The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hints on finding the right mill

violet's picture

Hints on finding the right mill

I know there are a number of excellent mills for different applications, so I hope I get this detailed enough to really pinpoint which will work best for me. Thanks in advance for your advice!

I'm looking for a mill that can accomplish the following;

can mill coarse or very fine flours (dry grains) for baking, pasta, hot cereal, pastries, gravies, cakes, breads, etc.

does not heat the flour (over 120 farenheit)

can sift the milled flour to make white cake flours (meaning that it's capable of not crushing the outer layer into the flour making it too difficult to sift out to get a white flour)

can mill for a large family (meaning does not heat up or mess up with heavy use)

does not need to be cleaned

does not throw flour dust everywhere

has electrical and hand mill capability

lasts for 30 years+

does not need to be babysat (won't catch on fire or break with a distracted operator)

does not have quarks with getting odd sized or shaped grains stuck and cracks, or constantly needing to be taken apart to fix

low maintenance

less than $1000

can be purchased in or shipped to the U.S. without incredible waits, fees, or bribes, and with the knowledge that defective or damaged products will be fully replaced in a timely manner without uneccesary inconvenience

Any thoughts?



proth5's picture

That's quite a list of expectations.

I won't even pretend that I know of such a mill.

I'm always interested when potential home millers talk about milling things like white cake flour, white flour in general, or first clear flour.  These are difficult flours to mill/sift and require some attention.

If you really want to mill white flour, you will need to invest in some type of sifting equipment, and probably a grain moisture meter so that you can do proper tempering of the wheat.  These can be significant investments in and of themselves.

You may wish to read bwraith's milling blogs (or mine) to get some ideas around what you are proposing to do.

You might also want to refine your definition of both hand and electrical milling capability.  Some electric mills have the ability to grind manually, but in a very limited way.  Having a mill with good hand milling capabilities will limit your search.  Two mills that are primarly hand mills that can be converted are the Country Living Mill and the Grainmaster Mill.  You can enter their names into your favorite search engine to learn more.

You might wish to contact Pleasant Hill Grain - who is a dealer for a number of mills and also sifters.

I would recommend my mill - the Diamant - but it makes a bit of a mess, occaisionally needs to be cleaned and does not fit your price range (by a long shot.) But I've milled pure white flour with it...

Good luck in your search.  Let us know what you find.

violet's picture

We are primarily looking to mill whole grain, but do want to occasionally sift out the millings for some special recipes.

Additionally would be primarily using electric power, but would like to be able to mill by hand during a power outage. I know, if nothing else we can find a sledge hammer right? But was hoping someone might have some tips there.

I have heard that the Wolfgang and Hawo fit most of those preferences, except the hand milling ability and am still trying to figure out if they crush the wheat so much on the first go round that sifting is difficult or impossible.

I was under the impression that the impact mills heat the grain substantially, especially if you are doing more than a cup or two at a time.

proth5's picture

What I have found is that if you want to produce white flour, you must simulate the commercial roller mill process and what that involves is both tempering the wheat (to toughen the bran) and remilling it.  That means that you start off by coarsely grinding the wheat, sifting it and grind progressively finer and sift progressively finer.

I am unfamiliar with the brands of mills that you mention, but you may want to ask the dealer if the grain can be "remilled."  I think hoping for a mill that will both create a fine flour but not break up the bran in one pass may be futile (but I could be wrong.)  Or, you may be happy with the results that you get from just sifting the flour even though it may technically not be pure white flour.

You may also want to forego the hand milling capability, since, in theory, you should be able to ride out power outages.  As you have found, this increases the number of mills you can consider.

I don't work with impact mills, but there is a fairly large body of posts on these pages from folks who do and they find that the grain is not heated substantially.  Hopefully they will respond on this thread with their experiences.  There is a lot of "folklore" about heating the grain that comes from people with their own agendas.  Most mills for home or small commercial use do not heat the grain excessively.  This issue occurs primarily with the high speed roller mills that are used in large scale milling.

Hope this helps - and I hope others chime in...

athagan's picture

I don't think there has ever been a home grain mill that would meet that list of requirements.

The nearest you will come in the mills that I have ever experienced or read about will be the Retsel Mil-Rite, the Country Living with the motor option, or a motorized Diamant.

But all three of them are going to need periodic cleaning unless you're using them a couple of times a week or more.

They can mill coarse or fine and make cracked grains.

They can be used manually or with an electric motor.  In the case of the Mil-Rite you can use it manually if you buy the necessary handle (it doesn't come with the initial purchase) then remove one of the gears between the mill and the motor.  The Country Living and Diamant are both manual mills that can easily be motorized.

All three can last for several decades if used with reasonable care.

All three are not difficult to clean.

They do not significantly heat the flour if you keep the rpm's under 120.  Nor do they throw flour dust everywhere though there will be a small amount in the immediate area.

Once you have them properly adjusted you can fill their hoppers with well cleaned grain then let them run unattended for a fair amount of time.  You will need to pay occasional attention to the flour building up in the flour bin if you have a lot of grain in the feed hopper.

Price wise the Mil-Rite and motorized Country Living are in the $600-$800 range.  Unfortunately the exchange rate for the dollar has driven a fully tricked out Diamant to over $1,000, but you can sometimes find them used in good condition for less.





LeadDog's picture

I use a Schnitzer Country Manual Grain Mill.  This is a hand crank mill that can be hooked up to a motor.  When I bought the mill I had planned on running it with a motor but changed my mind and made it pedal powered.  This way if I want flour I get some exercise.  When I saw the size of the stones for this mill I was sold.  Here is a picture of my mill.

mill stones

You can see from the dial that it can be set from a very fine flour all the way out to a very course flour.  I do a course flour grind and set it at about 3 or 4 for that.  I don't know what a flour on the 6 setting would look like.  The flour when it comes out of this mill is cool.  It doesn't throw dust all over the place and is well built.  It might not be what you are looking for but if you are intrested you can read more about my mill here.

Noor13's picture


I am using a Osttiroler Mill and I just LOVE it

They have all kind of sizes and I am quite sure they will have something that fits you too

They don't come very cheap and I am not sure if it will tick all your boxes but certainly a lot of them.

I have mine for 10 years almost and my mother has hers for about 20 years and we never had any issues.

Here is the link-have a look

I have the La Perla which is a smaller mill but you will find all sizes

bmadore's picture

I, too, have an Osttiroler, specifically the Rondella model.  It is a wonderful machine.  I recommend it highly. 

On a related note, I'm wondering if Noor13 or anyone else can help me locate any documentation-- instructions, a manual, anything-- for my Osttiroler Rondella (or similar model).  I bought a demo model second-hand. 

Specifically, I'd like information about calibrating the milling chamber's position after having taken it off to inspect the stone. 

Sorry for the sidetrack...

symplelife4me's picture

I have a Country Living Grain mill and with the exception of the sifting capability it will do what you have listed. In fact, the reason I bought it was because I could do grain as course and I wanted or almost baby powder fine. I have the gear reducted motor that they sell. The gear reduction is designed to keep the flour at a temperature below 120 degrees and it works well with every grain I've thrown in it. I use mine constantly so I only take it apart for a good cleaning about once or twice a year. You can purchase a lid for the hopper to keep it dust free when it's not in use (or just cut yourself a little block of wood that will fit in there!) I have learned that I should turn off the ceiling fan before milling though since the flour bowl isnt enclosed. When I turn the ceiling fan off I don't have flour everywhere. :)