Grain Mill Comparison
Of all of the grain mills, without a doubt, the easiest to use and the finest flour come from an electric mill. Without hesitation, I used to recommend the Whisper Mill. However, according to the information I've received, the Whisper Mill company is no longer in business. Therefore, I'm now recommending the Nutrimill.
It has a lifetime guarantee, is quiet and VERY fast! If you have a generator, milling will be a quick and easy thing.
Yes, there are other electric mills out there, but I do not feel that the others match up to this mill in craftsmanship, dependability, ease of use and warranty. Those of us who have "been in the business" [for years] of home flour milling all agree, this is the machine to have.
A unique feature to this mill is its ability to mill very fine flour as well as fairly course flour. Most micronizing mills of the past milled only very fine flour, so this is a real plus for this mill. It will still make talcum fine flour, allowing one to make finely textured, incredibly soft breads with 100% freshly milled grains but also allow you to make courser flours for artisan and European breads, giving bakers a much wider range of possibilities.
Another advantage of this machine is its size. It's fairly compact and only takes up 11” x 13” on your counter. The flour pan sits into the bottom of the mill and takes up no additional counter space to use or to store. It is 11 ½ inches high, making it fit neatly under upper cabinets and it could even fit nicely in a corner.
Manual mills vary greatly and there are a lot of them out there. Even with my extensive research on them, I'm sure I haven't seen them all! They range from about $50 to $2000 and more. I will talk about the ones I have seen and used.
The Diamant, sold by Lehmans and others is an excellent machine. However, the price tag is very steep - $550.00, I believe, and has some features for which I don't care. It is heavy - 58 lbs, and most importantly to me, has Teflon bearings. With use through time, these crack and flake INTO YOUR FLOUR! This may not seem a big thing until you research and find out that Teflon, heated, is toxic! You are eating poisoned flour! (That's also why I don't cook in Teflon coated/treated pans, pots or bakeware.) The Diamant is fast and one of the easier ones to turn, but the price tag, weight and the Teflon bearings kept me away. It may be used by hand, bicycle or generator, as there is a V in the flywheel.
Its closest comparison is the Country Living Mill. I will tell you up front, after all of my searching, this is the best manual mill out there, in my opinion. It is lighter, (21 lb.), has a balanced Browning flywheel, can be operated by hand, bicycle or generator [the latter two through the connection of a belt into the V in the flywheel], and is $200+ cheaper. As
with the Diamant, it will produce everything from cracked grains, like grits and cracked wheat, to fairly fine flour. (NOTHING but an electric mill will produce talcum fine flour, but this one will get close!) It has 2 attachments, the bean auger and the power bar.
The bean auger allows you to mill beans and make breads like Ezekiel bread, which is a complete protein within it self (tasty, too!) The power bar increases the turning radius from 12" to 18" making hand turning fairly easy. I won't kid you, to turn any hand mill is
going to take effort. The only one that doesn't is the electric mill where you just have to push a button to turn it on! But, if you get a good mill, the work will be minimized. This mill will produce 7 cups of flour in 13 minutes.
The "Family Grain mill" comparison has been removed due to a complaint by the company.
The Back to Basics hand mill is also a Magic mill distribution item. Whereas there is a gear reduction in the first two (larger wheel turning smaller wheel turning milling heads) with this mill YOU are turning the heads! This is a VERY difficult grind (1 hour to
produce 7 cups of flour!) It will produce a fairly fine flour, though not as fine as the above two. This is not a mill to have if you plan to use it regularly. As a back up in case you ever need one, perhaps. It ranges $50-$80.
The Corona and its look alike are also cracking mills. They were not designed to mill fine flour. These mills didn't appeal to me due to the material used to make them.
They are generally a "pot metal/aluminum" mill (though you may find some of this design made of iron), and after milling with them, flakes of the metal could be seen in the flour. I am not interested in consuming potential aluminum due to the linkage with Alzheimer's disease. The turning was difficult, the grind was coarse, and required 2 passes through the mill in order to get what is considered "workable" flour. This is an inexpensive mill, ranging from $40 up, depending on whose name is on it.
Lehmans has a Lehmans best/own flour mill which is white. It compares with ease of turning with the last two, though it will make a finer flour than the Corona . Once again, if you wish to use it on a daily basis, it gets to be a real "grind". [Sorry, I couldn't resist!:o)] It is $150.
Let me talk for a minute about stone and steel burrs. Though man has used stone for centuries to mill grains, have you ever seen the teeth of someone who's been excavated in archeology? Most of their teeth are pretty worn away! As the stones grind your flour, they also grind each other producing tiny stone particles which you then grind with your teeth! Not a good choice, in my opinion. Stones can become glazed with oils from the
grains and need reconditioning. This must be done by an expert if you don't wish to ruin your mill. I have heard from those who have had them that the stones can spend a lot of time "away from home". You may get a set which hold up forever, you may not. The problem is, you can't tell from looking how it will turn out.
I feel that the far better choice is steel heads. They don't chip or flake, you won't eat particles from them and they don't glaze over from the oils. You may get some wearing after use, but you can usually adjust them to keep this to a minimum.
I have by NO means covered all the available mills on the market, but have tried to hit the most frequently asked about.
Just an aside which might be of interest to those with a generator. I used my electric mill and the DLX in an open field with a generator for power. They performed beautifully. The advantage to this is that you run the mill for about 5 minutes, and have enough flour for 6 loaves of bread. Then you run the DLX for 12-15 minutes for the same! Your total generator usage of power totals no more than 20 minutes for SIX loaves (!) making this a machine well worth having!
I have spent the last 12 years teaching whole grain nutrition classes and teaching people how to make 100% freshly milled grain items. I have instructional and nutritional information as well in the form of videos, audio tapes and a cookbook using only 100% freshly milled flour. ("kid tested and approved!")
I hope this will help all of you trying to make a decision about home flour mills. If you need further help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the service of the King of Kings,