Today I have chosen to compare a few different mills. I have 5 mills and have chosen to compare 4 of them.
The mills that I have chosen to compare are:
Mockmill KA attachment $199 (Not actually a full mill)
Nutrimill Classic $219
WhisperMill (now WonderMill) $219
Komo Harvest 250 $399 (Very similar to Fidibus 21)
The Komo and the Mockmill are both stone mills (interesting to note: the Mo in Komo is the same as Mock in Mockmill – Wolfgang Mock – the creative mind behind the mills.
The Nutrimill and Whispermill are both high speed impact mills. They are also referred to as micronizer mills. WonderMill (who purchased the design and mfg rights of the Whispermill) claims that the WonderMill has improved performance.
I did a somewhat limited test. My decision was to try and mill the same flour in each of the mills – that when passed through a sieve would produce an 85% extraction flour. This would insure that I was milling in each of the mills to approximately the same flour fineness. It took some time to find the rough equivalent settings for each of the mills and I did not get them all exactly the same – but fairly close.
I milled 100g of hard white wheat in each and measured the following:
Noise level @1m – the higher the number – the louder the mill is. To be clear, none of them are quiet. A difference of 10db is perceived as twice as loud.
Highest flour temperature – the longer the mill runs – the warmer the flour is likely to become. Temps should remain under 120f.
Time to mill – how long the mill took to mill the flour at the targeted fineness.
Actual extraction rate – when the 100g of flour was passed through the sieve – what was the % of flour (by weight) that passed through the sieve. The higher the number, the finer the flour was. The sieve size used was a US 30 mesh (595 microns).
I would expect the overall results to vary for each of the mills if different grains were milled or if a larger amount of grain was milled – the flour temp would likely increase more as the mill runs longer. I would expect the variation in performance between the mills to remain relatively constant.
I did not measure the overall time to mill a fixed amount of flour – including mill set up, milling and cleaning. Each is a factor in how much time the complete process takes. The Komo mill would be far shorter than the others. The impact mills are the most time consuming to clean (not excessive).
So – what were the results of the comparison:
Noise Level: 84db
Flour Temp: 92f
Time to mill 100g: 1:36
Actual Extraction: 84%
Noise Level: 98db
Flour Temp: 97f
Time to mill 100g: 0:36
Actual Extraction: 85%
Noise Level: 90db
Flour Temp: 95f
Actual Extraction: 87%
Noise Level: 91db
Flour Temp: 94f
Actual Extraction: 88%
My overall thoughts:
The Mockmill has the smallest hopper of any of the mills and is significantly slower (3X) than any of the other mills. It is suggested not to mill more than 5# of flour in a single session. For most home bakers, this should never be an issue. It is the quietest of all and produces the least increase in flour temperature (most likely due to the slower milling speed). It is relatively easy to attach to the KA – though you do need to use the extended thumbscrew provided to securely attach the mill. It has a quirky wobble while milling. The mill comes apart quite easily for cleaning. To achieve the desired 85% extraction rate, the mill had to be adjusted beyond the lowest setting on the dial. It may be impractical to try to mill any finer.
The mill is small by comparison and can easily be stored in a cupboard. The biggest risk might be misplacing the extended screw. I wish there was a clip on the mill to attach it during storage.
The Komo excels at convenience. The noise level was measured without the lid and is somewhat quieter with the lid on. Noise level varies based on the hardness of the grain. It will mill a wide variety of grains – though it does not do quite as well with larger grains. It is absolutely my preferred mill – though the price tag is also ~2x each of the other mills. It mills quickly and finely with minimal cleanup. It does tend to heat up during longer milling sessions – so keep an eye (or thermometer) on flour temperatures. It sits on my counter as the footprint is reasonable and the mill is relatively “attractive” (wood cabinet).
I would put the NutriMill and Whispermill mills in very close company. They mill about the same speed, flour temps are roughly equivalent and extraction rates similar. The Whispermill is slightly easier to clean, the Nutrimill has the largest hopper. Since the mills operate at a high speed – the first time shown above is how long it took to mill the flour – the second is the total time including waiting for the motor to “spin down”. The biggest downside – it is difficult to get coarse flours. The Nutrimill allows the motor speed to be varied – potentially allowing a wider range of adjustment. The Whispermill can mill 88-95% extraction flours based on the sieve I used. These will mill the finest flours in the shortest time. They are not likely to be left on your countertop – so you need to have a place to store them.
They are the most “cumbersome” to clean – be prepared for up to several minutes to clean after each use. Many users simplify this process by simply brushing out the mill and container.
I did not include a steel mill or a food processor in the comparison. The biggest challenge of the food processors is flour temp and fineness.
All of these mills will produce very useable flours. There are milling methods that use a wo pass process – initially cracking the grain and subsequently milling into flour. This is only an option on the steel/stone burr mills. If you mill much larger quantities of flour and do not specifically want to mill coarser flours, it may well be worth considering one of the impact mills. They can likely produce the finest flours of any of the mills.
The Komo mill is by far an excellent choice. It is my go to mill. It is convenient and requires minimal cleaning. It simply produces great flours day after day. It happily sits on my countertop.
Purchasing a mill is a choice that should be made with full consideration of your baking habits, your ability to source grains, your desire for fresh flours and your budget.
Personally, I could not go back to purchasing whole grain flours.