Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I’m sort of known for both comprehensive and honest reviews of natural living and real food cooking products. People turn here first when it comes to what natural mineral sunscreen to buy, how to choose a good reusable bag for school lunch, and even non-toxic nail polish, a review we’re still in the middle of testing for part two!
As I’ve been sharing about our Grinding Challenge, you’ve gotten to see a lot of little peeks at the Mockmill, the grain mill that we’re currently testing. Here’s what we’ve covered:
The Grinding Challenge Series is getting me to use my Mockmill grain mill! Here’s what we’re covering:
- Intro to the challenge and a video of setting up the Mockmill for the first time
- How to Translate Whole Wheat Recipe to Einkorn (and an interview with an einkorn farmer)
- Bio-Individuality – why it’s both the new face of health and the genesis of this whole project
- How to Translate Baking Recipes to Weights
- Why Baking with Weights is the Best for Kids
- Testing Pizza Dough with Freshly Milled Grain: Whole Wheat, Einkorn, Gluten-free (whole grain and not-whole-grain)
- Interview with a Master Gluten-free Baker
- Testing Tortillas with Freshly Milled Grain: Whole Wheat, Einkorn, Gluten-free
- Why Mill Your Own Gluten-free Grains?
- How to Make a Gluten-free Sourdough Starter
- Whole Grain, Gum-Free Gluten-free Flour Blend (& a bit on whether xanthan gum is bad for you)
- Interview with a Grain Milling Expert
- The Official Kitchen Stewardship Mockmill Review
Recipes We’ve Worked on in the Series:
- Spelt Banana Muffins
- Einkorn Applesauce Muffins (with peanut butter variation)
- 100% Whole Grain Gluten-free Tortillas
- Whole Wheat Pizza
- Crispy Crust Gluten-Free Pizza (amazing!)
- Einkorn Pizza Dough
- 100% Whole Grain Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts (no gum!)
- How to Make a Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter
Don’t worry, if you don’t have a grain mill or couldn’t imagine yourself grinding grain yourself, I’ll be sure to address when any of these CAN’T be done with commercial flour. Usually recipes are very compatible!
I think you can tell we don’t just use something once or twice and then write up a few paragraphs about it!
People have had lots of questions, like:
- Is it loud?
- Is it easy to use?
- How does it compare to other mills?
- Do you like the flour?
- Will I use it?
- Will I have space for it?
I have thoughts. Plenty. They start with this very honest video of me opening the Mockmill box, when I was grateful for the very easy “getting started” instructions!
Best Features of the Mockmill Grain Mill We Love
The Mockmill takes up so much less space than my Nutrimill, it’s not even a comparison. I have very low cupboards, and was worried it wouldn’t fit underneath, but it does just fine… Just barely.
Wide range of settings
You can really be in control of how finely you grind things you put through the Mockmill. It makes incredibly fine, professional-grade flour, for starters… Which is definitely the most important part.
But you can also set it so wide open that you can crack grains, for example: making whole oat groats into steel cut oats at home, or whole wheat or einkorn into cracked grains for porridge.
If you really value finely ground flour, do what Chris Stafferton does: mill your grains twice or even thrice! I have no idea if other mills can handle flour being milled again – it’s beyond the scope of my imagination with baking! – but Chris does it regularly with the Mockmill, which he values as the best mill on the market (that’s affordable).
I’m really not the kind of person who cares about how things look, but I must say the Mockmill is attractive. If I put it side-by-side with my Nutrimill, there is one that belongs relegated to the basement, and the other that I would be happy to have on my counter.
Dishes and clean up
The Nutrimill mills flour into its own enclosed bowl, but it tends to puff flour out if not perfectly pushed together. Also, upon opening the bowl, there’s a good bit of flour wafting around from the lid of the bowl. I never really washed that bowl, which didn’t bother me, but I’ve had readers tell me that I’m super gross.
Ha! I don’t have time to wash extra bowls just because I’m baking from scratch!
The huge Nutrimill bowl always caused space issues as well, taking up a large area on my already limited counter space.
With the Mockmill, it is what it is. It’s there and mills directly into your mixing bowl, which is fabulous. I feel like I can even throw a half handful of grain into the top, and shoot it directly onto my rolling surface if I just need a bit more to roll out some dough without stickiness. With the Nutrimill, if I had no flour left, it was always like a big sigh… I have to get the Nutrimill going again, oh no!
It seems silly to even say that 30 seconds is a hassle, but if you are a busy parent too, you get me.
Every. Little. Thing. Matters.
I used to just roll sticky dough. 😉 No longer a problem!
This one is huge, because I have experienced the limitation of the Nutrimill in a big bad way. One time, I was milling chickpeas for this chickpea flour pizza crust (which is awesome, by the way!). And somehow a rogue chickpea got stuck. It was impossible to get it out of the mill!
My loving, persistent husband spent at least 45 minutes with a screwdriver doing things to the Nutrimill that should never have been done to it. We had no choice! It was out of warranty and either wouldn’t work or we had to risk breaking it.
It’s never been the same since, although he did manage to get said rogue chickpea out.
With the Mockmill, it’s very easy within about 1 minute to take the entire thing apart and pull out anything that might be jammed. For someone like me who tends to break everything she touches, this is a huge advantage. 😉
Flexibility – Range of Grains/Seeds the Mockmill can Handle
Many mills can grind grains and only grains. Here’s a partial list of the Mockmill’s do’s and don’ts (only partial because I’m sure I didn’t include everything out there, but it’s pretty comprehensive!)
YES – Can Mill in the Mockmill
- all whole grains: wheat, einkorn, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rice, even tiny things like teff and amaranth are no problem
- chickpeas and other beans (these are hit and miss in other mills)
- flax and chia seed – must be milled with another grain for the recipe, but if you’re baking by weight, that’s no problem. Most mills say NO WAY to any oily seed, so what a great deal that the Mockmill can do these at all!
NO – Do Not Mill in the Mockmill
I cook with a lot of strange ingredients, so I asked about quite a few food items!
- coconut (to make flour)
If you do mill something not intended for the Mockmill, even very oily like almonds, it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t break your appliance!
It’s this easy to clean up and recover: just open it up, scrape out the almond meal/butter that’s gumming it all up, wipe it out with a dry cloth, and run some white rice through to clean the stones. Boom. Back in business.
I’ve become more and more aware of and nervous about endocrine disruptors in our environment recently. It seems they are wreaking havoc on our health, from children to adults – and plastic has always had a target on its back.
I avoid plastic, but I’m very tolerant of it if I feel that I have no choice.
It gives me great joy to be given a non-plastic choice in the world of grain mills. The material the Mockmill is made of is actually not plastic, and not made from non-renewable petroleum, but rather plant-based fibers.
- Free US shipping
- Full 6-year warranty
- Info about freshly milling grain and recipes
Click over to Mockmill, and use the code kitchenstewardship2019 at checkout for a little discount. 😉
Negative Points About the Mockmill
There are a few drawbacks, and I’m always honest about that.
Human Error Prone
The Mockmill has a few rules you really have to follow, and the learning curve was a bit sticky for me.
You must turn the machine ON before adding any grain, and you need to let all the grain get through the mill before turning it OFF.
That’s a very easy rule. I know. I know. An adult should be able to handle that.
But there were a few times early on as I got used to it that I dumped the grains in first – particularly, it irks me that I can’t just weigh whole grains in my mixing bowl, pour them in the top, then move the mixing bowl around to the bottom to catch the flour. I’m not going to wash something that only held whole grains, not flour, so it’s not like it adds to the dishes, but it’s one more thing to think about.
At least it grinds superfine, as good as a professional mill! Listen to Paul Lebeau’s interview to hear a culinary professor’s thoughts.
There was another time when I was making a triple batch of gluten-free cornbread. I measured all the popcorn, which is the only grain in my cornbread, and started sending it through the Mockmill. Someone had a question, or we had to pray meal grace for dinner or something. I turned off the mill.
That’s a no-no. It jammed up.
To be fair, I wasn’t following the rules, so it’s human error, not bad design, but it’s something to remember as you begin to use your own Mockmill! No interrupting the grind! This is the same, from what I understand, with a few other mills. The Nutrimill may be the only one that allows grains to be poured in while off.
The positive spin, of course, is that accessibility I mentioned above – I could pour all the popcorn back out the top, open the mill up, clean out the two stones in about 5 seconds, and put it all back together again. Annoying, but not gray-hair-inducing like that other mill.
The Mockmill may also jam if you put something too oily or too wet through it, and the stones “glaze” up. This isn’t a drawback but rather an advantage, since it’s easy to clean out to be like new. With other mills, if you mill the wrong food, you might have killed your (expensive) mill.
Can’t Use Tall Bowls
Because the Mockmill grinds grain directly into your bowl and must be a top-to-bottom operation, the spout where the flour comes out is too low for something tall like a KitchenAid stand mixer bowl. To mill directly into my KitchenAid bowl, which I do tend to use a lot for baking, I have to pull the mill to the front of my counter and hold the bowl manually (not efficient!). Even though it only takes a minute or two for a whole recipe, I’m an impatient multitasker. I could sometimes prop the bowl under the spout, but it’s a risk that it slides sideways and spills everywhere.
If you are lucky enough to have a higher portion of your counter, like a bar/peninsula with counter underneath, you’re golden. That’s the home for your Mockmill!
The Mockmill does fit an average glass dish underneath, like this large Pyrex version many of us probably have. And if you bake most of all with your KitchenAid and don’t want another large appliance around, Mockmill does have an attachment! I have one to try but honestly haven’t gotten it out of the box yet. #lifeasmom
Learning Curve: Calibration
The Mockmill is very interesting, in that although it has numbers 1-10 on the lever that determines how finely the flour is ground, #1 isn’t always “perfect finely ground.” Why? The Mockmill actually has about 30 “positions” that the lever can rest in, from super fine to very coarse (cracked grain).
You can loosen the level and ratchet it around to obtain all the 30 positions, but it also means that there’s a learning curve to figure out where “finely ground” is, exactly. It took me a few tries, but once I read this clear explanation of how to do it, it was easy to figure out. Am I the only one who doesn’t always like to read directions though?
I guess because the range of grind level is vast, with more options than most grain mills (and ultimately easy to adjust), this probably should be in the advantages list, shouldn’t it?
Is It Loud?
Well, yes. Grain milling doesn’t really have a “quiet” setting like new dishwashers do – the insulation that would take would remove the whole “aesthetics” thing from above!
But I told a funny story in my Nutrimill review about my mom wondering if I’d hopped on a jet plane when I tried milling grain while on the phone with her. I did that again with the Mockmill, and no funny questions. So either it’s a bit better (I think it is) or she’s just used to my weird, real food antics by now!
Should You Buy a Mockmill Grain Mill?
You’ve heard my thoughts on the Mockmill. I’m a fan! (Anyone want to buy a used Nutrimill that still works in spite of an unfortunate run-in with a chickpea? Ahem…)
If you have wanted to get into baking more, whether gluten-free, whole wheat or einkorn, or if you are already an avid baker and can’t wait to maximize your nutrition with freshly milled grains, (not to mention saving money and having an easier time storing your grains!), then you definitely want a grain mill. If you’re going to be milling grains, it might as well be the best you can afford – and this is definitely it, in my book.
But you’ll want to consider your own criteria:
- space on the counter (or in storage)
- whether you like the built-in bowl idea or using your own
- scope out other mills (there are more beyond the Nutrimill and Mockmill; those are just the two I had experience with)
- your tolerance for slightly not-as-finely ground flour
Get the best price on your Mockmill direct from the company right HERE. But of course, check prices on Amazon if you like. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
If you appreciated the balance and depth of the review you just read, you will love my resources page, with REAL products that have passed my rigorous testing enough to be “regulars” in the Kimball household, plus some other comprehensive reviews. Updated at least once a year to boot the losers and add new gems!