In your search for an electric grain mill, you inevitably see two front runners: the medium-priced, quick, and powerful WonderMill Electric Grain Mill, and the Nutrimill Classic Grain Mill. Both are great for households, will deal with any grain, and make enough flour for a loaf of bread quite quickly. But which is the best? Let’s find out.
Why have an electric mill in the first place? If you have a back-up source of electricity, like a generator, then milling your own flour can be quite convenient when the power goes out. Whole wheat berries can store much longer than flour. So, preparing for bread when SHTF can be as easy as stockpiling wheat berries or other unmilled grain, buying a mill, and forgetting about it.
There are also nutritional benefits from using freshly ground flour. Many nutrients fade from store-bought flour, or are processed out to create a whiter flour.
Just be warned– you’ll need to sort through the grains to ensure there’s no rocks or other debris that will damage the mill. You may also want a dedicated pastry brush to help you clean out the mills.
By the way, for the purposes of this article we’ll be talking about the newly designed Wonder Mill. It is sometimes called the “Whisper Mill,” but it’s not identical to the Whisper Mill. It was only based on the Whisper Mill, which is now no longer in production.
What can they do?
Both of these mills can take grains, beans, and rice and turn them into flour. Neither can handle wet seeds, nuts (sorry, almond flour fans), sugar, coffee, or anything with moisture. Both mills also have settings for producing different grades of flour, but neither can make cracked grain.
The Nutrimill has a two dial system that can be a bit confusing. The top dial is for “speed” of the mill. The larger the gain you put inside, the slower you have to set the mill. Corn, for example, would require a very slow setting, and that means it will take longer to make cornflour than rice flour, for example.
Independent of this first knob, the second knob controls how fine the flour is. It has a sliding scale, offering many settings between coarse and fine. Some have said the coarsest setting makes a great cornbread flour. If you need a big range of flour textures, the Nutrimill is likely your best bet.
The WonderMill has a three settings: coarse, bread, and pastry flour. If you intend to make pastry with homeground flour you will also want a fine sift to remove the chaff and bran from the flour. After this, it’s a fine texture for pastry, but just not quite as the same as the kind you can get from the supermarket.
Speed is another factor to consider. The Wondermill claims to be able to produce 100 pounds of flour in an hour. Tests have shown that the Wondermill is faster than the Nutrimill, which claims to make 20 cups in five minutes. If speed is essential to you, the Wondermill may be the better buy, but both are quite quick.
If you do try to mill a large amount of grain at once, you’ll find the mill will start to smell, possibly even burn after some time. A great amount of heat will damage the flour, so don’t allow your mill to get too hot.
This heat is also the reason that you may find dough made with freshly milled flour will rise faster than bread made from room-temperature flour. Either factor in the quicker rising time, or allow it to sit until it cools.
Assembly and Cleaning
I’m including assembly and cleaning of the mills in the same category because many of the problems people report of their mills spitting flour everywhere can be solved by proper assembly. Both of the mills come with manuals, and you should follow the instructions closely to keep your mill from leaking. Of course, both have their own peculiarities.
The Wondermill requires more assembly than the Nutrimill. The main point where you might find flour spilling out of the Wondermill is the grey connection tube between the mill and the second cylinder, which only collects the flour. Ensure the tube is connect properly on both ends. It’s possible, but doesn’t usually happen, that a few grains will pop out of the hopper (the technical term for where you pour the grains in. The Wondermill comes with a lid to prevent this.
You also need to make sure that you’ve put the lid on the collector side of the machine on properly. There’s a dispersal tube in this part which will ensure the flour spreads out evenly in the bowl. But, it will spit flour out if it’s put on incorrectly. There is a video available online to show you how to assemble the Wondermill properly.
A few grains have been known to pop out of the Nutrimill too, especially small grains like rice. Yet, the Nutrimill is far messier on the inside of the collector. When it comes time to empty out the pan you’ll notice that there’s flour all over the lid and the tube. You might have to shake the tube out a bit and take a pastry brush to the rest.
It seems like the designers realized the Nutrimill kicks up more dust than other mills, so they designed it with a super tight lid to keep any from spilling out. It works, and you won’t find flour dust everywhere when you get back. On the other hand, the lid, sealed in with a rubber gasket, is tough to get off.
If you have arthritis or some kind of arm or wrist problem, you’re going to have a great deal of trouble getting the lid off. Some recommend you apply a thin layer of flour along the rubber, which helps break the seal when it comes time to open it up.
Another thing to keep a close eye on when using the Nutrimill is the collection tray. The upright model has the tray fit in beneath the hopper. It has to “click” into place. There’s an indicator on the bottom that tells you whether the tray is in properly. If not, you’re going to get a floury mess.
The manual on the Wondermill will suggest you run it empty for a few moments to clean it out, and that does the trick. You also need to brush off the Wondermill’s filter, a little piece of round, black, foam.
The Nutrimill can also be run dry to clean up and it will need to be gently brushed out. If you ever get the insides of either mill wet for cleaning, be sure it has dried very well before you use it again. Both use stainless steel milling heads, which could rust if allowed to stay wet.
Sound and Ease of Use
No mill will ever sound like a whisper, as the once-popular Whisper Mill seemed to imply. From any electrical mill you can expect a loud noise. Both of these mills have been described as vacumm-level noise. I doubt the baby will sleep through the mill, and kids doig their homework nearby are apt to be disturbed too.
The Wondermill is quieter, but there is a caveat. You see, the Wondermill is louder when it’s running empty, and the Wondermill has to be started while empty. Then you pour the grain in, and it quiets down a bit. If you don’t abide by this rule you’ll clog up the mill, which can break it entirely.
In contrast, you can pour your grain into the Nutrimill before you start it. It’s a louder machine in general, but its noise is consistent.
Capacity and Size
Another factor many find important when choosing between these mills is how much flour they can hold at once. The Nutrimill holds more, at 20 cups, than the Wondermill which only holds 12 cups.
Both hold more than enough for two loaves of bread, but if you’re milling for more at once, the Nutrimill will do it all in one go. That larger capacity does have a draw-back though. The Nutrimill is taller, and has a wider base, which means it will take up more space in your kitchen. It may not fit beneath your cupboards.
The Wondermill will almost certainly fit under your cabinets, and has a thinner base that will fit on shorter cabinets. But, it’s two-part design means its longer, reaching further across your counter than the Nutrmill. Which will work best in your kitchen really depends on where you want to put it.
The clear winner in price is the Wondermill, offered for $199 from most vendors, including the Food Prepper. The Nutrimill is usually offered at $219. But, you might need to take shipping into account, and you can sometimes find sales on either model.
As the faster, cleaner, and cheaper mill, the Wondermill is our top recommendation. But if you need a range of flour textures, need to hold 20 cups of flour at once, or if the size of the Nutrimill works better with your kitchen, then the Nutrimill is still a great mill!
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