Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ahem.

I haven't forgotten about this blog. It's just been a difficult couple of weeks, and I have been therefore falling back on comfort food. Like crockpot turkey breast, which made everyone smile. And those lovely cinnamon rolls a few posts down. Like last year, I will attempt to post something weekly, so come back in a few days and see what I've come up with. Now that I have the comments set up to email me, I actually can respond to ones you make on old posts. Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate it!

I had quite an experiment with wheat grinders this week. So while this isn't a recipe post, I hope it'll be useful. I was given a Whisper Mill a decade ago for my wedding by my mom, master of massive batches of homemade bread. She has an old bakery mixer with a 5 gallon bowl that's capable of 10 loaf batches at a time. It's really a humdinger, and something you have to see in action to fully appreciate. A Kitchen Aid never looked so wimpy. Anyway, Whisper Mill went out of business and with it went the warranty, but shortly after that, someone else bought up the rights to the design and Wonder Mill was launched. Same mill, different label.

The Whisper Mill has been good for me for all these years, but the motor conked out this week mid grind. Boo. Alan tried some resuscitative efforts, but was unsuccessful, so I began the process of researching new mills. Many people have raved about the Nutrimill, and the Nutrimill and Wonder Mill are similar in price. I read as much as I could find online, then set about asking neighbors. I even went and tried one out. The flour seemed a little coarser, but the speed was reasonable and the noise level similar. One of my neighbors, whose opinion I really respect, strongly recommended the Nutrimill because their customer service is so great and they actually follow through on their life time warranty.

With all of those things in mind, I headed to the store and purchased a Nutrimill. The particular mill that I bought had been used as their demo model for a few months, then rotated out. Warranty still intact but 40 dollars cheaper? Sold! I took it home, all excited to try it out. I ran the first batch through with the settings at low speed and finest grind. The flour that came out into the bin settled in a dense, stratified heap, with a swath of visibly granular coarse grinds and a swath of finer, but still palpably coarse grinds and other stuff in between. Hmmm. Not quite what I had in mind.

We fiddled with the settings some more, downloaded the instructions, and had it on what should have produced the finest flour - high speed and finest grind - and it STILL produced far more gritty flour than I have ever gotten from my Whisper Mill. Not quite ready to throw in the towel, I decided to reserve judgement until I actually used the flour. I made a batch of my honey whole wheat bread and it felt like I was kneading a glob of sand! I wound up adding a fair amount of white all purpose flour to it just so that the dough would handle remotely like I was used to. Very, very disappointing. I used some in a batch of pancakes, and they had a chewy grit to them, even though the ratio of whole wheat to all purpose flour was quite low. Same with some rolls I made for dinner last night.

The flour that I get out of the Whisper Mill is fluffy and light, very finely ground. I would be quite interested to do a cup for cup weight comparison of the products of each mill. I wound up taking the Nutrimill back to the store, and then took my ailing Whisper Mill to a local retailer that carries the Wonder Mill. They sent it in to the manufacturer to replace the motor. Still a good chunk of change, but far cheaper than a new mill...and I'll get my good flour back!

I don't know if I just got a dud Nutrimill, but as for me and my house, we will stick with what we know works - Wonder Mill all the way. How about the rest of you?

6 comments:

Emily said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles with the nutrimill. My flour comes out very fine and smooth. Yes, just a little grit because its whole wheat, but very, very fine for whole wheat. Soft wheat comes out just all all purpose flour. If I'm in a hurry I even set it to the medium setting and still get a fine flour. I can still get to the windowpane test with dough made from the whole wheat flour so it's pretty fine.

I think you got a dud but it would still be interesting to compare flours when your Whisper Mill is repaired. Glad to hear you can get a new motor. :)

Nurse Heidi said...

Interesting, Emily. I almost came over to do a side by side comparison of your mill and the one that I bought, but Alan was feeling grumpy enough about it that I just took it back to the store. It will wind up being quite a bit cheaper for us in the end to just fix the old one - don't know why I didn't think of that in the first place.

WrayLynn said...

Hey, I've never posted on here but I follow! (I'm from the LDS board on BBC, by the way.) Just wanted to say that I have a Nutrimill as well and love it. But, I've never compared to a Whisper Mill. My flour comes out very soft and light. I'm sorry you had a bad experience but glad you could get your Whisper Mill fixed!

Just wondering, could you do a post on the different kinds of wheat you use and for what? I have our year supply of wheat and am a little confused what kind I should use for what.

Thanks

Nurse Heidi said...

Hi Wraylynn! Thanks for commenting! I will certainly do a wheat and grains post. Actually, I have a guest poster in mind that has a lot of experience with spelt, kamut and other variations. I personally mostly use hard white winter wheat as an all purpose good for everything wheat, and I buy preground semolina flour (coarse durhum wheat flour) that I add to pizza crusts, breads and rolls. I grind my own rye and spelt flour.

Hmmm, the ideas are flowing...thanks for the request!

Lisle H said...

BUM-MER!! I have a Nutrimill, and love it to death. I used a Whisper Mill for a couple of years before I bought mine (Thank you to the Lovely, best-neighbor-ever Laura), and I can't tell the difference between my finest setting and her flour. One of the things I do love is that I can set it coarser for cornmeal and such. I almost always leave it fine, though, since I do more bread than anything. I'd say you got a dud. I will also say, that they have the best customer service I've ever seen. EVER. I've been to the warehouse/service center and I've seen them in action. They are amazing, knowledgeable, and fast. Mine had to be sent back from MA when we moved, and I had it back in just a little more than a week. Lovely.

The Grant Family said...

:-( So sorry it didn't work out for you. Like when we were testing out mine, I've always felt like it felt a little gritty. I'm still just learning....and I have so, so much to learn. I always enjoy hearing your adventures in what you've learned.