The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Does anyone use a Manual Mill?

myfrugalfunlife's picture

Does anyone use a Manual Mill?

I'm brand new to the subject of milling my own grain and am really interested in trying it but just can't afford a mill. Then I discovered manual mills and am very interested, especially in the 'Hand Crank Family Grain Mill' because of its cost, lifetime warranty, and supposed ease of use. Does anyone use a manual mill? How do you like it? I will be using it for 1-3 cups at a time, several times a week so not too heavy duty. Thanks for any input! sara

LindyD's picture

Timely question.  Here's a link you may enjoy

Oh, and welcome to TFL!

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

It's pretty cool.  But I'll tell you that it's a bit of work...  Hard wheat berries and rye are pretty hard, and take a bit of muscle...  Spelt is soft, and pretty easy...

It took me about 6 minutes to grind 300g total of a mostly hard wheat blend with a little rye and spelt...

This evening, I ground 700g of hard wheat, 200g spelt, 100g rye...  Took me about 30 minutes to do, and had to take some breaks and switch hands and stuff...  Broke quite a nice sweat.  I probably don't need to go to the gym of I keep grinding like this...

In all seriousness, freshly grinding your own grain is pretty cool.  The flavors are amazing, however if you are grinding much more than 300g of grain, I'd recommend getting an electric mill...

Also as a side note, when you are using organic grains, your fermentation tends to go faster...  So you have to watch your dough more carefully...


LeadDog's picture

I do human powered milling.  Tim is correct in that it does take a bit of power to make flour so mine is pedal powered.  I normally mill about 1,000 grams at a time and it is a good workout.

You can read about my mill and see more pictures here.

proth5's picture

use a hand cranked mill.  You can read about my adventures in my blogs.

I love my Diamant mill, but if money is a concern it is not the mill for you. (I actually did not pay full retail, I bought it on eBay, but finding a Diamant on eBay is rare.  Which should tell you something about how much people love their Diamants.)

I used mills similar to breadbakingbassplayer's when I was young and strong.  I still have memories about how hard they were to turn.

Just to compare: I am a little, "fluffy" old lady and if I wanted to grind simple whole wheat flour, I could do 2 pounds in about 10 - 15 mins (by hand/two passes) without taking a break and without really breaking a sweat.  You really do get what you pay for in a mill.

What makes the Diamant such a joy to use is the cast iron flywheel.  It does more of the work than you do.  In general, either having a heavy flywheel or a long handle to turn the mill will make milling easier.

If you are looking in the Lehman's catalog (per the links above), you might want to look at the "Lehman's Best" mill - it is a bit more economical and has some very nice features.

Once you taste  fresh milled flour, you will want to mill more.  You want to look at your requirements long term so you can buy a mill once.  The small hand mills don't have much resale value.  If you are as happy with your mill as I am with mine, you will have made the right choice.

I will add that it does take some dedication to stay with hand milling.  You have to decide that this is something you want to do and something you have the discipline to do.  It's cool for a while but on a hot day in August the mind wanders towards motors and impact mills. It's like any lifestyle choice; when the "fun" wears off it is your mind more than your muscles that need to keep you on track.

Best of luck with your choice!

myfrugalfunlife's picture

thanks for all the input! Right now I need to find out if its cost effective to mill my own-I go through about 20 pounds of white flour and bread flour each month baking and know regular white flour is not the healthiest so I'm looking at alternatives-however I'm on a very tight budget and can get white flour for .43 a pound at Aldis and I have to be realistic about what my budget can do (we're a family of five on a $50 a week grocery budget). That's why a manual mill is so intriguing to me :)