The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Grain Mill Choices

kesaf's picture
kesaf

Grain Mill Choices

Hi, I'm interested in getting a grain mill for the following reasons:

  1. Health - organic grains milled with less destructive methods than commercial milling are more healthy
  2. Cost - buying bulk grains, storing them long term and milling when needed is less costly over time than buying flour
  3. Supply - grain will store longer than flour. Having grain on hand to be milled on demand will provide fresh flour over a longer period.

I'm mainly interested in the Royal Lee Household Flour Mill, the Mockmill 100, The Nutrimill Harvest, Salzburger MT5 and the Wondermill.

I'm a little wary of the synthetic corundum stone mills because the idea of ingesting these particles do not seem healthy. I'm not aware of any definitive understanding as to whether these types of stones are truly safe. I'm also concerned about how the impact mills heat up the flour, which can cause them to lose nutrients. Information about whether the impact mills get hot enough to cause nutrient loss is all over the place.

With that said, I was going to go with the Salzbuger MT5, which uses natural granite stones, but they are not currently shipping to the U.S. Now, to me the next best is the Royal Lee, which does use synthetic corundum, but is engineered to use air and centripetal force to collide the grain with a stationary corundum stone. This results in virtually no stone particulate within the flour since the stone is not grinding against another stone and it does not heat the flour as much as the other stone or impact grinders.

The question then comes down to the quality of the bread made with the Royal Lee. It's my understanding that the Royal Lee will grind the grain finely together with the brand and germ resulting in a flour that cannot be sifted into an all purpose flour. 

Is the texture of the breads and other baked goods from the Royal Lee more dense because the brand and germ are all present?  Can you create lighter, fluffier baked goods with the Royal Lee mill?  Can I get an all purpose type flour from the Royal Lee if I configure it to a more coarser grain setting and sift?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I have never owned a Salzburger MT5 or seen one in operation,  i did not own a Mockmill 100, but owned a Komo which I believe is similar, and I owned a Whisper Mill, which is similar to the Wondermill, and still have a Lee ( though not the Royal Lee).   

None of the mills listed will allow you to sift to get AP flour - my understanding is that you would need a commercial roller mill for that . 

In general, whole wheat will not be as open and airy as BF or AP, all other things being equal, and it certainly presents more of a challenge, but the bread that comes from freshly ground whole wheat, IMO, can't be beat. and it does not have to be dense. 

I think you would be happy with any of the choices other than the Wondermill.   The Royal Lee will give you a little more range in terms of grind size -  meaning from extremely fine powder to a more coarse grain, the Mockmill will not get as fine, but will be quicker.  The Lee requires that you put a cover over the bowl to keep the flour from going everywhere , the Mockmill is more compact and the flour just drops into the bowl by gravity.  The Wondermill is a totally different animal, it is an impact mill, not a stone mill, which gives you less ability to adjust grain size, and is extremely loud - like a jet engine. 

 

As to stone safety,  I have not seen any studies one way or another on the topic, but the Lee, since nothing contacts the stone other than the wheat berries, which are softer than the stone, I don't think you will get any stone particles in the dough.  In others like the Mockmill, it is theorectically possible when the 2 stones rub together, but I don't think it is a major concern.  I have never heard of any stone wearing out from contact but again, i have never seen any study on it ,  and am usually a little suspicious when a manufacturer touts something  - it is possible it may be true, or it may just be marketing.  

kesaf's picture
kesaf

Thanks for this. I'll probably lean more toward the Lee but really compare it to the Mockmill in terms of versatility. I would also like to be able to mill corn from either popcorn kernels or other corn kernels to make a fine cornmeal to be used in something like cornmeal porridge.

Isand66's picture
Isand66

You have to be careful about the style of corn you use to grind.  Dent corn is the type to use in most mills as popcorn style is too hard and can damage the stones.

kesaf's picture
kesaf

👍

Crum's picture
Crum

The Wondermill Junior Deluxe Plus Hand Grain Mill was a rip-off. Cheap soft stones ran out fast, not covered under warranty, and replacements cost half the price of the mill. Did not last two months of daily milling (milled for a bread a day, some days we'd make two). Also, the flour would get very warm to the touch. 

Now using Samap Model V. 

 

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

The Wondermill does not have stones as one commenter mentioned above, rather a high speed impact grinder that keeps the resulting flour cool.  The grind is adjustable and creates fine flour with one pass. I have had mine for 20 years, and it is still going strong after regular use and many hundreds of pounds of grain. Works for all grains, including dried whole corn kernels for corn meal.  Self cleaning. YouTube has many videos covering many grinders.  I would instantly buy another Wondermill if/when mine craps out. 

kesaf's picture
kesaf

The commenter you replied to (Crum) is talking about the the manual Wondermill Jr, which looks like it has the option for steel burrs and stone grinding heads. I understand that the standard Wondermill does last long, does a good job and is versatile in terms of grain variety,  but I've read that It can heat up the flour due to its high speed.  And again, as with data on the health effects of ingesting synthetic corundum, nothing definitive can be found regarding how that heat effects the flour.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

If memory serves... Somewhere on TFL, there is mention that you can temporarily heat flour up to 140 F with no damage.

The air movement and relatively high flow of grain and flour through the electric Wondermill likely keeps it much cooler. 

The filtered vent on the catchment container hints that there is a not-insignificant positive air flow through the machine along with the flour.

There is mention on TFL of flour output temp for several mills. The Wondermill may be among them 

Contacting the company's sales or customer service may get you the flour output temp.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I have the MockMill and the Messerschmitt Of the two I like the Messerschmitt better since I can grind poppy seeds with it as well as flour. Does get gummed up a bit with flax seed.

 

If you are just doing wheat/rye type flours, the mock mill is great. Remember that both Kitchenaid attachments are designed only to do a pound or so of flour at a time. If you want to grind lots of flour, you'll need a dedicated mill.

Kooky's picture
Kooky

I'm very pleased with my Salzburger, but I can't help to wonder about fineness. I read on here that someone sifted with a #50 sieve milled from a KoMo and the bran left behind is not much.

I have general sieves, coarse and fine, and when I sift most grain with my Salzburger mill, the amount of bran in the fine sieve is gigantic, an extremely high percentage, sometimes 50% or above. However, this sieve (purchased from Salzburger) basically creates pastry flour. It's still whole wheat because I can see very fine particulates of bran, but it's very light and airy like pastry flour with no coarseness whatsoever. I have stone milled heirloom whole wheat pastry flour from a company and my Salzburger mill absolutely grinds finer whole wheat than it, and it's from the same company that I get my grain from, so perhaps it's the grain...

So, fineness can be 2 things... The grains that I buy, or the mill. I may have to drop the money on a KoMo just to do a comparison. I do hope my Salzburger is performing to the fineness I should expect with any mill, but I can't be sure. I guess I should check out the Royal Lee as well as I've been hearing of it lately. I like the American made Grain Maker which uses stainless steel, not natural, but a very good material nonetheless.

Regardless, Salzburger's build quality is excellent, robust and serviceable motor and real stones, it should last probably a half century without much interference. I just made kaiserschmarrn from their website using it today.

 

I've been milling flour for over a year now, maybe two. Probably 100x more failures than successes. There are a couple recipes out there that absolutely nail the use of freshly milled flour and show it can be as wonderful a texture as all purpose, but they are few and far between. Freshly milled flour really is a different beast. I would recommend aging it in a paper bag for a week. The only thing I have not been successful with is standard cookies, which are of course a more new-aged design. For traditional recipes, nothing beats the flavor of freshly milled.

If anything, one of the main benefits of milling your own flour is control. You never know what goes on behind the scenes for money. I can inspect my grains and mill them, simple.

I'm not particularly sold on the real effects of heating flour during milling on enzymes or its translation into the real world, the Salzburger when grinding as fine as possible without stones touching heats it to around 140F when milling a boatload. The flour is then baked. How does the nutrient loss not inevitably occur when baking at 500F? Surely this is the point of diminishing returns. What are you so concerned for? Whether the preservation of enzymatic activity lets you live from 99 years and 1 day to 99 years and 150 days?

Nobody I know sits around eating raw flour mixed with cold water and salt.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

You want those enzymes for what they do before the bread is baked at 500 degrees. A lot is happening in the Proofing stage of the bread making process.

charbono's picture
charbono

Enzyme deactiviation is only one aspect of overheating flour.  The other big one is denaturing the gluten proteins.  Think fried egg.  Brief heating to 140F is pushing it, from what I've read.

Kooky's picture
Kooky

I'm too lazy but I might have to start double milling to keep temps down. Not enough room in the freezer.

I'd like to see some side-by-side examples of this and how it translates into the real world rather than the verbal discussion of the microscopic.

hello_ruthiejo's picture
hello_ruthiejo

If you still like your original idea of the Salzburger,  you might consider... possibly... asking if anyone on this site is traveling Europe (or wherever it is produced, I assume Europe) to the United States.  Perhaps offer something in exchange for the trouble, and reimburse shipping from point B inside the U.S. to point C, where you are.  Just an idea.  This is a pretty common practice the other way around, from the States to countries with unreliable shipping.  All the other Americans I know here send messages around, saying, hey, I'm going to the States soon, anything you want from there?  Sometimes we send stuff from Europe to the States that way, too, but it's not necessary as often.  Anyway.  Perhaps it sounds too strange.