Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grain Mill Research

With my Whispermill grain mill sadly out of action, I immediately jumped into action myself, because we would not want to be without a grain mill for very long.  I have hand powered mills, but not that will grind fine enough to make flour.

 NutriMill Grain Mill
My first internet stop was the Gardenweb Cooking Forum, where Grainlady is an excellent resource for all things about milling grain.  She pretty much confirmed my thoughts that I needed to investigate L'Equip's NutriMill Grain Mill and the Wonder Mill, a version of my WhisperMill now manufactured by a new company. 

The Ultramill holds more grain (so produces up to 20 cups of flour instead of 12 or 13), and it can be turned on and off with grain in it, while it's recommended you start the WonderMill first before adding grain, and it's a clogging risk to turn it off, then back on while full.  The Ultramill seems to have a larger variety of milling size, creating coarser to fine flours, even though the WonderMill has a similar adjustment knob.

A Customer's Image on Amazon
showing all the parts and pieces
of the Ultramill
These details didn't help me decide, so I moved to videos in which users compared the two.  The most helpful was Breadtopia's set of 2 videos, comparing 4 mills, including these 2.  They checked milling time, noise level, and flour temperature, and discussed ease of use and cleaning.  The Wondermill was barely the winner on noise and milling time, but warmed the flour just a little more...although not into a damaging range. What influenced my decision the most is that the WonderMill seemed that it would be easier for me in terms of use, cleaning, and mess.

The parts and pieces of my WhisperMill... There's also a lid
Wondermill in the lead, I checked out the manufacturer's website.  I was impressed with the improvements they've made to the WhisperMill design, including a stronger motor much less apt to burn out from a clog.  
It's been proven in testing that this motor can handle milling 1000 lbs of flour, continuously for 9 1/2 hours, without a problem.  The motor didn't stop at that point, they just stopped testing.

The other thing I discovered is that they are willing and able to upgrade any Whispermill too a Wondermill with the new motor, etc., and would give it the new warranty, too.  The person with whom I emailed, said they could accomplish this, including new canister and shipping, for $200.  And they would have it refurbished and shipped back out the same day they received it.  A new one on Amazon, or almost anywhere else they're sold, is $259, so fixing mine would be a $60 savings.  The $60 would be reduced by what it cost me to ship it, which I figured at $15 for shipping, and whatever I needed for packing materials.

Hubby voted I buy new for the estimated $40 extra, and he'd take the original to an electrical shop to see if they could fix the existing motor, hopefully for much less than $200... Then one of the princesses could have it.

Back to Amazon I went, and as a precaution, started reading reviews before hitting the "Add to Cart" button.  Within some of the comments left for someone's review, which I rarely read, was mention of a re-set button on the bottom of the WhisperMill.... 

Eureka!  Indeed she was correct, and my re-set switch was tripped.  A simple click, a test plug-in, and my WhisperMill roared to life!!!!  (Amusing Prince Steadfast to no end that I did this in the dining room and it shot flour halfway up the wall -- A photo of that might have been good to add here...)

This can happen when dough is left to
'hydrolize' too long while the baker is too
focused on internet research!  Thank goodness
I didn't lock the lid, or I'd be looking for a new
one of those next.

A day dedicated to research just to finally find that crucial bit of info... 
Anyway, crisis averted, money not spent, and we're back in business.  PHEW.  It's all very good.

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