The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wolfgang/Komo mill stone safety?

persimmon's picture
persimmon

Wolfgang/Komo mill stone safety?

Wow, what a great site with so much helpful info.  I really want to join the home grain milling tribe! Every 6 months, I spend hours researching mills online, get too confused and don't order anything...But I think I'm close...right now it's Nutrimill vs. Wolfgang/Komo.  Both seem like great mills, but on the downside I see it as micronizer vs. unknown millstone material.

My question is, does anyone really know what CERAMIC CORUNDUM is???? I googled it, and seemed Chinese company is a major supplier of some ceramic corundum. Has anyone come across any safety data on this mataerial?

Thanks for any advice!

blaisepascal's picture
blaisepascal

Corundum is a name for aluminum oxide in mineral form.  It is hard, relatively inert, naturally transparent and clear.  When it naturally appears with impurities, it can be colored and is called ruby or sapphire. It's also called alumina.  Because of it's hardness and ready availability, it's a principle component in sand-paper, which is mainly some hard grit (like corundum) glued to a paper backing.  You could view the millstone as mainly some hard grit (like corundum) mixed into a ceramic clay and kiln-fired into a millstone.

As far as safety goes, all the Material Safety Data Sheets I've been able to scrounge up on alumina or corundum basically state that it's categorized as a "nuisance dust", and you don't really want to be breathing it or rubbing powdered alumina into your skin or such.  There's no real danger to eating it in small quantities.

Ria's picture
Ria

I have a WhisperMill; I think Nutrimill might have bought them out. I've had mine for over 15 years. I really don't think it matters what you get as long as it grinds grain. :)

I tend to grind about 5 lbs of whole wheat flour, a bag or two of popcorn, and 10 cups of rye flour at a time (stored separately of course!). It's quick, and then I stick the flours in the fridge. I rarely use the mill...it does its job, and then it goes away. I guess my advice would be, don't worry too much about what you get, just get one and enjoy! 

HTH,

Ria

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Same as Rea, have had my whisper mill for over 15 years, have run several hundred pounds thru over the years making 10lbs of dough at a time for 5 loaves, max that fits in myoven. 

Stones break down on a microscopic level and if the aluminum pots of the fifty's were linked to alzheimers, why take a chance on aluminum oxide, as inert as it may be?

Very happy with flour, usually 5lbs at a time that is done in a few minutes, moreover, the temp doesn't rise much at all, thus keeping the nutrients intact.  And flour is very fine, which I prefer, can be made courser. 

Nothing, I mean nothing tastes better than a whole grain loaf made from fresh ground flour, expecially when using rye in addition to whole wheat.  Store bought just doesn't cut it, even the high end flours like KS will taste stale by comparisson.  You'll never go back...  Good luck!!

persimmon's picture
persimmon

Thanks for the input so far. I desperately want to believe blaisepascal and not worry about it. I had become quite attached to the idea of the Wolfgang/Komo. It looks so easy and compact. I was sure I'd finally join all of you in experiencing a delicious loaf unlike anything I've ever tasted before! Everyone's descriptions make me salivate with envy.

But I'm hesitant to put this man-made material in the "innocent until proven guilty" category. With further searches I found a site that talks of the production of making alumina based ceramics. I don't know if this is the same thing as ceramic corundum, but the additives look scary toxic and additionally bad for the environment. Of course I don't know the relative environmental impact of making steel burrs or plastic housing of the Nutrimill. Also the Schnitzer site talks about "new grinding edges" being constantly exposed with their corundum stones (they mention this as a positive). Despite assurances that it is trace amounts that end up in the flour and completely safe, I'm not sure I want to be eating the "old grinding edge". I'll have to ponder if I will turn a blind eye to it. Any other input or opinions are appreciated.

http://cnx.org/content/m22376/latest/
http://www.grainmills.com.au/webcontent60.htm

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Forgot to mention one thing in my post above: When using my Whisper Mill, I usually add a fair amount of flax seeds to the whole grain and grind them together, gives a nice subtle flavor, plus very healty addition.  The Whisper Mill can easily handle this, whereas stone mills would likely not as the oil may clog the stones...  Can't argue about how pretty the German Mill is with its wood case, but I'm all for functionality...  thanks and good luck no matter what you pick, fresh ground rules!

Suza's picture
Suza

I am researching the purchase of yet, another, expensive kitchen tool - an electric grain mill.  My son has had a KOMO for several years and loves it.  I am recently retired and now have time to devote to baking, which I love to do.  We live in a rural area so the idea of having the freshest ingredients always at hand, prompted me to follow my son's lead. 

I became discouraged when, while comparing the differences between impact and "stone" mills, I ran across discussions about the safety of aluminum based corundum/ceramic grinding stones (as in the Komo).  After reading numerous comments and views, I've decided, no matter what method is used for grinding, there is going to be some "undesirable" element involved.  However, looking from a different perspective, by producing home ground flour (either stone or impact ground), at least we know what is going into our flour - something absent in the commercially ground flour from our grocery shelves.  I suppose one solution is to get a couple of rocks and grind away (LOL)

So, still undecided as to which type of mill to choose, I began looking at the inherent qualities of the flour produced by each.  I narrowed my choices down to the Wondermill and the Komo Classic.  After viewing a very good video comparing the two (as well as a hybrid manual/electric mill) at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sJNijrNrf8

I have decided on the Komo. 

Judging by its great reviews, the Wondermill is obviously a good machine, but . . . . 1) the motor is made by LG and I have had a bad experience with LG kitchen appliances (a fridge and a dishwasher), and 2) it is made in Korea.  Never-the-less, I kept an open mind as the video showed the results each mill was capable of. 

Both quickly produced a very fine textured flour on the pastry/fine setting, but the Komo was capable of a cracked grain grind on the coarsest setting, while the Wondermill only produced a coarse bread flour at the coarsest setting.  This range of grinds, as well as the variable settings which can be adjusted as grinding is in progress, showed the Komo to be the choice for me.   I was amazed at how quickly the Komo ground, the ease of cleaning and its superior aesthetics (worthy of staying on the counter to enjoy every day).

They say a product is only as good as it's poorest ingredient.  I know there will be a learning curve, and failures (just as when I first began making bread), but I'm excited about embarking on this new adventure in my kitchen. 

And, of course, suggestions from experienced bakers will be appreciated!