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Anyone own or recommend a grain mill?

 
pollinator
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Does anyone here use and recommend a particular flour mill?

Further to my last post regarding buying gluten free flour in bulk (best option right now is a $700 minimum order, but could also buy other gluten free/healthy foods products, and split the order with other celiac relatives), I am now seriously considering a grain mill. To be honest, I have wanted one for years but been off put by the price.

8 kg of rice is the same price as 1 kg of rice flour, and other gluten free grains are 2-3x cheaper as whole grains than flour.

Plus, quality would be better for the whole grain stuff like brown rice flour, sorghum, quinoa, bean flours, etc which are often rancid, and finding whole grains is easier than gluten free flour right now.

My criteria would be
- Grinds coarse and fine flour
- Can grind beans and corn
- Prefer stone burrs
- Would be great if it was dual purpose and could handle oily things too.

I am torn between a manual mill and an electric mill, definitely would want nothing with fancy LCD screens or other gadgetry that will break.

The closest I have seen is the Wondermill Junior Deluxe, but it seems to be out of stock in Canada.

Any suggestions?
 
pollinator
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While mine doesn't have the stone burrs you are looking for, I highly recommend the Country Living Grain Mill.  We've had one for several years and have used it off and on to grind flour.  Ours is strictly hand powered, but can be motorized if you wanted to.
 
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Hi Catie;
I have a Lander's Corona,  hand crank mill.  Stone burrs and steel burrs.
It was the one to have back in the 70's. You know back when the dinosaurs were still about : )
Check Lehman's general store catalog.
 
master pollinator
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For the hand mill, shop the junk shops. I bought one for $25 that  I use all the time.

 I do own an electric one, but I have never used it.  It is a Wonder Mill.  I have nothing against it.  The hand mill is mounted on my island and is easier to access.

 I do have a Kitchen Aide mill attachment that I have used and will use again only as a last resort.
 
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I have a Wondermill junior deluxe hand mill and a Schnitzer electric stone-grinding mill.

The hand mills might sound good at the time for using human power and being a cheaper price than the electric ones, but my experience is that it's pretty much impossible to get a fine grind for many flours. Buckwheat mills into fine flour with this, but everything else gets a course flour, or has to be milled multiple times, and even then it's still not as fine as I get with a stoneground electric mill. This might just be the mill that I use though.

I wouldn't recommend the Schnitzer electric mill that I have, because it's very awkward to clean. It says in the instructions to send it to a professional for this, but we don't, and every time it gets clogged up it takes around 20 minutes of dismantling in order to clean it. We avoid having to do this by only grinding oats on a course setting, and by being careful to make sure the flour doesn't get backed up in the mill as it's coming out.

If I were getting another electric mill, I'd look at the ease of cleaning it. The KoMo mills seem good for this. I like the stone-ground mills as they produce a healthier and tastier flour than the other kinds because the grain is kept at a low temperature, and it seems like pretty simple technology.
 
pollinator
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We have a "whisper mill", which I (only half) in jest describe as "the gentle whisper of a jet engine at takeoff".  Works well, but I can't say I recommend that brand.
 
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I love my Komo mill. Never want anything else.
 
pollinator
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Walt Chase wrote:While mine doesn't have the stone burrs you are looking for, I highly recommend the Country Living Grain Mill.  We've had one for several years and have used it off and on to grind flour.  Ours is strictly hand powered, but can be motorized if you wanted to.



Now i also have this mill as well. I bought it online from berry hill in ontario. Country Grain Mill Link


It is a great mill. I can easily grind 3 cups of flour in 5 minutes. It is easy to clean along with being easy to adjust. It has replaceable parts, so you could easily have it for a very long time.

Now if i was grinding enough flour to make 10  1 kilo loafs of sourdough bread. I would want to have an electric mill. From what i have seen a lot of the german made mills are good.
 
pollinator
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Country Living Grain Mill here.  We have had it for 10 years?  Only use it for grinding corn.  It doesn't work for wheat.  Tried a fancy German electric mill and even after grinding it twice it wasn't fine enough.  Sent it back.

We buy 50 pound bags of corn from Lakeview Organics in Penn Yann, NY.  Owner is a great person to talk to about grain.  I good portion of everything they sell, they grow themselves.
 
pollinator
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Living traditions homestead made a video about the topic. I think it might be helpful

 
pollinator
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The mill I used to use and still have sounds(!) like the "whisper mill" K-Eilander spoke of. Worked ok, though. Not "on location" now, and can't remember the name for sure.

IOW, some small electrics can _only_ be used outside, in the basement or to wake up somebody you hate that day! Even ones that work well.


Cheers,
Rufus
 
pollinator
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I use a Wonder Junior for most things, but I have a "moulin a mais" for grinding flint corn. When I tried grinding flint corn in my WJ, the corn was so hard it chipped divots out of the stone burr! The Moulin is a Haitian grinder meant for flint or dent corns, from a region where durability is crucial. You could probably drive a truck over that thing and it would still work, but it doesn't grind fine enough for flour, while the Wonder Junior does. The WJ does very well at grinding softer grains into flour.

I also have a very small poppy seed grinder that I use for tiny batches. The Wonder Junior always has about 1/4 cup at the end that just spins instead of feeding through. If I want to grind a tablespoon of sesame seeds that doesn't work, so the poppy seed grinder gets used instead. It has a very small auger, though, so it's best for tiny things like sesame, flax, or poppy seeds.

Most of my grinders were bought off the shopgoodwill website. Grinders and grain mills tend to have a lot of competition for them, but I've noticed that some of the people writing the listings aren't all that careful. With the moulin a mais, they left the name in French, so you had to look at the picture to see what it was. It didn't show up in a search for "grinder", so I wound up being the only bidder. Same with the poppy seed grinder, only that was in Hungarian.
 
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Good luck finding a grain mill! Lol

Most appear to be on backorder.

I don't know if I can post a link, but, look up "Grain Mill 99" on google.

There's a family owned company that makes these hand crank mills. I just ordered one and probably won't see it till sometime next month.

I was torn between the Countryliving mill and the Grain Mill 99.

After much research and deliberation I went with the Grain Mill 99.

Why?

Though it's priceier out of the gate it looks to be better built, especially the milling burrs.

The whole thing is lifetime warranty INCLUDING the milling burrs.

When swapping stuff out like the auger, it's far less complicated and quick.

When making nut butters, you just do it. No long drawn out swapping of things around.

It's a good value especially if you make nut butters and because it comes with stuff the Country living grain mill doesn't (Making the price in the same ball park having to buy the individual peices from country living for their mill).

The Grain Maker 99 comes with the power bar and the bean/corn auger. And it can make nut butter right out of the gate do to it's design (No buying extra parts for it to do that). Go and price that out with Country living for those three things and the price climbs rather quickly.

Fun fact. The company making the Grain Maker 99 also makes a set up to hook it to a bicycle! Or if you have your own motor they sell the proper pulley setup if you feel so inclined to motorize it.

The bad about Grain Maker 99? The motor they sell is over 800 dollars. No way, no how.

The company has a beefier version that's more money. The also sell grain huller plates.
 
Benjamin Drew
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When I said look up "Grain Mill 99", I meant "Grain Maker 99"!

Sorry, I get that mixed up. Where ever I said grain mill 99 I meant grain maker 99.
 
Benjamin Drew
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You know, I think my reply was quite snobbish towards the Country Living Grain Mill.

I apologize...

I overlooked some factors.

I don't have any experience with either mill. But I intend to make full use of one so that's the reason I went with the Grain Maker. I will be doing nut butters and such.

I believe the Country Living Grain Mill is a great option for a higher end hand crank mill. The positive is, they don't force you into buying a package deal if all you're concerned about is getting a no frills Grain Mill. They don't charge for shipping and in some cases may not even charge taxes (From what I know when I went through the checkout process just to se see if they did).

I believe it is quality based on my findings. It's definitely a good deal if you don't make nut butters and purchase the extra auger and power bar for leverage. So arpund 530 bucks vs 725 bucks, that's a huge price difference if you habe no interest in making nut butters.
 
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I currently have both a WonderMill electric grain grinder (formerly WhisperMill) and a Country Living manual grain mill. The thing about manual mills is that some of them are harder (much harder) to grind than others. The typical less-expensive mills are a lot of work and don't make a terribly fine flour. (The finer the flour, the harder they are to crank). The Country Living is expensive, but I found it easier to grind, especially with their Power Bar attachment.



The Power Bar extends the flywheel and really makes a difference. Even for old ladies like me.

You can also get a bean and nut auger for the Country Living, for grinding beans and making peanut butter.

Another plus is that they can be motorized, or modified to be belt driven by a stationary bicycle!
 
Catie George
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Thanks for all the insight!!!

It looks like if I go with manual, I should seriously consider the country living mill based on the glowing reviews, but a wonder junior may also be okay. I have tasked my dad into digging through the junk collection, as I am looking into this, I have a vague memory as of 15 years ago or so we had some sort of Corona style grinder from a garage sale. The question is did it move with us or not....

I am considering my own laziness, and thinking about electric. As a lot of the recipes I use take 5 cups of flour, I am more likely to use it if its electric. The Komo and the wondermill seem to be the easiest to find, though the nutrimill is also available.

Those of you with the whisper/wonder mills, what do you think of them (other than the noise level?)
 
Leigh Tate
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Catie George wrote:Those of you with the whisper/wonder mills, what do you think of them (other than the noise level?)


I use mine a lot. It is noisy, but it's quick to grind 4 cups of wheat berries into flour. It has three grinding settings: pastry, bread, and course. I mostly only use the bread setting, because it makes a nice, fine flour perfect for bread and my other baking. I also routinely grind corn in it, and find that the bread setting makes a corn flour, which I prefer to corn meal. The course setting would make a more traditional corn meal.
 
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I have been using the Country Living grain mill for more than 10 years and it is still going strong.
This is how I motorised it 5 years ago.

 
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We have had several Whisper/Wonder Mills, over a period of 20 years.

Before that we had a County Living mill. We had figured our children would enjoy cranking the thing, but.. not so much! It was harder to crank than any of us expected and was quite tedious when grinding all the flour for our large family. We then installed a motor on the Country Living mill, but it was still slow, and quite bulky to store with the motor mounted on it.

We ended up with the Whisper mill, and when the first one wore out at about 13 or 14 years, we got another one. (This was after grinding several tons of grain!) It was so much faster to just grind what we needed in a minute or two, rather than cranking for half an hour. The Country Living mill also needed to be re-sharpened every couple of years. (They suggest just buying a new set of plates, but it's much cheaper to resharpen with a sharp file.)

Our second Whisper Mill did cause some problems which would have been covered by warranty, but warranty in Canada at that time was not practical because shipping was our responsibility, and it was quite expensive. There is now a Canadian parts and service centre in Alberta I believe. We just kept that second one for parts. We have our third Whisper Mill now and it is holding up very well. I don't think the flour is any warmer out of the Whisper Mill as it was from the Country Living mill.
 
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Not sure this would qualify as a 'recommendation', more like a snap review.  I bought the Wonder Mill about two years ago.  Wife has pulled away from gluten and I along with it for the usual health reasons.  We still make some whole wheat, sourdough leavened loaves now and again.  We only have run Palouse brand hard wheat berries through it.  The literature clearly states a limitation on 'oily' or 'moist' grains, but non-wheat seed products are apparently all right; corn, amaranth, etc.  It comes off the shelf about once a month when a couple of cups of AP flour are needed and the other grain contenders just don't have the oomph of a good slug of gluten.  

Otherwise, it does a commendable job on them, makes a slightly courser grind on the "bread" setting then I would expect in comparison to store-bought bread flour, but it works.  The product comes out disconcertingly hot, despite the instructions and ad propaganda stating that it will "Grind 100 lbs. an hour" "for 10 hours without overheating."  Define 'overheating.'  The output is very warm to the touch, but I never put a thermometer to it.  I'm guessing in the +90ºF range.  You'll want hearing protection if you're going to run it more than a few minutes.  

Cleans easily, breaks down (except for the actual business parts) into smooth, cleanable parts.  It leaves me wondering what moldy, savory bits are sleeping in the actual guts of it.  I just run a half cup of berries and toss the first output.  

Feels good to know it's up in the pantry storage, ready for duty, better than needing and not having.  In retrospect, I might have chosen a manual/external drive motor brand.  

Hope this helps.  

 
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We have used the Family Grain Mill for many years with a kitchenaid for power or with the manual crank but were never really happy with the fineness of the flour.

Even at its finest, it makes a rather heavy loaf of bread. That said we bout it at a discount with its multiple other attachments for squashing grains (think oatmeal), meat grinding or peanut butter and food processing with various cutting blades. Metal burs on the grinders.

Just this year, I finally broke down and bought myself an electric Mock Mill. Wow what a difference. Relatively quiet as power mills go. Grinds very fine flour and quickly. Stone burs.

Looking at others comments, I really like the Country Family Mill but it's still a bit out of my price range.

Penny
 
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Agree, the free-standing Mockmills are an incredible advance for bakers of naturally-leavened bread, but probably not designed for oily inputs, corn, etc.

 
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I grind all my flour with a Vitamix blender. If you don't need very large quantities of flour at one time, it works great. And a Vitamix can be used for so many other things--smoothies, soups, sauces, etc. You can even purchase a special container designed specifically for grinding grains, but I just use the standard container. Although it's an electric appliance, it works very fast so doesn't use much power.
 
Marvin Weber
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Arlene Marcia wrote:I grind all my flour with a Vitamix blender. If you don't need very large quantities of flour at one time, it works great. And a Vitamix can be used for so many other things--smoothies, soups, sauces, etc. You can even purchase a special container designed specifically for grinding grains, but I just use the standard container. Although it's an electric appliance, it works very fast so doesn't use much power.



Our friends use a Vitamix, but we understood from them that it won't make as fine a flour as a grain mill does. What is your experience with this?
 
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I have used a Vitamix to grind flour for over a decade and love it. You need to have the dry blade mixer to do it, and make sure that you grind it long enough to make fine flour, but it does the job. If I need super fine flour, I will mix in some commercial white flour.
 
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I bought a large Wonder Mill  about 2 years ago and LOVE it.  Grain berries last ages and are inexpensive.  Fresh flour has a much higher nutrient count and there are so many uses for the resulting bran.  It took a while to get set up with the right mix of sifters but it’s pretty smooth sailing now.  I’ll never go back to store bought flour.
 
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For about fifteen years, the old Vita-mix I bought used did a perfect job grinding wheat berries into flour. Unfortunately it finally wore out on me.
 
Arlene Marcia
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Marvin Weber wrote: Our friends use a Vitamix, but we understood from them that it won't make as fine a flour as a grain mill does. What is your experience with this?



It is adequate for my needs. Looks like a couple of other people have commented on their experiences with Vitamix also.
 
pollinator
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I've had a Hawos mill for about 10 years and use it to grind most of our flour, (I buy some organic white flour), and other grains like corn, rice, buckwheat and dried chestnuts. It has stone burrs but doesn't do oily seeds....and I love it! I also have small hand mill, a Marga Mulino, but I find it too slow for flour. I mainly use it to grind coffee beans since our electric grinder died.
 
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I use a couple of KoMo mills for my home-based bakery and can also attest to their quality. I've milled now thousands of pounds of grain on the same grinding stones. I mill about 90lbs in the morning for my bakery prep days. My only problem in 8+ years is where it turns out there was a safety switch in the on button that had to be replaced (free under warranty). The Komo Fidibus XL mill turns out about 1lb/minute, but I have to rest it half the time to cool it off.  I have a bigger-motor version of the same mill, the XL Plus, that is supposed to be able to run continuously, but in our Southern heat/humidity/higher grain moisture only goes about 2 hours. I also regularly run white rice in them to avoid glazing the stones.  (I've now rectified this problem by running a fan on this mill for extra cooling and now can run it continuously) Running fans on these mills helps me keep the flour temp to < 115 degrees. I don't think the flour produced is super fine - they are still really small stones - but it is OK and easy to sift if you need it finer. If you want fine flour at home, I think you just have to go with a hammer/impact mill. These mills are the only ones I have found of 1/2 dozen I have used that actually mill to their rated capacity. For things like corn, I actually crack it on my Retsel and then finish it on the KoMo because the large grains going in the stones produce a lot of excess force. There is a lot to be said for the old 8" Polish iron mill which has a pre-cracking feature as a part of the auger.   Tumblr Post with Picture
 
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I have a NutriMill I bought on eBay a while ago.  It’s a great mill, and has held up quite well.  
 
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thomas rubino wrote:
I have a Lander's Corona,  hand crank mill.  Stone burrs and steel burrs.
It was the one to have back in the 70's. You know back when the dinosaurs were still about : )
Check Lehman's general store catalog.



That is the one that we have! It has been in use for much of the time since the mid seventies and we have just now replaced the burrs. I thought I would notice a huge difference in the surface of the new ones...not so much although can definitely tell which are the old ones.  I was so happy that parts were easy to find.

My dream mill, though, is that big flywheel one at Lehman's...last I looked somewhere in the $600 range where this Corona was around $30 when we bought it new so long ago.  The new burrs were almost as much.

We don't grind wheat anymore but when we did, depending on whether it was soft or hard wheat, it would take two or three times run through, tightening down a little more each time.   Now we're grinding buckwheat, oats, seseme, flax, lentils...all fairly easy to get fine grinding just once.
 
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Kate, which model of Schnitzer do you have? We have a Grano 200 (which I think has been superseded by the Vario) that we got very lightly used and it's been good. I'm not aware of any clogging or cleaning issues, but maybe I don't drive it hard enough that those have cropped up. I have noticed that it's gotten noisier with time, as if tolerances were drifting or bearings starting to gall.

When I do wheat I do two passes for bread flour: one at about midpoint on the selector, and the second on the finest setting. Sometimes, if I'm after more of a "pastry" flour, I'll sift the second milling and run the bigger grains one more time. I also found (accidentally) that if we store the wheat in the freezer for weevil control this means that milling does not heat it up as much, which can only be a good thing in terms of nutritive value and oxidation

NB: I don't try to grind flour corn. It's too slow and just feels like accelerated wear and tear on the machine as it's going. We far prefer the taste and feel of nixtamal, whether it's in posole or masa. Same story with beans, although I'm wondering if there would be any gains in semi-cooking favas or garbanzos, drying them, and then grinding for falafel.
 
Kate Downham
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Phil, I also have the Grano 200. It gets clogged if I try to grind oats on a fine setting, or if I leave it grinding into a bowl while I'm not looking and it gets too full and the spout gets blocked - this is stuff that can happen, so I don't like the idea of the instructions saying I have to send it to a repairer, I'd much prefer a mill that's designed to be quickly dismantled and cleaned at home.
 
pollinator
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I have a Mockmill 100 and I really like it a lot. My old mill was a Vitalmill which (I think similar to the nutrimill?) had an attached grain container below the mill. I presume, to keep things from getting dusty but it also trapped moisture and then I had to clean all these nooks and crannies each time I milled.

When I got the Mockmill I got it because I wanted one that had a spout I could just put a bowl under and be done with it, and I didn't like how warm the flour got with the Vitalmill too. The Mockmill seems to do a good job not heating the flour up too much. It's adjustable, you can do fine flour with it or even coarse grits type textures.

The only thing where the Vitalmill was better was with grinding corn. With the Mockmill I have to feed the corn slowly and carefully or it will jam up, and I often have to do a coarse grind and a second pass on a finer grind. The vitalmill just chewed through it no matter what. I don't use a ton of cornmeal so this isn't a big deal but it is annoying when I have to do it LOL!
 
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