Help for wheat grinder
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  1. #1
    Registered User 2ndGenGranola's Avatar
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    Default Help for wheat grinder

    I am really entertaining the thought of grinding my own wheat. Are the $20ish hand grinders any good? I don't really want a loud machine -- I won't even buy an electric can opener. Plus, if power went out I could still operate it. Any thoughts?!?

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    Sorry to break the news, there aren't any "good" mills in the $20 range that I'm aware of.

    My first mill was a Back To Basics, which run around $60-$100 dollars, and is one of the least expensive. It was a worthless piece of junk. It would take hubby and me 45-minutes to get enough flour for a loaf of bread. The grind of the flour was so coarse it was best used for chicken feed. You had to pass the flour through twice. I wouldn't suggest this mill at ANY price.

    If you can't grind grain/seeds/beans into a fine flour, you won't get good quality breads and you'll get poor-quality cakes and quick breads. It takes fine flour for cakes and pastry. The finer the flour for making yeast breads, the more gluten is available for a higher-rising loaf. Coarse flour = coarse bread.

    I wear ear plugs when running my mills. Using a Nutrimill or a Wonder Mill (both excellent impact mills), it will only take a few minutes to mill a large amount of flour using these machines. The Nutrimill is a good choice over the Wonder Mill because you can also mill a fine-grind of cornmeal. I use the coarse grind to mill durum wheat into a coarse flour similar to semolina in texture, for making pasta (semolina is durum wheat with the bran and germ removed). I've owned both of these machines.

    If you want a good little hand mill, I'd suggest a Family Grain Mill - Grain Mill - The Family Grain Mill and Attachments (it's also found at the link below for Pleasant Hill Grain). The Family Grain Mill is my back-up mill. I do have the electric motor for mine, and it also has other handy attachments you can get for it, such as a flaker mill (rolls grain into flakes), meat grinder and a grater/slicer, so it's also a multi-tasker in the kitchen.

    Here's a web site with a lot of choices and information about grain mills - Pleasant Hill Grain: Grain Mill Nutrimill Bosch Mixer Bosch Mixers Wheat Flour Grinder Mills Family Grain Mill Best Buy (scroll down when you open the page).

    Save your $1 bills until you have enough for a quality grain mill if you are really serious about milling. I bought two pieces of junk before I got one that actually could do what I needed it to.

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    I can't decide which burrs to get. stone or steel. I know some mills you can different kinds of burrs

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    Registered User lparker's Avatar
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    I'm looking into grinding my own as well. Been buying KA flour for a little over a buck a pound. I don't mind the idea of paying $270 or so for a mill, but I'll be damned if I'll pay $50-75 for less than a bushel of wheat...won't even pay it for a bushel. Wheat prices are at about $12/bushel max. Anywhere I look, the asking price is about 4x+ that....400% markup! PLUS shipping! That's almost as bad as the supermarket ripoff of the $1.99/lb apples...$120/bushel!...an 8-10x markup!
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    Registered User hestlauss's Avatar
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    We started with the Family hand crank grain grinder and used it was a couple of years before we added a Jupiter motor to it. We also bought the flaker attachment so that we can make our own rolled oats, barley and wheat for cereal. Home ground flour tastes fresh and nutty (when I taste whole wheat store flour now it tastes rancid to me). I think we've been using our Family Mill for 9 years now without any problems. Mostly we use it to grind wheat for bread, waffles and muffins but I also use it to grind dent corn into polenta and it works well for both. I am planting hulless barley and oats this year so hopefully I will finally be able to try the flaker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thefrug View Post
    I can't decide which burrs to get. stone or steel. I know some mills you can different kinds of burrs
    Burrs won't mill flour very fine, and you will be disappointed in the texture of your breads. I have a Corona Corn Mill that has burrs, and it's only suitable for milling coarse things like cornmeal, or a coarse grind of cereal for cooking or adding to breads (similar in texture of multi-grain cereals that look like chopped whole grains).

    Stone mills grind flour much finer, but you have to be careful not to use grain that has too much moisture in it or your stones will glaze over and you have to take the mill apart and clean/dry the stones. Stones are also made of materials that can chip and break, so always have an extra set for your mill.

    I would suggest a Nutri Mill if you can only afford one mill. Second choice would be a Wonder Mill. Third choice would be a Family Grain Mill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lparker View Post
    I'm looking into grinding my own as well. Been buying KA flour for a little over a buck a pound. I don't mind the idea of paying $270 or so for a mill, but I'll be damned if I'll pay $50-75 for less than a bushel of wheat...won't even pay it for a bushel. Wheat prices are at about $12/bushel max. Anywhere I look, the asking price is about 4x+ that....400% markup! PLUS shipping! That's almost as bad as the supermarket ripoff of the $1.99/lb apples...$120/bushel!...an 8-10x markup!
    I'm very fortunate, I live in the middle of wheat country, and although wheat prices are the highest I've ever experienced in my 20-years of buying it for home milling, it's gone down a little in the last few months. When you purchase wheat for home use you never purchase new-crop wheat. It's typically 1-3 years old - so that was when prices were very high. New-crop wheat doesn't mill or perform as well in baked goods as wheat that has some age on it. I occasionally get free wheat from friends or family who are wheat producers, but I have to store it for a year or so before using it. When I get free wheat, I also have to make sure I know what the variety of wheat it is, and it's protein level so I use it for the correct type of baking.

    Here are some sources that may help you out... It's always the shipping that kills you, so look for specials when places offer free shipping for purchases over $100, or reduced shipping around the holidays when they are trying to reduce inventory before the end of the year.

    Wheat Montana Wheat: (I prefer Prairie Gold hard spring white wheat). Click on Dealer Locator on the left side of the home page and find your state. Wheat Montana ~ Home Two years ago I was buying Wheat Montana Wheat at my local Wal-Mart - $5 for 25# and that was the most expensive wheat I'd ever purchased at that time.

    Farmer Direct Foods: White Wheat Producers Association

    This is where I purchase wheat, but at a local mill. This same mill produces the Whole White Wheat for King Arthur for this region.

    Walton Feed - Wheat

    Be sure to check at your local LDS Church (Mormons). They may offer food storage items that they make available to their members, including wheat.

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    Registered User lparker's Avatar
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    The closest Wheat Montana dealer is 70 miles from me in a direction I never go. Walton Feed wants $13 + $42 to ship 50 lbs from ID. I'm going to have to look local and find out who grows hard spring wheat around here. Thanks.
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