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I'm looking to purchase a grain mill and am overwhelmed with the options. I do have a kitchen aid mixer, and thought about just getting the attachment for that. However, I like the idea of a manual mill "just in case", you know? I've looked at the Country Living grain mills and they look really nice...but they're priced accordingly too! Then there are several plain cast iron manual mills on ebay for $40 or so. Wonder what makes them so much cheaper, if it's just a manual mill? Maybe they're crazy hard to turn or something?

Any advice or experiences?

Thanks!
 

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http://www.grainmaker.com/

My DH bought me one for a birthday/Christmas present and it is a wonderful thing.

I had been looking for a grain mill for several years and had considered the KitchenAid mill, too, but apparently that one doesn't grind real fine and it occasionally burns out mixer motors. My friend has one of the plain cast iron mills and he doesn't use it since it takes three or four passes to grind the grain to where it can be used and it still isn't particularly fine. More of a meal than a flour, he said.

The GrainMaker mill is made by a machine shop, Bitterroot Tool & Machine, in Montana of all places. Their mill is built REALLY well. Heavy iron construction with a machined steel burr that is easy to clean. The bottom plate is 3/8" plate steel with holes that fit a 1/2" diameter bolt to fasten it down with.

Randy emailed me today to mention that the auger was designed to aggressively move corn and other large grains into the burrs and for grinding smaller grains it turns much easier with the auger removed. I had tried grinding wheat earlier with the auger in place and it was hard to turn because so much grain was being forced into the burrs. Using his advice, I removed the auger and tried grinding wheat into fine flour. Now it turns easily and grinds wheat into fine flour in one pass

They also have great customer service, Randy Jones there is the nicest person. Tell him Cathy in Hawaii recommended you! Here's his contact info:

Randy Jones
Bitterroot Tool & Machine LLC
Phone 406-777-7096
Fax 406-777-0209
[email protected]

The mill is pricey, true, but it will last for decades from the way it's built (they even said my DH could attach it to a 3 HP hit or miss engine and the warranty would still be valid) so the money you save grinding grain instead of buying pre-ground flour will pay for itself over time. Also, if you grow your own wheat, you will save even more.

It also grinds coffee and peanuts for peanut butter. I'm going to try grinding coconuts into coconut butter next.
 

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We had a similar situation with a Kitchenaid mixer and wanting a nice grain mill.After reading about different mills here and on other forums we started looking for a Retsel Millrite it took some time but we found one for $100 on craigslist.Google "retsel craigslist" and wait for something you like, our mill grinds with stone and can be run on electric or hand crank.After trying it with a hand crank I can testify to the fact electric operation is very much better.
 

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various threads on grain grinders in the archives, so you might want to search the forums for "grain grinder". Lots of information and personal recommendations.

i also have a retsel. built very sturdy, and should last decades. electric, but has an optional handle that can be used for manual operation (which I haven't personally tried.) expensive, but if you're actually going to use it, and amortize the cost over the decades it should last, it's a bargain. Or wait for a craigslist bargain as noted by the poster above.

i got an electric one because realistically, i wouldn't use a manual one much, and wouldn't get around to adding a motor or pedals to a manual grinder, all of which would make a manual grinder (for me) a waste of money. Here in TX in the summer, you don't turn on the over to bake one loaf of bread, so I make 4 loaves at a time. From reading online, the 7 cups of flour needed for that would take an hour or so to grind, before I get to any of the actual bread making; just t'ain't gonna happen. Others may well logically come to the opposite conclusion for their circumstances.

My reasons for getting a grinder were for health, and for the ability to store lots of grain with a long shelf-life for emergencies. My understanding of the impact grinders is that one small stone in what you're grinding can ruin the grinder, with no field repair possible. For any situation were grain is either unavailable or rapidly rising in price, the ability to replace an impact grinder will probably also be rapidly rising in price, or unavailable. Hence, an impact grinder would be useless for what I want it for.

For a stone grinder, it's much less damaged by a random stone in what you're grinding, and i'd assume that though it may gouge part of the stone, the rest of the stone would still grind wheat. Your purposes of course may be different.

I also got the steel grinding plates, which unlike the stone plates, can grind oily things without getting gummed up.

--sgl
 

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I have several mills for many different reasons. The hand cranked version that I prefer is the Family Grain Mill. I also have a Country Living, but when I need to use a non-electric mill, I use the Family one. It is easy to turn and gives you a nice flour. I also sell mills in my store. I know shameless of me, but I try all forms of advertising.
See my link below my name.
 

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My Family Grain Mill (hand base) just came today. I think I like it, but it took quite a bit longer to get a flour-type grind than I expected. I had to put it through four times to get anything that resembled flour. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? I used the finest grind setting each time.
 

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My vote goes for country living. I keep the auger in and grind corn and then wheat to make my corn bread mix. It does both very fine with one pass and I don't have to change or adjust anything. It was pricy but you get what you pay for. It's guarenteed for life and I use it all the time so I think I got more than my money's worth. Oh, and it's made in the US!
 

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happy with Retsel but price is high
 

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My Family Grain Mill (hand base) just came today. I think I like it, but it took quite a bit longer to get a flour-type grind than I expected. I had to put it through four times to get anything that resembled flour. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? I used the finest grind setting each time.
Hmmmm.... Try moving the grind to a more coarse setting, and send some through. Then slowly move it back down until you get to the finest setting. Mine does nice flour the first time.

Also, I recently saw the flour put out by a Nutrimill and it was the finest flour I have ever seen. It looked as though it had been sifted. So, if you are expecting that, you will not get it. There is always some bran in mine, even with my Whisper Mill.
 

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I have the family grain mill. I bought a kitchenaid attachment that allows me to use the KA electric motor. The first time I ground wheat I didn't have it tightened enough and I got coarse flour. I reground once after I figured it out and it was great.
 
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