The Grain Grinder Comparison – Berry Meets Mill and Show Us Your Stuff

Last January I had a grinder party at my house. Unfortunately I was so busy protecting incubating eggs and tomato seedlings from errant jungle children that I was not able to take pictures, but just imagine a house full of adults and children, flour in the air and the whir of many grain grinders. The few photos I managed to snap with my phone are so blurry I’m embarrassed to show them to you.

I realized that we must keep the house exceedingly cool since it was packed with people and not a one took off their ski coat. It made it easy for everyone to find coats at the end of the party, but I have a dickens of a time getting my bread to raise.

We had a Retzel Grain Mill, a Jupiter/Family Grain Mill, a Country Living Grain Mill, a Nutramill Grain Mill, a Champion juicer and a few others here for comparison.

Around the same time other friends of mine also had a milling party and kept fantastic notes, used here with permission. They were much more organized and scientific about the whole thing, with more grinders than I had here. They even had a laser to measure the temperature of the flour during grinding. Flour nerds. My kind of people!

Click for a larger version of grinder comparison notes.

You can see from the chart that the Country Living Grain Mill(powered by bicycle) was the finest grind, and the quietest mill. The flour temperature was among the lowest. The price point was higher than the Jupiter or the Nutramill but slightly less than the Retzel (my second favorite). The Jupiter allows for many alternative methods to power the mill, including bicycle, hand power or motor (sold separately). And although I have loved the small footprint of my Jupiter, after four years the motor has started smoking so I can no longer recommend it.

The Country Living Mill may have a steeper price point, but owning a grain mill is one of those things that will pay for itself, and the Country Living Mill will last forever. Any cook that buys flour could be grinding their own, just as they do with coffee beans. The wonderful thing about burr grinder mills (vs the impact grinders like Nutramill that pulverize the grains upon impact), is that you have the opportunity to use a coarse first grind, then sift out the bran and germ and re-grind the remaining flour on a finer setting just like commercial mills do. This gives you something more like white flour for those times when you want the perfect birthday cake or airy baguette. You can choose how much bran and germ to remove. You can also crack them coarsely to create a hot breakfast cereal or cracked wheat or barley for homebrewing.

The proof is in the flour.

See that lovely pile of powder fresh flour on the right? And the bigger bits of bran and germ from the other two mills? Each mill was set to grind as finely as it would go. The Country Living Grain Mill produces the finest flour possible in a home mill.

The one thing I will say is that if you are grinding flour for daily loaves by hand – you will be exceedingly strong at the end of one month. It is an exercise in patience to use a hand grinder, even with the power bar. That is probably why you see so many bicycle conversions. I have a motor for my hand grinder which makes grinding a snap. You can find used motors online and convert the Country Living Mill – but I love idea of the bicycle conversion which gives you a bit of a workout. If you have a couch potato in the house, just move the whole thing in front of the television.

And now that I hope I have convinced anyone looking for a good grain mill for Christmas that the Country Living Mill is the way to go, I will open up comments the UFH November Grain Challenge comments and linkup. You might win a $25 gift certificate to Bob’s Redmill or a Country Living Grain Mill!

Show us your stuff to Win!

{Note} This giveaway is limited to US and Canadian participants – sorry!

Please leave a comment OR link up to blog entries below using Mr. Linky (even though Mr Linky tells you to do both), telling me about the grain challenges you have taken this month. Please only leave one comment or link up one time since doing so is what enters you into the random drawing for prizes. I will leave this challenge open until Sunday, December 9 and then reply to commenters in this blog entry, or by email to those who linked up that won the random prize drawing. Good luck!


95 Responses to The Grain Grinder Comparison – Berry Meets Mill and Show Us Your Stuff

  1. My husband has been gluten free (because of medical issues) now for over a year and it has taken me this long to perfect some home made bread recipes using a lot of difference GF flours. I bought some teff grain on accident a while ago from through my buying group and the grinder I have is not cutting it in regards to breaking down those little seeds! I need that grinder!

  2. hubby and I have had a grain mill on our To Buy list for a while. In the meantime, we drive half an hour to my mom’s house and use her mill to grind a few lbs at a time which we then store in the freezer. I was lucky enough to grow up with a well-used (and ancient) grain mill, so my recent projects have been trying to widen the number of grains we mill. I use them in either soaked recipes or one of my two sourdough starters. I have also been wanting to try sprouting, then drying and milling my own sprouted flours.

  3. Katherine Pattin

    Einkorn is up next for me. Having my own mill would make such a huge difference in price and freshness. In addition, i belueve this mill will allow us to grind grains coarsely for our chickens, allowing us to feed organic and non-GMO home-mixed madh to them. Plus, we are already a biking family!

  4. I’m so glad there are still some in the foodie world who love bread. I think it’s a shame that it is trendy to demonize such a precious, delicious and traditional food as bread. I use my homemade sourdough starter all the time and have been enjoying a rather fabulous sourdough pancake recipe (thank you, Nourished Kitchen!). I grind my own wheat berries, for about 3 years now, and I’ve taught my kids how to do it. We sift the flour and compost the bran. I always like trying new bread recipes and look forward to making yours this week! Yay for beautiful food!

  5. I’ve don’t yet have a mill and me thinking hard about which one to buy.

  6. it’s back to the grind (:)) with our garage sale $10 grain mill for the Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. Quite effective grinding flint corn for Polenta, just as well, we seem to have had a good harvest!! The finest setting appears to do a good job for flour but man it takes a while to get there. Nice post, thanks.

  7. I am doing absolutely nothing new for this challenge – I still bake my own bread, but I haven’t mastered crackers yet. I don’t brew beer, since only the boys in this house like it. I tried to write a post on Flock Block, to grow and create my own chicken-treats, but meh, I don’t have enough experience with it to make it my own. So wah, though grinding my own grain would be swell, the reality of the situation is that I don’t need another gadget that will also require me to put up 50 lbs of wheat. Love the idea though!

  8. This summer I grew my own corn for the very first time! Now I have several pounds of dried corn that need milling but no mill… I checked with my friends and the entire university (where I work) community of staff members nobody around has a mill I can borrow :( It would be so fantastic to win this one!!! I have been baking my own bread and pastries since my teen years but only lately it occurred to me that I can also make my own flour and I’m looking forward to being able to do so!

  9. My parents grew and ground their own wheat when I was in my teens in Montana. Mom’s Fin Bread was amazing. Now I am trying to do the same with Finnish Rye, Maris Widgeon Wheat, Tricale and other grains. Some successes, some failures in our Pacific Northwest climate. Someday soon we will have enough to grind and bake with.

  10. ooh fun. i started using a whole grains sourdough starter in nov. and ground my own spring hard red wheat for it in my vitamix dry container. its not the best flour mill, the particle size is wildly varied.

  11. I have a Family Grain Mill, which I accidentally knocked off the kitchen table (the wire from the base was hanging and it got caught on a cart, whoops). It still works but wobbles as the attachment parts on the mill and the base were both cracked. I was grinding grains (wheats, kamut, farro, millet, oats) and making bread,pancakes, waffles, muffins, pizza dough, etc, but that has slowed down since the the fall, I just don’t feel it would last very long with regular use. I would love to get into sourdough and even try some gluten-free baking for health reasons, the Country Living Grain mill would be so awesome in my family’s quest for improved health. It was my first choice for a mill, just out of our budget. Thanks for having this giveaway!

  12. enjoyed your post! i must say, the only thing i’ve ground is flaxseed. BUT, my husband and i signed up for a grain CSA that should be arriving any week! we are going to give fresh grains a try. right now we’re hoping to borrow (or cheaply use) a mill here in missoula, but owning one would be even better. my husband loves bread, like really loves bread, and so i have done more bread experimenting in our 6 months of marriage than in my entire life. i must say, it doesn’t get much better than fresh homemade bread. i have a lot to learn but i sure am enjoying it. thanks for the tips.

  13. I borrowed my neighbours mill and ground home grown corn into flour and then made it into corn bread…so good. Now I would love to have a flour mill.

  14. Wow! A community mill would work great in my neighborhood!

  15. What could be better than milling my own flour? Not much! Perhaps a patch of grain in the garden or foraging for wild seeds to mill :) Awesome!

  16. Oooo! I would love a grinder, I have never used one before. I have to buy everything pre-ground.

  17. I bake all our family bread but we’ve still not taken the plunge into grinding our own. The few times I’ve used freshly ground flour the results have been great. Gotta grind!

  18. I have not started using any grains. I would like to start doing my own grains for my breads & cereals. Winning this could definitely make it happen.

  19. I have made my own bread for as long as I can remember. I think a grinder wold be really neat thing to use.

  20. I don’t have a grinder, but I planted grain for my challenge. I have some planted outside and I also planted some in one of my raised beds in the new hoophouse we built this year. The indoor plants are now about 8 inches high and the outdoor plants (which I actually planted about 3 weeks later, are just a couple if inches high. I’ve never grown any kind of grain before so I can’t wait to see how this goes! I also planted a grain chicken garden in my chicken run. They are going to love it!

  21. My wife has been lusting after one of these for years. I only agree that it could be a grand addition to my tool collection for its grain milling properties intended for brewing. If I win this for her because I brewed this month, you would make me a hero. Thanks.

  22. Karen Schweizer

    What an awesome give away for whoever wins. I have an old corn mill but nothing that will grind fine enough for flour. I try become more sustainable all the time and would love to venture into grinding my own flour.

  23. Travis Robinson

    I suppose these would work great for milling grains for beer brewing. We go down to the beer supply store to get our grains milled and they pull out a bucket and a drill. Loud, time-consuming and messy!

  24. I don’t yet have a grinder, but it’s on my wish list! For now we are soaking our grains before use. After buying some rancid flour at the co-op, finding a local source of fresh grains and a grain grinder is a top priority.

  25. This was a really timely challenge. I had recently given up bread (reluctantly), and so I was really intrigued with the idea of soaking the dough. Oh my gosh! How did I not know this! Thanks for the info, Annette (and the recipe). Not to be overly dramatic, but it’s fairly life changing. :)
    I suppose the next step is a grain mill.

  26. My next challenge is to mill my own oats. I would also love to grow hull-less oats out in the garden!

  27. After a few years of cutting way back on processed foods and sodas and eating more vegetables, I think I’m finally ready to go heavily paleo. My challenge this month is to cook for two people NOT on this plan while buying as few groceries as possible (December is always a tricky month for us, between holiday spending and fuel/firewood orders). In order to cut out the gluten in my diet, I’d like to experiment with various nut-based flours, and a grain mill would be the ideal way for me to do that.

  28. i purchased freshly ground blue grits from a local small business (wildflour mill of lynchburg, va.) and plan to get an even finer grind to make homemade blue tortillas.
    i also make 100% oat pancakes with home ground oats- for someone who doesn’t have a mill- you can grind rolled oats with a hand blender to a make oat flour.

  29. Thanks for all the great information! I’ve been trying to decide on a grain mill for some time now and this will really help.

  30. Holy crap! Is it nerdy that I’m super excited for this giveaway?!

  31. I have never been able to grind my own flour, because I’ve never had the chance to purchase a good grinder. But we bake constantly and lately have been enjoying the art of incorporating non-traditional “grains” to diversify our bread intake: buckwheat, almond, millet. I am thankful for a wonderful local resource for bulk whole grains, but do wish that I could utilize it more. Homemade is truly the best, for me and for those who eat my foods. I believe in taking a few steps backward and relearning what my ancestors knew as commonplace. Thanks for the giveaway and the opportunity to make some “backward” steps in my life!

  32. Our family is soaking overnight batter for bread, pancakes & waffles. My husband thinks some veg upset his stomach, but perhaps it is the whole wheat biscuits et al. that accompany most meals. We will see if soaking makes a difference. We homebrew, but aren’t ready to take the leap to all-grain at this time.

    This year of challenges has added an interesting twist to my annual gardening, preserving, and cooking. Thanks for introducing us to other bloggers, experts, and alternative thinkers and encouraging us to change our habits & improve our health.

  33. I only recently found your blog through NW Edible Life, so haven’t had a chance to do any of the challenges, but am looking forward to checking out your blog and giving some of those challenges a go!

  34. I have officially stopped buying store bought bread. I bake every week now. I’m trying a French bread that is a mix of whole wheat and bread flour but that isn’t going according to plan. Oh well, there’s always honey whole wheat. And we have home brew waiting in the basement. Maybe we’ll try it from grain next time, scary!

  35. Greetings,
    This is the first I have heard of the “Grinder Party” idea. Good idea. We have taste tests at home and gatherings for “Pickle Parties” etc. so this would be a good fit.
    Please sign me up for the chance to win. Grinder Party here we come.

  36. We’ve been making soaked bread in outbreaks machine since we for your book. I love the difference in flavor soaking makes. Still hoping to get a sour dough starter going and try that too.

  37. We are experimenting wil GF brewing. We grind at the brew shop and if we don’t brew within a couple of hours there is A LOT of flavor loss. So having a good grinder in our home would make brewing some much easier & good or bad it would happen more often I presume :)

    Also my husband loves to bake, he is primarily GF but when he does gluten he makes it worth it with the most amazing sourdough bread. I know he would be thrilled with this.

  38. I’d love my own mill! My mom milled her flower and made her own bread. Would love to do the same. Lots of healthier lifestyle changes this year! This should be another.

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