Coffee & Spice Mills
I mention these first because you can buy one for as little as $15 on sale and they’re a good way to find out if you like whole grain, lentil, and bean flour enough to invest in a flour mill.
Start out by making recipes for chips and crackers in Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers, since you don’t need much flour to do that, unlike a loaf of bread or other baked goods. Coffee & spice Mills grind grains, lentils, dal, and beans (but garbanzo and other large beans are too hard, stick with small beans like black, red, small white, adzuki, etc).
I do not sell grain mills, nor do I get a commission from any company or website that does. I own three: the Family Grain Mill, the NutriMill, and the Country Living Grain Mill.
It only takes a minute for an electric mill to grind whole grains into two to three cups of flour. Some mills also allow you to mill seeds and beans, or crack grain to make cereal.
Wheat can last for decades if stored properly, so having grain at hand will also provide you emergency food after a natural disaster.
You can make your own cereal, bread, crackers, and so on for five to twenty percent the cost of the store-bought version, so a grain mill will pay for itself quickly. If you already own a standing mixer you many brands sell grain mill attachments, so your investment is even less. You can also mill flour with a Vita-Mix grain blender (about $100, a special, additional, blender for grinding grains).
Do not try to mill whole grains in a blender or food processor — you’ll quickly wear out or destroy the blades, since they were not designed to mill grains.
I hope that after you’ve experimented with store bought whole grain flour you’ll buy your own mill.
Some factors to consider when choosing a model:
1) Can it mill beans and dried corn? Family Grain Mill: beans yes, and though the manual says corn, I don’t like the sound the mill makes (though mine is 10 years old, perhaps the newer ones are different).
2) Can you mill seeds? You get more nutrition from ground flax than whole seeds. Family Grain Mill: yes
3) Can it grind flour from very fine to coarse, cracked grains (good for cereal)? Family Grain Mill: yes. This is important so that the glycemic index of the flour you produce isn’t as high as white flour. Even on the highest setting, the flour from the Family Grain Mill is coarser than store-bought flour, and you can make it even coarser if you like. At the lowest setting you can make cracked grains, a great breakfast cereal.
4) Can it grind manually (after a power outage or a natural disaster)? Family Grain & Country Living Mills (yes)
5) How much does it cost? From cheapest to most expensive: Nutrimill, Family Grain Mill, Country Living
6) How much space will it take up? Family Grain Mill, by far the least space of any other mill. 5″ wide by 9.5″ deep by 16.5″ high
7) Does it generate a lot of dust? Family Grain Mill & Nutrimill: none Country Living Mill: yes, though the amount depends on how good a bin you grind into
8) What other attachments can I get? Family Grain Mill: flaker to make multi-grain flakes (i.e. oatmeal, but you can add other grains besides oats for better nutrition, such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, buckwheat), meat grinder, and 6 stainless steel drum food processors: #1Finely grates hard cheese, thin string softer cheese, nuts, hard vegetables such as carrots, and hard fruit such as apples. #2 Slices cabbage for cole slaw or kraut. Cuts even slices for dehydrating foods. Slices cucumber, carrots, onions for salads and potatoes for fried chips, scalloped potatoes. #3 Coarse Julienne vegetables for soups, stews, cheese for tacos, salads, toppings, hard fruits such as apples and pears. These drums interchange in just seconds and cleanup is an absolute breeze. #4 /Smaller julienne for soups, salads, main entrée pies such as chicken pot pie or beef pot pie, dehydrated vegetables. #5/finest grind for nuts, cheese, baby foods, almond pie crust, cookie and cake recipes. Excellent for people who are gluten-intolerant. This drum will also grind sprouted grain for sprout (Essene) bread. #6/ Use for mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkins. Great for pies and soufflés.
9) Family Grain Mill only: If you already own a KitchenAid, Bosch, Electrlux, Vikingor, or Delonghi stand mixer, then the cheapest option for you would be to buy a flour and/or flaker attachment rather than a flour mill
10) How much noise does it make? They all make noise, but not for long.
11) Can it mill a lot of flour quickly (some are slower than others, or only able to mill 5 cups or less of raw grain at a time, etc). Family Grain mill is slightly slower and mills slightly less flour at one time, but this is more than made up for by how fast it is to clean up afterwards and you can just wait 15 minutes or so (to keep from overheating the motor), and grind more flour.
12) How hard is it to clean up afterwards? (Easiest by far: Family Grain Mill)
13) Can you buy a cheap replacement steel burr set when the original gets dull? This is important because you don’t want to have to replace the entire mill (Yes: Family Grain mill for $36 in August 2012)
14) Nutrient Preservation. Family Grain Mill has conical steel burrs that grind grain with a shearing action to avoid the “crushing friction” that creates high heat in all commercial and some of the home grain mills — excess heat that can quickly destroy many of the nutrients in your flour. And unlike stone burrs, steel burrs won’t gum up or glaze, and don’t add grit to your flour. Dr. Lustig, I think, haven’t read his book yet, but heard on the radio mention stone burrs as best, but since the Family Grain Mill can’t grind flour as fine as commercial flours even at the finest setting, seems to reach the same better fiber coarseness as stone mills.
As I mentioned above, I own one electric mill (Nutrimill), one both electric and manual (Family grain mill), and one manual-only mill (Country Living, though you can make it motorized or attach a belt to your bicycle and the grinding wheel to grind the grain). The Family Grain mill is by far my favorite. It’s small, light, and can make everything from fine flour to cracked grains. It also has a manual base for when the power is out, and grinds flour more easily and faster manually than my very expensive, huge, heavy, manual Country Living grain mill (which also generates clouds of flour dust). It grinds seeds, there’s almost no cleanup (just rinse out the bowl you ground the flour into), and is quieter than the Nutrimill.
In March 2011, a Family grain mill motor base, manual base (so you can mill flour when there’s no electricity in an emergency), and flour mill were $269. Or $343 if you also buy the flaker attachment. Since oatmeal is cheap, you don’t really need the flaker attachment for an additional $70, but it’s nice to make fresh multi-grain oatmeal from many different grains (5 minutes to mill 3 cups of raw grain into 6 cups of multi-grain oatmeal). The motor base is only 4.5” wide, 9” tall, 7” deep and the attachments are small as well. If the Steel burrs wear out after heavy use over several years, you can buy a replacement set for just $36 (march 2011).
My Nutrimill is electric only, takes longer to clean up, and can only grind a very fine powder despite the settings for coarser — no effect I can see. Some people want very find flour, but this has a high glycemic index. This mill will grind beans, dent corn and popcorn, though only if I stand there and keep pushing the beans or corn into the hole, which is terribly annoying, because I bought it specifically to grind corn, and it’s awfully noisy with the cover off. It has one advantage over the Family Grain Mill in that you can make more flour at one time, more quickly. But cleanup takes much longer, and with the Family Grain mill, you could grind flour, wait for the machine to cool down, and grind more flour. Also, even after oiling the lid every time after use, sliding it on and off is hard, and if you don’t exactly shove the flour bin in right and far enough, nothing happens. Nor can you buy a flaker attachment to make oatmeal (or the 9 attachments of the Family Grain Mill). This mill is only $10 less ($260) than the Family Grain Mill motor base and Grain Mill ($270 August 2012).
Because businesses come and go, currency exchange rates fluctuate, and grain mill prices and shipping costs vary quite a bit, and manufacturers release new or improved grain mills, so this information is probably out of date.
Electric grail mills
Family (Jupiter, Miracle), Blendtec, L’Equip Vital & Nutrimill, Fidibus, Wolfgang, K-Tec, Golden grain grinder, and European Schnitzer, Retsel, Hawos, and Samap
Manual grain mills
Back to Basics, Victorio Hand Crank, Blendtec Marga Mulino, Pragotrade Porkert, Country Living, Diamant.
Don’t grind grain in a blender, the blades aren’t designed for hard dry grains. The only exception is the $500 Vitamix juicer, which you need to buy the $100 dry container with lid attachment blender to grind grains with. I don’t understand why people buy juicers at all — they take out the fiber and other good nutrition. Drink water and eat or cook the fruit and vegetables.
Read the operating manual to be certain of what capabilities the mill has (sometimes you have to find the manufacturers website).