The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mockmill vs Nutrimill Harvest

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Mockmill vs Nutrimill Harvest

Sorry if this has been covered, I have looked through the older posts in the forum but haven't found this comparison.  I've used a Whispermill/Wondermill for over 30 years but I'm going to buy a new mill because I want a stone mill that can grind a very fine flour. Mockmill seems to be very popular, I hear it mentioned all the time. I'm in Canada and it's.a bit hard to find but I could have one shipped.

The mill that seems comparable to the Mockmill is the KoMo mill which I think comes from Australia? Anyway, I've just discovered that Nutri Mill now makes a stone grind model called the Nutrimill Harvest and it retails for about the same price as the Mockmill. Plus I can buy it locally. There is a comparison table here https://pleasanthillgrain.com/resources/grain-mill-comparison-feature-review (have to scroll down a bit) and according to that table the Nutrimill Harvest appears comparable.

Can anyone offer insights into the Nutrimill Harvest and even better, how it compares to the Mockmill or KoMo mill?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I have the KoMo Classic and have been using it for years. The motor is backed by a 12 year warranty! I am super pleased with it. 

It is not inexpensive, but the workmanship is first class. For me, it is worth the price.


Danny

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I have a Komo.  I originally had a Whisper mill, and imo,  either the Komo or the Harvest or the Mockmill will be a great upgrade.  I bought the Whisper and the Komo used.   I tried a  Harvest when it first came out, and it seems very similar in style and function to the Komo, though I did not use it long enough to get a feel for how the stones worked.   All 3 seem to have the same layout, and will probably work similarly, with perhaps slight differences in how they mill flour.  If you want the finest of flour, my suggestion is the Lee Household Flour Mill -  now marketed as the Royal Lee.  The Royal Lee is very expensive, and I have never tried it, but I have a used Lee Flour mill, and it works in a totally different way than the Komo, Mock, or Harvest -  it is a bit slower, and you need a collection bag because the flour is ejected with a flow of air, but it is definitely has the finest flour.   You can usually find them used on ebay in the $150 to $200 price range, sometimes a little cheaper, though if you decide to go that route ,  make sure you buy one that is adjustable, they made a few models with no coarseness adjustment. .  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Barry, I checked out the Royal Lee. Looks like a great mill, BUT when I read that it needs to be cleaned after each milling that was a bummer. Do you take apart after milling?

Is the flour much finer than the KoMo?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Dan,  I never clean mine, and as I recall, Komo only suggests cleaning when you are not going to use it for a while.  They both keep about the same amount of flour in them, so I don't see a need to clean any of the mills I use regularly.

In terms of fineness, the Lee has a much better design, though the explanation may get a bit technical, in overview, if you graphed the size of the flour coming out of a Lee - it would all be consistently fine, but with the rotating stone mills, you would get some fine, some more coarse. 

Komo, Mock, and Harvest, as well as others such as All Grain,  use one fixed wheel, and then a rotating wheel below the fixed wheel.  Typically, the berries are fed into the center of the stone, and as the stone turns, centrifugal force pushes the ground flour to the outside of the stones. Usually, there are some large grooves in the center of the rotating stone, that taper as you move to the outside, and the rotating wheel is moved closer or further from the fixed wheel to adjust fineness or coarseness of the grain.  If the stones were perfectly flat ( which they are not ) and if you could ensure that as one stone is moved closer to the other stone they were exactly coplanar, which you can't, then if you got the stones exactly 1 mm apart - flour that was ground to above 1 mm would be crushed to just under 1mm , before it could exit the stones and go into the collection area.  Of course, the stones are not perfectly flat.  As you may have observed, as you adjust the stones to get closer, you normally hear a tick tick, which is the sound of the high spot on one stone hitting the high spot on the other stone.  The time between each tick is the areas of the stone that are not touching - meaning they are farther apart then when they tick. ( Actually, the tick is due to the out of co planar, and height differences collectively ) Even when they tick, that means that those two spots are touching, but the rest of the stones have space between them. So if you set the mill so that the stones don't  tick, just assume that the distance is 1 mm when the high points of each stone are directly adjacent to one another, then the distance at other points of the stones is more than 1 mm ,  so while some flour will be ground to the 1 mm -  when that flour is at the very outside of the stones at their closest point,  other parts of the flour are on other places of the stone, so they are larger than 1 mm when they exit.  LEE does not have than issue.

How large a variation in coarseness  depends on the amount of difference between the high and low spots on each stone, the amount of out of coplanar, and the amount of the stone that is not grooved.  ( I tried to locate a better photo, but here is one from the Mockmill  https://melissaknorris.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/mockmill-mill-stones.jpg  you can see the grooves extend out about half the diameter,   in contrast, the grooves on this stone are about 2/3rd of the diameter  https://www.perigold.com/Tribest--Tribest-Hawos-Octagon-Grain-Mill-HMOCTA-L1056-K~TBS1029.html?refid=GX378060146593-TBS1029&device=c&ptid=744167327900&targetid=pla-744167327900&ireid=249309&gclid=CjwKCAiAi4fwBRBxEiwAEO8_HgoWfylS-iy4CeQw70W5C-fjMe6XCf0aZjtfc4uPiKUyXFPuxhU2FhoCVGoQAvD_ .  Having a wider area that is not grooved should give a more uniform output than stones that are grooved nearly to the outside of the stone.

The Komo uses springs to try to reduce the coplanar problem, the Harvest claims it uses a cushion flex system , but no matter what system is used, there is always some amount of potential coplanar problem.

In contrast, the Lee uses one stone, and basically hurls the berries, and the fragments, over and over at the stone until the fragments are small enough to pass through an opening at the rear of the machine. When you set it to coarse, the opening is wider, when set to fine, the size of the opening is reduced.  When set to its finest setting, the Lee is much slower than the Komo , but the output is much more consistent. 

To add more indecision to the original poster, the feed mechanism on the Lee is also totally different than the others, and that feed mechanism requires that the Lee use a universal motor, which is much inferior to the induction motor used in the Komo, and I assume the Mockmill and Harvest.  The universal is not only much louder, it is easier to heat up and burn out.  While most of the Lees I have seen are still working, I did buy one that had been abused and the motor was basically burnt out - similar to the complaints we sometimes see about the KA mixer.  It is extremely rare to burn out an induction motor - they can happily run most of the day.  

 

 

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Lots of great info here, thanks to everyone who has commented so far. So I stopped in to the store that carries the Harvest Mill locally, to see the mill and to ask a bunch of questions. On the comparison chart that I linked to in my original post, I noticed that the hopper capacity of the Harvest mill was quite a bit less than that of the Mockmill - almost half as I recall. This seems to be due to the fact that the adjustment for the stones is located in the centre of the Harvest Mill's hopper, vs at the side (I believe) on the Mockmill. Maybe not a huge issue, but a consideration nonetheless. Also - and this is where I would love feedback from those with personal experience - I asked the salesperson about putting the bran back through, since this seems to be one advantage of the Mockmill. She said that the Harvest Mill specifically tells you not to do that and she thinks it's because of the higher percentage of oils that would be in the bran (I thought that was mostly in the germ) and that might gum up the stones. She also said it would probably void the warranty if I did so. I'd love to hear more about your experiences and/or knowledge of this.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I can't help on remilling,  since I don't do that, but if this model is representative of the Harvest,  I would stay away from it.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASGQWtWXBIo  If you start around 7:15 ,  he does a test of the Harvest and found that at the common setting, just before the stones make the ticking noise, he gets more of a cracked grain than a fine flour, and has to crank it down so that you hear a lot of contact between the stones to get a fine flour.  While he says that is just a matter of setting it differently, IMO, it will cause unnecessary load on the motor and the stones, since they are always scraping, that will also tend to heat up the stones, causing higher temps to the flour, and will also mean it is slower than designed, since where the stones are actually in contact, there will be no grinding.   Of course, it is possible that the sample he received was just a bad sample  ( lots of height variance in each stone and or major coplanar problems)  but if it were not just a bad sample,  that would make me very concerned.   As for voiding the warranty, you can in fact burn out a motor if the grains clog the stones, and they stop grinding and you don't turn off the motor and clean the stones.  While I said that induction motors are much more durable than universal motors, most electric motors have a fan blade attached to the  motor, and so long as the motor is turning at the designed speed, it pushes air over the motor to cool it.  If the stones get clogged so badly that the motor slows down to much, that will overheat it,  and eventually ruin the motor. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Super informative, Barry!

Is there a known process to true the stones? If anyone has an idea for a solution, it is probably you. You are the man when it comes to the most intricate details concerning oven, appliances, and anything similar. We are blessed to have you.

Danny

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

GITK, I have remilled the bran, but it didn’t do much if anything to reduce the size. For finest grinding, the KoMo is set to setting where the stones just begin to make the ticking sound that Barry described. I haven’t used other grain mills (except I own a hand operated Wondermill), but the Komo doesn’t seem to get the flour extremely hot and if 100g of berries are milled, it always returns 100g flour. This is nice because others have reported a loss in weight with other mills. I am able to mill on demand and never mill more than I need. If your flours gets too warm you can freeze or chill the berries before milling.

Back to the bran. I sift with a number 50 sieve (very fine) and the amount of bran that is sifted out is minute. I have weighed it but can’t remember what the percentage of bran to flour was. But surprisingly not very much.

Barry’s description of the motors were informative. I imagine that is why KoMo has a 12 yr warranty on their motors.

Dan

charbono's picture
charbono

I used to re-mill the coarse fraction by combining it with the next hopper of kernels. Worked fine in my Retsel Mil-Rite. Stopped because it wasn't worth the trouble.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I have a $15 blade type coffee grinder that I use for small batches of soft grain or seeds: millet, roasted whole grains (roasted enough to be brittle), cracked wheat, chia, flax, sifted bran.  It processes 1/3 cup at a time.  It does fine as long as the grains I put in it are not hard.   And if I do mess it up, it's only $15.

I also use a VItamix blender.  I don't have the dry-grain container/blade.  But I use the regular container, and do only pre-cracked wheat. The one time I tried to mill whole berries in it, they scratched the plastic container.  8 ounces (125 grams) seems to be the optimum batch size. 

I run the wheat berries through a hand crank cracker (Shule 3-roller grain mill), then put 8 oz at a time in the Vitamix and run it for 30 seconds.  I refrigerate the cracked grain first, and it does not overheat in the 30 second process.

--

So what I'm saying is, there are other ways to skin a cat, or mill bran or midlings, other than putting them through a second pass of your mill.  A blade-type coffee grinder or strong blender will handle small amounts.

--

Another point:  I've discovered that a coarse grind is not detectable in my whole-grain loaves due to high hydration and 6+ hours of soaking/autolyse, bulk ferment, and final proof.  At least I'm not sophisticated enough to notice a difference.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Danny,  yes, you can true a stone, but it is only "somewhat " true.  You can get a granite stone that it pretty flat - on the order of .0001 inches , but they are pretty expensive, and would not work as a grinding stone, because the surface is smooth.  You need some variation so that the grain will get stuck to either the top or bottom stone, and get ground down, as opposed to just slide along between two smooth surfaces.   Some manufacturers say their stones are trued ( also referred to as dressed ) with diamonds -  https://www.woodcraft.com/products/granite-surface-plate-9-x-12-x-2-a-grade?gclid=Cj0KCQiArozwBRDOARIsAHo2s7ud_VVi6lXef6gqH-XgSrmW5De55h2TXA3kl6FXis8Wu-CudFcHcfwaAsYOEALw_wcB  .    I have tried to dress a stone with a diamond dressing stone, but it was pretty difficult to hold the dressing stone exactly the right height, and any change in height would impact the trueness of the stone.   I am not an expert in dressing milling stones, but my guess is that as you knock off the high point, it takes a chunk out of the stone, and that leaves a point much lower than the high point, so it would never get exactly even height.   In addition, you would always have the coplanar issue.

As to fineness,  I use the Lee for very fine for pasta and soft flour for quick breads, pancakes and such where pastry flour would be needed.  For general baking,  I normally use a Rentzel, - the flour has a wider range of coarseness than the Lee, but it is an induction motor, and is the quietest machine I have.   The flour from the Komo is fine for the breads I do, though the variation that the video showed for the Harvest would be an issue.  I baked a few times with a coarser grind just to see, and the texture of the loaf is different than the grind from the Komo. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Barry, I sent Darren Necker with Pleasant Hill Grain an email asking if anyone has successfully trued their KoMo stones. Also asked him to refer the question to the manufacturer.

Thanks again for the info.

Wouldn’t it be great is some innovative person offered a service to precisely true and resurface the stones?

Danny

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Danny, I think "true"  is a matter of degree.  I assume that some truing is done before the stones are put into the machine and it is sold, how true may depend on the manufacturer, and the size of the fragments in the stone.  I know very little about what the stones are made of, but in metal, when we sharpen, we abrade the edge until particles of metal fall off.  So metals with finer sized grain or microstructure get a smoother surface, and once with larger grain will be more uneven.  It is as if you had a gutter and you filled it with apples, then removed any apple that stuck up over a particular amount - where you took out each apple you would get a dip ,  and so while you could true it so that no apple stuck up higher than a certain distance, there would still be a great variation in the low spots.   If you repeated the same experiment,  but used peas instead of apples, the variation would be much less, since the size of the peas are smaller, though you will still have some variations in height.  My point is that you can "true" a stone as much as you want, but the particle size of the stone will be a limiting factor in the amount of variation between high and low, and you still have the coplanar issue to deal with.

 

I did mean to point out that I don't follow the instructions in using the Retsel, which say tighten with just your fingertips.  I put springs behind the rear stone assembly, and then tighten till I can turn the stone by hand with a slight resistance.    

 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

I've been using a Komo Fidibus XL for all our wholegrain flour needs for a few years now.  A couple of points that occur to me, relevant to this thread...

Sieving only fractionates by size, not by grain anatomy.  The retentate produced from sieving flour from home grain mills is not strictly "bran", as suggested above.  Granted, the retained fraction may indeed contain proportionately more bran than the pass-through fraction.  But while commercial roller mills efficiently separate the wheat seed's layers, our home Komos, KGMs, Mockmills and Nutrimills just grind up the grains.  Therefore, referring to the retentate obtained by sieving home-milled flour as "bran" is only partially correct.  There's plenty of endosperm in there as well (and some "bran" in the pass-through).

Secondly, I run my Komo with the stones close enough to touch one another:   The fine-ness is initially set way to the right, past "Gross" (coarse).  I weigh out freezer-stored grain and pour it into the hopper.  Then I turn on the mill and simultaneously/immediately rotate the hopper clockwise past "fine" a few clicks.  This setting would have the stones grinding against one another were there no grain being milled.  But as the grain is passing through, it protects (sort of lubricates) the stones from touching and damaging one another.  Importantly, I monitor grain depletion from the hopper closely at the very end.  When all I can see is flour through the bottom of the hopper -- no intact grains left to fall -- I start rotating the hopper counterclockwise toward "coarse" about one click per second until the stones are safely separated from one another.  Then I turn it off.  By visual inspection of the stones and continued satisfaction with the flour produced, this method doesn't seem to cause the stones any harm and produces flour fine enough for all our wholegrain baking needs.

I hope that makes sense and is of some use.

Tom

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Don't mean to derail this incredibly informative discussion about mills, but I have a question about retentate (my new word for the day). I just bout a mio myself, and would like to know if it's possible to remove bran while leaving the germ, to give me more range with the flour that I mill.

It sounds like the picture isn't as simple as just bran v. endosperm v. germ, but assuming that I'm willing to accept a margin of error, am I correct in understanding that any sifting of bran is likely to remove the germ as well? If this is true, is there another process that will separate those two which I can do at home?

Thanks!

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

I'd be skeptical if anyone claimed they had efficiently separated bran from germ in home-milled grain, astonished if they convincingly demonstrated they actually had and would sign their NDA in a heartbeat because I'd be curious as hell to know how.  Not because I especially want to do achieve such a separation, but because it seems utterly impossible with any home grain mill that I know of. 

Given the mechanisms employed by home mills, one would have to do something to the grain beforehand (precise pre-treatment with heat + water > drying to weaken adhesion between bran, germ and endosperm?  I'm guessing) or to the milled product afterward (engineer some sort of brilliantly modified sifter with fan or centrifugal mechanism), since the mill itself won't particularly help toward such an objective.

Best of course would be if an engineer at the manufacturer of one of the home mills we use took a close look at industrial roller milling mechanisms and, convinced there would be a market for it, came up with an in-home adaptation of that mechanism.  I'm not aware of any product on the home milling market that resulted from such an exercise.

Pat Roth (proth5) was a very knowledgeable miller-baker who used to frequent this site.  She's scarce now but was the local authority on milling matters.  She'd have the most definitive answer, which, like her frequent reply to "Can I make AP flour with my home mill?", I'd generously wager would be fugetaboutit.  But mine would be that if separation of bran from germ from endosperm is your objective, you have a monumental challenge achieving it with any home grain mill I know of.  Better, imho, to exploit the valuable capabilities of home milling for what they offer and buy your industrially purified bran and germ at the store.

Tom

albacore's picture
albacore

I have occasionally put my Mockmilled whole grain through a #40 sieve and then a #50 sieve.

I reckon that what the #40 sieve retains is mainly bran and what the #50 sieve retains has probably got quite a high germ content. Not that I would ever do this routinely.

Like you say, if I want wheatgerm I will buy it - and adding 1-2% home toasted wheatgerm to your dough gives a nice flavour. Bran, I'm usually trying to get rid of, I'm afraid!

Lance

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Wait, am I to understand that this is a near-impossible feat, rarely if ever accomplished successfully at home and certainly not consistently?

Possibly requiring hours of research, knowledge of plant anatomy and chemistry, repeated runs to various kitchen supply stores, acquisition of rare, hard-to-access supplies, and potentially extending to fabricating some new contraption in my backyard?

Do I risk driving my wife and friends to distraction as I ask them repeatedly to describe the precise taste and texture of something they formerly took for granted? 

Could I lose sleep waiting for the perfect confluence of nature and nurture, no matter the hour?

Take photographs of said event, to send to my bemused friends with comments like "check out that color" and "those pores are perfect"?

Noooo, I can't imagine any home baker taking that on....

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

A TFLer pm'd me this link: https://www.morebeer.com/articles/DIY_Homebrew_Grain_Mill

Apparently home brewers have good reason to cleanly slip the intact bran (they call it the "husk") off the grain before fermenting it and storebought home roller mills and DIY designs for them abound for such a purpose.

Fancy that.

Tom

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Tom, it was actually me who sent that link - I held off from posting it here because I didn’t want to be the cause of more lost hours! If anyone does rig that up, though, I’d love to hear how it works out. 

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

So much great information here, thanks everyone. We have decided on a KoMo mill, and placed an order for the Mio model a few days ago.

One thing I'm wondering though, is the description of this mill it made reference to flaked oats. It didn't actually say that the mill flakes as well as grinds, but it said something rather vague about fresh flaked oats being healthy and delicious. Since I'm also in the market for a flaker, I sent an inquiry through the website asking if it did indeed make flaked oats and I got a reply back saying that it does.

I'm a little suspicious though, because I know that these are two quite different processes. I did email back again asking for further details/clarification (maybe what they call flaked oats is more of a cracked grain?) but I haven't had a reply yet. Out of curiosity, does anyone know anything about this? As far as I can tell the Mio is not a whole lot different than the other KoMo mills, other than cosmetically, and I never hear anyone mention being able to flake oats with their KoMo.

SheGar's picture
SheGar

I don't see how flaking would work with it though. I would love a flaker but the price exceeds my use.

shelmica's picture
shelmica

I'm in Canada (Ontario) as well and facing the same dilemma.  I have had a Nutrimill micronizing mill for 15 years, but I have to clean it out to switch from gluten free stuff for my husband then wheat and rye for me, and it's a messy pain.

Availability is an issue in Canada.  

I had a very expensive Hawo mill first, but after a few years the stones literally disintegrated, and the company was out of business and did not respond after many attempts.  

So, due to this I am a little leary of a stone system, and in reading the comments about the stones not being perfectly flat this was always an issue getting the setting right on the Hawo's stone mill.

 

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

We did go with the KoMo Mio mill, but are still waiting for it to arrive. We ordered back in January but they were out of stock and expecting more in March or April. But we are still waiting, I assume due to the pandemic. I have checked twice with the place we ordered but they don't have an update yet. Good thing I still have my old one....

SeasideJess's picture
SeasideJess

Just a bit of random observation re the Mockmill:

  • For fine flour I always mill coarse and then re-mill fine. For the 2nd run through I start it where the stones are clicking, put the flour in, and push the adjustment two notches finer.
  • I used to sift and then re-mill the resulting material (which looks like a mix of bran and flour.) After re-milling, if I sift it again, what's retained is clean looking bran flakes. I suppose there may be some germ in there but I think the proportion of germ at that point is really low.

I find that the hard red wheat bran can be re-milled and it will break down into smaller particles, whereas spelt bran seems to stay big and flat. I bet the coffee grinder/spice mill would do the best job of breaking the sifted bran down. I haven't experimented much. These days I only sift for cake, and I toss the bran.