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. Oh my gosh, other flour nerds DO exist! I would have loved to attend this party! I only caught the last challenge as I learned about your blog via the Homebrew Husband post on NWEdible. I am actually brewing beer tomorrow for Christmas presents. Not all-grain yet, but it is in my future. Unfortunately, I actually broke the glass carboy I ferment the beer in today because the vibration from my grain mill caused my cast iron cook book stand to walk off of my kitchen table and onto the carboy resting below! Argh! To the homebrew shop I go tomorrow to replace it. At least I got some killer sourdough ciabatta out of the event. I have never seen a Country Living Mill in person. I had the wondermill jr and upgraded to the retsel mil-rite a few years ago. I made a YouTube video comparing the two you can check out. I made it because I was so frustrated that there were no live demos of mills in my area that I could attend and the YouTube options at the time were very minimal. Thanks for this post. I know many who will appreciate the info!

  2. I think I may have already left a comment and I am sorry if I have posted twice. I am currently sprouting sunflower, wheat, clover(for the chickens) and am adding quinoa. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I ground my own flour for the first time this month! It’s an attachment to my kitchen-aid. It doesn’t grind super fine, but it’s a good introduction. My 8 year old loves helping me so it’s worth it! How do you get the hulls out? I tried using my sifter but it doesn’t work very well. I had problems with the fresh flour being lighter than store bought so I had to adjust my recipes, but otherwise, I love it! Thanks for the opportunity.

    • Annette Cottrell

      Hi Laura – you would hull the grains before grinding. To do that you can crush everything and then let it drop into a container in front of a fan on low. The hulls and middlings should float away and the grains should drop. You can probably find info on how to do it online I bet. Fresh flour is lighter so it’s always best to weigh it before adding to your recipe. I have had many puddled sheets of scones on my journey!

  4. Two years ago my husband bought me the Nutrimill. Since then I’ve been rotating different grains to eat. We now eat many more options then just what is offered at the store. I now have spelt, farrow, eilkorn, millet, rice, and hard and soft wheat berries that I can grind up when needed. This last month I tried making spelt tortillas, added farrow to soups, and made rice pancakes.

  5. November was our #nospendnovember, so I didn’t spend any extra to try a new grain (I’m looking forward to adding spelt to my regular bread recipe, though, and I’d love to try einkorn.)

    We did some soaked pancakes this month. So tasty :)

  6. For challenge #2 I made my own granola bars from the recipe at the Kitchen Stewardship blog and some sourdough crackers from Wild Fermentation!

  7. A grain mill is next on my must-have list!! I’ve switched from white flour to whole wheat (mostly!), but definitely need to start grinding my own.

  8. I have a BlendTec grain grinder and am very happy with it. Just remember to have both the “cup” and the sponge “F” in place to avoid flying flour in your kitchen. Will not work without electricity though.

  9. I am so excited for the grain mill giveaway. My roommate and I had started trying to brew a batch of beer a week, and I hate the idea of throwing all the spent grains away. I attempted to grind smaller batches of grain in the food processor, but ended up with a very grainy, although tasty, flour. We did our first attempt at an all grain brew, (inspired by the post, and a sweet deal on a turkey fryer via craigslist) and it is such a waste to put all that grain into compost. Would love to being able to dry and really grind my soaked grains into flour for delicious baked goods!

  10. From one flour nerd to another, I commend you! I would also encourage everyone to have a grain milling party before buying a mill, to learn as much as you can. I’ve learned since buying my mill (a retsel) that they are best for hard wheat and other very hard grains. That’s mostly what I mill so no problem for me, but it could be a deal breaker for someone else.
    Anyway, fresh milled flour is so good. No one would ever go back once they start.

    Sarah

  11. We made the soaked pizza dough, and sandwich bread. We’ve been making Power Pancakes for awhile. I’ve enjoyed doing some experimenting with freshly ground grains.

  12. I made pizza with wheat ground in my blendtec blender last night. i agree with the comparison, it is super loud. Woke up my sleeping child. The consistency of the flour was a little chunky and uneven–fine for bread or pizza, and though i’d be happy with a cookie made from the coarse flour, it might be a little grainy for some. The flour does taste so much better than the store bought flour! I’ve been eyeing a grain mill so i can adjust the grind a bit…but can’t quite stomach the price tag.

  13. Annette,
    That’s so cool that you had that party, we had a lot of fun when we did ours; maybe grain milling and tool fixing/knife sharpening/pan seaoning parties will catch on. Kudo’s to Sarah for coming up with these ideas.
    DF

  14. My challenge is actually getting a grinder….

  15. Francesca Gennotti

    Okay, this is the push I needed to start grinding my own grain(s). Thank you once again for your inspiration!

  16. I have been saving up to get a grain mill, I love this one and it is my 1st choice, my 2nd choice is less expensive and I am caught between waiting it out and being able to get one and use it.

  17. I have access to an area where I could grow my own gains, but haven’t done it as I didn’t have a way to grind it. If I won – I would be in fresh home grown and and ground flour by the fall!

  18. I think I may have done this wrong and used Mr. Linky even though I don’t have a web site related to the milling challenge; sorry! I am still grinder-less. I am determined to get a grinder, however, and use organic, non-GMO wheat berries! Thank you for this post.

  19. Have never ground my own flour but we are constantly trying new things and my baker hubby would just love this!

  20. I do not have a grain mill. My goal it to focus on sprouted grain flours once I have one. We’re currently living off of our food storage and I am experimenting with recipes to replace the items we loved to buy so much (crackers, bread from the bakery, etc.).

  21. Michelle Teeter

    I want to grow amaranth this year, to add to homemade bread :)

  22. I have never ground flour before, but am looking to add grains to my garden. I would love to learn more about it and will be following. I live in Florida, but am in Germany at the moment. I have been looking at all the grains here. Its pretty interesting how there are so many of the same, but corn flour is a bit unusual here.

  23. The comparison party looks like it was a lot of fun, and what a great way to learn about products, thank you so much for posting your results, a grain mill is next on my list as soon as I save enough pennies and the information that you posted will be a great deal of help.

  24. i currently use my vitamix for grinding grains, but with the small capacity i have to do numerous batches… BLAH… but i LOVE fresh ground wheat…

  25. We hold a “back to basics” class through our FOOD BANK, and one of the gentelmen that came did a great lesson on mill grinding! SO MUCH SO, that I want to start doing this for my family! I love reading all the posts and gleaning all I can….I hope to be getting one in the future..maybe I’ll win? lol If not, I will still work out a way to find the best grinder I can for my family. Thanks for this awesome BLOG and all the great folks that are way ahead of me!!!!

  26. For challenge #2 we made some homemade cheese crackers ( http://homecookinginmontana.blogspot.com/2010/02/cheddar-crackersreminiscent-of-goldfish.html) they were great!

  27. I’ve been using organic whole grain flour for most of my baking. I’ve been dying to have my own grain mill so i can grind my own sprouted grains. thanks for hosting the giveaway and i hope i win! :-)

  28. I currently own a Family Grain Mill from Pleasant Hill Grain, which I got because of all the attachments that I could order with it such as the food processor attachments and the mean grinder! It is a lot of work as I do all the grinding manually. I have looked at the Country Living Grain mill, but the price was just to steep. Thanks for the opportunity to win one! Woot!

  29. Hi,

    I took November Challenge #1. I picked up a copy of the petition for I-522. I signed it and got 5 adult members of my family to sign it too. (That was an interesting Thanksgiving conversation.) To get ready for the discussion, I read. the GMO Myths and Truths booklet at earthopensource.com.

    I found this a really discouraging process. until know, I thought that sticking with home-grown, organic produce, grains and flours guaranteed that our food would be GMO-free. After the holidays, I’ll be ready to fight on for this issue, but right now it’s overwhelming. Thanks for the give-away!

  30. I made sourdough from scratch! First time ever, caught my own starter and everything. And it is GOOD! Not quite as potent as SF sourdough yet,more like brown-and-serve rolls level. I’m planning to work the starter on the counter a bit longer to improve it, but I’m reasonably pleased as-is.

    I would love to have a grain mill! It’s been on my wish list for some time, but other more-immediate expenses keep coming up.

  31. Kyrsten McDougall

    I love showing children the process of turning a raw product into a finished product. It is like divulging the secret of magicians. There expression are precious when I unveil the magic (hard work and ingenuity). I have two children (and a third on the way) and I watch two. All are 5 and under. Within the the month, we made pizza dough for individual pizzas. The red wheat was milled in a funny little hand grinder I received from a friend and some of the children chose to use the mortar and pestle. Despite our efforts we had to cut in to commercial flour. Eh…it happens.

  32. I am working on a whole grain sourdough rye, danish style, with all fresh ground flour. Would love to win this! Thanks for the giveaway!

  33. I haven’t had any challenges yet because I’m just starting to want to grind my own-I suddenly find myself making a lot of breads for my kids instead of buying it, and want to give them the best I can without breaking the bank with the local natural producer. I suppose the challenge then is finding a way to do it without going broke!

  34. I’m trying to switch over to gluten-free but it’s a slow conversion since my family is not exactly on board. I’ve tried a couple of recipes using rice flour, including a cornbread recipe made with corn that we grew. I used the electric mill my mother gave me that’s probably older than I am to grind both the corn and the rice. This isn’t the first recipe I’ve used rice flour for but I have come to conclusion that I despise rice flour. I just don’t like the texture it creates in baked goods and I don’t like the flavor much either.

  35. I just acquired a used Family Grain Mill with motor from craigslist and am enjoying making bread from my own freshly milled grain. Last night we had spelt biscuits and they were TO DIE FOR! I bought this mill as it was in my price range, but I’d LOVE to win a Country Living Mill. I’ve done a lot of research and it is at the top of my list if I’m ever able to purchase a new mill. Well, that or the komo. I’d love to see a grain mill challenge with one of those included.

  36. For challenge #2 I started making my own granola (and yogurt to go along with it)! I have been wanted start trying to make my own flour, so this giveaway is perfect timing!

  37. This looks like a nice grain mill!

  38. I would love to win this. One more item I could get fresh and make on my own is fine with me. My CSA supplied all of my veggies-now I can add grains to the mix to grind. Yeah!

  39. As a Celiac Family it would be WONDERFUL to be able to bulk buy grains instead of having to buy the mixes….. anyways been a dream but never afordable! here’s to hoping to win!

    oh, and great comparison article btw!

    • oh yeah I forgot to mention how great I found your book! it was great to finally find one from the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver Islander here). I’v read it cover to cover, and it now currently lives in the bathroom, where it still continues to give tidbits of information (now where to find a Yuzu tree!)

      keep up the great work!

  40. Just finishing up a manuscript for a book on cooking with locally grown beans and grains in the Pacific Northwest, which means lots of recipe testing! No grain grinder of my own, and depending on friends’ grinders is getting old. This year’s grain CSA share is on its way, and a grinder of my own would be a true gift. Thanks also for the chart comparing different grinders — what a resource!

  41. I ground a small batch of flour in my coffee grinder this month, but am afraid that excessive use of it this way will kill the grinder quickly! Would love to have a dedicated grain mill for larger batches!

  42. I’ve never ground my own grain and alas, I don’t know a single person that has a grain mill (believe me, I’ve asked!) Since we’ve gone gluten free due to our son’s severe gluten intolerance, I’ve had to learn to cook with all kinds of new grains and flours that we’d never tried before, like quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth. Thank you for posting about the different grain mills, as I would love trying my hand at grinding gf grains into flours for baking.

  43. MaryJoyce Johnson

    After helping me grind quite a bit of grain by hand, my husband decided to hook up a drill to our Family Grain Mill. We could not find any drill bit/metal spindle thingy the correct size, so we decided to buy the KitchenAid attachment. However, our wonderful old KitchenAid does not have enough watts / “juice” to run it. Just today a friend came over to make bread with me. We took turns grinding wheat, rye & kamut, and made 10 loaves of bread. Oh how I would love to win a Country Living Grain Mill that is sturdy enough to hook up to a bicycle :-) Oh, and I just started adding quinoa to make a complete protein.
    Thanks for your post!

  44. We are making and growing our own grain mix for our livestock and need to grind it for our chickens and ourselves. We are now off any GMO grains like soy and corn, and are instead going to be feeding our animals (and ourselves) only oats, wheat, amaranth, flax, and garbanzos. We’ll grow as much of this ourselves as we can starting in the spring, so we’ll really, really, really need a grinder! Thanks for having this giveaway!

  45. So, this month we replaced our store-bought breakfast cereal with baked oatmeal. We make a 9×9 casserole dish Sunday evening, bake it Monday morning and it’s enough for breakfast for the family until the weekend.

    I am also trying, trying to replace store bread with home baked.

  46. I would love to have a mill!

  47. I used to make 40 loaves of bread a week after grinding the wheat fresh using a Kitchen Aid attachment. some of the best bread ever. I switched to what I think was a KTEC or it predicessor. It ground very fine and the adjustments were tough to get something less than the very fine grind. The bread never came out correctly. It was very loud as well.

    My Ktchen Aid might have been a little slow, but I still love it. I do not bake bread very often anymore, and do not have either of my mills. I have been thinking about getting back into it, so your comparrison chart was very timely for me. Thank you.

  48. I currently use a Vitamix to grind my grain, would LOVE a better grinder though! It gets the flour very hot by the time it’s ground fine, and you have to do very small batches. Now we are experimenting with sprouting and dehydrating different types of grains before we grind them. I make gluten free breads in addition to wheat varieties and find them especially delicious and easier for the sensitive folks to digest that way.

  49. I am experimenting with sprouting grains, then drying, then hauling them over to a friend’s house to grind. Apparently the sprouting process reduces the amount of phytic acid in the flour as well as making them more digestible. It is a lot of work, but I think worth the effort.

  50. we have an electric mill but would love to go off the grid and to get such a fine grind, amazing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


+ 2 = ten

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>