The Fresh Loaf

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How close can you move the stones together in your mill?

bertramhage's picture

How close can you move the stones together in your mill?

I’ve been experimenting with my mill, but can’t seem to get fine enough flour. I’m after the finest flour possible as I want to bake with 100% extraction. 

I am able to calibrate it (so that setting 1 is even closer together), however at some point the mill start to make a high pitch noise which sounding like the stones are hitting each other when there are no grain inside.

Is it bad if the grinder makes this noise? How far are you actually able to push it?

If I grind the flour at the point just before it starts to make this noise it still is quite sandy in texture

I have a Hawos Queen 2 mill.

seasidejess's picture

I have a Mockmill which has similar technology (carborundum stones). Although it says you can set it to the finest setting I find that I get a better result from grinding it once on a coarse setting and then setting the mill to where the stones are just barely touching (clicking sound) and running the coarse flour through. Using this method I get a very fine powdery flour. However, it still has flat particles of bran in it. 

You can sift the bran and re-mill it separately a few times if you're looking for the finest possible grind. Or soak the bran in part of your recipe water, or toss it. 

I find that with twice grinding and an autolyse step I no longer need to mess with any sifting/soaking business. But for pastry I usually sift and regrind the bran or toss it. Since it doesn't get to spend a bunch of time hydrating, as it does in bread, it can be gritty.  

bertramhage's picture

I’ve read about double grinding and guess I should experiment with it as this seems to work for a lot of people. Thanks for the advice!

Scootsmcgreggor's picture

I’m not sure for this mill specifically but in general with  shear type mills with small mill gaps you should always run them with feedstock in them at the minimum gap. Try never to run them without material in them. Widen the mill gap before you let the feed hopper run dry. 

bertramhage's picture

Okay, I’ve been doing the opposite so for, starting the mill before adding grains. Is it normal to do it the other way around? Will you be able to grind even finer in that case?

Scootsmcgreggor's picture

My recommendation is more for millstone preservation, I don't think it will allow you to grind finer.

barryvabeach's picture

I don't have your mill, though I own a number of similar ones.  I did look at the instructions, and it says you should adjust the lever either with the mill running or with the mill empty .  I guess that they are saying that if you load it with berries and start to run it,  you should not shut it off and then adjust the stones to be closer together.

Most manufacturers of this type of machine say to turn it on empty, and move the lever until you just hear the stones start to kiss ( it normally will sound like a ticking - which happens as the high spot or spots on the rotating stones hit the high spot or spots on the fixed stone, it makes a noise, then as that high spot goes over the lower part of the fixed stone it does not make a noise.)   The instructions normally say you then reverse direction of the lever slightly so the noise goes away. 

The instructions for the  Hawos Billy say

If there is no mill feed in the grinder, you can hear the grindstones rubbing against one another in the fine setting. Cause: Despite a high degree of precision, the threading for the fine setting always has to have a small amount of play. This small amount of play is neutralised when the pressure from milling is exerted on the two grindstones. Grains that by nature have their own unique hardness exert a different milling pressure on the grinder. For this reason, we recommend different settings. ( It then has a table of settings for different grains )

I have trouble determining whether they are saying the noise is normal when the mill is empty, and then when you add grain the stones won't touch, or they may be saying you should move the lever to a coarser setting, but I think they are saying that if  you are milling wheat,  you should be able to set it to 1 and it may make some noise ,  but don't worry about it.   So if the high pitched sound is like a ticking noise, IMO,  you are fine to use it for grinding berries.  If it sounds more like the stones are in constant contact and are grinding,  I would move the lever towards 2.  In addition, you might check the temp of the flour as it comes out of the mill with an IR thermometer.  If the stones are rubbing closely together, not only will they wear more quickly, they will heat up and cause the flour to heat up higher than when set correctly.  


Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

I have a Komo Fidibus XL, not a Hawos.  But here are a few thoughts:

• I mill with the stones close enough to pretty passionately kiss each other.  The grain 'lubricates' the stone-stone interface and prevents the stones from singing and suffering.

• In order to do that, I pour in the grain the hopper and start the mill with the stones far apart.  As soon as they start spinning, I quickly adjust the gap to a point that I've marked that I know is close enough to damage them without grain running through, but just right for a the fine-ness of output we prefer.

• We are not fans of 100% whole grain breads, so we're not milling for 100% extraction, 100% whole grain baking, except pastries, but that's not the point here.  Since our breads are 60% whole grain, the mill's output doesn't need to be super fine for the crumb to be as luxuriously soft as we like.

• IF you really want super fine wholemeal flour, I would highly recommend running your product through a 55-60# tamis and re-milling the retentate, repeating the process until you have a satisfactorily fine product.  Before we upgraded to a Komo, we did that routinely to get an acceptable product out of our notoriously inefficient KA-KGM mill.  I think it's very hard to get very fine flour out of any home mill.  Then again, I've hardly tried them all.

My $.02