Sunday, January 30, 2011

Product Review: Back to Basics Grain Mill

I'm very excited to post another baking product review for you, this time from my friend, Katey.  Katey has recently plunged whole-heatedly into the world of whole wheat baking, and recently received a Back to Basics Grain Mill as a gift.  Note that this mill is manual, and besides being able to mill excellent bread flour, is very handy in case of a power outage, cost effective, and great if you're a fan of cracked grains.  From reading Katey's review, it seems to be very similar to my first mill, which was a Family Living Grain Mill (sans the plastic exterior).  And by the way, while you're here, take a minute to check out Katey's awesome photography website, Front Porch Photography.

Back to Basics Grain Mill
I have used this mill three times now, and as you can see from the photo below, the construction is solid. It is very easy to take apart and very easy to clean. There is one small place on the interior where the burrs touch another piece; some of the flour got stuck there, and I had to use a toothpick to get it out because I didn't see that when I washed it.
Solid construction...
The Back to Basics Mill does mill flour, though not as finely as an electric mill. The two piles of flour in the photo below somewhat show this. The pile on the right is from the Back to Basics Mill; the pile on the left is from an electric mill.
Note the coarser flaking in the right-hand pile.
Below is a video of the milling process itself.  It took me ten minutes to grind two cups of wheat berries on the finest setting, which made three cups of flour. I ground this as quickly as I could with two arms.  Also note that you have to crank the mill down really well onto your countertop, otherwise it moves all over the place. Be aware that it will marr your countertop! Place some paper or cardboard on the top of the counter before clamping down.

For a manual or electric mill, flour output is about 1.5 times the amount of wheat berries (e.g., 2 cups wheat berries yields 3 cups flour).

Note the cardboard protecting the countertop.

I'm glad to have this for use in case the electricity goes out or the end of the world comes! It is a great arm workout and I think I can handle that once a week or so.  And as you can see, it makes excellent bread!

The hopper is smaller than that of an electric mill, but a cinch to refill.

Manual grain mill = fresh flour + arm muscles!

Another benefit of a manual mill is the quiet operation...a consideration if you have small children.
Worth the effort?  Absolutely!


  1. It's neat to get the perspective of someone using a hand mill vs. an electric. Happy baking!

  2. What a lovely demo model you have:) Love you, Katey!