The Fresh Loaf

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Country Living vs. Wonder Jr grain mills?

Crider's picture

Country Living vs. Wonder Jr grain mills?

Even thought I bought my grain mill last summer, I find that I'm still a geek about these things. It's fun to visit websites, check Youtube and eBay to see what's out there and follow changes, etc.

I visited the WonderMill website last evening and found they have a new video up that compares the speed of their Wonder Junior and the Country Living grain mills. The speed test is quite simple -- eighty revolutions of grinding some sort of grain in a period of one minute. Then the volume of milled flour is measured. Surprise, surprise, the Wonder Junior grinds almost twice as much grain as the much higher priced Country Living mill. Hmm . . .

This simply doesn't make sense to me. The Country Living mill has five-inch grinding wheels and the Wonder Junior has only four-inch wheels. Now, five is only 125% larger than four, but when you do a little math, the area of a five inch circle is substantially larger (156%) than a four-inch one. So I did a little more detective work. I downloaded images of both the Country Living and the Wonder Junior wheels. Then I opened them up in Photoshop, which has a nice measuring tool. I was able to determine the diameter of the inner-circle cutout of each of the grinding wheels and get a more precision estimate of the total grinding area of each mill.

Country Living
Outside: 5"
Inside: 1.85"
grinding area: 16.935" square
Wonder Junior
Outside: 4"
Inside: 1.75"
grinding area: 9.81" square

I've got a Retsel Uni-Ark hand mill at home, which is very, very similar to the Wonder Junior mill. Here's its spec.

Retsel Uni-Ark
Outside: 4"
Inside: 2"
grinding area: 9.42" square

I ran my own tests with the Retsel. Eighty revolutions of milling soft white wheat gave me a tiny bit more than one-half cup of flour. Seems reasonable. So how did the guy from WonderMill get one cup and a quarter out of his mill? I backed-off the setting and ground a very coarse flour. Eighty revolutions gave me just over one cup. It simply flew out of my little mill! And it actually looked like flour. Not that it was fine enough to use for  anything, though.

I suggest the speed test was with the Wonder Junior producing coarse, unusable flour -- not much of a test at all! I don't think there's anything wrong with that mill, but it isn't in the same league as the Country Living. Can't wait for the Wonder folk to shoot a test of the Wonder Junior out grinding one of those thousand-dollar Diamant mills!

proth5's picture

I'll put that big old flywheel up against anything with a crank.

And I can get the flour to fly out of the Mighty Diamant...  :>)

I guess the good news is you know that home milling has arrived when folks use deceptive marketing practices to sell a mill...

But I will have to measure the output of 80 turns just to see how it goes...

Crider's picture

Can't wait to read the results.

subfuscpersona's picture

this link - - is to a comparison of manual grain mills by an independent reviewer.

The March page reviews the Country Living mill and the July page reviews the Wondermill Jr. The February page gives the testing scenario. The site is small; you'll find it usefull to click on all the links.

I find the video you posted to be rather self-serving (small surprise, given the source), since there are other considerations to the effectiveness of a grain mill than the amount of flour produced by 80 revolutions. In the link I gave, the author evaluates each mill based on flour fineness, grinding speed and the physical effort required to turn the grinding plate.

proth5's picture

That's a great site and I look at it from time to time when I am obsessing.

No matter what hand mill reviews I read, they'll always pick one that is "best" and say - well, except for the Diamant.

Now I realize that people aren't made of money, but the chortle I always get is that I bought mine before they were made in Poland and before the whole exchange rate issue caused the price to skyrocket.  And then on eBay to boot where I bought a new (still in packing grease) Diamant for way less than current prices. (It's mean, I know, but I seldom get such a bargain, and generally I am never happy with anything I do - so give me this one...)

Although I do disagree with the reviewer that you "need" different plated for a fine grind - but everyone has their different methods and I have mine.

That cast iron flywheel means something in terms of hand grinding effort and I'm not sure I could have done what I have done with a lesser mill.

So, after I shuffle off this mortal coil, TFLer's should watch for the estate sale because there will be a Danish made Diamant probably selling for a bargain price.

Applications for being included in the will can be submitted :>)


subfuscpersona's picture

All I want is the Diamant (not the diamonds) - is that too much to ask?

If I predecease you, I promise to come back from the dead to claim the Diamant.

in hopeful anticipation, yours truly - SF


proth5's picture

but what's in it for me? :>)

PS: May car and my mill are actually the same color - everybody wants my car (it is becoming a classic and has very low mileage) and everyone want my mill but again, what's in it for me???? :>)

subfuscpersona's picture

Does YES mean that [1] I have been included in your will?? OR [2] To be included in your will is "too much to ask"??

Re your comment "what's in it for me? :>)" - what do you care? You're gonna be dead.

Re the matching color of your car and your mill - I am color agnostic. Hope that helps.

:)  :)  :)  :)   - SF

proth5's picture

consider pledging novenas or dances to the Great Spirit for the repose of my soul.


Yes, it's worth considering.  I'm gathering the applications to see who is most worthy.

proth5's picture

You judge yourselves against the pitiful adversaries you've encountered so far - the Romulans, the Klingons. They're nothing compared to what's waiting. Picard - you are about to move into areas of the galaxy containing wonders more incredible than you can possibly imagine - and terrors to freeze your soul.

Q in STTNG "Q Who"

Ok, that's a bit dramatic, but the results are in (Here's where the folly of volumetric measure comes in, but here goes...)

Diamant grind amounts - 80 turns

Fine Crack - My first step in milling  7 oz - 1.75 cups

Medium grind (this is hippie whole wheat flour) - 5.95 oz - 1.5 cups

Next to finest grind - this is about the fineness of commercial whole wheat flour - 5.15 oz 1.25 cups

Fine grind - this is finer than most commercial flours  - 5.45 oz  - 1.25 cups - Why more?  I think that this reflects that fact that the finest grind is a re mill of earlier passes and some of the grain passes through without being further reduced. But most home millers wqorking with hand turned mills would not even attempt this fine a grind.

Just to rub it in. 

This isn't a minute of grinding.  On the fine grind, which is the one that takes the most effort I can do 80 turns in 50 seconds.  And I'm just a little old lady with a head cold. (And it's just a cold.  I feel fine.  I feel like taking a walk....)

Don't think we'll see the Wonder Jr against the Diamant anytime soon.  Yes, it is expensive - now we see why...

Happy Milling!

Crider's picture

I once timed myself doing the Uni-Ark by hand on enough for a loaf and my natural speed was 46 rpm. Now that I motorized the thing, it turns at about 60.

When I was shopping for a mill last summer, I didn't see a single used Diamant mill. But I was looking for milling on the cheap so that didn't matter!


pmiker's picture

My CL mill is motorized.  Over the weekend I had just over 3 lbs of wheat to grind.  It was mixed about 50/50 red and white hard wheat.  The hopper showed 7 cups or more.  At one hour it was not finished milling and I shut it off for awhile to cool down.  The flour was up to about 95F.  About half an hour later I turned it back on and finished.  I'd say it had milled 4-5 cups of flour in that hour.  (Sorry, I was just curious about how long it would take.)

CL states that white wheat takes longer to grind because it's not as hard as red wheat.  The same for soft wheat.  I have milled them separately and hard white takes much longer.  I mill in one pass.  CL does not recommend multiple passes.  The flour I get is very fine and soft.

The setup I use is the one sold by CL.  It has the motor, belt, base and shroud (belt cover).  I've been using it for a couple of years at least without problem.

BTW, when I first bought the mill, I used it by hand.  It's not bad but finer grinds are tougher.  With the motor, I can be doing other things while the flour is milling.