Grain Mills: A Good Investment?

We never even considered milling our own grain until we started doing a lot more multi-grain baking and cooking. Those quinoa and spelt flours get expensive! It sure would be nice to buy the whole-grains or nuts for these flours in bulk and grind them ourselves at home. Do any of you do this?

We've been using our food processor to do some very basic milling. Pour in the nut or grain, give it a few good pulses, and manage to get a fairly decent flour. The flour is pretty coarse and non-uniform (though sifting it through a strainer gets out the big bits), and this works fine for occasional baking. As we've been using alternative types of flours more frequently, we've started wishing for a better product.

The problem is that home grain mills are definitely an investment! One of the mills we came across most frequently in our searches was the Nutrimill Grain Mill, which will set you back around $270. Hand-cranked mills are significantly less, around $50, but we aren't sure how finely they will grind flour or if it would become cumbersome to grind larger batches of flour. KitchenAid used to have an attachment for about $150, but they seem to have discontinued the product.

Here are the main grain mills we found:

Prago Cereal and Multi-Grain Mill from Walmart, $29.98 (Hand-cranked)
Back to Basics Hand Mill from Internet-Grocer, $53.50 (Hand-cranked)
Nutrimill Grain Mill from Pleasant Hill Grain, $270 (Electronic)
Family Grain Mill from Internet-Grocer, $139 - $270 (Electronic, also has the possibility of alternate attachments for flaking grains, grinding meat, and pureeing fruits and vegetables)

We'll be keeping our eyes peeled at garage sales this summer. Maybe we'll get lucky and find a used one.

Do you grind flour at home? What do you use?

Related: Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce: Book Review 2010

(Images: Walmart and Emily Ho)

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