Just Milling Around


My bowls of grains waiting to be ground: white wheat, rye, white wheat again, and red wheat.

One thing we do in our household is grind our own grain. It’s pretty cheap to buy 25-50 pound bags of wheat, oats, or other grains. We store them in plastic 5-gallon buckets in our shed with tightly sealing lids – you can get these sorts of buckets and lids from a paint shop.

First we tried the Family Grain Mill.

Positive things about the Family Grain Mill:

  • You can get it with a handcrank option, if you’re the hippie homesteading disaster-preparedness type.
  • It makes very nice flour.
  • It’s easy to wash because it comes apart.

Negative things about the Family Grain Mill:

  • It took a  r e a l l y  long time to grind enough grain just for one batch of bread (2 loaves). I think it took the better part of an hour. I don’t recall now exactly how long, because that was 3 or so years ago, but I remember feeling like it was NOT worth my time to have to constantly replenish a hopper that was as slow as molasses in January just to make one batch of bread.
  • The milling part is metal. This isn’t a bad thing as long as you have sorted through your grain first to make sure there are no stones in it, because rocks will really do some serious damage to steel mills if you don’t take the time to sort out rocks.

After using the Family Grain Mill for a few weeks we got tired of how slow it was in comparison with my mother-in-law’s old Magic Mill, and so my husband went on eBay to find one of those for ourselves: the old kind with the stone mill, that Magic Mill doesn’t actually manufacture any more. He soon found one for a good price and we’ve been using that one ever since.

Magic Mill

This is our Magic Mill.

Positive things about the Magic Mill:

  • It’s really fast. I can grind up several kinds of grain and fill various bags/canisters in the same amount of time it took the Family Grain Mill to just do one canister of one grain.
  • It’s got a stone so while I still try to pick out rocks I’m not as worried about it as I would be if we had a steel mill.

Negative things about the Magic Mill:

  • This is about mine specifically: because it’s older and been used, the stones don’t come quite as close together as they originally would have, due to wear. My husband was able to tinker with it to get the stones a little closer, but it’s something to be aware of if you do buy a used one. The flour is still very usable but if I want it super super fine and fluffy I run it through twice. (I rarely bother, because it’s really not that big of a deal.)
  • It’s a little harder to clean out thoroughly than the Family Grain Mill, which all came apart for washing. If you’re on a strictly gluten-free diet you won’t want to buy a used one, because it’s impossible to get every speck of flour residue out. I brush mine out with a bristle brush or (dedicated) toothbrush and call it good. For reference purposes, the picture I posted above was taken between grinding flour and brushing out flour residue.

I also find my small coffee grinder indispensable, pictured in this post. You can find them at thrift stores. (Just make sure they don’t smell strongly of coffee, or everything you grind will smell like coffee.) For small quantities or things such as nuts or flaxseed that can’t be run through the flour mill, this little apparatus is wonderful. I’ve used my blender, but the coffee grinder works far better.

I asked my friends what kinds of grain mills they have and here’s what I learned from them.
  • My husband’s parents have the Magic Mill (an older one than ours). You can look at what Magic Mill currently has available or check eBay for an older model.
  • Carol and Tom have the Ultramill that they bought at Bob’s Red Mill several years ago. They are pleased; usually grind corn and wheat in it.
  • Peter has the Country Living grain mill. This is a hand-crank one. They’ve had it over 10 years and like it.
  • Joy has a K-Tec kitchen mill that her mom bought about 17 years ago. It is a steel mill, doesn’t take up a lot of space ( about the same as a 4 slice toaster) and when you aren’t using it, the mill pan fits over the motor and stores the cord, etc. As far as speed, she hasn’t used any other mills but it seems fast to her. The only negative is that it is loud! Otherwise, they haven’t had a bit of trouble with it and would buy it again.
  • Esther’s is a NutriMill. She’s had it since she got married and thinks it does a good job but has nothing to compare it to.

Do you use a grain mill? What kind do you have, and how has it worked for you?

Categories: around the kitchen | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Just Milling Around

  1. I just received one of these mills from a friend today, but it looks like that metal plate that fits on top of the stones is missing. I am thinking my husband can make one(he’s a metalworker)? Is it’s only function to guide the grain into the hole in the stone? After reading your post, I am quite excited to try it. Currently I buy 50lb sacks of milled grain, then pack it in ziploc bags and put it in the freezer, but I’m thinking buckets sound much easier. ~Jenn


    • Hi Jenn! I can take a couple photos of the metal plate if you’d like. It does guide the grain into the hole and probably would be a pretty easy piece of work for a metalworker. 🙂

      The only grain I freeze is corn, because otherwise you can’t run it through the mill without it getting gooey since it’s a softer grain (and then I keep the corn flour in the freezer because it goes rancid faster than I use it, usually). We have not had any issues with our other grain berries (wheat, oat, spelt, rice, and so forth) going rancid out in the buckets even if takes us a year or more to use them. We are in a fairly moderate climate, but the shed can get pretty hot where they are kept.


  2. Oooooo, I’d love a pic if you wouldn’t mind. Top side? Is the hole just stamped in the plate or is there a small funnel molded on the bottom that fits into the hole in the stone? LOVE your postpartum freezer posts, I’ll have to keep those handy for next time ’round. 😉 ~Jenn


    • I’ll try to get some pics today and email them to you – I’ll use the address you commented with if that’s ok with you:-)

      I need to do an update on the freezer project eventually here. I think there were a couple other things I needed to address… lol. But it’ll keep.


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