The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

KA grain mill attachment

varda's picture
varda

KA grain mill attachment

Hi,  I am starting to think about doing some milling.   I see there is a grain mill attachment for KA stand mixers.   This is so much less expensive than a standalone mill, so I was hoping to hear from people whether these are useful or not.   I would be interested in milling say around 1-2 pounds (500+ grams) at a time.   So I am wondering how long that would take, and whether you can control the grind well enough to get for instance high extraction flour.  I have had my KA for years - since long before I started making bread - and I use/abuse it a lot.   Can it stand up to milling?   Thanks so much for  any info you can give me.  -Varda

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I've milled grain using a Hobart-made KA grain mill and a Hobart-made stand mixer for over 25 years. I find it best for cracking grain and milling a slightly coarse flour. It can't produce a really fine flour so I would think it would be difficult to use it for high extraction flour. The Whirlpool-made KA grain mill has bars across the top of the grain hopper, which makes it irritating to pour grain into the hopper and limits the amount of grain one can easily mill at a time (and suggests to me that Whirlpool doesn't really want the user to use their mixer to mill much grain).

Unfortunately, if you want a capable and flexible grain mill (I'm assuming you want an electric mill) you should be prepared to spend at least $400 (or more). If you're interested primarily in fine flour, check out micronizer mills (Nutrimill or Whisper Mill).

The Retsel mill might meet your needs. The company has an extremely poor reputation for delivery and customer service. However, used Retsel mills appear at times on eBay, so it may be a source (I just checked eBay and there are 2 Retsel mill available now - one for auction and one "buy it now")

You can find more info about the KA grain mill attachment at these TFL posts (the first post includes photos) ...

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

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

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3793/kernals-or-berries#comment-18914

For the current model, you may also want to check out the customer reviews on Amazon.

=== MY HOBART MADE KA MIXER AND GRAIN MILL ATTACHMENT ===

Personally, I wouldn't buy the Whirlpool KA grain mill for any serious use. However, there are other TFL members who own the Whirlpool model so I hope you also hear from them.

If you have futher questions, please post back to this thread. - SF

 

varda's picture
varda

the detailed answer and the links.    I am gathering that an attachment wouldn't meet my needs (or at least my hopes and dreams.)  -Varda

varda's picture
varda

Very interesting.   It sounds like the wonder/whispermill will totally pulverize the flour  (one of the commenters said fine or extra fine is the choice) whereas what I want is something in between whole wheat flour and white.   I can buy good white flour (King Arthur AP and KA Bread Flour) and good whole wheat flour (KA whole wheat) in the supermarket but totally unable to source anything in between.   Also, rye other than very coarse stoneground is hard to come by except at quite a cost.   It looks like there are some farms "near" me (really not so near) where I can source locally grown wheat and rye berries which I would really like to try.  I looked at the retsel mills you pointed out on ebay.   They are hand cranked which looks like it would be quite a workout.  Of course I can always use the exercise.  Thanks so much for your help!  -Varda

linder's picture
linder

If you are looking for nicely milled flour to make bread, do not buy this attachment.  I bought one a couple of years ago.  I used it for a while and then bought a Komo Fidibus 21 grain mill to replace it.  I am very satisfied with the Komo mill (although it is pricey).

varda's picture
varda

is exactly what I'd like to avoid.   I appreciate your comments.  -Varda

dhass's picture
dhass

The KA mill works fine with 2 passes. Set it for coarse on the first pass, and fine on the second.

However, it is slow.

I've been using a Whisper Mill for over 5 years and it is great. However, is does not whisper. It has to be the worst product name in history. It sounds like you have jet aircraft taking off and landing in your kitchen.

I keep the KA attachment as a backup in case the Whisper Mill crashes. Hasn't happened yet, but...

varda's picture
varda

Thanks for your perspective.   And I hope you have a good supply of earplugs.  -Varda

wwitkows's picture
wwitkows

 I've had the KA mill attachment for years and have had no problems. I would recommend using it on a mixer with steel gears as it does put a strain on the standard 300 mixer. As far as the qualtity of the flour, on the first past on the finest setting it's ready to use. I shift back and forth a notch or two while grinding as it does get packed in the burrs a little and doing that pushes it out.  For the occaisional use this is great.

varda's picture
varda

Thanks so much for your reply.   Can I ask a bit more?   Any estimate on how long it takes to mill say 500g (1+ pound) of flour?   Can you get it finer than whole wheat?    Occasional use is what I have in mind, but I would like to get anywhere from whole wheat to somewhat finer than that but no need for white flour as I can get very good quality already milled.  I have a Kitchen Aid Classic max watts 250 (it has a St. Joseph's Michigan label.) Don't know if it has steel gears or not so don't know if it's suitable based on your recommendations.   -Varda

wwitkows's picture
wwitkows

The most I usually grind at any one time is 3 cups as that's the most I use at one time.  I have both a KA 325 mixer and a KA 575 Professional series mixer. The professional series has steel gears so they won't strip or overheat. My 325 overheated and stopped when I was grinding some very hard grain (Aramath) and fortunately the 575 was on sale  at that time. Just grinding wheat you should have no problems but to do 1lb at a time could take a while. You would have to keep an eye(feel)  on the  motor to make sure it's not overheating. This is the time of year the mixers are on sale. Getting a new professional series mixer on sale and a KA grinder would still be cheaper than some of the other grinders.  Also when doing a lot of grinding the grinder will get warm so if you want to do a pound at a time you will want to take it apart and cool it off so you won't damage the starch.

varda's picture
varda

This is very helpful information.  I think 3 cups is almost a pound so we're not that far apart.   (I use a 135g per cup rule of thumb and a pound is 454g.)   I would say my KA either needs refitting or replacement as it is so I have to take that into consideration as well.    There's a time of year when mixers are on sale?   Didn't know that.   Thanks so much.  -Varda

asicign's picture
asicign

I also have the KA attachment, which I use with my Pro600 mixer.  I've been using the mill for 5 or 6 years.  I didn't know there was a difference between the Hobart and the Whirlpool version: mine has bars across the top, so I guess it's the Whilrpool.  I don't have a problem with the capacity.  I usually grind a pound or two of either wheat or rye.  It is a bit slow and noisy, but I just let it crank away, adding more berries when the hopper gets low.  I never thought about grinding in two passes, but I don't think it's necessary either.  I just dial it down until its as fine as I want and let it rip. The finer the grind, the longer it takes.  I've never timed it, but would guess it takes about 20 minutes to grind a pound of flour.

 

varda's picture
varda

for you answers.   I have a question:   is there any sifting going on with this attachment?   This must be obvious but I guess I don't understand exactly what is going on.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

tired to read through everything) but I also have one which I  use for Spelt. The instructions tell you not to start out with super fine setting, to do it in two passes and they tell you at what numbers. Comes out great.  Maybe you can buy it locally and if you don't like it, return it.

Best,

Anna

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

I purchased. Mine has more # settings, and this one doesn't recommend 2 passes. Oh well.  :)  Anna

varda's picture
varda

Conclusion I reach is that if I'm going to go with grainmill attachment for the KA, I should probably get another KA.   So that makes it more complicated.   But I'm trying to understand if you can even do "extraction".   I understand you can pick finer or coarser, but does the bran get sifted out with finer?   It must, but then where does it go?   I need to see it.

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

I have only done spelt so far and everything lands in one bowl. It is quite a basic doodad and, I know, you as an experienced baker would  be happier with a more sophisticated item.  Plus, another good point you make, what if the KA dies or you are no longer satisfied with its limitations. Then you sit there will all the attachments (as in my case). http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/  is my favorite place to look and learn.

anna

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Good thinking, Anna.   Thanks for the link and your help.  -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Varda

I bought a handcrank mill (back to basics) when i started milling grains, but found it to be slow at milling. The effort behind it it huge. I decided then to buy an electric stone mill, and i came across one at an organic products shop in Dubai. It was a Hawo's  -easy - mill which uses an industrial combination of two natural minerals to form a hardy durable stone. The mill is german made, and i thank God for having bought it. It is an excellent mill, and costs around $400/=.

It is an investment, and has a lifetime guarantee. The stones also have a 5 year warranty. It can mill from coarse to fine, and does not raise the temperature of the flour. What i do, is that i regrigerate my grains, then i do a first mill pass at coarse, refrigerate them for final milling at some other time. I find that such method produces the best quality fine wholewheat flour with tiny specs of bran. I don't mill at super fine, as this will turn the bran to dust.

If is want to sift the majority of the bran out, i use an oil splatter screen that has a metal rim (to accomodate different ockking utensils. The splatter screen has a fine mesh, and it lets in the fine flour only, while the bran and tiny un milled middlings remain on top.

Sifting after milling is such a hassle, and having done that more than once before, i now use wholegrain flour extensively for my bakes.

Hope that helps, Varda!

 

varda's picture
varda

for helping clear up the cobwebs in my brain.   This makes sense.   I think $400 + is around what a good electric standalone mill will cost as far as I can tell.   Which is worth it if I use it a lot, and not, if not.   So I'll have to figure that out.   I hadn't realized that the sifting part was separate.   A big motivation for me is to be able to get flour grinds that I can't get in the store or even mail order.   For instance, I can't get high extraction wheat flour, and haven't found light rye.   So if that's just going to be a big pain, then maybe this doesn't make sense.   But I also would like to drive out west a bit and pick up some wheat and rye berries from some farmers who grow them in Massachusetts.   It amazes me that anyone grows wheat in this state, as you dig down just a bit and find a granite shelf, but if they can do it, I'd like to try it.  Thanks again for your help.  -Varda

 

wwitkows's picture
wwitkows

I had also read about where you should  grind it in 2 passes with the KA, it just doesn't work that way because part of it is already ground and will not pass through the grinder easily. i tried it once and had to throw it out because it wouldn't grind with the flour/partially ground miuxture.  Even when I had just the smaller mixer after that I just put in the grains, set the grinder to the finest setting, put the mixer on high and let it go.  You do not need to sift anything. It goes straight from the grinder into whatever I'm making.

varda's picture
varda

The reason to sift is if you want to remove some of the bran.  It sounds like you can also grind the bran very fine, but that gives a different baking result.   Now it is all making sense.   Thanks so much for your help.  -Varda

Silverfox's picture
Silverfox

Hi Varda, I just started home milling and did not want to spend $259.00 for the nutrimill, because I was not sure I would like the whole wheat bread, I bought the Victorio hand mill for $56.00 on amazon instead of the gma attachtment because of the not so good reveiws, plus there are 2 different attachments listed as grain mills with no clear difference exept in price, plus I was afraid it would damge my kitchenaid. The hand mill is a lot of work, 1 cup of wheat berries will yield a scant 1 3/4 cups of milled flour, it takes me about 20 minutes of constant turning to get it done, as far as flour texture I have only adjusted mine for the finest flour, but you can set for a more course grind. I have found to really like the bread flavor as well as the health benefits of the home milled bread, so am now saving for the nutrimill. Hope this helps.

varda's picture
varda

but I get tired just thinking about turning that crank.   But maybe it makes sense for small quantities.   Thanks so much for telling me about this.   I've got to think things over.   -Varda