You best appreciate the flavor of whole grains when you grind your own flour, making a countertop grain mill a wise investment. Take it from me, grinding your own flour really brings out the flavor, so do a little research and choose the best mill for your needs. Before you drop dough on your first grinder, consider the following:
- RELATED STORY: Milling Your Own Flour For Better Health
- RELATED STORY: Sharpening Tips From Chef’s Choice
Manual or electric: If you’re someone who wants to use the grain mill for frequent baking, an electric mill makes quick work of making flour. The NutriMill is a convenient, mid-sized electric mill that has settings for bread, pastry and a more coarse grind that is perfect for the weekly bread baking.
But if you want to be able to grind flour without electricity, and you have plenty of energy to do so, a manual mill won’t fail you even when the power is out. And some mills, such as the GrainMaker, are convertible to electric (or vice versa) so you can have the best of both worlds.
Burr or impact: How the mill actually grinds the flour makes a difference. Burr mills grind the flour between a couple of plates, while impact mills hammer the grains. The potential drawback of an impact-style mill is that it only does finer grinds of flour, but it does it in short order and is ideal for bread or pastry flours.
Dust level: Grinding flour can be dusty business, which bothers some people. If you are sensitive to flour dust, consider a manual grinder. Even though electric models attempt to mitigate the dust release, they still have more.
Parting shot: When looking at a mill, decide what you want to do with it. If you need an all-in-one unit that can grind pastry flour or oily items such as nuts, a higher-end manual mill is your best bet.
This article was originally published in The NEW PIONEER™ Spring 2016 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.