a number of good reviews by members.  Thanks for the tip.  I did a cursory search but obviously need to get more familiar with this site.


You might also take a look at help choosing a grain mill  I will check it out.

mizrachi's picture
mizrachi

I'm a big fan of the Komo Fidibus Classic, otherwise known in the USA as the Wolfgang/Tribest mill.  I've never made fresher, more delicious whole wheat bread.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

First, I forgot to ask where in the world are you :) - my recommendations are for the USA (not that you couldn't buy the mills I'll name outside the US, I'm just not informed enough to give international info).


Since you want to make grits and perhaps mill small grain, I'd think your best bet  is the Tribest (aka Wolfgang, aka KoMo, aka Fidibus, aka Hawo) OR the Retsel. Both these mills are electric and adjustable, so you can mill from fine to coarse or even get grits. Tribest/Komo has an attractive wooden housing and has several models (with different capabilities and prices). The Retsel just has one model and is more utiilitarian (and possibly a little larger, if that is an issue). You would want to avoid micronizer mills like the Nutrimill or Whisper Mill because they cannot produce coarse flour or grits (they're fine mills for what they do, they just cannot do that).


Both the recommended brands have enthusiastic owners who are members of TFL. Try using the search feature in upper left of this site and enter a brand name.


Do check out the ability of the mill to handle very small size grain (I personally don't know if the brands I mention can do this). Should you want to mill popcorn, also check whether these brands can handle popcorn without having to get additional stones (popcorn tends to be high moisture, which can give some stones trouble, depending on the material the "stone" or milling plate is made from). I believe that these brands cannot handle beans/legumes without alternative stones (but you're not interested in milling bean flour, so that's irrelevant for now).


The Retsel is USA made. If you're comfortable with eBay, Retsel mills appear on eBay fairly regularly and generally sell there for about $400 to $450; shipping within the continental US will run about $50.


The Tribest / KomoFidibus is sold internationally (which is why it has so many alternative names). There is a range of models, starting at about $400.


Both these brands have good reputations for quality construction, durability, flexibility & ease of use. They're easy to clean.


Best of luck in your research. If you do narrow your search to these two brands, there is, as I've said, a wealth of info on TFL from actual users. These members can answer any more specific questions you may have.

prof_stack's picture
prof_stack

Thanks guys for the help.


After a lot of researching and such, yesterday I ordered from Pleasant Hill Grain the Nutrimill and Bosch Mixer (with blender) combination package.  I can use my Corona mill for cereal grits and small grain.  I also have a Schmidling Malt Mill for grinding as needed (I made beer for 20 years, but that hobby is no more, thank the Lord.)


I did bid on a new OLD stock Retsel on ebay but only succeeded in doubling the price for someone who truly wanted it.  The Restel website is off-putting and the need to "special order" the Mil-rite with steel plates seems archaic.  But I like the Retsel and might get a used one when one comes available.


The Wolfgang / Tribest / KomoFidibus being German made greatly interested me.  I use German old-school hand grinders for my home-roasted coffee beans. 


So, I'm looking forward to next Tuesday and a ramping up of the bread making hobby.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

You will not be sorry that you got this combination. The Nutrimill can handle most types of grains ( although it is a bit noisy) and the Bosch is a real workhorse. It does a great job of kneading dough and thorough mixing. Pleasant Hill Grains is a wonderful company. I have been doing business with them for years.

prof_stack's picture
prof_stack

The Nutrimill and Bosch mixer arrived today.  I left work at noon and got them unpacked and washed.  I even read most of the instruction manuals!  :)


After running 2 cups of flour and disposing it, I put wheat and some rye berries into the hopper and let it work.  The Nutrimill is noisier than the Riccar vacuum cleaner I bought Sunday.  But it is not deafening, eh?


The Bosch mixer quickly put my Kitchen Aid mixer to shame with how easily it handled the very thick dough for these rolls (brotchen style).  After shaping and allowing to rise on the baking (pizza) stone for about 75 minutes, they got slashed, egg washed with oatmeal on top, and baked for 50 minutes at about 360F.  The solitary roll above the 8 was one of 4 baked in a glass baking pan which sat above the baking stone.  Notice how it is flatter, but not broken up.  The rolls were about 125g each before baking.


For the first time with this equipment these are fine, but now there is more to learn about getting them to rise without splitting apart. 


Thanks all for your help in this thread.


 


Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

" do you want to mill beans as well as grain? do you want to mill small grain such as amarinth ... ?"


What an interesting question. I'd never have thought of grinding amarinth, never thought of baking with it either although I've used many other cereals. Thanks.


While I'm here, is it possible to use a hand grinder? Anyone any suggestions for one in UK?


I keep thinking of using my coffee grinder but it does a very small amount at a time - enough for a jug of coffee but not a loaf of bread!

LLM777's picture
LLM777

I have heard people say they use a coffee grinder for grains and spices but every time I tried it, there were always pieces left not ground and it definitely wasn't fine enough, worked for coffee but nothing else. A high powered blender (blend-tec or vita imix) would work though.


I use amaranth all the time in ezekiel bread and also muffins. It's a gluten free grain with a better profile than millet. I am also going to experiment with popping it in an air popcorn machine for different recipes from a new health book called Thrive.


It's amazing what they come up with next. :)

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

OK, I'll accept that. 


Are you saying that blend-tec or vita imix are types of hand grinder?


Next time I make bread I'll try the amarinth tip, thanks.

LLM777's picture
LLM777

Blend-tec and Vita Mix are regular blenders used to make things like smoothies and shakes. They are just more powerful than ones you could buy at the local Walmart.


Make sure you use other grains with the amaranth to get the rise you want in bread or muffins. I use no more than about 10-15% in overall flour combination; otherwise, it gets really gummy.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

So they're not really grinders, suitable for making flour? I've tried 'grinding' grain in various machines but they don't give a fine enough result.


I'm sorry I mis-typed 'amaranth', I DO know how it's spelt! Yes. I would always use a 15% flour with other grains.


I've been researching English 'muffins' and have come to the pc armed with three authoritative books. It's difficult to condense what's said though. I'll certainly be starting a new thread :-)


 

LLM777's picture
LLM777

No, they are not grinders but it works on the same order as a coffee grinder. I don't have a grinder yet. I either borrow my friend's or I put the grain in the blender to grind it. It works very well on everything but whole wheat, leaving it coarse. I will eventually get a grinder (hopefully Christmas) but for now it's working out fine.


By the way, I liked your pun.  amaranth...spelt...  :)

WholeGrainAlice's picture
WholeGrainAlice

Outside of the USA this mill is known as Jupiter or Miracle.


1) It grinds beans (don't use huge ones though),


seeds (flax, sesame, etc),


small grains like amaranth, etc


 


2) It grinds from super-coarse to just the right fineness for good bread texture, unlike the impact mills, plus has an oatmeal attachment I use all the time, and other attachments as well


3) It's small: 4.5" x 9" x 7" and very light weight


4) It's sturdy, I've had mine for 7 years and it's working great


5) Often it comes with a free MANUAL attachment, and given all the hurricanes, power outages, earthquakes, floods, fires, etc this is a great emergency device to have, and it is FAR easier to use than my awful manual Country Living Mill, which spews dust everywhere, doesn't grind corn very well, is very hard to crank, etc


Plus no issues with dust, and far less expensive than many of the mills mentioned above.  It can even grind field corn on the coarse setting, but so reluctantly and noisily that I don't do it lest I break the machine, maybe newer models can/will do a better job with corn.


I'm almost tempted to spend the money on the nutrimill if it grinds field/dent corn well, does anyone know?  Or what other mill to get?

charbono's picture
charbono

Alice,


Yours is the first negative review of the Country Living mill that I've seen.  Please elaborate.  Were you using the corn auger?  How can it spew dust with the shield in position?  Were you using the powerbar?


 


 

WholeGrainAlice's picture
WholeGrainAlice

I know someone with a 20 year old Country Living Mill that had a much larger hopper, was much easier to grind with, and is built much better than mine, so perhaps the quality has degraded over the years, or I bought a knock-off? 


I haven't hooked it up to a bicycle, that would probably make it much easier to turn, but I'd have to go to my far-away garage every time I wanted to mill flour.  I was so mad that it wasn't made clear that you MUST have an additional special container to keep dust from flying about after all the other attachments I bought that I've rigged up my own cointainer system, but still the powder gets out all over the place.  Maybe with the power bar (which I haven't used because my husband attached the mill to a board in a way I can't use it and he won't shave off 1" of the wood to make it possible) the wheel would turn better.  The flour isn't as fine as I'd like it either, corn is impossible, requring several passes. 


The country living mill will be the best choice at some point as energy supplies run low...But for now after a disaster, I'll run my Family grain mill off the generators in the neighborhood. 


I'm about to buy a nutrimill to grind corn based on the letter I received from a friend today, who wrote:


"Yes, I did get a Nutrimill and it rocks. I highly recommend it. Not only is it about half as noisy as the Family Grain Mill, but it is twice as fast, grinds corn in one pass, and it comes out so beautiful! One thing I did learn, these kinds of impact mills will never grind coarsely, so if you have the settings on "high", then you will get a corn meal almost as fine as flour. To get a coarser corn meal, you have to set it to "low" (which slows the motor speed), then you get an absolutely perfect meal as a result. The capacity is 15 cups output, so you can do a lot in one pass. I ground my field corn, which is a fairly large kernel (in fact, I had to push the kernels away from the feed input to keep a steady flow into the mill since deep piles of kernels seem to sometimes just build up and not flow smoothly, but it was a minor issue). I haven't tried popcorn, but the recipe book for the mill actually recommends using popcorn for corn meal, so I'm sure it handles it even better since the kernels are smaller. Also, the flour is only mildly warm on completion, so their claim of keeping it under the danger temperature seems to be accurate. I'd give it a go--you'll be very happy with the results. And it's a very solid design."


 

chris319's picture
chris319

I wanted to make some almond flour so I tried grinding some slivered almonds in my trusty Oster blender which I've owned for maybe 15 years. To my surprise it did an OK job. It ground all of the nuts into a fine meal/coarse flour which I  think will be fine for my needs. There are some powdery clumps sticking together but I ascribe that to moisture or oil in the nuts rather than a shortcoming of the machine. It is quite convenient being able to have the entire process confined to a blender jar. I did a shootout between the Osterizer and a Hamilton Beach blender I've owned since 1975. The H.B. left behind too many unground nut pieces despite several passes. The Osterizer ground everything. I also tried a Presto Salad Shooter but the grind was way too coarse for flour. I'm happy with the job my Osterizer did for an investment of $0.

I am quite reluctant to buy an electric appliance (a mixer, for example) manufactured as cheaply as possible in a certain foreign land where quality control is unheard of. I've read too many horror stories on Amazon reviews about motors going up in flames and such. I don't know about current models but I'm hoping my Osterizer was made in the USA and will last for quite some time to come.