Questions to Ask Yourself When Looking for the Best Grain Mill
Are you looking for the best grain mill for flour grinding? Whether you are looking to produce flour for your own home projects or you want to create your own flour for a larger purpose, such as making bread or pastries for a local sale, then you need to know which grain mills are most suited to your needs.
Whether you are using your own wheat, you have a great source of wheat berries or you simply buy your raw materials and use them frequently or infrequently, you'll need the right grain mill to make flour in your own home.
Here, we look at the different types of grain mills available on the market, look at the key questions you need to ask and also look at some of the individual models that may be suited to your needs.
Based on some of the below considerations, we’ve highlighted 3 of the best grain mills that you’ll find to be the best suited for home use. They all have differences in size, price, and capability, but all have the reliable performance necessary for a first-time mill owner.
What is a grain mill?
Fundamentally, if you want to make your own flour using a grain mill, then you're going to want to understand a little about how a grain mill works.
A grain mill or as it is commonly known, a flour grinder, is a machine that is used to grind wheat, oats, barley, corn, and other cereals into flour to use in baking and cooking.
There are two types of mechanism methods that you will find when purchasing a grain mill. These are burr mills and impact mills.
Burr mills consist of two grinding plates. One is fixed into position and the other rotates electronically. The grain is fed into the machine between the two burrs and processed. There are two types of burrs, stone burrs which crush the grain and steel burrs which shear and break the grain.
Impact mills are made up of two different stainless steel heads with rows of jagged teeth, spinning at high speeds. The grain is then hammered, rather than ground to make flour.
Why do you need a grain mill?
You might ask, why do I need a grain mill to make my own flour? There are perhaps 5 key reasons why a grain mill is the perfect piece of equipment for grinding flour:
1) Perhaps the most important factor when purchasing a grain mill is that freshly ground flour has a much better flavor than store bought flour. It also produces better results in breads and pastries.
2) Using a grain mill to grind your own flour is a real money saver. Certain artisan flours and very fine flour is expensive to buy, so making it yourself can save significantly over time.
3) Fresh home ground flour using your own grains has a much higher nutritional value than store bought flour. You don't need to add preservatives or additives which can impair the flavor and nutritional value.
4) Grinding or milling using your own flour mill is satisfying. You are being self sufficient and home grain mills ensures that whether you are baking bread or making pastries, all the ingredients are created by you.
5) You can use different types of flours, whether you prefer certain types of whole wheat flour or fine textured flour, you can choose and are not limited by the store available products.
Different types of grain mills: Pros and Cons
Grain mills generally fall into 3 broad categories; manual grain mills, electric grain mills and hybrids.
Manual grain mills
Manual grain mills are predominantly less expensive than electric and automated models. One potential advantage of this is that manual models do not tend to breakdown as you are not reliant on the electrical components which could burn out or break down if they are overused.
Grains stay cool in a manual mill, thanks to the very low revolutions of a manually powered machine, and this in turn helps to keep the noise levels down.
Manual grain mills also offer the traditional method of producing fresh flour, with all the enjoyment of producing flour like our forefathers.
If you live in an area with unreliable electricity or frequent power outages, then a manual grain mill is the perfect option. You can continue grinding wheat without power and continue to create a food source!
On the negative side, manual grain mills are labor-intensive and require some serious physical exertion if you are producing some significant quantities of flour. Unfortunately, without this physical effort, you won't get any end product!
An additional con of a manual grain mill is that they need to be securely attached to a work surface – either temporarily with clamps, or permanently with nuts and bolts.
This can create some serious downsides: a permanent feature can occupy a large area of your kitchen countertop and take up a lot of space, and clamps can cause damage to tabletops and counters.
Manual grain mills also have less flexibility on texture , as they often produce a more coarse flour - suitable for breads but not so much for more dainty baked goods such as cakes or pastries.
Obviously, producing flour manually is a much slower process, so if you are looking to produce a decent quantity of flour at one time, you are going to need to set aside a good amount of time to produce what you need.
Electric Grain Mills
Electric Grain Mills come in a range of different specifications to suit a range of budgets. They are quick and easy to operate.
This flexibility and automation enables the user to create a greater range of textures, so you can create a coarser flour right down to ultra fine flour . This in turn gives flexibility in the things you can use your flour for, from breads to fine pastries and dainty cakes.
Because you are using a power source, electric models are portable. This not only means that they can be placed away when not in use but do not need to be permanently housed in a certain area of your kitchen.
On the negative side, electric models can be very noisy, certainly noisier than hand models. The higher speeds also generate more heat, particularly when grinding to a super fine flour.
The higher speeds also create more dust, which is not always ideal in a tight kitchen space, so ventilation is required with certain models.
As is an advantage with manual mills, electric mills rely on power to operate, which means if the electric goes down then you can no longer use the machine.
Convertible mills can be converted from manual to an electric mill , simply by adding an automated attachment to a manual mill. The milling mechanism is powered by automation but can then be converted back to a manual operation.
This has the added advantage of being able to mill grain whether you have a power source or not, offering you the best of both worlds.
Of course, not all manual mills have this option available, so it's best to check before purchasing to see which models offer this hybrid.
What are the main consideration when looking for a home mill grinder?
There are a few things to consider when choosing the right grain mill to make flour. Some of the key considerations include:
Power source (manual or electric)
It seems like an obvious question, but would an electric or manual grain mill be the best format for you? If you wish to grind grains in the old fashioned manner and use a little less budget, then manual mills are ideal. If you wish to use something a little more automatic and easier to use, then electric mills are the perfect solution.
Electric mills often cost more than manual mills but offer more milling textures and ultimately produce a higher quality flour. The cheapest models will generally be a manual hand crank mill. As with most machines, quality and convenience will mean a bigger expense, so it's best to consider what is most valuable to you.
Extreme Wellness Supply offers grain mills suitable for the home baking enthusiast through to a commercial sized machine for those looking to make some money from their venture!
Manual mills operate at lower temperatures than electric mills and so much of the nutritional integrity of the wheat is retained.
Ease of use & usability
You should find a mill that works for you. If you have difficulty with mobility or physical activity then a manual mill will not be for you. If you are a technophobe then find a machine that is simple to use and without too much scope to go wrong! Make sure your chosen model has high quality grinding plates to ensure that you get the most from your machine.
How much flour are you creating and for what purpose?
As we have mentioned already, if you're making flour for a home project, then a manual mill should be sufficient, but if you are looking to create flour in significant quantities then it is certainly worth considering an electric grain mill.
How big is the space where you’ll be housing the grain mill?
Most grain mills don't take up too much space but it's worth remembering that electric grain mills are much more portable than manual mills, so they can have a space to be stored away on not take up much counter space. It's important to consider how often you are likely to use your mill, as this will influence which type of machine you go for.
What should I do next?
Choosing a mill for your home use can be a lot less daunting if you are armed with the facts and some good options to choose from. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we look forward to hearing from you!