I have had a few people asking me ay if we had made a decision on a new grain mill so I thought it I would share about that. I have had my new mill for about a month now. I have made 18 loaves of bread a couple batches of dinner rolls and some french bread sandwich rolls. So far I am quite pleased with the results.
After lots of research and time Tobin and I decided on a Retsel Grain Mill (Mill Rite was the one I purchased). I received it at the end of December. We opened the big box and set it up almost as soon as the UPS man had left. Then we ran some grain through it as they instructed and the next day I used it for the first time and made some dinner rolls. I really had missed not having a grain mill. I was buying whole wheat flour from my food co-op (Azure Standard) and the grocery store occasionally. There is such a huge difference to me in store bought whole wheat flour and my own home ground flour. The taste of freshly ground flour is so much better.. it has a fresh taste that is really lacking in store bought flour (not to mention the health benefits that are lacking) and boy had we missed that!
We made the choice on the Retsel for a few reasons. One of the reasons is that it has a nice big ¼ horse power motor.. this appealed to my mechanic husband. It grinds the grain with stone wheels (and steel wheels which I also purchased). The stone wheels can be removed and cleaned with a brush and all the grain and flour can be brushed and cleaned out of the machine. This keeps it clean and bug free.
This mill is different from the micronizer type mills such as the Whisper Mill which I had previously owned. Those types of mills basically burst open the grain. Those mills are more susceptible to damage from rocks. I do buy triple cleaned wheat but none the less it was a small rock that damaged my mill the first time. Tobin was able to fix it, but the second time it happened he was not. He took it apart and we saw that several of the teeth that do the milling had been broken off and some were flat.. the mill was definitely no good anymore..
A few other things that appealed to us.. The mill is very quiet.. we can have a conversation in the same room it is running. There is no dust while it grinds. The stones are in the front of the mill and there is a catch pan to catch the flour that gently falls. The flour never over heats like it did in my Whisper Mill if I was grinding a lot of grain.
It is also very slow, which is what helps keep the grain cooler but this is something I am getting use to. I need to plan ahead so that I have my grain grinding while I am getting the rest of my baking supplies prepared.
Here is a picture of my new mill. I have it set up in my laundry room. I store my wheat in buckets with gamma seal lids(you can see a few of them on the right) in my laundry room/pantry so I figured it would be good to have the wheat and the mill in the same room, plus I am not taking up my kitchen counter space.
You can kind of see the flour falling from the mill into the pan in the picture below. By the way I purchased the flour catch pan from Retsel that they sold and was very disappointed by it. It is very small and not at all worth the money. So in the picture below I put my 11x15 pan under to catch the flour.
There are no marked settings on the knob to show the fineness of the grain, so I have had to play around with it to figure out what is the best setting. Depending on where I set the knob, the flour can be very fine or coarse. You can also grind grains for cracked grain cereals, something I would like to try soon. If you set the mill too fine it can glaze the stones, which I did have happen. But they clean up well and the next time I did some grinding the glazing on the stones was completely gone.
All in all I have been happy with the purchase and am expecting this mill to last a good long time.