Family Food and Grain Mill Review

trio of ground grainsThis week, I’ve been playing with my new Family Grain Mill (known at Lehman’s as the “German-Made Family Food Mill”). I’ve been thinking about getting a grain mill for several years; what sold me on this one is its good performance and the fact that it’s not a one-trick pony. You can get attachments for this that will grind grain and beans, shred and slice vegetables, grind meat, stuff sausages, and roll grains (make your own oatmeal). It also has both electric and hand-crank bases, and when I bought mine, EverythingKitchens.com was offering a deal where you got the hand-crank base free if you bought the electric base. I did this, and got the grain grinding and vegetable attachments.

Overall, I find this machine a breeze to use and to clean. I will probably not use it for certain vegetables any more, but I’m definitely going to keep experimenting with making flour. Details after the jump…

Vegetable prep

Carrots in the food millFor firm, non-fibrous veggies and cheese, the shredder was fantastic. I shredded carrots (large grater), Parmesan (small grater), and sliced potatoes and cabbage (slicing drum) with great success. I can see myself using this to prep veggies for pickling.

Other things were not so great. Ginger, for example, was too fibrous. Onions were a problem because they tended to separate into layers, and once, a layer got stuck between the chute and the food pusher and effectively cemented the two together. Maybe if I were shredding instead of slicing the onions? In any case, dealing with onions and cabbage is a snap without the machine, so I might not haul it out for those two items.

Ginger in the food millI was impressed, though, that this mess of ginger cleaned up with just a quick rinse under the tap. The carrot juice stained a little and took some scrubbing, but the rest of the veg and grain was no-effort on the cleanup. The cutting surfaces are also not microplane sharp, so I’m not worried about cutting myself during handling or washing. You can actually run your fingers across the cutting surfaces without bleeding.

Grinding Grain

Then next day, I switched attachments and tried my hand at grinding wheat and rye into flour. I used hard red wheat and some rye that I’d grown and harvested last year (plain old ryegrass sold for erosion control). First I tried the coarsest setting – this made something that would work as a hot cereal, I think (lower left). Then I dialed it down to the finest setting (lower right), and got something much closer to commercial whole wheat (top).
trio of ground grains
I did one batch of all wheat and one cup half wheat and half rye. I mixed the whole berries and ground them together; I’ve heard that rye can gum up your mill. In both cases, a cup of berries turned into about two cups of flour.

I’m making bread with these flours as we speak; I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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33 Comments

  1. El said,

    March 1, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Emily, how interesting! (I think you got me hooked with the “sausage making attachment.”) I’ve been researching plain old grain mills for a while now. Most likely I will get some monstrous thing that needs to be set up permanently in the basement. This one, though, really appeals because of its multiple attachments. Please let us know how your first breads turned out, and any successive loaves. And let us know how hard it was to turn: do you think you could whip through 6 cups of finished flour without your arm falling off?

  2. Emily said,

    March 1, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    El- The bread came out really well! Will post in more detail later. And I *did* whip through 6c of flour and no, my arm didn’t fall off. I got pretty bored, though. :) I’m also experimenting now with sifting the finished flour, but it doesn’t need it as much as I’d feared it might. FYI, I think you have to buy the meat attachment AND the sausage attachment to stuff sausages, but I’m not 100% sure.

  3. March 5, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    That’s so cool! I wish we had the room to grow our own flour, but alas, we are urban bound for some time.

  4. Heather said,

    March 10, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Huh. Now THAT is very cool. I was just wondering what we’d do in a worst case scenario about flour and such. I was thinking about Pa and Laura grinding wheat in the coffee grinder. This seems much more efficient. Thanks for the info!

  5. Emily said,

    March 10, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Heather-

    YES! Laura was my hero! I’ve had similar thoughts…but really, I’ve just always wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder when I grow up. :)

    I used soft white wheat berries to make flour for pumpkin bread this weekend, and it was fabulous – better flour than the local flour I can buy (for $3/lb…)

  6. Oldnovice said,

    March 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I read somewhere that the price of flour is exploding, so I want to get a grain mill SOON. Thanks for the testimonial on a brand/type I’d not thought to consider.

  7. candace said,

    May 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I have this grain mill as well. I cranked it for a year by hand and just recently purchased the motor. I love its versatility.

  8. karl said,

    September 20, 2008 at 4:32 am

    we have been wanting a grain mill for quite a while

  9. Nicole said,

    February 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Oh thank you! I came across this on accident doing a search for this mill. I was planning to buy from Lehmans but your link got me a MUCH better deal!

  10. Richard said,

    February 23, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Greetings!

    My wife and I are looking for a mill to purchase, and I came across your helpful review. Thanks!

    Any thoughts after a year of use? Have you ever wished you had a Wonder Mill, or something similar?

    • Emily said,

      February 23, 2009 at 8:59 pm

      Richard –

      I’m enjoying my mill greatly. I’m glad I have the electric and hand-crank bases, and I use the vegetable attachment enough to make it worthwhile. Our local food group, Preserving Traditions, is going to compare a few mills March 8th and I’ll be posting the results. If you can wait that long, it’ll be an actual comparison you can take into account.

      Emily

  11. Brooke said,

    March 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Hi, I’m just curious if you’ve done the mill comparison yet. Thanks!

  12. julie myers said,

    July 2, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Electric Wonder Mill Grain Mill
    Last winter we purchased a Wonder Mill electric mill from a Canadian dealer affiliated with KodiakHealth.com web site. It’s Korean electric motor burned up in less than two weeks. The dealer told me that recently it’s been an ongoing problem. So, because the company advertised that it’s warranteed for 10 years I was under the impression that they will replace it free of charge. Boy was I wrong. They lied to me. The only part that’s waranteed are the steel heads on the mill. They “burned” me big time. I got ripped off and I can’t get my money back now. I’m going to contact some people soon. Just a warning to you all.
    Julie , Ontario Canada.

  13. elisabeth brower said,

    July 10, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    We had a similar experience with another Indian made hand grinder (Wonder mill junior) purchased through Kodiak Health .com
    I tried to send it back to their dealer but they would not accept it. Such a poor quality product. The dealer told me that they are going out of grain mill business, to many problems, and going into storage business instead. Big John’s storage in Pocatello, Idaho , telephone 208-232-5155, the dealer gave me this number to get a refund. Elisabeth, Virgina

  14. Emily said,

    July 11, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Wow, Julie and Elisabeth – I hope you can get your money back. I’ve been quite pleased with the Family Grain Mill (sometimes called the Jupiter) with both the hand-crank and electric bases. Anyone else have good or bad experiences with particular mills?
    Emily

  15. Rebekah said,

    August 4, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for this review. I was wondering which kind of mill to get and this has helped me narrow it down!

  16. March 9, 2010 at 12:10 am

    I have this same mill and love it. I must have bought mine from everything kitchens just when you got yours as well. I love that it’s small and can fit in a cupboard. I also love that you can crack steel cut oats with it and want the flaker attachment for making spelt and oat flakes for oatmeal or granola. I’ve been really pleased with mine for well over a year and use it at least every few days since I make everything from scratch and have two young kids who like pancakes and crackers!

  17. Bijaya said,

    May 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    The grain mill you’ve shown will be good one because the review is nice,I must visit thew site to know more about it.But now am using a grain mill which is also working good for me,you may take a look at : http://www.grainflaker.com to know more details about it.

  18. John said,

    May 31, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I have a question about the Family Grain Mill using the flaker attachment: can you adjust for the thickness of the rolled grain? If not, about what thickness is the end product? Thinner like instant rolled-oats from the store, or thicker like old-fashioned rolled oats from the store?

  19. May 31, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    John I now have the flaker attachment and it does work really well. You can’t adjust for thickness but you can control it by moistening the grains overnight. If you don’t moisten (I put 1 T water per cup of oat groats in a closed jar overnight and turn to fully moisten) you get a thin rolled oat. If you moisten to that extent you get a thich rolled oat just like the old fashioned ones.

  20. Michelle said,

    March 17, 2011 at 6:20 am

    I realize this is an old post, but I was wondering–do you still like your grain mill? I am really leaning toward this one at the moment–love the flaker idea, and am really considering the shredder too. I think I would mostly use it for carrots and maybe slightly softer cheeses, like cheddar. Have you tried shredding that king of cheese? Also, ever try slicing sweet potatoes, or are they too hard? I mostly bake bread, muffins, crackers, cookies, that sort of thing–do you find that your flour is fine enough for those applications?

    I think those are the main questions I have been trying to answer–I’d appreciate any help!

    • Emily said,

      March 17, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Yep, I still like it. The flour resembles a blend of white flour with germ, which I find acceptable for everything except snowy white baguette-type bread. A tablespoon of gluten is a nice addition if you want crusty bread.

      The shredder is great for carrots, cheese, chocolate, breadcrumbs, etc. It would be fine for white or sweet potatoes. Not good for cabbage (feed chute too small) or onions (they just separate into layers and get mushy).

      I use the motorized base for grain and the hand crank for veg.

      • Michelle said,

        March 18, 2011 at 4:43 am

        thanks so much for your input. Is there a specific reason you use the hand crank for the veggies? Have you tried the motor for those?

  21. RHome410 said,

    May 29, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Just came across this, and didn’t see these hints mentioned and thought they might help….You can run the flour through a second time if you want it finer/more consistent. Also, with hard white wheat (I use Montana Wheat’s Prairie Gold) you get the same nutrition as with the red wheat, but a color, rise, and texture in baked goods much like all-purpose. It was an easier sell to my family, and I was able to convert to 100% whole wheat immediately, rather than break them in gradually by mixing it with all-purpose.

    I”m not from your geographical area of the US, but am enjoying some of the info in your blog.

  22. Corie DeVries said,

    March 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Just thought you would like to know that this post is STILL helping people four years later! I have been pondering for months which mill to purchase and was told by Pleasant Hill Grain that the Family Mill would be best for grinding sprouted grains. Your review and all of the comments have proven most helpful. Thank you!

    • Emily said,

      March 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Glad to help! I’m still loving the mill – in fact, this weekend I need to grind up our “pizza blend” flour and some multigrain pancake mix.

  23. March 27, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    THANKS so much for this post. I was just debating about getting the food prosecser attachment for my family grain mill. It sounds like it works really good!! Thanks!! Have you ever used the grinder to make peanut butter?

    Where do you get your recipes for what kind of bread to make and what kind of flour to use? How do you know how long to cook barely flakes?

    • Emily said,

      March 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Anna-Lena – I’ve not made peanut butter, but I understand you actually use the meat grinder, not the flour mill, to make it. I sub home-ground flour for whole wheat (sometimes mixing it with some white or “golden white flour with germ”) in any bread recipe.

      I would think you’d cook barley flakes just like oatmeal. (Use hulless barley.)

  24. John said,

    March 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Hmm – thanks for the info. I gave my requirements to Pleasant Hill, and this is the grinder they recommended. I also bought it right away, but after reading more, I’ve really turned off by the coarseness of the grind. From what I hear, even grinding it twice does not match what Country Living Grain Mill can do – but that’s a ton of money. So, I’m still not sure what to buy.

  25. Sandy Miles said,

    June 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    So glad to see your post. Question, can you use this mill for corn meal as well ? Thanks – Sandy

    • Emily said,

      June 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Yes, if the grains are small and not popcorn.

  26. June 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    John, I own the CL and the Jupiter. I’ve tried making bread with the flour from the fine CL but it is too gummy for my tastes. I think you really should make a list of everything you bake, and how much of each thing. You may find that mostly make muffins and cakes where you want a fine crumb and in that case an impact mill might make more sense. When you want course flour for bread you can just buy stone ground flour. Or vice versa. I don’t think there is a perfect grinder in the middle price range, because flour is so specific to the recipe.

    And Sandy – yes, you can.


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