The Grain Mill

family-grain-mill

I easily justified buying a grain mill once I saw how cheaply you can purchase bulk wheat berries which store very well in airtight containers in the garage.  Deciding on the right grain mill took forever.  For me it came down to an issue of counterspace and cupboard space.  We have a tiny kitchen with neither.  I spent whole nights on breadmaking forums and googling for grain mills.  It seems you can either spend about $200 or about $1,000.  There wasn’t much in between.

The romantic idea of manually grinding my own grain soon disappeared when I read posts on how long it actually took to grind enough for a few loaves of bread (30 minutes?)  The people who did it didn’t mind because it was exercise they quipped.  Clearly their lives do not border on the degree of chaos and insanity that mine does.

In the end I chose the Family Grain Mill because it uses steel plates which gives you stone ground flour at a low temperature, lets you adjust the size of the flour from fine to course with a “crack” setting which is perfect for steel cut oats or making cream of wheat style cereal, and has an optional roller which would allow you to make rolled wheat, spelt or oats.

Nash’s organic produce in Sequim is working on a hull-less oat right now that would be perfect for rolling.  Until then though I think you have to buy oats already rolled because of the technicalities of removing the hull.   You can, however, roll regular wheat berries to eat as muesli or to put in granola.

If you are researching grain mills the Everything’s Kitchen website seems to have the best prices I have found but you really need to know what you want before you go there.  If you have the counterspace, the mill I read about again and again that everyone loved is the Bosch Nutrimill Grain Mill 20-c
but it’s huge.

What I love about my mill is that it’s so small it’s no big deal to take it out to grind a cup of flour at a time.  Everyone who bought the Nutrimill seemed to do a month’s worth of flour and then store it in the cupboard.  I don’t get that – if you want to do that then why not just buy flour?  The point of the mill for me is grinding it right before I use it, so that the nutrients in the grain aren’t oxidizing like they do in any other food.  But to each his own.

Update – One year later:  I’ve been using this grain  mill extensively for almost a year now and considered getting another one.  But the more I thought about what I would want to change the more I decided this mill is perfect for me.  It is loud but when I got back on forums it sounded like even the “quiet” ones are loudish.  Here is what I love about this mill:

  • small footprint so I can leave it out on the counter all the time because I use it all the time.
  • the ability to adjust the grind of the flour.  It can crack grains for pin oats and cream of wheat style cereals, or to add to bread dough to make cracked wheat style bread.  It can grind fine enough to make great biscuits and muffins.  It can grind a “stone ground” size which is perfect for bread.  It is tough enough to grind dried corn which makes amazing cornbread and not all the grinders can handle that.
  • After a year of constant use it is holding up perfectly and requires virtually zero maintenance.

I want to point out that these Amazon links are affiliate links and I hope you’ll consider using them if you were going to be shopping online anyway. It helps to fund this blog.

13 Responses to The Grain Mill

  1. Pingback: The Grain Mill « Sustainable Eats

  2. Annette,
    you don’t say what your mill is! please do

  3. Ah that’s because I blew up the post. Let me go in and fix my code so all the words display. Its the family grain mill that I bought from everything kitchens. thanks for catching that!

  4. Somehow there are paragraphs missing from that post all over the place so hopefully I remembered most of what I wrote! But it should be close enough now to end your suspense…

    ps I think Joshua just got a nutrimill so we’ll have to ask him how he likes it.

  5. Hi- Where do you buy your wheat berries and other grains? Bluebird Grain Farms has decent prices if you spend $150. Is there another mill or farm I can find grain at 60 cents or less per lb w/o the mininum spend?

  6. Hi Heike,

    I buy the wheat from BB and spelt from Lentz. I can usually round up enough folks to meet the minimum no problem. Are you in Seattle? You might also look at Azure Standard.com. The stuff under their own label is grown on their farm typically but I’m much happier with the quality of the BB and Lentz. I know Hummingbird Wholesale is another nice delivery service but not as local so I try to stick with BB and LS for that reason. I also go through a lot more grain in the winter so I’ll probably order once more before summer hits and then not again until the fall.

  7. Thanks for the tips! Yes, I’m in Seattle. If you’re ordering sometime soon, I’d be very interested in helping you meet the minimum (I’d prob. get 75 lbs) – do you have my email?

    • Hi Heike, is it ok if I put your email on the bulk buying club list? That way you won’t miss any grain or other bulk food buys we make. We just had a St. Jude tuna buy and we will be having a Loki salmon buy soon, followed by Lentz Spelt and Bluebird Grain.

  8. I love this idea! I was looking into mills as a stand-alone thing but then thought about doing this with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer’s attachment ($140 and with good reviews). Where did you get your airtight storage containers for the grain? I want to make sure to be able to keep out air, ants, mice and other nasties that may want a nice easy food source :) .

  9. Hi Hank,

    I looked into that as well but I use it all the time and didn’t want to chance burning out my kitchen aid motor. I’m really happy with my grain mill since I’ve also now got the flaker attachment that lets me roll oats or spelt flakes for oatmeal. It’s amazing how fresh oat flakes are vs even the spendy thick cut flakes you buy!

    For airtight containers I use 5 gallon buckets with gamma seal lids that I bought from Azure Standard but you can find the online by googling. The gamma seal lids spin off vs pry off which makes it so easy to get in and out of the bins when you need to and they are water proof as well which is nice since they are stored in my basement which has flooded several times in the last few years… ;p

  10. whole grain oats that you can buy to roll at home are technically called groats. not sure if that was on here but they are readily available if you know what to call them. other wise you get the wrong thing!

  11. Hi Teri,

    It’s hard to find locally grown oats. The problem is the hull – Nash Huber has been growing them but not in quantities large enough to sell. He is hoping next fall/winter to have enough but much of his crop molded over the winter. I *think* I found a farmer in Toledo, WA who I’ll be able to buy them from though.

  12. Pingback: Dark Days 2011/2012 « Rock Solid – Natural Stone Planters

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