April 15, 2014 - 6:43pm
I've been researching mills that I could realistically afford and have been seriously considering the wonder mill junior...(unless the country living continues to be on sale for the next week or so) but wanted to hear some opinions from people who have used them. I'm just an avid home baker, at the most I'll be making six loaves or so a week for myself and friends. I realize the manual mill will be a bit of a workout, but as long as I could get a nice bread flour from it seems worth it to me...any opinions?
I have not used a manual mill, but have used many of the electric stone mills, all purchased used off ebay for less than the Wonder Mill junior deluxe. Each of them have done a great job making nice bread flour, with virtually no effort from me. I would go with powered, because I have read that hand driven is quite a workout. If you want some names to search for ebay, let me know.
Thank you! I may try e-bay now that you mentioned that....
Is only $239.95 with free shipping at Pleasant Hill Grains. Have had one in steady use for over 20 years. Love it. Very fine flour. over 500 pounds have been run thru it. I switched from a hand crank and wish I started this way
Daniel, if you want to start checking out ebay, there are a few main types to look for. I intend to create a page on this, but haven't got around to it yet. For electric stone mills, there are a few options. 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 ( 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,.
Excellent...thanks guys. I've seen a couple of good prices on the Komos so far, looks like one of the smaller models is going for 225. I've heard a lot of good things about these.
I own a Wondermill Junior, I bought it to make coarser grinds, or smaller amounts of flour.
If you only need 100 g of flour, it is fine, but I would not use it for the amount of flour needed for a whole bread. That would be a major workout, indeed, and very time consuming.