Saturday, January 30, 2010

Back to Basics Grain Mill (Manual Wheat Grinder)

I am going to be writing a lot of "product testing / review" posts in the next upcoming weeks.

My intent is to introduce you to products that you may or may not be interested in, hopefully providing enough information for you to determine if it will be worth purchasing or not.

Today I am writing about Grain Mills, or Manual Wheat Grinders
I do realize that you can mill other grains, but this experimental review is specifically for wheat, because I believe that is what it is most used for.
This is the model I have.  It is 'Back to Basics' brand and can be purchased for around $65+ dollars
(I've had mine for a while... I'm pretty sure this is the price I see around stores).

This is the brand I've noticed the most at various stores, as well as the brand I've seen most people have at Emergency Preparedness Fairs and Seminars.  I would recommend it.
It takes about one minute to assemble, and it fits on the lip of your countertop.

The wheat is put into the cup at the top, which holds just over 2 cups at a time.

As you turn the handle, the wheat passes through a nozzle.
The 'nozzle' can be adjusted to make anything from cracked wheat to wheat flour.

It is extremely easy to use - I ground 2 cups of wheat into flour in about 15-20 minutes, including set up (turning at a relatively slow pace).

Previously, I had only used this to make cracked wheat, since I don't prefer the taste of wheat flour in my recipes.

Since this is the only wheat grinder I have, I thought it would be smart to see if it could actually grind it into flour, in case we ever needed it for emergency situations.

Honestly, I was concerned about the usability of the wheat flour after I made some.
I don't know how well this picture demonstrates it, but the wheat flour was nothing like the consistency of regular flour.  It was very grainy - somewhere between regular flour and cornmeal consistency.

As I mentioned, I don't have an electric wheat grinder, but I know several people who do, and when they grind flour, it is very fine, just like the regular flour you buy at the store.

However, I was VERY pleased with the results.
I used the flour to make bread, and later some pancakes.  I noticed nothing different about the texture, appearance, or overall taste of the food.

So... Is it worth it?
In my opinion, yes.  If you store wheat, you have to have a way to use it.

Manual or Electric?
Manual grinders are cheaper, smaller, and less maintenance than electric grinders, and would be much more useful in a power outage.

Electric Grinders are much faster, and produce an overall better product.

I personally don't think an electric wheat grinder would be worth the money, but I don't use wheat flour on a regular basis. 

For emergency and minimal use, a manual grain mill would be  perfect for the job.

For those of you who grind wheat flour on a regular basis an electric grinder would be the way to go, especially since wheat flour does not last very long, a few weeks at best (I am currently undergoing research on that, so specific results will be coming soon).

Either way, it might not be a bad idea to have a manual one just for emergencies - easy to transport, easy to set up, and no electricity required.


  1. Great review; there are so many different hand grinders out there that it's hard to pick, great to hear that one so inexpensive works so well... thanks for the whole rundown!

  2. Good info, thanks for posting it. I use a cast iron manual grinder. If you want to make the flour finer, try grinding a second time. This works well for me.

    1. That's a good idea. I've long since upgraded to an electric grinder, but I'll have to keep this in mind for the possible future in an emergency.