Shout Out: Your Experience with Grain Mills

I am in the market to buy a new grain mill. Actually, I have been for the last few years, but I think I am finally going to take the plunge and buy one! During my research on phytic acid, I was once again reminded of the importance of freshly ground flour. Store bought flour has lost a lot of it’s nutritional value, according to my understanding, plus lost most if not all of it’s phytase (the enzyme that breaks down phytic acid). My grain grinder is just not cutting it right now, so I am going to have to buy a new one. So, in light of this decision, I thought I would share my own experience with grain mills (limited at this point) and ask for your stories as well.

My experience with the Jupiter Grain Mill (I believe now called the Family Grain Mill).

I have a Jupiter grain mill which was recommend in Nourishing Traditions. About four of us bought this mill together, and I don’t think any of us have been happy with them. Our flour is just too coarse! On the plus side, they do grind very quietly and do a coarse mill for hot cereals. It keeps the flour very cool so that you don’t lose nutrients (or unstable phytase) and the steel burs it uses to grind with are replaceable. All great things. But even after putting the flour through the grinder twice (one of the only grinders you can do this with), I would have¬† coarse flour. Plus putting the flour through twice took way too long. This has been a very frustrating situation! One company who sells them admits that it doesn’t grind as fine as other grinders and that it doesn’t work well for pastry flour. All information I wish I had known before I bought mine.

What I am looking for in a Grinder

A grinder that grinds “cool” so that I don’t lose nutrients and heat sensitive phytase

A grinder that grinds at least somewhat quietly would be nice.

A grinder that grinds fine enough flour for baked goods

A multi-purpose grinder would also be nice (i.e. one that would grind hot cereal size as well as fine flour).

As I have researched different options, one that I keep coming back to is the KoMo (or Wolfgang Mill). It’s supposed to grind very fine flour as well as coarse (multi-purpose). In fact, I believe it’s won awards for it’s fine flour. And it is also supposed to be a lot quieter than the more common grain grinders such as Wondermill or Nutrimill. I also like the fact that unlike the modern impact mills (which most grinders are), this one uses millstones- following a more traditional method of milling. I have read unbacked claims that the impact mills grind is an “unnatural” way to grind making flour that is bad for us. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do like the more traditional ways of grinding grains as a preference.¬† They also look beautiful! This grinder is fairly new to the US market, but has been very popular in Germany where it originated. Because it’s newer to our market, it’s harder to find reviews of it.

It doesn’t grind as quickly at the Nutrimill, however, which is another (very popular) grinder I have considered. If I was going to buy an impact grinder, this is probably the one I would purchase. The Nutrimill has a huge hopper (where you pour the grains in) so you don’t have to keep refilling it, gets much coarser grinds than most impact mills as well as super fine flour, and while not as quiet as the KoMo, is it quieter than some of the other impact mills. But despite the many advantages of the Nutrimill I am leaning towards the KoMo. When talking to a company who sold both grinders, I was told that they both grind at low enough temperatures to preserve nutrients.

It looks like I am some decisions ahead of me! Meanwhile, I would love to hear your experience with grain mills!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Comments

  1. says

    Hi All,
    What a wonderful place to come and “socialize” with everyone.
    I enjoy learning about all things healthy and am able to spend time researching. Here are two sites I found interesting concerning grain mills.
    The first has some really interesting short videos. Think HP (horse power). :)
    The second has information about the KoMo mills. (food for thought here. The last comment is most informative.)

    http://countrylivinggrainmills.com/
    http://tfl.thefreshloaf.com/node/14546/wolfgangkomo-mill-stone-safety

    Keep up the good work, Kimi!

  2. says

    I was surprised that the Nutrimill couldn’t do almond flour (or any nut) or flax seeds. That makes it less valuable to me. I’m looking into maybe trying a Vitamix or Blendtec to save space and multitask. I know others who LOVE their Nutrimill – it def. grinds finely. Many say good things about the versatility of the Wondermill, even the one that doesn’t use electricity. ?? Hallee the Homemaker has some posts on why she chose her Nutrimill, and Heavenly HOmemakers also has a few posts on grain mills and how to choose one. Good luck, Kimi! :) Katie

  3. says

    About the Wolfgang, yes, I think it’s loud. I keep it in the laundry room which is the farthest I can get it from the babies’ room. If they are asleep it would wake them up. I don’t have anything to compare it to so if this is quiet I couldn’t imagine the others! Yes, it grinds pretty fine. It doesn’t grind powdery fine like store bought flour but it is pretty fine.

  4. Sue P says

    I read and looked into mills so much when I decided to get one (almost two years ago now). I really wanted one that used millstones but finding one for personal use was near impossible then and the one or two I came across were so expensive. I am still thinking about a manual one so I can do nut flours, etc.

    I did end up deciding on the Nutrimill and I have been quite happy with it. It’s loud but I just walk out of the room while it mills. I haven’t really experimented with different grades of coarseness but from what I have read in reviews, people do not have luck getting anything other than fine flour.

  5. Heather Wormsley says

    I’ve been grinding my own flour for more than 2 years now, from regular wheat berries, sprouted/dehydrated wheat berries, rice, oats, etc. I do it all with my Vita-Mix. I can load 2-4c of unsprouted material (or 6c of sprouted) and get a nice workable flour. It is not superfine, but it works in all of my homemade goods– from the 4 loaves of bread I make each week, to cakes and such. It DOES heat up, but I only run it 70 seconds per load and I can always touch the end result (so it can’t be that hot). It is loud, but I usually do this when my family is out of the room, and I wear earplugs (I do take precautions). I’m sure there are better choices out there for just grain grinding, but I would fight for my Vita-mix. This one appliance is the very backbone of my entire kitchen. Grain, chopping, quick ice creams, crushing ice, great breakfast smoothies, batters, sprout bread batter, butter making, whipping cream, etc. Definately multi-purpose!

  6. Carin P says

    I have a K-Tec (http://www.harvestessentials.com/kteckitmil.html?gclid=CMb9iIbTrKQCFUNM5QodkU4Pag ) which was given to me as a gift about 10 years ago. It has been worked regularly and even more now as I am gluten-free and grind much more a variety of grains. It is fabulous for a fine grind and you can set it to coarse as well. Drawbacks – you tend to get some flour dust in the making – I grind outside in the summer, in the basement in the winter. The filter needs replacing, although I’ve only replaced it once in all the years I’ve had it. And it is loud. I actually wear earplugs while operating it. But it is powerful and efficient. I am so grateful for mine.

    • says

      i also have a k-tec kitchen mill, given to me as a gift about five years ago. at that time, nutrimills were unavailable, so this mill was the gift giver’s second choice. it has served me well. it is extremely loud, but honestly, even a “quiet” grain mill is going to be loud. you simply can’t run them when babies are sleeping, unless you go to another floor or outside. it agree that it grinds fine, and doesn’t heat up past warm-to-the-touch. however, it doesn’t do course very well. the courseness settings really don’t vary much. i hear this is the case with many grain mills.

      for that reason, i also have a manual family grain mill and family flaker mill. i’m so happy to finally have a way to roll oats (the flaker rolls the most delicious oats) and also manually grind flour when the baby is sleeping. it is courser than my k-tec, but sometimes that’s what i want. the two mills + flaker that i have are the perfect combo for me.

  7. says

    Hi Kimi,

    I’ve been grinding my own flour for 5 years. First I had a manual with stone and stainless steel burrs. It didn’t grind fine enough to make bread. I have a Nutrimill now. It’s okay. It does grind super fine, but it’s not that fast (Okay, to clarify, it GRINDS fast, but I have to stand and push the grain down…if I don’t it doesn’t feed right and sits there running while not really grinding). I don’t care that it can’t do nuts or flax, because I do that in my coffee grinder (flax) and food processor (nut butter). I also liked that I could sprout my grain, dehydrate it, then grind it. At first I couldn’t get the sprouted grain to feed at all because of the little tails, but the customer service rep told me to break off the feed cover and try it. It works, and I just set the cover back on to grind other grains. It does sound like a C-5 taking off though, so I keep it in my garage and grind out there.

    My problem right now is that I ground flour in it before our celiac diagnosis. I ran ten pounds of rice through it to clean it, but I’m nervous about using it because of the possible gluten contamination. I’ve been making my waffles and pancake batter in the food processor and grinding my flax, corn, and buckwheat (for noodles) in the coffee grinder, believe it or not. It doesn’t take long at all, since they are small amounts, and I’m not making bread. However, I’m thinking of selling my nutrimill and getting a Blendtec, as I need a new food processor as well. I like that with the Blendtec everything can be washed if I grind a gluten-containing grain for my dh then want to do something for the babies and myself.

    It’s a lot to think about!

  8. Trinnie says

    The blend tec kitchen mill is the best. It is small but can do a large amount of flour (8c). It has no blades and nowhere for anything to hide so it is totally sanitary. It is very reasonably prices. It will grind any grain to flour and you can adjust how fine you want your flour.

  9. Leah says

    I’ve had my Nutrimill for about four years now and I love it. No problems at all. The noise doesn’t really bother me because it grinds quickly, and if I have sleeping kids I just move it to the back porch and grind out there.:) I have never had to return it for repairs, but one thing that I like about it is that from what I hear, their customer service is EXCELLENT and they will repair or replace your mill with no hassle.

    I had problems getting my sprouted wheat to feed into it too, but I find that if I don’t let the tails get too long, it works fine.

  10. says

    After researching the heck out of grain mills and drooling over them for the longest time, I bought a Wonder Mill Junior Deluxe hand-powered grinder a couple of years ago. It does grind flours extremely well. The stones create a very satisfying feel to the handle. Smooth and powerful. To grind super-fine, however, gets pretty tiring after 2 or 3 cups of flour. Like the pp stated, it does provide an upper-body workout. I had bought it mainly because I wanted the versatility of the nut grinding/butter making. Unfortunately, the auger is not properly designed for nuts. It ends up crushing the nuts in the augur before they get to the burrs. The result is a nasty, oily mess. I called the distributor and complained, thinking I had defective burrs. He said that it was a known problem and that they were redesigning the auger. I am hoping to have mine replaced for free when/if they do make any changes. It grinds some super-delicious coffee, though, I must say. The steel is also good for making cornmeal.
    I got pregnant and lost all energy during the first trimester. This is when I found it too difficult to grind the flour every night for our daily bread. I began to lust after an electric machine. If I were to buy one, I think that I would get the new WonderMill micronizer. I am just curious to see if these grind a more powdery flour than my stone mill. I wish I knew someone with one or of a store that would do live demos.
    I’ll admit to using my VitaMix to whip up flour from time to time out of pure laziness. From what I understand, however, the Vita heats the grain too much during grinding. It also oxidizes the flour with the intense whirring about as it grinds. I really feel that I lose a lot of nutrition with the Vita, but it still has to be better than stale flour from the shelf.
    If money wasn’t an issue, I would get a Retsel Mill-Rite, I think. It really sounds like the best of both worlds. I watched someone’s youtube video on that model more times than I care to admit. My hubby thought I was nuts to be so intrigued with watching an appliance run online :) Good luck! I hope you get the one you want.

  11. says

    Does anyone have a miracle grain mill? I am curious about it and haven’t read that many people have it…there is a good review on amazon, but I am curious if anyone else has experience with it? It sounds good for the price….

  12. Jamie says

    I also have a K-Tec and I love it. I’ve had it for about a year. It is loud but it does a great job making a fine flour.

  13. Marlo Hughen says

    Admittedly the Komo is a cool design. Are you worried about harbored bacteria with the stone grind? I am new to grain grinding, and the more I read, the more people say that it’s better to have stainless steel for hygene. How does the komo address that?
    I’d be very interested in learning the nutritional differences between impact grinding and stone grinding.

    • says

      What sort of bacteria, Marlo? My grain is dry – bacteria needs warmth and moisture to survive. There’s no moisture in the grain or in the mill. I’m not sure if this is something that’s erroneously said or if it’s something said to try to “scare” people towards an impact mill.

      Stone mill grinding is ancient, ancient, ancient. Stainless steel is newer (relatively speaking) – bacteria might be harboured in wet milling, but these mills with stones mill dry. *shrug*

  14. Kassia says

    I just read this post, and while you’ve probably already made up your mind, I just wanted to throw in the Jupiter Family Grain Mill. I love that the mill has so much flexibility from grinding grains, to rolling oats, grinding meat for sausage, etc. I’ve had mine now for three years and it is still my favorite kitchen appliance!

  15. says

    I have belaboured this decision and researched it to death (or so says my husband!) and landed on the KoMo Fidibus Medium.

    My first loaves of bread produced with wheat from the KoMo are rising now – I’m hoping they’ll be ready to bake for dinner tonight. :)

    But several things:

    1. The KoMo is beautiful – but importantly for me, has a smaller footprint than other mills. It’s about 6.5″ square and fits next to my Bosch on the counter w/o being a space-hog. It is too heavy to put in the cabinets and bring up every time.

    2. It is MUCH quieter than the WonderMill (although I used it when it was called the WhisperMill). The WM sounds like a jet engine taking off – this is a quiet hum and even at full-pitch grinding isn’t as loud as the WM.

    3. I measured the temp of my flour while grinding – the warmest it got was 95F. Of course, if you grind more than 2 lbs of wheat, it’s going to get hotter as it goes along. But from what I’ve read, that’s far cooler than the impact mills.

    4. I like the stones – they are gentler on the grains and the founders of the company are using the same mill they did 15 years ago – without problem. Longevity is a big deal to me – I don’t drop several hundred dollars lightly and I want my stuff to last.

    Anyhow – I hope this helps – I’m going to be putting up a post with video on grinding with the KoMo over the weekend. :)

  16. Heidi M. says

    I currently don’t have a grinder, but your post inspired me to do a little research and I thought I’d throw something out there.

    The Country Living Grain Mill might be an interesting possibility. According to one review (http://www.grainmillcomparison.com/2009/03/country-living-mill-review.html) from someone who’s tested multiple mills it grinds very fine, as fine as with stone burrs, and it also grinds very efficiently. Hand grinding 10 cups of flour took her 22 minutes, and claims it’s very easy…I was wondering if Elena might enjoy it. I grew up with a manual grinder without a flywheel that was both difficult to turn and inefficent, and while it was a chore we did get used to it. This one sounds like a dream! You can also purchase a motorization kit for those times when you prefer speed over quiet; I don’t know how loud it is.

    Anyway I know it isn’t the direction you’re looking in, but I figured it’d be an interesting idea if nothing else.

  17. Brad says

    You might check out the new Wonder Junior Deluxe, it claims to have many new improvements that make it faster than the Country Living by about a 1/2 cup per minute and is a very versatile mill. There is a website called willitgrind.com that demonstrates all the things it can grind. It even does almond flour (see http://willitgrind.com/willitgrind/almonds-blanched-raw-almond-flour). I have the old Wonder Junior Deluxe hand mill and it is built strong and the mount is very convenient. I may sell my old one and buy this new mill because it has a lot of stuff I want. See thewondermill.com to see more information on the new model. If I do get the new model, I will try to remember to come back here and give you my opinion on it.

  18. says

    Obviously, your decision was probably made long ago, but I thought I’d add a comment for anyone else who might come by your article.

    The Komo mill looks very good, and I’m sure it is a nice item. I doubt anyone will be going wrong by purchasing it.

    I recently purchased the Country Living mill. The advertisements are silly (I think), but I went with it because it can grind almost anything including popcorn, and grinds nice fine flour in one pass. It probably isn’t the best choice if you plan on doing a lot of oily stuff, but I did put flax seed through it tonight without a problem.

    My wife asked me to start making several loaves of bread a week for the whole family (9 people). To get one cup of fine flour takes me about 120 cranks of the wheel. The recipe in question needs about 14 cups of flour.

    I’m in good shape and am capable of doing this, but don’t care to spend the time, so I bought a surplus gear motor for about $100. With that, a v-belt, some scrap wood and a little work, I got it motorized (~60 revolutions per minute).

    I’ve seen videos about Wondermill Jr. (the manual one) and almost went with it over the Country Living mill. It claims to be faster, but in the “speed test” video there wasn’t a useful comparison of the fineness of the flour being produced, which means that it isn’t really a useful comparison.

  19. Dave says

    Did you end up purchasing a mill? We have the Komo Classic and love it! It makes perfect flour with no effort. We also have the Wonder Jr hand mill that we use for making nut butters and anything with oily seeds, but it’s a lot more effort. Before you buy, you should shop around and look at some video reviews (it might have helped with your Jupiter mill experience ;) ) I went to http://www.onlygrainmills.com and watched their reviews. Funny, they said the same thing about the coarse flour from the Jupiter (Family) Grain Mill. It looks like you are not the only one to notice this issue.

    I would be interested in an update if you have time. Thanks!

  20. Barbara says

    Having dithered for months, comparing prices, size, capacities etc and unable to make a decision, I have just bought a Komo Fidibus Medium grain mill and could not be happier! I have been struggling along with a Jupiter for some years and not enjoying it. It is slow and noisy and does not give very fine flour. My new Fidibus is fantastic. Lovely fine textured flour in next to no time and the noise level is not excessive. It can process different grains and is very attractive to look at. The top turns to vary the grade of flour ground and it appears to be self-cleaning too.
    I looked at many suppliers and ended up buying from Austria and saving 20% over the UK price which made me even happier.

  21. Janet says

    I have owned my Komo for 3 months now and absolutely love it. Unlike the two popular white plastic mills which have a very high pitch like the plane flying in your kitchen, the Komo has a dull sound because of the wood cabinet. I also like the grinding with the stones better. It makes 12 cups of flour very fine for bread or pastry making in a very short time. It sits next to my bosch mixer with I can’t believe took me 30 years to find out they made such a wonderful machine. I put potatoes in all the way to the top, butter, salt and pepper and turn it to pulse a few times. I then put in my milk and pulse a few more times. Makes the best no lump creamy potatoes ever. Another thing try the canadian steak seasoning in the mashed potatoes. Everyone loves them.

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