There has been a recent discussion about grinding grain. In 1993
we decided that we might be able to work some upper body exercise
into our bread baking program for some of our rehab clients. The
logical next step was to get hand mills for them. We found an
excellent mill made by Back To Basics, located in Utah. We got
several of these mills and provided them to some of our clients
for whom upper body exercise was appropriate. While they usually
avoided doing exercise for their own sake, many had developed a
love affair with their Zojis that justified the effort. To our
surprise and delight, the bread produced from freshly ground
wheat was so much better than that made from commercially milled
whole wheat flour that the demand for mills grew enormously! Many
of our rehab clients were unable to do the work of grinding grain
so we investigated other kinds of mills and milling attachments.
We found that there were many good mills available covering a
wide range of price and ease of use. The two were not
necessarily related. Our special requirements asked for a machine
that was easy to use, easy to clean and easy to adjust for
whatever purpose it was being used. The first good mill we found
was made in Germany, it is called Jupiter and sold for about
$300. It met all our requirements but was pricey.
We checked out the Magic Mill, made in Salt Lake City, Utah. This
is an excellent mill, especially when fairly large quantities of
grain are needed to be ground at once. It has three major
problems for our application: 1). It is difficult for anyone with
even minor arm or hand problems to disassemble. 2). It is very
difficult to clean. 3). The noise level produced when grinding
hard grain was such that we determined it was potentially harmful
to hearing. Nevertheless, the Magic Mill would be a good bet for
a group of people who wanted to grind a few pounds of grain
quickly. We feel that it should be used with ear plugs.
The mill we finally settled on for our rehab use (and we have
sold a lot of them since that decision) is the Miracle Mill. It
is manufactured in Poland and is almost a copy of the Jupiter
Mill. The Miracle Mill uses molded nylon body, feed screw and
plastic hopper in place of die cast aluminum. The motor power is
comparable and both machines (the Miracle Mill and Jupiter) use
investment cast, stainless steel, precision grinding burrs. One
large knurled coupling is easily removed and all parts of the
Miracle Mill may be washed with soap and water and dried. Three
advantages come from the design of the Miracle Mill: 1). It is
relatively quiet. (More later.) 2). It has indexed fineness of
grind settings, so that exactly the same type of grind may be
reproduced each time. 3). It is relatively inexpensive. We sell
these Magic Mills for $150, shipping and handling included, in
the U.S. That is 20% less than the suggested retail price and we
arent obliged to charge sales tax if you are not in Florida.
The process of grinding grain is inherently noisy. It takes a lot
of energy to break down the hard shell of, for example, hard,
red, winter wheat. The grinding process produces heat and uses
power. When we tested the Vita-Mix, we felt that it was too noisy
when grinding grain, as others have reported here. The uniformity
of the grind was variable. Our tests of the Kitchen Aid
attachments demonstrated three points: 1). It was very difficult
to adjust the setting. 2). The attachment itself cost about $130.
3). It required special care while cleaning because it is made of
Is it worth the trouble to grind your own grain? If you have a
chance to try a bread baked in your own bread machine that is
made from grain you have just ground, you will know the answer
with the first bite! Were so sure of ourselves that if you buy a
Miracle Mill and try it, you can return it for a full refund if
you dont agree! We include a recipe for a 100% whole wheat bread
made from freshly ground hard, red, winter wheat, that was
preferred by everyone who tasted it.
Lynne Miles asks about what made her yeast so slow? As with all
other living things, there is a limit to the duration of life.
Individual yeast cells do die. Such an event is usually the
result of moisture getting into the container. The amount of
yeast added in recipes is usually enough to get over any
deficiency in the number of active yeast cells present. The way
to know how your yeast is doing for sure, is to proof it. It is a
simple procedure and should be done before discarding any
quantity of older yeast.
Heres how to proof your yeast. (This is for active dry yeast.)
1. Fill a water glass half full of warm water, 100 to 115 deg. F.
2. Stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar
3. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of yeast on top of the water.
Within 5 minutes, things should start to happen. After 15 minutes
there should be a head on top of the water, like the head on top
of a glass of freshly poured beer. If there is, the yeast is OK.
If there is not, the yeast is inactive and should be replaced.
To Jeffrey Hamelman, Reggie's note tells it all!
There are many people who, for one reason or another cannot deal
with the physical process of hand bread making!
On the other hand, it might be very informative to you Jeffrey,
to try making a loaf of bread in an automatic bread machine
yourself. My wife was an avid bread maker. When we started the
rehab bread baking program, I offered her a Zojirushi S-15 (now
S-15A) to her as a birthday present. She said, I dont need it
and I dont want it! I suggested she try it. One day, she did.
Now she makes bread without the mess, without the cleanup and
without the dedication of the time.
To Bob Stedfeld, I appreciate your comment. You should never
hesitate to argue with any expert. You may know something he
doesnt and if he or she are really experts, theyll appreciate
Everything you say about my fussiness and the yeast storage
method I proposed, is correct. You yourself point out, your
method for storage keeps the yeast functional for 6 to 9 months.
The fussy way I proposed keeps it functional for over four years!
Is my fussiness justified? It depends upon how quickly you use up
Irwin/Delta Rehab/Using Zojis