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There are a couple of different types of grain mill on the market, and they grind wheat in different ways. All home grain mills let the wheat berries in one end, and flour out the other end. (wheat berries are what you call the grains of wheat). But they use different methods to turn the wheat into flour.

 

There are 2 main types of milling that you will find in a home wheat grinding machine:

 

Impact grinder

Burr grinder

 

This is important to know when deciding on your purchase, because the milling method can affect the flavors and textures of the flour it produces. First, we’ll take a look at the main features each type can have

 

Home Grain Mills that Use Impact Mechanisms

These types of mills use a series of rotating metal fins that move very fast. When the wheat passes through them, the fast impact breaks up the wheat into smaller pieces, eventually turning it into flour. Impact milling is a relatively new method of milling that came about much later, and works differently to traditional milling. 

 

Here’s a list of features that are unique to impact mill wheat grinders:

-Always electric (manual versions are not available)

-Tend to be much louder than burr grinders when in use

-Can’t be used to grind oily or wet grains

-Will grind from very coarse to a fine textured flour (does not quite go to as fine as some burr grinders can)

-Generally cost less than other home electric mills

-The most well-known and popular impact mill grinder is the ald.kitchen brand.

 

Traditionally, wheat was manually ground between two heavy duty stone plates

-Home Grain Mills that Use Burr Mechanisms

The burrs are two plates, one on top of the other. One is fixed at the bottom, and the other rotates as the wheat berries are crushed and ground into flour in between the 2 plates. This type of milling is actually the original way wheat used to be ground into flour. (Way back before factories existed and roller milling came into existence). Traditionally, the burrs were made out of stone, but in modern times, these burrs can be made from:

 

stone

cast iron

steel

 

Here’s a list of features that burr grinder mills have:

-Available in both electric and manual versions (and some are hybrids, which can switch between manual or electric)

-They tend to be quieter than impact mills when in use

-Only burrs that are made of steel can grind wet or oily grains; the stone or cast iron burrs are not suited to wet/oily grains.

-Will grind from very coarse to a super fine textured flour (finer than impact mills)

-Very durable and long lasting mechanisms

-Generally cost more than impact mills

 

Which Type of Grain Mill is Best for Bread Flour?

So those are the different types that you can buy today for home use, but which type is best for what? Here, we go through some of the factors to consider when making your decision

 

-The Milling/Grinding Method May Affect Nutrition in the Flour

-The type of mill you choose to buy actually has an impact on the nutrition of the flour you get from it. During the process of milling, inevitably the temperature of the flour will be raised, and if it’s raised too much, it can have a negative impact on the delicate nutrients and vitamins available in the flour. The cooler you can keep the temperature during the milling process the better protected the nutrients will be.

 

As a guideline, the following temperatures are when nutrients start to get affected:

 

At around 112F (45C) – Heat sensitive vitamins can start to deteriorate.

At around 122F (50C) – Some enzymes can get destroyed or become dormant

At 140F (60C) – Many nutrients and enzymes are destroyed to the point where it will most likely affect the quality of the bread.

Thankfully, most impact mills and burr mills don’t get to the higher temperatures, but impact mills tend to produce flour that is warm to the touch, whereas the burr mills (stone burr mills in particular) produce flour that is cool to the touch. So, if you want to be super safe, then it is best to go with a grain mill that is going to keep your flour at its coolest. A stone burr mill will be your best bet if the nutrition factor is important to you. (look for ceramic-corundum stones; I have some recommendations below). In fact, making sure your flour is at it’s highest nutrition level, also means it is at it’s most flavorsome.

 

How Much Flour will you Need to Mill at a Time?

If you’re going to be needing to make huge amounts of flour, you should consider buying either a grain mill that is going to mill fast, or a mill that is going to carry a large amount of grain that you leave to mill automatically. A manual grain mill probably won’t be a good match at this point unless you want to grow your biceps!

 

How Fine a Grind of Flour Will You Need?

Simply put, if you want to have the option of a super fine flour, then a burr grinding mill is a good choice. An impact mill, although will get you fine flour, won’t produce flour that is super fine. For bread making, a finer texture is useful for whole grains, as this will help give the bread a lighter texture. 


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