Help Us Choose a Grain Mill

At the Huasna Valley wheat farm I blogged about yesterday, they have a grain mill made by a company called All Grain Mills out of Utah. What the farmer liked about this company is that the mills they make have stone wheels instead of steel. Steel burrs can heat up and destroy the enzymes in the wheat. Furthermore these All Grain mills are considerably less expensive than other ones I’ve seen. I’d like to know if any of you readers have one of these All Grain Mills? If so, please leave a comment. I’m also interested in recommendations for other mills.

And I can’t help but comment on the aesthetics of the All Grain Mills. The company’s website is so bare-bones it’s almost hip (promising in my opinion when you’re looking for pre-interweb technology). And that fake wood paneling reminds me of my childhood:

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20 Comments

  1. We’ve been very satisfied with our Country Living grain mill, but we wanted a non-electric mill. With the addition of a used exercise bike, we now grind our wheat with pedal power. (Click link to see photo of set up.)

  2. Like Chile we got a Country Living Grain mill – same reason – non-electric. I’d love for hubby to fix a motor to it so we’d use it a bit more religiously but requires a wee bit of playing around since we’re in NZ and can’t just buy the motor;-).

  3. I also chose a Country Living grain mill, which has steel plates, rather than stone. I wanted a mill that uses people power, in which I believe, and not anything else. When you’re grinding by hand, heat is not a problem. We chose the Country Living grain mill because it’s very adjustable- we use it to grind fine flour (we grind both organic soft white and organic hard white for different purposes), and my husband uses it to crack barley for brewing beer, and once I get the corn and bean auger for it, I can crack corn for the chickens. I like the fact that it’s made in the state of Washington, and that the flywheel can be hooked up to other methods for turning (I am going to check out the bicycle video next). I love this mill, and so does my husband, but the caveat is that it does take some effort, and where the mgf’s recommendation to bolt it down for best results, they mean bolt it to something very solid. But I’m glad we bought this one. I researched grain mills for a while and chose the Country Living because I was convinced that it was the best one.

    One last thing. When the ship hits the sand and we’re running the refrigerator and not much else on the solar PV system we’re putting in this summer, I’ll be glad I don’t need anything other than my arms (and my husband’s) to grind flour.

    All I gotta do next is build the solar oven.

  4. I have a Country Living grain mill, I bought it because it is non-electric. We also got the torque bar, so grinding a cup of wheat takes about five minutes and isn’t actually all that difficult. I like that I can adjust my grind, and I also got the bean auger so that I can make chick pea flour, cornmeal, etc. The mill appears to be built to survive some sort of apocalypse, so I will probably be passing this thing onto great grandchildren. I love my mill, and even my four year old daughter can grind the wheat, so now she can really do something to help cook! One thing about the Country Living mill that I DIDN’T really like was the price, but I received mine as a gift this year so that wasn’t as much an issue for me.

  5. I researched grain mills for several months before purchasing the stout and capable Country Living grain mill. Cranking out flour when I need it is one of those sweat-equity tasks I’m willing to perform and, perhaps foolishly, I imagine that my labor lends an aura of rugged integrity to my baked goods. I bought the corn augur too, and I hope to grind fresh cornmeal this fall.

    Why are you considering an electric grain mill?

    Best wishes, ddu

  6. while I’ve not purchased a grain mill myself, (since there are things much higher on my current priority list), this one, the Wonder Junior mill, looks like a really excellent item, and has the option (if you buy the deluxe model) of having both stone ground or steel burr ground, which allows you to grind a wider variety of foodstuff. Looks like it can be adapted to electricity as well…

    http://thewondermill.com

  7. Hi guys. Last Christmas, I brought the Family Grain Mill after thinking through the long list of options out there. It was a good choice. It makes all of our flour for bread and other baking needs. We use it once a week, and make about ten cups at a time. We don’t use it to crack corn (we don’t have chickens) but it could do the job. It can also grind a lot of other dry ingredients, like beans, etc, but not Coffee (too oily).

    Here’s some info about it that might help you make a decision. 

    * it uses steel burrs. Heat has not been a problem for us but might become one if more than ten cups are ground at a time. 
    * it’s made of high-quality PVC, but it’s still plastic, and that bums me out.
    * the FGM creates no dust
    * it grinds flour fine enough for bread, maybe not for delicate pastries, though we have also used it for pies and junk like that, to great effect (if I do say so myself). What I’m saying is that it might not work for croissants or baclava. 
    * you can buy the FGM with a hand crank that mounts onto any countertop or table with a 1-inch ledge (2 inches is better), which is cool. You can also buy a motorized base (and change back and forth between the two very easily) though it’s much more expensive (but see next point)
    * instead of buying the motorized base, you can also buy an adapter for a KitchenAid mixer (as well as other brands of mixers) for $30 or so. This is how we use ours. It’s nice to be able to walk away from the mill while it does its thing (but still have the hand-crank option if we want it). Using the KA to do double duty this way saves a lot of space in the kitchen.
    * with a little ingenuity, you can also hook this thing up to a bicycle, or even a hand-held power drill. The hand crank is a standard hex size. When we first got ours, I hack-sawed an allen wrench for the purpose and it worked fine.
    * the FGM bases (hand-crank, motor, adapters) also fit a number of other devices from the same company, including flakers, meat grinders, etc. We haven’t used any of those, though.
    * we paid about $170 for ours (including mill, hand-crank, and KitchenAid Adapter)

    Hope that helps!

  8. I thought about getting a Retsel before because it’s a stone mill, electric, and can be used manually but heard their customer service was extremely horrible so that deterred me.

    I’ll probably end up getting a Country Living Grain Mill since I want something that will last forever and craft a motor with it.

  9. I tried posting this the other day but it may not have gone through…

    We purchased a hand crank stone mill from Schnitzer, a German made mill thinking it would be more versatile with or without electricity. It was around $400.00. It has a self-sharpening composite stone and does really well with coarsely ground grains for porridge. Although to get ¼ cup of fine flour it takes about 15 minutes and a lot of elbow grease. So we are working on turning it into a peddle powered mill. By using this pulley calculator (www.csgnetwork.com/pulleybeltcalc.html) (the average Jo peddles 60 rpms according to my road biking co-worker) I was able to figure out which size sprockets I needed so as not to exceed 140 rpms (the suggested max. for this particular mill). The Schnitzer is not as versatile because oily nuts and seeds become clogged the pours of the stone. I suggest a nice stone mill for flour and less expensive steel bur grinder for oily seeds and nuts, like a Corona (or I guess a food processor would work for the oily stuff.) If you wanted to go with the electric mill I have heard that the Wolfgang is the Cadillac of grain mills and worth the investment. Check out this link http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2010/09/shout-out-your-experience-with-grain-mills.html

  10. I have a Retsel and love it. The customer service is horrible. We recently ordered a handle and it took about a month to get here for no particular reason that they told us (they never responded to our emails). That being said, I love it and use it everyday. The stones make better bread than the steel burrs. I make 100% whole wheat bread with no added gluten that tastes better with fewer ingredients than anything we can buy locally. My mother-in-law has used hers for over 30 years.

  11. Retsels rock. We got ours probably 7 years ago and make bread for our large family.

    Its SOOOOOO much quieter than the buzzsaw variety that our friends have. But slower as well. No big deal though.

    Their customer service was fine 7 years ago. its not like the things break, they are built like tanks and seem to use indestructable motors.

    You can switch out stone or steel.

    It was expensive but after 7 years I can say it was money well spent. no reason we shouldn’t have it 20 years from now.

  12. We got one of the all grain mills from some friends at church. Its not a bad mill by any stretch. But even on the finest setting it will not grind wheat nearly fine enough for what I want when making bread. I am not sure if its not adjusted right or if the stones are damaged or worn, but I have to sift the flour to get out all the chunks the size of cream of wheat. Not sure if this is a common problem, but I will probably be calling up the company to see if they can shed any light on this. Other than that it grinds the wheat pretty fast. Maybe 5-10min and I have enough for 4 loaves of bread. But it is loud. Thankfully though, I can grind in the laundry room with the door shut so its not terribly annoying. All that said, I still want to get a country living grain mill or maybe a retsel just to have as a back up. Still need to figure out which one to get.

    -Dave

    • Also you can adjust it to many degrees of fineness. I think you can double grind it but I never have. Yes it is loud. It doesn’t matter. There are youtubes about it.

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