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Overwhelmed with Mill options

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Melesine's picture
Melesine

Overwhelmed with Mill options

I've been grinding my grains with the Vitamix dry container but I want to move up to an actual grain mill. In a perfect world I'd be able to do everything from grinding peanuts and sesame seeds into butters, cracked grains, coarse to fine dent corn (I've been buying corn meal in 3 different grinds), rye, wheat fine enough for pastry flour and the mill would work manually when needed but mostly used electric and be portable. From looking around I don't think I'm going to find that all in one mill.  

Originally I thought I wanted the attachment for my Ankarsrum, which I guess is the Family Grain Mill brand. After watching the you tube video by Only Grain Mills, I wasn't very impressed. It seems slow and it also doesn't appear to grind very fine. I do a lot of pastry baking. I thought the Nutrimill would be great but reviews seem to indicate that it's great for pastry and bread flours but I'm not sure I could really get a good coarse cornmeal grind with it. I like the option of regrinding but I think with an impact mill I wouldn't need to anyway. The Komo classic looks great too, and it seems to have a wide range of options from fine to coarse and I like that the setting is clearly marked, but I'm not sure how I feel about the ceramic mill plates. 

I have also looked at the Diamant, Country Living GM, Grainmaker and Wondermill Jr. And while I think the first 3 are beautiful, if I'm honest I really don't want to do the work to hand mill, pay the extra cost for convert them to electric and I want something I can put away when I'm not using it. 

 

 

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I would stay away from human powered, unless you want a small amount of flour, and want to put a lot of energy into it.  Attachments are probably okay if you are going to grind a very small amount of flour, they just won't be built to keep up for making bread on a regular basis.  I agree that an impact is not a good choice if you want a coarse ground.   The Komo is liked by many, and is very nicely styled.  there are a bunch of other options.   I am not an expert on all the differences, but I think that there are some oily grains that can cause problems with stones. The All Grain Mill webpage says ALL GRAIN mills grind all grains including rice, as well as soy beans, dried peas, etc..  The Lee manual says that rye and rice need to be fed in small amounts, and soy beans, nuts, and seeds should not be put in the mill because they have excessive oil.

 

.  I intend to create a page on this, but haven't got around to it yet.    Some machines have the stones oriented horizontally  ( All Grain Mill is one example)   http://www.allgrainmills.com/  In the All Grain, the stones are moved closer together to make a finer flour, and farther to make a coarser grind - which stone moves, and how it is adjusted depends on the model of the machine.   If the flour is ejected by a fan, such as with the All Grain, you need a container that hooks up to the mill, otherwise the flour will blow everywhere.  All Grain sells a container, in some cases you may be able to fit a special dust bag to catch the flour - but either way, that will take up additional footprint while in use. If it does not come with the container, you will need to address that in some way. The Komo has horizontal stones but does not use a fan to eject the flour, so it can use an ordinary bowl to catch the flour as it falls out.  The horizontal stones  gives you a compact footprint for the mill, but the unit will be much higher than one with stones in a vertical orientation

Vertical stone models were made by many manufacturers-  such as Excalibur, Magic Mill,  Mill & Mix, Marathon, etc.  For these, the motor is horizontal , so it takes up a much bigger footprint, but they are very simple in design.  There is a large heavy duty, usually induction, motor, a fixed stone, and then a stone which can be moved closer or further away from the fixed stone, and then a hopper or container above the stones that you dump the berries in, and another container that the flour falls into.  While sometimes the flour catcher is missing, it is usually easy to replace since the ground flour just falls into the container by gravity, usually, there is no fan blowing the flour.

The final option is the Lee - which in my opinion, is the best if you are using it only for wheat berries ( I have a Lee, and All Grain, and a no name anyone has ever heard of similar to a Marathon, only slightly more compact).  If you read the reviews on this site, the Lee works in a totally different manner than any other mill.  Instead of two stones that you adjust to put closer or further away, there is only one stone, and in essence a fan blows the berries against the stone, and at the back there is an adjustable slot, it you set it to fine, the flour will not escape, and it keeps grinding it until it is fine enough to fit through the escape.  The downside is that it can be a little bit slower than some other mills, and since there is a fan blowing out the flour, you can't just set a bowl under it, you need a bag.  The mill comes with a special bag - it looks like canvas on the outside, but has a fuzzy side on the inside to help trap the flour dust.   The maker sells replacement bags, but they run around $45 or so.  There is a Harbor Freight filter bag that works pretty well item 94764, http://www.harborfreight.com/3-pack-replacement-filter-bags-94764.html.  My only complaint with this bag, and the same holds true for the original bags, is that you can't get all the flour out of them, due to the fuzzy part on the inside, so you may create a dust cloud trying to get most of the dust out, and have to store the bag in a closed bag in the fridge to keep the flour stuck on the bag from going bad.  The other downside is that most of the Lee's are designed to be taken apart and cleaned after each use ( though some models don't have that design) and some users say it can be tricky to get it back together. Also, some models don't have an adjustment for fineness -  I would prefer one with the fineness adjustment.  The footprint of the Lee is somewhere between the horizontal wheel models and the vertical wheel models.  Also, the Lee has a cheaper, universal motor, but the way it is designed, it should still last nearly forever,

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I have a Country Living Mill equipped with their electric option.  It works well.  It makes really fine flour or cracked grains or anywhere in between.  What it will not do is butters.  No oily substances like nuts or flax seeds.  If you want to mill grains and beans, you need two different sized augers.

I may be wrong but I do not believe the Diamant has these restrictions.

Mike

Melesine's picture
Melesine

Thanks for the replies.  I think I've narrowed it down to the Komo and the Grainmaker. I'm just really drawn to the beauty and craftsmanship of both these mills. They both seem able to do most of what I want. Right now I'm grinding as I need flour and then storing any small amount of leftover in the freezer. I like being able to mill as I go. I watched a you tube video of someone using the Grainmaker and it really sold me. The only issue is it's lack of portability and I'm not sure how much flour stays in the burrs. I thought I read somewhere that about 1/4 cup of flour stays in the Country Living burrs. The Komo seems to be self cleaning and it's easily portable but I can't use it without power. I suppose I could just clean it once a day instead of after every use. 

Still thinking. 

I did watch the videos on the Country Living mill website and it looks nice and it's on sale but I know that if I choose to go with a manual mill I really want the Grainmaker.