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The 10 Best Grain Mills  Sep 2018

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1
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2
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Your Guide To Buying a Grain Mill

By Yehudah Posnick

    As part of the trend to eat more healthy, people try to wean themselves away from processed foods. But they don't suffice with just buying whole wheat products, or using brown instead of white sugar. They want to be involved in the food preparation, from the very beginning. A grain mill will allow you to grind grains, beans, and nuts yourself, and make all-natural baked goods or nut butters. The less processing, the more the nutritional value of the grains and nuts is preserved. And it's clear that there are also items—for example, coffee beans--which have a much richer flavor when they're freshly ground. Here is a guide to some of the best grain mills on the market.  

    Mills can be distinguished by their power source, or the grinding mechanism:

    By power source:

    • Electric mills: These are preferred for grinding large amounts of grain, because they save effort and are cleaner.

    • Manual Mills: Grinding grain by hand can be more nutritious, because there is less of a heat buildup in the course of the grinding. The heat generated by the grinding causes the grain to lose nutrients.

    • Convertible Mills: These mills have attachments to convert between electric and manual grinding.

    By mechanism:

    • Burr grinding: A burr mill has two grinding plates, either made from stone, iron or steel, where one is stationary and the other is rotated by hand or by electricity. The grain goes in between the two plates, which crush the grain as the moving plate rotates. Stone grinding is preferred by some over metal grinding, because stone grinding generates less heat, and has been found to be higher in B vitamins. Others prefer the metal grinding, because the stone may grind down over time and deposit stone sediment into the flour.

    • Impact grinding: An impact mill employs two steel heads that both rotate and press together. They essentially hammer the grain into flour.

    • Types of burrs: Both stone and steel burrs have their advantages. Some mills are provided with both steel and stone burrs—you can experiment for yourself which you prefer.

    • Speed: The electric mills can prepare 10-20 cups of flour in no more than 10 minutes. People who prepare beer and need to grind down a large amount of barley may want a mill that works even more efficiently—some can grind 8 pounds of barley in a minute!

    • Storage container: Since they produce a lot of flour in a short amount of time, you will need some means of storing the leftover flour. Look for mills that come with storage container accessories.

    • Easy assembly and cleanup: An electric mill tends to have a lot of parts. Check to see that it's easy to assemble the mill. The simplest (and cheapest) construction are the mills that have the option of buying the rollers, hopper and container for the flour separately. As for cleanup: the best mills generate very little dust. The dust flies in the air and essentially goes to waste. They should typically get at least 75% efficiency of converting the wheat kernels into flour.

    • Cool grinding: Inquire about how much heat is generated when milling grain, whether it is done manually or electrically. If the mill produces a lot of heat, that means that the plates or rollers that crush the grain are not working very efficiently. Cooler grinding means less oxidation and a healthier flour. If the temperature gets over 140°F, enzymes and vitamins can get destroyed.

    • Drill bit attachment: If you're working with a large quantity of grain, it might be tedious to use a manual mill. On the other hand, some manual mills can be operated with an electric drill. There is a special drill bit that fits into the mill. The drill will turn the plates and grind the grain for you. The fact that drills have varying speeds allows you more control over the grinding process.

    • Versatility of the mill: Some mills are good only for dry foods, such as grains or beans. Other mills are suitable for preparing nut butters, which are very oily, such as peanuts or almonds. Check whether the mill can grind wet grains as well—some electric mills are restricted to only dry grain.

    • Hopper size: The hopper is where you pour the grain into the mill. The hopper size determines how much grain or legumes you can put in at once in the mill. If you want to grind a lot of grain at once, then you should consider a large hopper size. Some hoppers can accept 10 pounds of grain at once.

    • Grinding speed: Some electric mills have three speeds: 1) fast, for pastry flour, which is very fine, 2) medium, and 3) slow, for preparing coarse flour. When using an electric drill to rotate the mill's rollers, make sure you use the right drill speed. Setting the drill at too high a speed will end up either pulverizing the grain too fine, or not letting the grains through the rollers.

    Wondermill-- is an American company located in Pocatello, Idaho. They manufacture an electric and manual grain mill that can be used for a variety of grains, seeds and legumes.

    Country Living Hand Grain Mill—is a company based in Stanwood, Washington. They specialize in carbon-steel grinding plates for their mills, that are designed for more efficient grinding.

    Northern Brewer—is a company founded by Christopher Farley in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1993. They started in the area of home brewing, where people would make their own beer. Over the years they have come to add grain grinding products as well.

    Midwest Supplies-- is a company based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, that was founded in 1995. They are the largest retailer of home brewing and wine-making equipment in the United States. They have 72 beer brewing kits and 65 wine-making kits. Alongside the equipment that they manufacture for wine and beer making, they also manufacture grind mills.