When I got my Nutrimill in the mail to test and review, I was absolutely shocked at how LARGE it was. Between that and the Excalibur dehydrator arriving around the same time, my husband very seriously mandated that I get product dimensions before allowing any more boxes to come to our door.
Where to Grind Grain?
I quickly decided the entire Nutrimill grain mill was too heavy and obnoxious to carry it up and down the stairs when I needed it, which is what I do with my food processor. Instead, I started by milling grain in my downstairs bathroom, which made for a pretty funny introductory blog post:
I just ground wheat in our downstairs bathroom, a.k.a. “The Man Cave.” It has an insanely large counter (that of course, I wish was upstairs!). I decided that it was easier to move the grain mill a few feet down the hallway, plug in and turn on, than to carry it all the way upstairs to the kitchen. Am I crazy?
Here are my first experience grain milling lessons:
- You need to find a place for everything:
- Whole grains
- Grain mill
- Any extra flour you might end up with, whether you plan to mill for the week or just have a half cup too much for your recipe
- Grain mills are very, very loud. It scares my toddler, and my preschooler covers his ears, but also is drawn like a bee to pollen to watching the grain go down the hopper.
- You can’t be the type of person who worries about a little flour getting on the counter. Seriously – you have to be okay with flour dust drifting around the grain mill for about a 2-foot diameter. I make enough messes as it is, so the flour getting everywhere does kind of bum me out, because it’s just impossible to contain without making a mess.
- Key winning factor: You do not have to wash it. It would break me to have one more appliance that needs to be washed after using, especially one that necessitates working carefully around motor parts and that needs to dry 100% perfectly.
- Grain mills are BIG. I was shocked at the size of the thing. Many people think a KitchenAid mixer on the counter takes up a lot of space, but this appliance has it beat, twice over:
Yes, that’s my bathroom. The KitchenAid doesn’t usually live down there, but I brought it in from the van where it lives when we “set” the house for a showing, and it was easier to just bring it down rather than…I know. Weird. In the interest of full disclosure, yes, also, that’s a coffeemaker in the background. In the bathroom. And yes, it does usually live there, thank you very much. My husband works from home, in the basement, and…I know. Weird. Life is much more complicated around here than it ought to be! Anyone want to buy a great starter home with a small-ish kitchen?
- Those of you who own a Nutrimill can commence laughing now…Aaaaaaaand be sure to double check that you pushed the bowl in all the way before you walk off to, say, write one quick tweet, lest you come back to flour literally blowing out into your bathroom. I wish I had taken a photo for y’all before I very efficiently cleaned that one up. Suffice it to say that there was an inch tall horizontal lump of flour on the canister next to the grain mill, like you’d see if you ran a snowblower directly next to a building. That thing has some power!
I’m sort of getting a good routine. I can just pour the whole grains out of their container in the basement into the grain mill, carry it into said bathroom, plug in, and then do something briefly with laundry nearby while it whizzes. Then I carry the bowl upstairs, use a measuring cup that I’ll use in that night’s recipe to dip the flour into a glass jar. I made a place in the freezer (a feat in and of itself, believe me!) for the jar to safely fit.
As much as truly freshly ground flour is best, there’s no way I can handle doing that every time I need a cup and a half, or a few Tablespoons to soak oatmeal. I’m freezing it, for sure! I have another glass jar in the refrigerator for another kind of whole wheat flour. Maybe someday I’ll get them both in the freezer, but for now, this will have to do.
Is this sounding negative? I’m really not a negative Nancy, but I struggle with “the new” until I get a good routine. That’s why it took so long to even open the box. I’ll get there!
I really can tell that the taste of the freshly ground flour is superior to the store stuff, particularly when I made homemade tortillas. But most of all, I’m thrilled that I’m getting the most out of my grains, with nutrient density at its best and no chance of rancid oils. The native phytase is highly active for soaking grains and the reduction of phytates. It’s also cheaper to grind my own flour. I’ll write more on the praises of freshly ground grain in the future as I bumble through with my new appliance a bit more, you can be sure.
After all that, it didn’t take long to move to the laundry room, where I conveniently already had a random table. It’s now full of my dehydrator, grain mill, some jars of dehydrated tomatoes and extra wheat berries. It’s easy to carry the flour container upstairs after milling, and I get to fold laundry or load the machine in the few minutes it takes to grind the wheat.
Does Grinding Wheat Make a Mess?
I’ve figured out how to stop 99% of the flour from poofing out the sides, and I just ignore the other 1%. It’s the basement, after all. The trick? Push the bowl in all the way, give it another nudge after turning the machine on, and if you really want zero dusting, cover the opening on the left side with a towel. Just don’t grab a dirty sock from the laundry pile.
Does Grinding Grain Fresh Make Extra Dishes?
I was a little worried at first that this huge bowl and complicated looking lid would be “just one more thing” to wash. I hate dishes. Plus, I knew it would need to be absolutely and totally dry before storing and using again.
My solution? Just don’t wash it. My philosophy is that it’s just dry flour, and the next thing that it will touch will be more dry flour. I can’t stress out about an 1/8 teaspoon of flour going rancid and touching the rest of my flour. Besides that, the inside of the mill, where you can’t clean no matter what, is going to have some flour residue on it anyway.
Is it a Grain Mill or a Jet Engine?
And the noise? It makes for some funny conversation. Observe:
I was talking on the phone with my mom one evening and did everything I could do before soaking a recipe for the next day. I had to grind the grain. It couldn’t wait any longer. When I turned on the Nutrimill, my mom yelled, “What happened!” She thought I’d hopped on a jet plane or something.
My brother was visiting and was upstairs when I milled some grains with the door closed in the basement, and he was smirking when I returned. “Um, what the heck were you doing down there?” He guffawed and nearly fell off the couch when I said I was just grinding some grain.
It’s something to say when you want people to think you’re practically off the grid: “I grind my own grain, you know.” Ha!
My Final Thoughts for the Nutrimill Grain Mill Review
- I can’t tell you it won’t take you any more time.
- I can’t tell you it’s not loud!
- I can’t tell you it takes up very little space.
- I can’t say it’s mess free, but flour is messy business, no matter how you shake it. Don’t shake your flour, folks. Also, don’t get a grain mill of any kind if you can’t handle some flour dust.
- I won’t say that I can tell the bread and grain products I make are fresher, better-tasting, or the best stuff I’ve ever eaten, but many other people do. I’m just not that observant, honestly.
- I will say the cornbread I made with freshly ground popcorn was the most amazing I’ve ever had.
- I will say I’m so pleased that I’m using the whole grain, as fresh as possible. I am convinced there are health benefits to freshly ground grain. Then again, that opens another new can of worms.
- I’m pretty happy that I can’t break the Nutrimill by turning it on or off at the wrong time like the Wondermill and Whispermill, from what I understand. (Check out the comparison of the Nutrimill grain mill with a Wondermill I vlogged last week!)
- The flour grinds as quickly and finely as I could expect.
- CHECK AMAZON PRICING ON A NUTRIMILL HERE!
How is Grain Milling Going After a Year of Use?
After a year, and a move to a new house, I have to say, I’m pretty excited to have my Nutrimill grain mill right in the kitchen nowadays to make flour whenever I want it.
Don’t let anyone tell you that grain milling won’t take any time. I’ve learned that although I do a LOT of kitchen tasks that just “take no time at all,” nothing actually takes zero minutes. Grinding grain might only add two minutes to your baking time, but it’s still another appliance to (periodically) clean, and you have to keep your wheat berries or other whole grains stocked and organized. Because I buy them in major bulk, that means it is a 5-minute task to refill smaller containers from the 25-pound bags.
Even five minutes here and there isn’t “nothing.”
Another aspect of grinding your own flour that you’ll want to keep in mind is storing the extras. I never manage to grind exactly what I need – perhaps I should get a conversion chart now that my grain mill is actually in the kitchen – but in the past, I always liked to have leftover flour on purpose. That made things like feeding a sourdough starter and adding a few Tbs. to soak oatmeal exponentially easier.
You just have to think about where to put it in your freezer. That’s not always the easiest place to store things, if your house is anything like mine. I either have to make room for a glass jar in the freezer (tricky) or pour into a plastic bag (messy). So I’m a whiner. What else is new?
Wondering about sprouted flour? I have made my own sprouted flour, and the Nutrimill can handle it, but a word to the wise if you try it: you will think you are breaking your Nutrimill. I was grinding sprouted grains after not having done it for a long time, and I was sure my mill was dying. I was just about ready to email the company with a pity party story when I (thankfully) remembered that there is something about sprouted grains – even when 100% dehydrated – that bogs down the Nutrimill. It gets through them, but your heart rate might increase, too.
My official analysis of making your own flour in general, then, is that you have to believe it’s better. It might be slightly less expensive to make flour rather than buying it, but if you’re not willing to spend the time, and if frugality is your only reason for buying a grain mill, I wouldn’t recommend it.
If you truly believe freshly ground flour is healthier, or if you love the way food tastes with your own milled flour, then you should get a grain mill. If you only want to mill grains, the Nutrimill is an excellent option.
I remain disappointed, especially since we’ve had so many spells going gluten-free, that I can’t make my own almond flour or mill whole flax (the Nutrimill doesn’t do oily seeds). I still need to try making something like chickpea flour, after I double check the instructions to make sure I can.
Maybe someday I’ll try a hand-crank Wondermill so I can handle oily seeds and such.
Ultimately, the final word on a grain mill is that it’s a whole bunch easier to just go grain-free or gluten-free than it is to make your own flour and worry about soaking grains and all that jazz! That’s just me…and I’m a little over-busy right now, so perhaps I’ll feel differently later on.
Disclosure: Pleasant Hill Grain provided a Nutrimill Grain Grinder at reduced cost for my review and is providing the giveaway product free of charge. This relationship clearly in no way affects my opinion! See my full disclosure statement here.