If you’re serious about being self sufficient, then a grain mill is probably on your list of must-buy purchases. With a grain mill, you can grind your own flour from wheat, corn, rice, or other grains at a fraction of the cost of purchasing commercially ground flour. But how do you know which one to buy? Read on to learn about your options and how to compare units.
What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing A Grain Mill?
Before you buy a grain mill, think about why you’re buying one and what you hope to do with it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How often will I use the grain mill? If you want a grain mill for emergencies only, then a hand-cranked mill is a good option. These mills are reasonably priced, take up little storage room, and require no electricity. On the other hand, if you plan to use your mill every week to make flour, then an electric mill is probably the best choice. Hand-cranked mills take as much as five minutes to grind one cup of flour and are somewhat difficult to use. Electric mills can crank out up to twenty-four cups of flour in less than thirty minutes. What happens though when the power goes down? Many homesteaders opt to keep a hand-cranked mill for emergencies, but use an electric model for daily use. Some electric models come with the option of using a hand-crank, or you can plan on running the mill with a generator.
- What do I want to make with the mill? Most manual grain mills have a limited number of options when it comes to the flour’s texture. If you want fine or coarse flour, you’re probably out of luck. Electric mills have a much wider range of settings, allowing you to custom-design your flour according to your needs.
- How much am I willing to spend? If you’re new to homesteading or on a limited budget, then a hand-cranked mill may be your best choice. Good hand-cranked mills start at around $60, while most electric models fall between $200 and $370.
- What other features are important to me? Most electric models are quite noisy and some can create a lot of flour dust. Some have a larger bowl capacity than others, which is important if you’re baking for a large family.
Which Mill Is Best? Manual Mill Review
Back to Basics Hand Grain Mill.  For around $70, this mill is a good choice for emergency use. It grinds bread flour but not cake flour.
Wonder Junior Deluxe. Made by the manufacturers of the popular Wonder Mill, this manual grain mill has more features than most. It’s easy to use and grinds one cup of flour in about three minutes. The Wonder Junior Deluxe comes with several accessories and can be used to make nut butters. It is priced around $169 for a basic model and $219 for the deluxe model with accessories.
Country Living Hand Grain Mill . At $429, this mill is an investment in the future, and it’s so solidly built that you’ll pass it down to your great grandchildren. Like the other manual mills, the downside to this one is that milling by hand takes some time and effort. At this price, many people prefer an electric mill. But, if you want quality and durability, this one can’t be beat. A motorized attachment is available, although it’s quite pricey.
Family Grain Mill . One of the simplest hand mills to use, this one is also reasonably priced at around $119 or $259 for a motorized base. The Family Grain Mill can also be used with a Bosch. It doesn’t mill flour as finely as an electric mill, but it’s a good option for bread flour.
Which Mill Is Best? Electric Grain Mill Review
BlendTec Grain Mill . This is a great basic electric mill. At around $179, it can fit into most budgets. It has a large pan that holds twenty-four cups of flour, and it can grind very fine flour. Downsides? It’s noisy and it does create some dust. It can’t grind very coarse grinds, including cereal and cornmeal.
WonderMill.  One of the most popular mills on the market, the WonderMill is priced at around $259. It is less noisy than the BlendTec or NutriMill and cleans up easily. It also leaves less flour dust in the air than most models. You can use the WonderMill to grind legumes, nuts, and non-oily seeds too.
NutriMill . At around $259, the Nutrimill is WonderMill’s major competitor. It offers many of the same features, but is somewhat messier and noisier than the WonderMill. It holds twenty-two cups of flour and makes flour both a bit coarser and finer than the other electric mills.
KitchenAid  sells a grain mill attachment, which might seem like the perfect solution: less expense and you don’t need to buy a whole new appliance. Unfortunately, many consumers have complained about the KitchenAid attachment. It’s difficult to use, makes a big mess, and has even broken some KitchenAid mixers.
Grinding Whole Grains
Once you’ve settled on a grain mill, you’ll need a source for your grain. Most natural food stores sell whole wheat, triticale, and other grains in bulk. Watch for sales and buy it by the twenty-five-pound bag. Mail order companies like Walton Feed  also sell bulk grains, although you’ll probably pay a shipping charge.
One of the best bargains around for great deals on bulk foods is the LDS Home Storage Center . Owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, these centers are found throughout the U.S. and Canada. You don’t have to be LDS to purchase goods there, and you’ll find both hard red and soft white wheat at bargain basement prices. For example, twenty-five pounds of white wheat costs only $12.
Store whole grains in food-grade plastic buckets in a dark, dry location. Properly stored, the grain will stay fresh for twenty years or more. Once you grind it into flour, it loses nutrients and becomes rancid quickly, though. For the best quality, only grind as much as you can use in a week and store the flour in the refrigerator.
©2012 Off the Grid News