2003-05-28 It's Here!
What, you might ask.... well, it's my WhisperMill. When "Health For Your Ministry" became a sponsor of the Sourdoughhome pages, they offered me a GrainMaster WhisperMill grain mill rather than cash. (Sadly, they are no longer in business. Since then, I had been doing business with Mountain Tops Milling which has also gone out of business. I miss them, but Pleasant Hill Grains is also a good vendor. I hope my mentioning them doesn't cause them to go out of business also.) Since I'd wanted a grain mills for a while, I was delighted at the prospect. It took a while to get here because a lot of merchandise from the orient has been stranded in customs due to fear of the SARS virus.
Despite SARS, it finally made it. Five minutes after it hit my front porch, it was on my kitchen counter, and five minutes after that, it was grinding grain. Some regular readers are probably aware I've been using a KitchenAid GrainMill attachment, and that I've felt that it just couldn't grind the grain finely enough. That will not be a problem with the WhisperMill.
The WhisperMill has two plates in it, called micronizers (if memory serves) that are spinning at something like 45,000 RPM and when the grain hits the plates, it explodes into powder. The flour is very, very fine. At its coarsest setting, it's finer than what the KitchenAid could produce. The flour was also heated less than in the KitchenAid, and it was ground in one pass - I usually run grain through the KitchenAid twice to get the flour as fine as I can get it.
I was surprised by the WhisperMill - when I turned it on, it moved on the counter. The motor is pretty high powered, and the startup torque kicked the machine. Now I steady it with a hand. Some people have told me that the name "WhisperMill" is a joke in poor taste, that it sounds like a jet taking off.
Well, when I first turn it on, it does sound like a jet reving up. But when you add the grain to be ground, it quiets at once. It's a LOT quieter than the KitchenAid GrainMill attachment (my wife has asked me to not use that while she's around, the noise gives her a headache). I'll get out my Radio Shack (note from 2019 - remember Radio Shack?) Sound Pressure Meter tomorrow and see how loud it is. My guess is "not very" since I could hear household noises over the mill without any problems.
Of course, the final test is in the bread. So tomorrow I bake. I'd bake today, but it takes a while for the starter to get going. Once the bread is made, I'll update this with tasting comments and pictures of the bread. This won't be a full-fledged flour test, because I was too excited about having a new toy to be that patient. In the next week or two, I'll repeat the Nitro Packed Winter Red Wheat and Nitro Packed Hard White Wheat tests with the WhisperMill, and we'll see what's what.
I will comment that if you want a coarsely ground grain, such as for authentic Pumpernickel, a Danish Rugbroed, or to use coarse grains to decorate a loaf, the WhisperMill is not your mill of choice. The coarsest grind I got out of the WhisperMill
was finer than the finest I've gotten out of the KitchenAid. I'll definitely be holding on to my KitchenAid Grain Mill attachment for coarsely ground grain.
(Note from 2019 - we put together a comparison of several grain mills recently.)