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Grain Mills Examined and Compared

We've spent a few weeks examining and evaluating some grain mills. We've looked at the classic KitchenAid Grain Mill, the Komo Fidibus Classic, the Mockmill 100, and the classic Whispermill.

We have also shared two recipes that we used to test the flour. One is a 90% whole wheat bread with just a touch of rye to liven things up. The other is a very German rye bread I call Roggenmischbrot mit Sonnenblumenkernen.

For people who want a bit of a deep dive into milling and how we tested, there's a page we titled, "Let's Talk About Milling At Home". And for the impatient sorts who just want to get to the end of the book and find out whodunnit, there is a conclusion page.

Many people make health claims for freshly milled grains that sound plausible but that we are not qualified to evaluate. We're more interested in how good a loaf does the grain from the mill make, and how good does the bread taste.

We also look at grain sources, and are sharing two recipes we like that uses freshly ground whole grain. We hope you'll like them as much as we do.

In the interest of full disclosure, we have owned the classic KitchenAid grain mill and the Whispermill for quite some time, which means we forget how long we've had them - at least 10 years in any case. The Mockmill 100 was loaned to us by Mockmill, and the Komo Fidibus Classic was loaned to us by Pleasant Hill Grain. We thank them for their loans, and their patience with our slow testing cycle.

The tests have wrapped up, and we're deciding which of the new grain mills we'll return and which we'll purchase.

And that sentence is filled with meaning. First, we think a serious baker can definitely benefit from having a good flour mill.

Next, we're not happy with the trend of manufacturers giving reviewers products. We spent a number of years reviewing computer hardware and software and when the review was over, the merchandise was almost always returned because the merchandise was loaned for the length of the review. Some magazines, like Consumer Reports, go a step further and purchase all the products they review to get a full customer experience and to ensure there is no conflict of interest. Most magazines don't have Consumer Reports budget.

In a few cases where the product was so inexpensive that the return postage exceeded the value of the product the vendor said, "Just keep it!" As reviewers, we may be easy, but we're not cheap. I won't fudge a review to keep a $5.00 jump drive or a $12.00 Ethernet switch.

But there does come a point where accepting a gift can put a reviewer in a position where their objectivity can be called into question. Like Caesar's wife, reviewers should be above suspicion.

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