The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Which mill to choose?

Ramona's picture
Ramona

Which mill to choose?

Well, I am sure that somewhere on this site there has been a discussion about which grain mill to choose.   I have been looking into this some and have come options and would like to see what all of you use or favor.  I will be grinding whole wheat, rye, barley, spelt, maybe corn.  My main concern is a fine flour, perferably not heated up too much, cleaniness ( I have read that ones with cabinets are not cleanly and have areas not able to be clean and attract bugs), and I prefer not to have to clean my grains, but I am not ruling this out, as I have read that the micronizers are suppose to be the best in the market, but cannot handle a stone going through the teeth.  I also will not buy one that is using mill stones that have aluminum in the stones for binding the stone particles together with.   Here is what I have come across so far:

1. Wondermill

2. Country Living Grain Mill

3. Kitchen Mill

4. Whispermill

5. Grain Master Whispermill ( I have read by some that they won't sell this mill because it is questionable if the quality is still good and the customer service as well, as it is being produced under a new name).

6. Ktec

7. Magic Mill

8. Retsel

9. Jupiter Mill

10. Ultramill

I appreciate all your input. 

 

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 

  Magic Mill your #7 listed, I could be wrong but isn't that a mixer????qahtan

 

 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

qahtan, how do  you like your Kenwood attachment for milling pastry flours?

Will it crack grains?  Can it do legumes and corn as well as wheat?

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 

  Well I like it for what I do on it, which is I am sorry to say is only hard wheat Kernels, I am sure though that it would grind a good flour for pastry, one of these days I shall have to get some soft wheat and try.

 I have never tried  but I don't think it would take kindly to corn or legumes.

     qahtan

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 

 I just looked up the Kenwood grain mill, and  it states that it does grind corn.

 this of course is the newer mill, mine is the old square one, like my machine, old

 but still works well.

 My S I L gave me her mill as she bought a new Kenwood. and the old parts will not fit the new machine. ;-))))  qahtan 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

"My S I L gave me her mill as she bought a new Kenwood. and the old parts will not fit the new machine."

How nice!  I guess there goes my assumption that they haven't changed the machine at all.  Did she buy one labeled Kenwood. I really thought that Delonghi bought all the rights to the machine, and sold it under their name only.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Well, I guess my question is can you get the really fine grind like a pastry flour? And just out of curiousity, can you do a rather coarse grind if you wanted to?

I say out of curiousity, because I'm pretty certain this is the mill I'll get. Especially since I looked just now and it's selling for $70 - $75, which is less than I thought it cost.

Here's the blurb from Amazon, and a picture from totalvac.com. Does this look like your mill? I assumed that since DeLonghi kept the machine the same, they also kept the milling attachment the same, but I don't really know that.

Product Features

  • Enjoy the goodness of home-milled flour
  • Suitable for grinding wheat, rye, oats, rice, and more
  • Flours useable for breads, cakes, and pasta
  • For use on a DeLonghi stand mixer
  • 6 settings, from fine to coarse

 

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 

 My grain mill has a square tray in clear brown plastic. It does not look any thing like this new style.

 I wish I could find the booklet I have about it.

 Your problem if you are thinking of a Kenwood is that the connecting thing  at the 

very front of the machine is different fitting now.

  My Kenwoods are old both of them, the oldest is pale blue trim, the other one is navy blue trim, Both bought before they went electronic. 

I have 5 settings on the dial, from coarse to fine...... Speed is controlled by the machine.......

  qahtan 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

The Whispermill did indeed have quality issues near the end of its life. As such, the product was sold and another company is now marketing it as the Wondermill. I've had great luck with the Wondermill, though I do wish there was more variability in the coarseness of the flour. Basically you can get fine, really fine, and super duper fine.

Eventually, I'll probably upgrade to a NutriMill, which I understand can grind more coarsely. But if what you want is fine flour, I've had no complaints.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

The Nutrimill would be my first choice for regular home milling if it is not outside your price range. Some people complain it cannot produce coarse grits (much less cracked grain) but I haven't used mine for coarser milling. If you want finely milled flour only, the "one-speed" Nutrimill was selling for $200 (including shipping) a few months ago.

The Nutrimill will do grains and beans but not seeds or coffee (or peanuts) or, basically anything oily. The flour temperatures I've gotten immediately after milling ranged from 120F to 95F (measured with a digital thermometer). I've read 140F is the point where heat degradation can happen. It is large and noisy but does the job well. It is relatively easy to clean and reasonably sturdy. Its self contained with an enclosed bin for receiving flour so it won't get your kitchen dirty.

The Retsel's I've seen are more for volume milling and are the most expensive of the lot.

Its unclear to me if you would accept a hand-operated mill or want an electric one. Hand operated mills (I've used them too) are really for smaller amounts of flour (unless you want to develop your muscles). In addition, they can be awkward to assemble and disassemble and require a sturdy table/counter with at least a 1" overhang to clamp securely to the counter.

As for cleaning grain, that will depend on your source(s). Most grain sold retail for human consumption will be well cleaned. Sometimes specialty grains or beans from India need to be checked. If your grain is dirty it will need to be cleaned no matter what kind of grain mill you use.

As for cleaning the grain mill itself, I clean mine after every use. It is sufficient to wipe it off with a dry towel (actually, a pastry brush is very handy for this). However, I'm not using it several times a week, so I want it clean for storage. Some people only clean it if they're switching from one grain to another.

If you bake bread regularly and generally prefer breads with whole grain flour (or legume flour) I think the investment is worth it. You *will* notice a taste difference.

Best of luck on your search.

PS - There have been a fair number of posts in this forum on grain mills. Do a search on "grain mill" and see what you get.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I bought the Nutrimill because the hand mill I had bought a couple years ago was not good for large quantites.

The Nutrimill is a bit noisy.  I don't have anything to compare it to - I do have ear protectors that I keep nearby; but the cats are only moderatly disturbed by the noise.

The electric mill is inconvenient enough to empty that I find myself using my hand mill a lot more than I did before.  If I want maybe a cup of a variety flour, or a little bit more flour for the dough, then I use the hand mill.  I have it set up permanently now.

I can make coarse or cracked grains with the hand mill.  My blender will also crack grains.  And if I want to do seeds or spices, I can pull out the coffee mill that I don't use for coffee because I don't drink coffee.

So, you see, there are lots of options.

Rosalie

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Rosalie - what brand hand mill did you buy? Could you elaborate why it wasn't good for "large quantities"? Could you get a fine flour from it? Was it easy to assemble, disassemble and clean? TIA!

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

My hand mill says "Back to Basics".  It's not approproate for "large quantities" because it's manual labor.  The mill can handle it; I can't.  It does have a range of textures, and I think fine is pretty fine.

It's not really difficult to assemble or disassemble.  I wasn't using it as much as I could have been (only for corn meal for a while) because I had to stow it in a cabinet, and the place I was using it was awkward.  But I've found a place to set it up permanently.  It's attached to the side of a table on wheels that's designed for the sick bed.

I'm a bit lax on cleaning.  After I use it, I bang on it to knock the dregs out.  My next use will clean it further.  I have taken it apart and cleaned it thoroughly, but it'll just need to be cleaned again the next day.  I'd rather be baking bread.  (But my freezer's full of bread waiting for me to eat it - I can't keep up!)

Rosalie

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

The Nutrimill owner's manual can be viewed at http://www.kitchenresource.com/catalog/product_detail.asp?brid=18&prid=304# (click on "Support Materials" from this page)

This is the User's Manual / Owners Guide that comes with a purchased Nutrimill grain mill.

It may be helpful to you as you explore the various options.

susanB's picture
susanB

I have been using a Country Living Grain Mill for two years now, and love it. I found I wasn't always able to keep up with my own demand grinding by hand, so last year my husband bought me the motorization kit for it. It easily converts back to hand-grinding (remove the belt, screw the handle onto the flywheel). The coarseness adjusts from very fine through to barely cracked. When motorized it is quieter than a vacuum cleaner. It does take up a good bit of space in the kitchen, so if that's an issue, it might not be for you.

susanB

Alacritysw's picture
Alacritysw

I have used a Country Living Grain Mill for about 25 years now.  It works well, grinds about any texture flour you might want.  Cracked wheat, fine flour from hard red to soft white, to cornmeal. It grinds fairly rapidly, doesn't heat the flour to much and cleans easily.  I used it about 3 times as a hand mill, when I was younger, but quickly put a motor on it and have been using it regularly since.  It is solid in workmanship and the cast iron burr wheels seem to stay sharp forever.  It takes maybe ~7 minutes/lb of fine flour.

 I like it but I have never tried any other mill, so have no comparison.

Rosstopher's picture
Rosstopher

    I hope you would not rule out a stone mill. We have the Wondermill Jr and love it (http://www.thewondermill.com/index.php/module/statics/action/view_listing/page/18). We have both the stone and metal plates (which have a whopping 4" diameter), which allow us to make both dry flour and oily products ('nut' butters, etc). You would want to motorize it, however, if you use it daily. If you just want convenience, I would go with a micronizer. If you want versitility and a mill with a long life, I would go with a stone grinder.

 

    Anyone looking for a grain mill should start by reading the old, archived Walton Feed website: http://waltonfeed.com/self/grinders.html It is a little dated and some of the mills no longer exist, but the knowledge still applies to today's mills.

 

    Here is the entry regarding Aluminum Oxide (http://waltonfeed.com/self/grind1.html):

 

"

Health Concerns About The Stones' Composition; Aluminum Oxide: There's a hot debate today concerning the effects of aluminum on our health. The U.S. Government doesn't believe that aluminum can be absorbed by our digestive systems. Many of us literally eat aluminum every day as some baking powders are 1/3 alum, a form of aluminum. And many people use aluminum pots. There is valid reason for concern, however, as high amounts of aluminum have been found during autopsies of Alzheimer victims.
I've seen several people choose not to buy one of these grinders because of the aluminum oxide stones. But there's a world of difference between aluminum and aluminum oxide. From the beginning to the end of the manufacturing process, aluminum has never been involved in making the stones. When these stones are made, the manufacturer starts out with the same material that aluminum is made from, bauxite. Bauxite is a red clay that's dug out of the earth. Then it's heated up to over 2,000 degrees C for several days until all that's left is a cinder. This is what the stones are made from. There is no aluminum in them. The aluminum oxide is as harmless as sand and if a particle does break off the stone it will pass harmlessly through you. See Treibacher Schleifmittel's web page for more information on how aluminum oxide is made. The making of aluminum goes through a completely different process, the end result not being at all the same.

The bottom line is you will have to make up your own minds about this issue and go with a burr or impact grinder if you still feel aluminum oxide poses a health risk to you.

"

 

    Think of aluminum as a metal and aluminum oxide as sand. One has linked to health problems, the other has safely passed harmlessly through bodies for millenia. The body has no way of converting aluminum oxide to aluminum. The process of making aluminum from bauxite requires an imense amount of electricity and very special conditions (which is why it is expensive compared to steel).

- Ross

 

ck's picture
ck

Hello,I recently purchased the Wondemill Jr. deluxe and have used it twice to grind flaxseed.It works great but by the time I get about a cup or so my arm feels like it is going to fall off.Do you know of an easy and inexpensive way to hook up a little motor to use when you need larger quantities ground?I wonder if you took the handle off and hooked up an electric drill to the bolt if that would work without wrecking anything?Any advice/tips on this mill would be appreciated.


Carl

Mur's picture
Mur

Check out this link and click on parts and accessories. I got it from a recent message on this very mill. There's an adapter for hooking up to a motor that looks similar to the Healthy Living type mill fly wheel. It's just an accessory instead of the original part of the machine.


It makes the best bread. I purchased it from Kodiak Health http://kodiakhealth.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/3941 much cheaper.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I looked into the aluminum issue long ago, and while I'm not sure anybody knows how alzheimers patients achieve higher levels of aluminum in their systems, I don't believe it comes from cooking in aluminum or from aluminum oxide.  What I read is that it takes a strong alkaline solution to leach aluminum into the food, and most foods (and all of your digestion system) are acidic.  We still choose not to cook in aluminum however, prefering stainless steel for most things and cast iron for the rest, no teflon in our house.  Aluminum oxide is inert, like glass, and very stable as far as I know and I doubt there is any way for your digestive system to derive aluminum from it.  I'd personally have absolutely no problem with using stones that have aluminum oxide in them.  I'm pretty sure aluminum oxide is what's in antiperspirants too (works by physically plugging sweat glands.)


Just my 2-bits


Brian


 

akostadinov's picture
akostadinov

I'm reading that it reacts with some acids and bases [1] and [2]
producing for example AlCl3. [2] though claims that the alpha-form
is highly inert and they talk about the more reactive forms. I assume the mill stones are made from the alpha form. Unfortunately they don't tell what it takes to make a reaction with the alpha form (just want to be sure it's far from possible in the human body).

I'm also interested to know what is the purity of the mill stones. I think that it isn't possible to have 100% pure matherial. So what are the other ingredients of the stones is also important for me. Some info about different purities can be found in [3]. Aluminum oxide is said to have almost white color and looking at the mill stones pictures like the wonder junior, I am wondering where the dark color comes from...

[1] http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Does_aluminum_oxide_react_with_hydrochloric_acid
[2] http://www.chemguide.co.uk/inorganic/period3/oxidesh2o.html
[3] http://accuratus.com/alumox.html

karinb's picture
karinb

I have a NutriMill and love it.  I have been using mine for years and it is holding up just great. I know that at whatever time I need to get a new mill I will get the same kind.


The Whispermill is now manufactured under the WonderMill name.  My understanding is that the quality issue they had with one of the parts has been retooled and no longer has any problems.


Although the NutriMill is a little louder than the Wondermill, I don't like the idea that the mill MUST be on in order to pour in the grain.  If I got a phone call or had to stop the mill before it would be done, it would jam and I'd have a problem. 


Other reasons why I prefer the Nutrimill over the WonderMill:



  • You can't mill something very fine like amarynth in the Wondermill or it will get clogged up (and I LOVE using amarynth!!!)

  • The WonderMill has extra pieces to put together when you want to mill

  • The NutriMill has a larger hopper and bowl


When I get ready to mill, I put in the grain and walk away to do something else and I can hear the change in the grinding to know when it is done (has a higher pitch).


I regularly mill popcorn in the NutriMill using both a coarse and a finer grind (depending on what I want to do).  I find that the popcorn has a "smoother" (can't think of a better description) consistency in the finished product to a regular corn.


An interesting tidbit - over the last couple of years we had no air conditioning for a good amount of time (and I live in south Florida).  The high temperatures made my mill casing change to a very light buttery yellow color.  I had a friend come over and asked where I got my mill because she wanted to get the yellow one and has only seen the white. LOL!


I hope this info helps.

karinb's picture
karinb

Just a clarification - the NutriMill does NOT need to be running when the grain is poured in - the WonderMill does

loydb's picture
loydb

I'm a huge fan of Retsel because of how gently it treats the grain and how I can easily do cracked grain (Rye) with it by loosening the wheels. Also lot of the hammer/impact mills sound like a jet engine, which makes it hard to listen to PTI while I bake. :)