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Customer Review

376 of 387 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very slow on everything but wheat-sized grain, coarsely ground., December 6, 2010
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Here's what I wanted in a mill:
1. The ability to grind very fine flour.
2. A mill that could be cleaned well enough to grind gluten-free flours after grinding wheat.
3. A hand-powered mill to have on hand for emergency preparedness.

Since I couldn't afford 3 separate mills, I settled on the Wonder Junior Deluxe.
Here's how it met my requirements:
1. This mill can grind a very fine flour, but only if you grind it coarsly, then again on a finer setting. The problem with this is the second grind takes a VERY long time. Doing a single grind, I was able to grind 4 cups of hard red winter wheat into bread flour in 20 minutes. I was grinding like I was trying to set a world record though, just to see how fast I could physically grind wheat. I do not grind this fast on a regular basis. For comparison, I'm a relatively small female, and not in the greatest shape, but even my husband had trouble keeping up that pace. My four-year old can't even turn the handle. We thought the single-grind flour made gritty, heavy, bread, so I've been double grinding. It takes me about an hour and a half to grind the same 4 cups of wheat berries into fine flour, putting it through the mill twice. I do the first grind as coarse as possible, but still cracking the grain, hoping that the larger particles will feed through faster.

2. This mill can be cleaned well, but I had to use a Waterpik to get all of the wheat out of the auger. At least this mill can be washed - some can't. It is not very easy to wash, and I have to let it dry overnight before using it again. However, if you're not worried about gluten contamination, you don't need to do much more than just brush it off between uses.

3. I suppose this mill meets my "emergency preparedness" requirements. If I couldn't afford flour and had to grind my own, this would do the job, provided I had enough time. If I didn't have electricity, it would still work.

After getting frustrated by the amount of effort and time this mill took, I decided to try to hook it up to a foot pedal. I took apart some old exercise equipment for a pedal and sprocket, bought a bike sprocket and chain, and made a contraption. It works, but it's still really slow to grind flour this way. I found pedaling lying on the floor took way less effort than sitting. At one point, I gave up on this mill, and bought the Kitchenaid grain mill attachment for my mixer. After a couple of months, this attachment broke my mixer, so now I'm back to grinding flour by hand (and now kneading dough by hand too!).

Some other thoughts:

The mill seems to be built well. I've been using it regularly, and nothing looks like it will break any time soon.

It is capable of grinding rice flour almost as fine as store bought flour (again, double grinding).

It does not make consistently sized coarse meal. You get a mix of sizes, from fine flour to large pieces.

I haven't found much use for the steel burrs. Using them on grain, it is difficult to turn the handle, and it jerks as grain gets caught in it. I tried making peanut butter with the steel burrs. I had to use a knife to chop the peanuts into approximately quarter-peanut sized pieces to get them to feed through. It did make a nice creamy peanut butter. However, it took so long and made such a gooey mess, I don't think I'll be trying nut butters again.

It took grinding 15-20 pounds of grain to break in my stone burrs, not the "pound or so" that the manual says. I started throwing away the first couple of spoonfuls of flour, and I stop grinding when there was still grain visible in the auger. I don't know if that made the difference, or if the burrs just finally broke in. At least there are no more pieces of sand in the bread now.

So from what I know and have read, here are my recommendations: If you can afford the Country Living mill, buy it, not this mill. If you want to grind a lot of flour (and have electricity), get an electric mill (but not the Kitchenaid mill attachment!). If you need a hand-powered mill to grind fine flour, and this mill is all you can afford, it does work; it's just really slow and requires a lot of effort. If you are preparing for a complete disaster, consider whether or not you are really going to need to grind fine flour in that situation. For much less than the price of this mill, the Back to Basics mill will make coarse flour perfect for making hot cereal (or even slightly gritty pancakes or flatbread).

I'm on a tight budget right now, and justified the price of this mill with the money I could save on bread, so that's why I've been crazy enough to keep using it. What I really need now is two electric mills - one for wheat, and one for gluten-free grains.

**UPDATE**
I bought and installed the re-designed (new in 2011) auger. It works very well on things like corn and beans. However, now I can no longer grind wheat into fine flour, even when I double grind, and the handle is harder to turn. I have to add half white flour to bread to keep it from coming out a brick.

My original auger got rusty from washing the mill (so be really careful if you wash it - or better yet, don't get it wet). I am so unhappy with the new auger that I'm going to clean the rust off my old one and re-install it. Unfortunately, this is not an easy process, so I can't switch back and forth between the augers depending on what I'm milling.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 10, 2010 5:07:10 PM PST
Susan Adrian says:
Wow! What a thorough, valuable review. I wonder how the mill does on corn.

Posted on Dec 16, 2010 12:18:08 AM PST
Did you contact the Wondermill Company ? I think you must be doing something wrong or there is a problem with your mill, I have had my Wonder Junior for over 6 months and I can grind pastry flour with one pass, I can grind 3/4 cups bread flour in about one minute. I read lots of reviews when considering my purchase and never read one that is having the results you are. Iwould call them , everybody raves about there service Maybe they can help you figure out the problem. I just read a review by the examiner national . com and there food review expert Vicky Lynn Haycraft tested it and gave it 5 out of 5 stars - thats the examiners top rating. like I said I would call the company- what do you have to lose it has a lifetime Warranty- good luck

Posted on Apr 23, 2011 6:19:51 PM PDT
E. Edwards says:
I am wondering after reading your wonderfully amusing post if with all the effort, it wouldn't be just cheaper to order GF flours from Amazon? That is what I do. When I figure the cost of my time for all of what you are suggesting needs to be done, it would just seem less expensive and cheaper to do it that way!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2011 12:33:55 PM PDT
Leila says:
The only type of corn I've tried is popcorn. It is very difficult to even crack the kernels. I stopped trying to grind popcorn because I was having to use so much force I was afraid the mill would break.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 5:50:59 PM PST
MG_50 says:
First, congratulations on the peddle conversion. Speaking as someone that spent over 20 years in engineering, that was an accomplishment! And thank you for such an extensive and thorough review. (Sorry about the new auger - sounded reasonably promising until that.)

Caveat: I have not used the product I mention below in over a decade, so my info is a bit dated, but I plan to get another of these soon if the reviews sound positive. Your trials and tribulations reminded me to keep looking, but AFTER I get a non-electric version of a mill.

If electricity AND price are not a problem, then the VitaMix was the best product I have ever used as far as grinding hard western wheat for bread: put in the desired amount of wheat (I usually used about 2 cups), hit the switch to grind (30 sec for cracked wheat, about 1.5 - 2 min for flour for bread, over 3 min for fine pastry flour. At about 1 min added yeast to the warming (by the blade friction) flour, and when complete I added dash of salt, water, and honey, molasses, etc., if desired, then briefly alternated the switch direction to pulse (switching motor direction back and forth) to knead the bread. It formed a dough ball up over the blades, which I pushed back down a few times around the blades and repeated. Kneaded bread in about 4 to 6 minutes ready for the loaf pan and rising. I used to make the family bread once a week, but my ex-wife got the VitaMix when we divorced. These had a VERY HEAVY DUTY motor, far stronger than any other blender I have ever used, though the product looked essentially like a blender on steroids. The motor was the key to being able to 1) rip through the hard wheat in no time and 2) alternately reverse the blade direction. The blade speed was supposed to also heat the contents sufficiently to allow cooking soup from raw vegies. I don't recall, but I did it with frozen fruit and milk for making soft serve ice cream, and it had a spigot (coffee urn style) on the front of the container just for dispensing liquids or soft serve ice cream (of questionable value if I recall). I just checked Amazon appliances (just search on VitaMix) and unfortunately (?) the carafe/hopper is now polycarbonate, where it was stainless steel before, and the spigot appears to be gone. Easier to see the contents now but probably nowhere near the strength. BUT, if you are looking at an off-grid situation, i.e solar-battery power system, then that heavy motor also means it will draw significant current at 120VAC. And the cost has increased of course. Convenience has its price in more ways than one, I guess. My 2 cents and best of luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2011 7:16:53 AM PST
Leila says:
I actually recently got a Blendtec blender, which works well for grinding wheat and other grains. It costs less than the Vitamix, and you don't need to purchase an additional jar for grains.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2012 2:48:37 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 24, 2012 2:50:07 AM PST
a realist says:
Leila--
I have been using an old VitaMix to grind flour for bread.
I run the Vitamix for 40 seconds
Then shake the contents
Then another 40 seconds
Then I use a regular mesh strainer to sift out the fine particles and set fine ones aside
I then put the coarse flour in VitaMix again
Then sift out the fine
>>>> Then take last remaining coarse flour and run it through my $29 KitchenAid coffee and spice mill
>>>>
>>>> Try freezing your wheat and rye berries....They will shatter easier in the Vitamix
>>>> The flour I get from all this is not as fine whole wheat flour you might buy. Nor is it coarse and crude. But it suits my bread baking just fine
>>>>
>>>> Nonetheless I will probably be buying a Wonder Mill the one with just the stone plates. I can use it manually or hook it up to an electric drill with their $29 adapter

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2012 10:47:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 24, 2012 10:53:00 AM PST
Leila says:
With the new auger on the Wonder Junior, I have to use a fine mesh seive to sift the flour to get it fine enough to bake bread. Out of 5 cups of wheat berries, I sift out about 2 cups of coarse flour and re-grind. With the Blendtec, using the fourside jar, I only sift out about 1 cup for each 5 cups of wheat berries.

Regarding the drill adapter for the Wonder Junior, make sure you have the right kind of drill. Even a typical heavy duty drill will burn out right away on hard wheat (I found that out the hard way). You have to use a drill like they recommend with lots of torque and at low rpms (one designed for mixing mortar, etc).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 10:47:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 12, 2012 10:49:04 AM PDT
Leila said "The only type of corn I've tried is popcorn. It is very difficult to even crack the kernels. I stopped trying to grind popcorn because I was having to use so much force I was afraid the mill would break."
--------------
Have you tried rinsing your popcorn seeds first under running water? I know when grinding corn to make homemade tortillas that rinsing the corn kernels in a colander and allowing the water to drain away softens the corn kernels making it easier to grind.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 7:12:53 PM PDT
True. But what happens when Amazon isn't available?
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