My grain mill came yesterday! Its a Back to Basics brand I ordered from the Bosch Kitchen Center people. (See pictures below) It was one of the lowest price ones I could find, but is still well constructed with a minimal amount of plastic parts. I figure if I really need a heavy duty, i.e. fast, mill, I can put out the big bucks later on.
I rinsed the whole thing to get rid of any packaging residue and then put it all together. It went together very easily. I put about 1/4 cup of my precious whole wheat berries in the hopper and started turning the handle. One of the down sides to this simple mill is that you can only adjust the coarseness of the grind with the knob on the handle. I had it adjusted as tight as it would go without forcing it and had to retighten it occasionally as it would work its way loose a little. But not to the point of making a huge difference. Maybe I just needed to tighten it a little more to begin with.
Something else I soon discovered is that it tended to slip around on the countertop. Again, I did not have it tightened to the max because I just got new countertops and did not want to damage the surface. I suspect that even if I had tightened it as far as it would go, it would have still slipped some just from the force of the grinding. So, I put a single thickness dish towel underneath where it fits the countertop and it stayed in place while I ground the flour.
The finished product was a little coarser than I want. I compared it to the whole wheat flour I really like from Hodgson’s Mill and what I am producing does not have a fluffy component at all. Also, the germ, or outer shell of the wheat berry is dispensed along with the finer flour component. I separated the germ from the flour by gently “sifting” it through my large tea strainer. The strainer has a fine mesh and it worked great for this purpose. I put the germ in a freezer ziplock and stored it in my freezer for use in granola, breads, any recipe where wheat germ is called for. The flour I stored in the fridge until I bake bread in a few days.
It took about 30 minutes or so to grind 1-1/2 cups. This will not be a speedy process by any stretch of the imagination and I will definitely work up some arm muscles :-).
So, on an approval scale of 1 to 5, I would give the Back to Basics Grain Mill a 4. It does what it is supposed to do, even though I had to tweak the attachment process and had to keep an eye on the grind knob. The literature says it will work on grains, nuts, seeds and beans. It has a 2 year warranty and has a nice diagram with parts numbers and a price list if parts ever need to be replaced. I need to get the registration card sent it pronto.
Hope this information is helpful to any of you looking into buying a grain mill. There are not a whole lot of hand operated ones out there. Electric are easier to come by. But I wanted something I could use even without power. Of course, that means I need to learn to bake bread in a solar oven or some other non-electric method. That’s on the list….the very long, long, long list 🙂
Here are a few pictures (didn’t know my kitchen was such a mess!) Enjoy.