Every baker knows the old adage that your baked goods are only as good as the ingredients you use – and that fresh ingredients are a must for the best outcomes.
But surprisingly often, one of the primary ingredients that is overlooked in the “quest for fresh” is flour. Unfortunately, what often gets used in home baking is a product that’s been stripped of nutrients and infused with additives for a long shelf life – a far cry from wholesome, mill-fresh quality!
Specialty sections in the grocers and health food stores offer a variety of flours ground from different cereals and legumes, but prices can often be prohibitively expensive, even for small quantities.
There’s no question that freshly ground flour is the most nutritious and flavorful, with several health benefits over refined varieties. Freshly milled has a lively, earthy taste and contains all parts of the seed – the nutrients and fiber of the bran and germ, plus the protein and vitamins of the starchy endosperm.
In this buying guide we’ll start of with reviews of our Top 10 Favorite Grain Mill Picks to include the:
- WonderMill Electric
- Country Living
- NutriMill Classic
- WonderMill Junior Deluxe
- KoMo Classic and XL
- KoMo Flocino
- NutriMill Harvest
- KitchenAid All-Metal Grain Mill Attachment
And then we’ll delve a little deeper into the world of grinding your own by exploring the following topics:
Bottom Line Up Front: Our Top 10 Favorite Grain Mill Picks
Whether you want a model for light, moderate, or heavy use, there’s one suitable for the task. Some look good enough to keep on the kitchen counter, some will need to be attached to the kitchen counter, and all will produce nutritious, whole grain flour.
Below are some of the great selections we believe to be worthy of your consideration:
Following are our three favorite models for the home kitchen:
WonderMill Electric: The Best for Most People
This micronizer from WonderMill has all the features you’ll need to quickly and efficiently grind dry grains and legumes for flour and meal.
WonderMill Electric Grain Grinder, available on Amazon
With its powerful 1250-watt motor, it can handle 100 pounds of grain per hour without overheating. And the three settings for coarse, bread, and pastry textures refine a consistently-calibrated flour in a single run.
The micronizer chamber is constructed of surgical stainless steel. It is self-cleaning and permanently lubricated for reliable and maintenance-free operation.
Wondermill Small Grains and Bean Attachments Combo, available on Amazon
And if you like to refine beans or small grains, an optional adapter can be used to limit their flow and prevent clogging the hopper.
- Some of our favorite features are:
- Virtually dust-free performance
- A 12-cup flour canister is included, with a receiving lid and storage lid
- Food surfaces are made of BPA-free plastic
- UL, CSA, and CE certified
- The generous hopper holds a full 8 cups of grain
Designed in the US, it’s made in India and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Quick, clean, and easy to use, the WonderMill is also lightweight with a small storage footprint. Reliably made with quality components, it’s a great option for both the occasional or dedicated baker!
Country Living: Best for SHTF Preppers
Should the powers that be ever release the Furies on us, the Country Living Mill is the grinder we want to have on hand!
Country Living Hand Grain Mill, available on Amazon
The strapping, aircraft quality cast aluminum body, industrial ball bearings, and high-carbon steel burrs mean you’ll never have to worry about this model breaking down when it’s needed most.
Country Living Grain Mill Clamp, available on Amazon
The Country Living needs to be bolted to a countertop, or you can purchase an optional double-post clamp for portable use.
And for refining large quantities of flour, you’ll want to consider the complete motorizing kit – powerful and reliable, it grinds at a cool 60 RPM to retain important nutrients.
Country Living Grain Mill Motorization Kit, available on Amazon
- Features that make this a favorite with online shoppers include:
- Cast iron, V-groove flywheel for smooth, easy cranking
- Extra-large, 5-inch diameter steel burrs
- FDA approved, food grade powder coating
- An optional power bar extender makes turning the flywheel even easier – by up to 40 percent!
Made in the USA, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
An excellent choice for cracked grains, cereal textures, and fine flour for bread and pastry, this rugged model will last for generations.
The Blendtec: Power With Modern Conveniences
From the well-known manufacturer of blenders, the Blendtec Kitchen Mill (formerly known as the K-Tec) was the first micronizer introduced to the home market.
Blendtec 52-601-BHM Electric Grain Mill, available on Amazon
Designed for efficient and quick refining, the micronizer chamber is constructed of surgical stainless steel, while the lid, housing unit, and transparent flour container are made of high-impact Lexan plastic.
The 1000-watt, 1.8 horsepower motor is powerful and self-lubricating, and the impact grinding heads run cool to maintain important nutrients.
Features of note are:
Five texture settings refine coarse to very fine flour
Has a handy ON/OFF switch
Two filters are designed to trap fine particles, keeping them from blowing into the air
Grinds up to 1 pound of grain per minute
The flour container holds 24 cups of flour
The hopper holds 3 cups of grain
Made in the USA, Blendtec comes with a limited 6-year warranty.
With a long history in impact milling, Blendtec brought refining whole grain flour out of the “stone” age and into the modern kitchen! Reliable, quick, and convenient, the Blendtec is still a dependable choice today.
NutriMill Classic: The Best Budget Model
The NutriMill Classic is another popular micronizer, and it has recently been redesigned to improve an already impressive performer.
NutriMill Classic 760200 High Speed Grain Mill, available on Amazon
The stainless steel impact heads can be adjusted to produce coarse meal through to super fine flour for cakes and pastries. And with a robust, 1.8 horsepower, 1200-watt motor, it easily processes up to 5 cups of grain per minute.
Features we like include the following:
- Stainless steel micronizing chamber and fins
- The hopper holds 12 cups of grain
- Includes a 20-cup flour canister
- Won’t jam when started with grain in the hopper
- The efficient airflow design keeps flour temperatures at a cool 118°F
- Self-cleaning and dust-free operation
Made in South Korea, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
A compact footprint with fast and trouble-free operation rounds out the NutriMill’s profile, making this model an efficient and affordable option for the home.
WonderMill Junior Deluxe
This manual model from WonderMill does it all – cracked grains, fine flour, and even nut butters!
WonderMill Junior Deluxe Flour Mill, available on Amazon
Ruggedly made of cast aluminum, the body is constructed in one piece to minimize the number of pieces that can break or get lost. And a strong double-post clamp holds it securely to any standard table or countertop for wobble-free grinding.
- Includes corundum burrs for grinding dry grains and legumes
- Also comes with a set of stainless steel burrs for oily and wet foods
- Can be powered with a drill bit adapter
- Or, hook it up a stationary bike with the sprocket converter
- Use the optional masa/nut butter auger for making nut and seed butters
Designed in the US, manufactured in India. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
New Wonder Junior Bicycle Sprocket Conversion Kit, available on Amazon
Sturdy, and easy to use, the Junior Deluxe is one of the best dual-task manual mills for refining grains to meal and flour, and for creating delicious nut butters.
The KoMo Line – Classic, PK1, FidiFloc 21, and XL
KoMo has created a line of grinders that feature all the sensibilities of German craftmanship along with a striking appearance.
The Classic is their popular mid-sized model that holds 2.25 pounds of grain in the hopper, and is constructed of solid beechwood that boasts skillful box joinery for a handsome profile.
KoMo Classic Grain Mill, available on Amazon
The PK1 also has a 2.25-pound hopper capacity, and is made of the same solid beechwood, crafted into a striking hexagon cabinet.
KoMo PK1 Grain Mill, available on Amazon
The dual-function FidiFloc has a hopper that holds just under 2 pounds for the grinder, while the flaker holds 0.65 pounds of grain – both of which are housed in a single cabinet, although the flaker can be removed for convenience.
KoMo FidiFloc 21 Grain Mill and Flaker, available on Amazon
The Classic and PK1 have industrial 360-watt motors, while the FidiFloc uses a 250-watt motor, and all provide plenty of power to mill at a rate of up to 3.5 ounces per minute.
The XL also has the same solid beech construction as the Classic, but boasts a larger 600-watt motor that processes flour at a rate of 7 ounces per minute, with a hopper that holds over 2.5 pounds of grain.
KoMo XL Grain Mill, available on Amazon
Along with their attractive appearance, other features we like are:
- Quiet operation at only 70 decibels, 72 for the XL
- The milling chamber can be accessed without the use of tools
- The long-lasting corundum/ceramic burrs are self-sharpening
- A patented suspension system protects both the burrs and the motor
- Continuous operation allows more grain to be added while running
- Compact countertop footprint
- Texture settings are simple to adjust
- The flaker handle on the FidiFloc is easy to remove for convenient storage
Made in Germany, all KoMo electric grinders come with a limited 12-year warranty.
Any of the KoMo models makes a solid choice for reliable performance, and they have the good looks to live permanently on the kitchen counter!
* Please note: The grinding rate listed on Amazon.com for the Classic and PK1 conflicts with those given in the spec sheets from KoMo – which is what we’ve used in these reviews.
The KoMo Flocino
For those looking for only a grain flaker, the Flocino quickly creates wholegrain cereal flakes for your morning oatmeal, granola, and much more.
Using the same tapered stainless-steel rollers as the FidiFloc, the adjustable roller gap and short cranking radius makes it easy to create a variety of cereal flakes using oats and other pre-softened grains.
To soften hard grains like barley, rye, or wheat, simply rinse in running water, drain, then spread on a clean dish towel and allow to dry overnight – they’ll flatten into flakes in the rollers just like oats.
The flaker has a hopper and roller housing unit of white, food-grade plastic, with a large, solid beechwood base, hopper lid, and crank handle.
- The hopper has a capacity of 9.4 ounces
- Flakes groats at a rate of up to 3.5 ounces per minute
- Comes with a pair of sturdy clamps for attaching to a counter or tabletop
Made in Germany, it comes with a limited three-year warranty.
Because of its simplicity and easy cranking, the Flocino is the perfect gadget for introducing young children to the great taste and nutrition of whole grains – they love helping in the kitchen with this flaker!
Read our complete review or check prices and customer comments on Amazon now!
The NutriMill Harvest Stone Grinder
Along with their micronizers, NutriMill makes an electric model that uses hard corundum stone burrs for grinding non-oily grains and legumes.
NutriMill Harvest Stone Grain Mill in Cayenne, available on Amazon
A large texture-selection knob sits inside the hopper and is easily adjusted to produce a range of textures from cracked grains through to fine pastry flour.
The attractive cabinet, flour spout, hopper, and lid are all constructed of eco-friendly and sustainable bamboo, and the durable, hard plastic millstone housing comes in a variety of colors to suit your decor.
- A 450-watt motor features an auto-shutoff for thermal protection during use
- Dust-free operation
- The hopper releases with one click to clean the burrs
- UL and CSA certified
- The hopper holds 3.5 cups of grain
Built in the US, the burrs are made in Germany and it comes with a limited 5-year warranty.
Distinctive, durable, and with a small footprint, the Harvest stone grinder is a cool-running and powerful performer suitable for occasional or daily use.
The Victoria Professional Corn Mill
Another model that’s been around for decades, the Victoria Professional is well-known in the kitchen and home brewery alike.
Victoria Professional Table Clamp Corn Mill with Low Hopper, available on Amazon
Constructed of heavy-duty cast iron, the hopper, body, and clamp are finished with a double layer of electro-plated tin that provides a sanitary, easy to clean surface, and long-lasting durability.
Features of note include the following:
- Adjustable texture screw will grind coarse to medium meal and flour
- Grinding discs are made of white iron for durability
- A single post clamp attaches to standard tables or countertops
- A silicone clamp insert helps to improve tabletop stability and protect surfaces
Made in Colombia, it comes with a 5-year warranty.
The Victoria is an economical hand mill best suited for grinding dry grains and legumes into coarse meal and flour, but it won’t produce fine pastry flour. Home brewers love it for grinding barley malt as well!
KitchenAid All-Metal Grain Mill Attachment
For those folks that don’t necessarily want a separate appliance for grinding flour, KitchenAid has a milling attachment that fits all of their stand mixers.
The sturdy body, auger, and front plate are made of cast aluminum, while the movable burr is made of stainless steel. It quickly slips into the hub drive, and texture selection is easy with a turn of the large adjustment knob.
A sound option for KitchenAid users, it refines up to 10 cups of bread or pastry flour at one time.
Why a Grain Mill?
A valuable benefit of grinding your own is that you have complete control over the end product, provided you have the right equipment! You can grind as fine or coarse as you like, and will probably end up creating a few of your own “signature blends” using your favorite cereals, legumes, and seeds.
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced miller, a good cookbook is invaluable, as it can provide inspiration, new ideas, tips, techniques, and recipes. We like Erin Alderson’s The Homemade Flour Cookbook: The Home Cook’s Guide to Milling Nutritious Flours and Creating Delicious Recipes with Every Grain, Legume, Nut, and Seed from A-Z.
Available on Amazon, it has recipes and instructions for processing domestic wheats, seeds, legumes, and nuts, plus the more “exotic” and ancient varieties like amaranth, kamut, spelt, and teff.
The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book by Sue Becker is another good choice, also available on Amazon. It provides thorough coverage of topics such as milling and baking basics, tips on baking with fresh flour, and 100 recipes – including instructions to make nut flours.
With your own mill, you can feel good about the baked goods you serve your family, secure in the knowledge that your creations are made with wholesome, nutritious flour free of fillers, additives, or preservatives.
There are plenty more good reasons to grind your own flour – so let’s sift through the information and separate the wheat from the chaff!
Join us now for all the details on manual, electric, and convertible grain mills, burrs and other mechanisms, what grains to use, processing and storage tips, and even where to purchase bulk supplies online.
The Old Grindstone: A Quick History
A wonderfully simple process, milling flour is one of those good ideas that remains largely unchanged from when our ancestors began with stone pestles some 32,000 years ago.
Thankfully, the technology has improved since then, but the basic principle remains the same.
Early models consisted of two hard, smooth stone surfaces grinding against each other to crush and pulverize a variety of kernels into meal or flour.
The grinding surfaces evolved to include a combination of ditches and plateaus known as “furrows” and “lands.” These changes in the surface height mesh to move and channel the kernels and provide the grinding action until the kernels are evenly ground, and finally expelled.
But unlike our predecessors, who experienced excessive tooth wear from burr-stone grit in their flour, today’s mills use modern materials and technology to produce a clean, grit-free product.
Why Grind Your Own?
We know that eating whole grains has a positive impact in many areas of health including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and gastrointestinal health.
But there are many other benefits to grinding your own whole grains, seeds, and legumes as well:
- The price of whole grains can be more economical
- Whole grains last longer in storage than refined flours – though whole grain flours do not
- Home ground flour is fresher, healthier, and more nutritious because it contains all parts of the kernel – germ, bran, and endosperm
- For even greater nutrient levels, some kernels can be soaked, or “sprouted,” before grinding
- Freshly ground cereals have a sweet, lively flavor that store bought can’t compete with
- Home milling gives you complete control over what ends up in your flour, with no hidden or undesirable additives
- Akin to growing your own veggies, grinding your own flour is a uniquely productive and satisfying experience
- For those that value self-sufficiency, a mill and supply of grain are must-haves
What Can I Grind?
Most countertop mills can make flour from a wide variety of dry cereals and legumes, and some models will also have the ability to process oily foods such as nuts, seeds, and coffee – like our choice for the Most Versatile Manual Mill, the WonderMill Junior Deluxe, available on Amazon.
It comes with two sets of burrs, one set of composite stone, and the other of stainless steel. The composite stone burrs will make bread and fine pastry flour, and the steel burrs make it possible to easily process oily ingredients.
Ruggedly made from powder-coated cast aluminum, it’s equipped with heavy-duty brass bearings, has a large 5/8-inch steel auger, and a robust double-post clamp is included for a secure tabletop purchase.
There’s also an optional nut butter/masa auger available on Amazon that quickly processes fresh hominy, sprouted grains, and nuts or seeds for butters.
A versatile mill that can produce flour as well as nut butters, the WonderMill Junior Deluxe is rugged and sturdy as well. Great value for the price! Check out our full review here.
Common cereals that make a fine-textured flour include barley, kamut, rye, spelt, and wheat. Plus, there are gluten-free choices as well, such as amaranth, buckwheat, corn, oats, quinoa, rice, and sorghum.
Several legumes are also suitable for flour including garbanzos, fava beans, peas, and soy.
And for those models that can accommodate oily foods, almonds, chestnuts, coconuts, coffee, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds can all be processed.
How to Choose Your Mill
With the many styles of countertop grain processors available today, there’s a model for every kitchen – which makes it easy for everyone to enjoy the fresh flavors and complete nutrients of whole grains.
Hand-cranked or electric, mills are basic in their operation. But they do come with different texture settings, processing features, mechanisms, and sizes – some models will even be suitable for small, bootstrap business endeavors.
As with all appliance purchases, your decision will be affected by several factors, including ease of use, convenience, price, quality, and versatility.
To simplify your search, begin with answering the following questions:
1. What type of power source do you want, manual or electric? Or both?
2. What type of burrs and milling mechanism do you want?
3. What foods will you grind – dry, wet, oily, or a combination?
4. How often will you use it?
Once you have a clear understanding of your requirements, selecting the features you’d like is a much simpler process.
Here are a few to consider:
Some models can handle the twin tasks of grinding dry grains and fibrous or oily foods like coffee, seeds, and nuts.
However, this is not an option on all models, and often requires changing the burrs and/or using a larger-sized bean auger. If you like the idea of making nut butters as well as flour, check the features closely to avoid disappointment.
Some high-speed blenders offer these options as well, but be sure to read your manual closely and use the correct grinding settings and tools when milling flour.
Hopper extensions fit into the top of hoppers and increase their capacity by extending the walls. Handy for processing larger batches, extensions are usually sold separately.
Some models will come with a bowl canister to catch the flour as it’s processed. Look for ones with a secure lid to store the processed flour as well.
And for manual mills, a power bar attachment can make turning a flywheel easier.
Power Sources: Manual, Electric, and Convertible
Milling was first accomplished using muscle power – first human, then beasts of burden were used to move larger stone wheels.
This was followed by water, wind, steam, and most recently, electricity.
Today, many models are still powered manually with a hand crank or flywheel, others by electricity, and some can be converted for a combination of both.
Usually less expensive, manual models have less downtime than their electrified cousins – simply because they don’t have any electrical components to potentially burn out or break down.
Grains stay cool in manual mode, thanks to the very low RPMs of the hand-powered action, and the slow revolutions also help to keep noise levels down.
Manual grinders also offer a rustic, hands-on experience that you won’t find by flipping on a switch!
Plus, if you live in a rural area with frequent power outages or in an off-grid environment, a manual grinder is a solid option – it will continue to grind whether there’s an outside source of power available or not. Campfire flapjacks made with freshly milled flour sound like a great option to us!
But make no mistake, manual models are labor-intensive and require hard work for large batches of flour. And if the hand doesn’t crank the flywheel, there will be no flour to bake the bread!
If you like to multitask, some models even offer a converter kit to hook up to a stationary bike, so you can get a cardio/lower body workout while grinding your flour.
To prevent bucking and unwanted tabletop travel while in use, these models also need to be securely attached to a work surface – either temporarily with clamps, or permanently with nuts and bolts.
Both of these options have their downsides: a permanent fixture can occupy a large area of your countertop, and clamps can cause damage to tabletops and counters.
Texture selection is usually more limited with manual mills, because they often produce only a coarser flour – suitable for breads, but not for cakes or pastries.
Naturally, hand-cranked types grind at a much slower rate than electric models, so patience will be required for a steady supply of flour with these models.
These are the quickest and easiest to operate, and are still relatively inexpensive for the job they do.
They also have a greater range of texture settings, so you can custom design your own blends specifically for your needs. Most will excel at creating the very fine flour needed for baking puff pastries and cakes with a delicate crumb, as well as coarser flours, meals, and even cereal mixes.
Electric models are also portable. They don’t require any stabilizing anchors, and can be tucked into an out-of-the-way spot when not in use.
However, electric models are quite a bit noisier than hand models, and they’ll generate much more heat in the grinding process.
They also tend to produce more dust than the manual types, because of their much higher speeds.
And, if the power fails, so will your electric grinder. Which brings us to the third model in power sources…
These mills are a hybrid that can be converted from manual to electric operation, and back again.
When the power is interrupted, or you simply want to hand-crank a small batch of flour, a convertible model gives you the option to change power sources – usually with a simple motor attachment.
Not all manual models come with this option. Before purchasing, check the details of your selected model to ensure it can be converted.
Burrs and Other Mechanisms
Every grain mill has a mechanism of some sort that will burst, crush, grind, shear, or shred grain into meal and flour, producing a variety of textures from coarse to very fine.
Some burrs are more versatile than others, and are able to handle very hard or soft foods, as well as oily or moisture-laden items. Other models offer changeable burrs so you can switch them back and forth for milling dry or oily foods.
One mechanism that’s gaining in popularity is the “oat roller” or “grain flaker,” which produces rolled oats and coarse flakes. However, it’s important to know that this attachment will not grind grain fine enough to be suitable for baking bread or pastries – even after several passes through the hopper.
The two primary mechanisms available for the home market are burr mills and impact grinders.
The oldest grinding models, these are the most common.
Burrs consist of two grinding plates, either stone or steel. One plate is fixed to the housing unit and is called the “bedstone,” while the other plate is rotated and is known as the “runner.”
Grain is fed from the hopper between the burrs, where it is then crushed and pulverized as the runner plate turns against the stationary bedstone.
Because the burrs do all the grinding work, you can see why it’s important for these components to be made of high-quality materials.
These offer the best possible range in textures, creating very fine flour to coarse meal and cereal textures, as well as cracked grains. And, they’re available in both manual and electric models.
They turn at a relatively slow RPM relative to impact mills, and todays’ stone burrs are most often made of engineered composites. These composite stones provide the best performance in terms of longevity, efficiency, and producing evenly calibrated, grit-free flours.
Many stone burrs will have the familiar grooving of furrows and lands that feed and channel the grain, while others will be flat.
Composite, or synthetic stones, work well for all dry grains and legumes, including hard-to-crack varieties like corn.
They’re also suitable for grinding small amounts of dried spices, but shouldn’t be used on wet or oily foods, as the porous material will quickly glaze over.
Composite stone burrs provide a cool grind, produce a clean product free of grit, and have a long life.
Burrs made from metal, or plates, can be flat or conical in shape, and are usually made of hardened cast steel – which produces a shearing action on the kernels, as opposed to the crushing motion of stone plates.
Found on both electric and manual models, they’re usually quieter than either stone burrs or impact models.
The discs, or plates, are constructed of a hard, tough, high-carbon stainless steel that can handle the most challenging of grinding duties.
Steel burrs won’t chip or flake, and the flour they produce is always free of residual grit. Plus, they won’t glaze over from the oils in seeds and nuts, making them the material of choice for nut flour and butters.
And steel plates are also easy to adjust, which helps to keep wear to a minimum.
Sometimes referred to as a micronizer, impact mechanisms provide high-speed output of the fine and very fine flours best suited for baking breads, cakes, and pastries.
Impact mills are electric only, and in place of burrs, the grinding chamber consists of two stainless steel plates with concentric rings of teeth, or fins. These plates spin at very high RPMs and literally burst the kernels into smaller and smaller pieces as they’re impacted mid-air.
Most micronizers produce fine or very fine flour only. However, some models will have settings for coarser textures such as meal – although they won’t be able to create cracked grains or cereal textures.
Impact models are best suited for dry grains and beans, and cannot grind fibrous, oily, or wet foods.
But, because there’s no friction from heat-creating stones or rollers, micronizers maintain a low temperature, which some consider an important feature in maintaining whole grain nutrients.
This WonderMill Electric Grain Grinder gets our nod for the Best Quality Micronizer, thanks to high quality construction and versatile performance. You can find this model on Amazon.
With three settings, The WonderMill has texture selections for coarse, pastry, and bread flours, and grinds virtually dust-free.
The long-lasting milling chamber and fins are made of durable stainless steel for clean, easy performance that won’t gum up or glaze over, and they also help to keep temperatures cool.
A 1250-watt motor provides plenty of power for hard kernels, and the entire unit is made of food safe, BPA-free plastic.
This model is a solid choice for fast, clean milling of coarse to very fine flours.
Temperatures and Heat Buildup
All models will generate a certain amount of heat in the grinding process.
The finer a flour is ground, the more time and energy are required, and the greater the amount of heat that will be generated. Naturally, a hand-cranked model won’t generate as much heat as one that’s fully automated.
We know that high temperatures can cause a loss of nutrients in foods. So, the question is, do the temperatures generated in milling cause nutrient damage?
There’s plenty of online speculation that this is the case, but little in the way of scientific evidence to support these claims.
In fact, the AACCI Whole Grains Working Group reviewed all of the existing data on the impact of different milling practices on grain nutrition, and concluded that, “The alleged high-temperature destruction of nutrients with steel rollers has not been documented.”
Indeed, the same review reports that the milling process – and the low levels of heat and humidity it generates – have been shown to actually improve the nutritional value of some whole grains.
And any nutrients that might be damaged by heat in the milling process will most certainly be exposed to, and damaged by, the much higher baking temperatures of 350°F and higher.
Having said that, if you are concerned about high temperatures, look for air-cooled models that will help to keep the grinding chamber cool, and models with low RPMs. Or simply pop your grain into the freezer for several hours prior to grinding.
Tips for the Freshest Flour
For the freshest taste and highest level of nutrients, keep these points in mind:
- Only grind as much as you intend to use in the short term. Once the kernel is cracked and the bran has been exposed to oxygen, oils can quickly turn rancid. This is a one of the main reasons refined white flours have had the oily, but nutritious, bran removed – without the bran oils, shelf life is increased considerably.
- Intact whole kernels, when stored properly, will last longer on the shelf than most ﬂours and meals.
- For production purposes, 1 cup of whole wheat berries will produce 1 1/2 cups of flour, and 1 pound of berries gives approximately 3 cups.
- Freshly ground flour should smell slightly sweet or be aroma free. Any oily, dusty, or musty smells indicate the product is past its prime, and should be avoided or discarded if you’ve already bought a bad batch.
As with most dry goods, any wheat berries, kernels, beans, seeds, or nuts should be stored in a cool, dry environment to keep them safe from heat, air, and moisture exposure.
The shelf life for most whole flours and meals is 1 to 3 months when stored properly in a cool and dry place, and 2 to 6 months sealed and kept in the freezer.
In general, whole kernels will keep for up to 6 months in a cool, dry cupboard and up to 1 year in the freezer, according to the Whole Grains Council.
Glass, ceramic, plastic, or metal canisters and bins work well for storage, as do zip-top bags. And any plastic containers should be made of food-safe, BPA-free materials. Several of the products suggested in our tea storage review would make excellent storage vessels for grains and home-milled flours.
An airtight seal is needed for freshness, to prevent exposure to moisture and insects, and to lock out the odors and flavors of other foods.
To track freshness, mark the purchase or mill date on your storage container.
Where to Buy Whole Grains
Whole grains can be purchased from a number of sources, including the bulk section of many grocers, health food stores, local granaries, and a variety of online and mail order sources.
Here are a couple of examples of some of our favorites, available online:
Palouse Brand hard red spring wheat berries from Palouse, Washington are non-GMO, 100% non-irradiated, certified kosher, field traced (meaning they can tell you what specific field it was grown in on the farm), and grown the USA. Five-pound bags are available individually on Amazon, as well as cases of 5-pounders, and 3-pound bags as well.
Augason Farms offers this 26-pound bin of nutritious brown rice, available from Amazon.
It comes in a 4-gallon, watertight pail for long-term storage, making this pantry staple a smart option for emergency food supplies, or everyday use.
For other types of gluten-free flours, Amazon.com offers a number of options – like Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo beans. Bob’s uses only non-GMO ingredients, and the beans in this 25-pound bag offer good levels of protein, fiber, and iron, and produce a fine flour. Smaller packages are also available from Amazon.
Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Beans, available from Amazon
For a more complete list of online whole grain sources, check out our companion article, The Whole Grain Purchasing Guide.
Grist to the Mill
Manual, electric, or convertible, a good grain mill will provide you with a steady supply of fresh flour with all the nutrients intact.
Before purchasing, decide what type of flour and meal textures will best suit your needs, and whether you’d like the ability to grind oily products for butters, like nuts and seeds.
Remember to look for high-quality burrs or grinding plates, as these are the mechanisms that will be doing all the work! And for the best freshness and nutrition, grind only what you’ll use in the short term – whole grain kernels store much better than processed flour.
Follow our guide to ensure you get a reliable and durable model that will meet your specific needs, and check out our individual reviews of the best grain mills available for the home market.
Do you readers have any comments or questions about grain mills? Drop us a note in the comments below!
Product photos via WonderMill, Country Living, Blendtec, KoMO, NutriMill, Victoria, KitchenAid, Fair Winds Press, Robert Rose, Palouse Brand, Augason Farms, Bob’s Red Mill. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.