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.
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