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Grain Mills

Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
Does anyone have any advice on buying one for grinding your own grains for flour?
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1779
    
  10

I like the Golden Grain Grinder for it's quality and the fact that you can hand grin or use electricity.  But it's spending at $570.00.

For more options for your buck look at Vitamix.  You'll have to buy their dry-container for the grinding so figure around $550 - but then you can make soup and mix many things with the Vitamix, so your $500 + gets you more.

I've heard a lot of bad things about cheaper grinders so I won't list any of those.  I use my friends Vitamix for now.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1321
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
I picked up 2 golden grain mills shortly after the Y2K scare at a thrift store for $60.00 and it has been trouble free.
I use it to grind flour of alternative grains/beans for wifes gluten intolerance. It does a fine job in coarse grinding for cereals as well, the stones are adjustable. Hand cranking takes a bit more time but it is still relatively rapid.
Another family member has a magic mill and is happy with it. I have never tried it.


"There is enough in the world for everyones needs, but not enough for everyones greed"
(Buckman)
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
We invested $1200 (I know, I know!) into the Diamant grinder, made in denmark.  It's amazing.  With a motor they say it can be used for small scale commercial grinding, which we will probably get into some day.  We want to grow and make our own animal feed, so that's another justification of the cost. 

I owned a smaller one for a long time, but it was such a pain for wheat especially.  You had to crack it, then crack it smaller, and then make it into flour.  The Diamant has a pre-cracking system, so you just put it through once and out comes the fineness of flour you desire.
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2168
Location: FL
    
  54
The Diamant is the Mercedes of grain mills.  It's the best I've seen anywhere, all the reviews say it is the best.  Congrats on your purchase, Marinajade.

I picked up a Country Living Grain Mill a couple of years ago from Pleasant Hill Grain.  Reviews are excellent, personal experience has shown it to be effective and easy to use.  Clean up is easy.  I use a paintbrush and only a paintbrush for the burrs, a dry towel for the rest of it.  Price is $395, includes shipping.  I can buy 3 of these for the cost of a Diamant.

I picked up a plastic shoe box at the dollar store, fits underneath to collect the flour.  If you would rather, you can spend the $26 for a collection bin designed to go with it.  Save your money.  Replacement burrs are a hundred bucks.  The corn and bean auger looks like it might be handy, crack your own corn for the chickens.  I should have gotten it.  I'll pick one up.  The mill can be run with any electric motor if you want to spend the money.

To run a pound of wheat takes 10-15 minutes of steady work with each pass through and puts out a fine flour in the end.  I can do it in 3 passes with each pass milling it finer, so figure an hour (with breaks) doing it by hand. 

The wood handle is bolted on and will not turn as you grind.  This can wear out the skin on your hand.  I wear a leather glove, lets the wood handle turn in my hand as I grind.

I've run a few things through the device.  Hard red winter wheat, rice for rice flour, several dried herbs and green split peas.  The peas were a neat experiment.  It takes a few hours to make pea soup starting with split peas out of the sack.  When turned into a powder, it cooks up in just a few minutes.  I'd like to try to grind my own corn meal and some other grains besides the wheat.

The mill has bolt holes on the base to secure it to a base.  I had a spare nightstand and some carriage bolts/nuts/washers.  That thing aint going nowhere.  I added wheels to the bottom of the stand so I can move it out of the way.  Keep it in a spare room.  The drawer of the stand holds my glove and paintbrush.  Under the drawer is a space for the shoebox.

Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
http://farmwhisperer.com
                              


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
I have the family grain mill that came with the motor unit as well as a hand crank.  It works for medium to coarse flower but it doesn't really make super fine flower for pastry or anything.  I liked this one since it has other attachments for slicing or grating, a roller for making stuff like rolled oats for oatmeal and a meat grinder attachment too.

I've never used the rolling mill but the grain mill has gotten quite a bit of use as has the slicer/grater. 


TCLynx
[url]http://www.tclynx.com/[/url]
[img]http://www.permies.com/permaculture-images/2692_740/Avitar.jpg[/img]
                        


Joined: Jun 06, 2010
Posts: 57
Location: Northern Rockies
Have you tried the meat grinder attachment?  Does it work well in both modes (manual and power)?  THanks for any information!

Rick Freeman

Interface Forestry, l.l.c.      http://interfaceforestry.com

Forest and Stand Inventory and Assessment
Wildfire Fuels Management
Watershed Planning and Stand Planning
Wildlife Habitat Improvement
Recreation and Natural Interpretation Planning
Eco-Wise Residential Planning and Wildland-Urban Interface Forestry
Non-Timber Forest Products

rick@interfaceforestry.com
                              


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
I have not used the meat grinder attachment for meat.  I did once try to make whole wheat pasta with it by taking the blade out and using it to force the dough through the plate.

But as I said, never tried it with meat though I expect it should work fairly well provided you don't subject it to really hard bits (the auger is only plastic.)

                        


Joined: Jun 06, 2010
Posts: 57
Location: Northern Rockies
THanks TCLynx.  Plastic auger.  Hmmm.  I don't like that idea so much. 
                              


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
It's not a bad grain mill seeing as it does have a nice selection of attachments but it is not an industrial piece of equipment.
Mine actually spends most of it's working time grinding fish food smaller for me since I've not been grinding much grain for bread.
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
We did eventually get our grain mill but decided not to go for the Diamant (that was what I wanted originally) just in case it was one of those flash-in-the-pan things and didn't actually get used much.  We thought we'd get a cheaper model to start with and see how we went.

So we got a Schnitzer hand mill.  Pain in the bum as a hand-operated mill for anything other than 500g (1lb) of flour and we need about 2kg (4lbs) a day so hubby rigged it up to an exercise bike and it now works a treat.  It lives in our kitchen and everyone who visits wants to have a go and then happily sits there grinding grain for us whilst we talk/prepare meals etc.  Our WWOOFers just love it and even draw straws for who gets to do the flour for the day's bread.

No extra attachments though.
                                    


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 59
I was considering a grain mill a couple of years ago (summer of 2009).

I ended up spending $15 (on sale, regular price was $25) on Black and Decker coffee grinder with adjustable grind.  For my relatively small usage, its been great.  I generally grind a couple of cups of something 2 or 3 times a week.  I did use it last fall in several marathon sessions to grind about 100 lbs of different flour, dent, and flint corns I had grown myself.  I wondered if I would kill it, but it sailed through even the flints like a champ.

It takes anywhere from 30 seconds to about 2 minutes to grind a couple of cups (roughly the hopper capacity).  Depends on how soft the grain and how fine the grind. 

Not exactly the long-range solution, but for my needs, just getting into grinding my own flour, its worked out great.  When it dies, I might go to something a little more permanent.

Troy Rhodes


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 204
    
    2
I got the country living mill with a spare set of grinder plates.

I pieced together my own double reduction belt drive with an old washing machine motor.  It's the cat's meow.  A jackshaft with bearings, a couple pulleys and a couple belts is almost a hundred bucks more, but my shoulder can't grind that long without complaining.

Not cheap, but not crazy expensive either.

I grind my own breakfast cereal, which I love:

1/3 corn meal, which I grow organically
1/3 hard red wheat, which I buy by the 25# bag, pretty inexpensively
1/3 white rice.  If I use whole grain brown rice, it gives me the runs.

when I cook it, I throw in some raisins, a big spoonful of peanut butter and sugar or honey to taste.

Very satisfying and CHEAP.

I dont know if you have priced cereal lately, but it's getting ridiculous.

HTH,

troy
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6498
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
Well, those brightly colored boxes must cost a lot to print.
Mick Cressman


Joined: Jan 02, 2011
Posts: 22
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
No one yet has mentioned the Grain Maker http://www.grainmaker.com/whygrainmaker.html

We love ours, made in Montana, and it has the best warranty in the business.
Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
I've been considering ordering one of these as I've found several very positive on-line reviews
http://www.everythingkitchens.com/wonder-junior-hand-grain-mill.html

but I've never seen one in action and always have to consider that the on line reviews could be bunk
Gord Welch


Joined: Sep 25, 2010
Posts: 64
Location: Oregon
I've used several grain mills and enjoy the one I own the best. It has a horizontal axis which is traditional with stone mills. It is the only one for home use that I know of which is horizontal. This makes is easier to crank as there's no low and high (fast and slow) in the rotation.

The mill is from France and is called "Samap" It is sold in many online stores. Not sure about bricks and mortar.
Troy Rhodes


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 204
    
    2
By horizontal axis, you mean vertical axis.

Finest regards,

troy
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
has anyone ever seen this one or one like it

http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/hard_to_find/hard_to_find_stone_flourmill.html


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Troy Rhodes


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 204
    
    2
Hey, another vertical axis, and it's pretty too.

Wow!  Cheap!  Wow!

I've never touched one like that, but I'm intrigued.

troy
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
ive been considering getting the small one just to see how it works. if it doesn't at least it looks kind of cool.
Troy Rhodes


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 204
    
    2
I received a pm to post a few pictures of the washing machine motor drive I put on my grain mill.  So, here they are.

By the way, if you make one, it needs guards so you, or anyone else, and particularly small children, cannot in any way, get their fingers or hands or clothing anywhere close to the belts and pulleys.  It could rip their hand off.  I have removed all the screens and safety stuff so you can see the workings.

Here's the front:



Here's the back:



Both the motor and the jackshaft are mounted on "shelves" that are attached to the main box, only on one side, by hinges.  So the weight of the motor pulls the belt tight, and then I run a screw through the side of the plywood box into the "shelf" and it stays right there.  But if I need to change a belt, you just back the screw out, lift the shelf up and the belt comes right off.  Same thing with the jack shaft.

Close up of the shelf and hinges:


HTH,

troy
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6498
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
Nice rig.  Pillow blocks and all!  A friend of mine did a rotisserie with a washing machine motor.  We once did a 120 pound (dressed) pig on it.  Turned so slow you could baste the entire thing on one rev.  He used sprockets and chains from a dead 10-speed bicycle for his drive system.
Philip Freddolino


Joined: Jun 02, 2010
Posts: 53
I bought a Country Living grain mill about 10 years ago and it has worked great. It will crack corn or make pastry flour and everything in between. It is a manual mill, so I scavenged a ten speed bicycle and an stationary exercise bike, cut'em up, and welded them back together to make a five speed exer-grinder. The mill sits up front so I can add grain or fuss with the near empty hopper without stopping from pedaling. Last year, I bought an antique (circa. 1905) hand crank corn sheller off E-bay for ~ $80 and I laugh out loud every time I use it the way it spits the cobs out of the side. Its amazingly fast and the basic design hasn't changed in over a hundred years! They sell new at Lehmans for over $200. 
Mac Nova


Joined: Jul 24, 2011
Posts: 24
Alison Freeth-Thomas wrote:
Does anyone have any advice on buying one for grinding your own grains for flour?


Improvised Grain Mill
The grain mill described can efficiently pound whole-grain wheat, corn, etc., into meal and flour-thereby greatly improving digestibility and avoiding the diarrhea and sore mouths that would result from eating large quantities of ungrounded grain. 
TO BUILD:
(1) Cut 3 lengths of pipe, each 30 inches long; 3/4-inch-diameter steel pipe (such as ordinary water pipe) is best. 
(2) Cut the working ends of the pipe off squarely. Remove all roughness, leaving the full-wall thickness. Each working end should have the full diameter of the pipe. 

(3) In preparation for binding the three pieces of pipe together into a firm bundle. encircle each piece of pipe with cushioning, slip-preventing tape. 

(4) Tape or otherwise bind the 3 pipes into a secure bundle so that their working ends are as even as possible and are in the same plane-resting evenly on a flat surface. 

(5) Cut the top smoothly out of a large can. A 4-inch-diameter, 7-inch-high fruit-juice can Is ideal. If you do not have a can, improvise something to keep grain together while pounding it. 

TO MAKE MEAL AND FLOUR:
(1) Put clean, dry grain ONE INCH DEEP in the can. 
(2) To prevent blistering your hands, wear gloves, or wrap cloth around the upper part of the bundle of pipes. 

(3) Place the can (or open-ended cylinder) on a hard, smooth, solid surface, such as concrete. 

(4) To pound the grain, sit with the can held between your feet. Move the bundle of pipes straight up and down about 3 inches, with a rapid stroke. 

(5) If the can is 4 inches in diameter, in 4 minutes you should be able to pound 1/2 lb. (one cup) of whole-kernel wheat into 1/5 lb. of fine meal and flour, and 3/10 lb. of coarse meal and fine-cracked wheat. 

(6) To separate the pounded grain into fine meal, flour, coarse meal, and fine-cracked wheat, use a sieve made of window screen. 

(7) To separate flour for feeding small children, place some pounded grain in an 18 X 18-inch piece of fine nylon net, gather the edges of the net together so as to hold the grain, and shake this bag-like container. 

( To make flour fine enough for babies, pound fine meal and coarse flour still finer, and sieve it through a piece of cheesecloth or similar material. 

Unlike wheat and corn, the kernels of barley, grain sorghums. and oats have rough, fibrous hulls that must be removed from the digestible parts to produce an acceptable food. Moistening the grain will toughen such hulls and make them easier to remove. If the grain is promptly pounded or ground into meal, the toughened hulls will break into larger pieces than will the hulls of un-dampened grain. A small amount of water. weighing about 2% of the weight of the grain, should be used to dampen the grain. For 3 pounds of grain (about 6 cups), sprinkle with about one ounce (28 grams, or about 2 tablespoons) of water, while stirring constantly to moisten all the kernels. After about 5 minutes of stirring, the grain will appear dry. The small amount of water will have dampened and toughened the hulls, but the edible parts inside will have remained dry. Larger pieces of hull are easier to remove after grinding than smaller pieces. 

One way to remove ground-up hulls from meal is by flotation. Put some of the meal-hulls mixture about I inch deep in a pan or pot, cover the mixture with water, and stir. Skim off the floating hulls, then pour off the water and more hulls. Sunken pieces of hulls that settle on top of the heavier meal can be removed with one's fingers as the last of the water is poured off. To produce a barley meal good for very small children, the small pieces of hulls must again be separated by flotation. 

To lessen their laxative effects, all grains should be ground as finely as possible, and most of the hulls should be removed. Grains also will be digested more easily if they are finely ground.
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2423
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  73
There are also mills with stones from France that look pretty good (site in French):
http://www.moulins-alma.fr/moulins-cereales/20-moulin-farine-silence.html


Permaculture Kingston
Wilson Foedus


Joined: Nov 07, 2011
Posts: 43
Location: NW Montana
For electric mills, I have used/owned the L'Equip mill, the Nutrimill and the Wondermill. They all do a GREAT job a milling flour--no complaints. The prices are different, sure, but the real distinction for me is the noise.

When Chaya first started baking bread and using the L'Equip mill it sounded like it was going to take off, so I asked her to take the mill outside to use. The Nutrimill is about the same harshness. However the Wondermill in my opinion is the best and certifiably is the quietest on the market.

As for hand crank mills, I have used/owned both the Country Living and the Wondermill Junior (Deluxe). They both are fine mills, but the distinctions in hand cranked mills stand out more because it is you turning them and not a motor. So things like throughput, fineness of flour on the first pass, ease of cleaning, etc all matter a lot more. I have to say that I personally like the Wondermill Jr (Deluxe) a lot more. It has a higher throughput (more flour per crank) and it comes with all of the clamps and handles at no extra cost. It also comes with two sets of burrs (stone and metal), and costs about two thirds of what the Country Living costs.

As long as people are baking their own bread and reaping the health benefits of it, I am thrilled. I would give the Wondermill line the nod for both hand crank and electric mills.



pantryparatus.com - homesteading supplies
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
I bought a schnitzer manus grain mill and it does everything I want. All stone milling parts, large hopper, easy to turn, not roaring loud, built strong, the list goes on.

The power has went out locally a few times, everyones rushing to the stores to grab food. And I'm here milling up some flour for pizza dough, cob oven blazing, enjoying the lights out.
            


Joined: Dec 03, 2010
Posts: 58
Lehmans Best Grain Mill is inexpensive and works well. It is by no means fancy but works. It will do oily nuts for butters. I have been using it to grind rye mostly, which is a hard grain, and it needs two passes through the mill. One to crack it the next pass to get fine flour. This does not take as long as you might think. I have done almond and sunflower butters with excellent results. Metal grinding burrs and enameled cast iron construction. Could be hooked up to a bike with some easy tinkering.
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
I decided to go for the Schnitzer manual like hubert. We've had it almost a year now and use it at least 3 times a week. My husband has rigged it up to an old exercise bike so it's now pedal-powered. We have an open-plan living area and it sits near the kitchen. Guests just love it - they quite often hop on and grind some flour whilst we're talking and I'm cooking a meal. It's very much part of our family and hasn't given us a single reason for regretting buying it.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
ive had people just volunteer to mill the flour by hand crank because they are so interested in it. its pretty cool when they ask if they can mill some flour, and a few cups and some time later its turning into pasta dough, pizza dough, bread dough. and then when they taste it, that's when they become converts.

i have everything to hook it up to a bike though, I sort of like the hand crank. it really gets me going on cold days. i usually have mill days and just fill it up to the brim in the morning, and whenever i walk by or come inside i will give it a good few minutes of turning and by night time i have more than a few days worth of flour.

 
 
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