Cooking For Engineers

Kitchen Notes

White Wheat Grinder Comparison

by April Jones
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After reading Michael's comments about measuring wheat flour accurately, it inspired me to do some testing myself. Michael notes in his article that you have to be careful with your method of measuring flour for baking recipes, because some recipes call for flour measurements by weight in grams or ounces, while others require volume measurements. In my kitchen, I use three different methods for grinding my own whole wheat berries into flour. Sometimes my bread is a little "heavy", so I'm very interested in knowing how the density of the flour varies with each machine. This is especially important when baking larger batches, since any measurement error will be multiplied by the number of cups of flour I use. In other words, frustration mounts and the resulting product might double as a door stop. Not good. So, I asked myself, "How does the ground density vary among the more popular methods for grinding your own whole wheat at home?" Let's compare...

I currently have three very different machines for grinding wheat: the Blendtec Total Blender, the Country Living Grain Mill, and the Nutrimill. The results of this test are surprising, because my initial hypothesis was that the Country Living Grain Mill would produce flour with the highest density. However, I based that hypothesis on the appearance of the flour, not the actual measured density.



In order to realize accurate results, I attempted to keep these variables constant during the test:
wheat type: whole white wheat
measurement method: fluff the flour by scooping and dumping it back into the bin before measuring the final scoop
leveling: using a straight edged knife to level the flour in the measuring cup
The only variable that changed intentionally was the grinding machine.


Goal
Determine if the different machines produce a significantly different flour density.

Results
Density of the whole unground white wheat berries = 209 grams/cup or 0.89 grams/mL
Blendtec Total BlenderCountry Living MillNutrimill
Density Test 10.67 g/mL0.56 g/mL0.52 g/mL
Density Test 20.70 g/mL0.57 g/mL0.51 g/mL
grams/cup Test 1158132123
grams/cup Test 2165135121
Average, grams/cup162134122


One other item to note is the significantly different grinding temperature of the three machines. I didn't try to measure this, but based on touch alone the Blendtec and Nutrimill both produce warmer flour. Per the manufacturer's website, the Nutrimill grinds at less than 118°F, which is still considered low enough to maintain nutrients.

Each of the three machines use different technology for grinding and, therefore, each possesses different inherent benefits. The Country Living Mill grinds the wheat by hand cranking one rotating plate against one stationary plate at approximately 60 rpm depending completely on the strength and stamina of the person cranking the handle. The Blendtec and Nutrimill are state of art modern machines utilizing AC electric motors and the high-speed impact of the rotating blades to explode the grains into flour vs. physical grinding.

The result? The Country Living Mill doesn't warm the flour because of the much slower grinding speed. If losing nutrients is a concern for you, you may want to keep this in mind.

O.K. Enough about temperature. Let's get back to the density variation...

My Conclusion
The Nutrimill performed best by producing flour with the expected density of 125 grams/cup for most recipes. If you use a machine at home to grind wheat, it's worthwhile to take some measurements in order to determine the density produced by your combination of machine type and measurement technique - i.e. sifted or not sifted, compacted or not compacted.


If you're getting frustrated with your baking results, the variation in your measurement technique and grinding method may explain some of the variation in your recipes. Do you use sifted, unsifted or compacted flour when measuring? Or, do you stress over measurement at all? Do you simply "eyeball" the appearance and texture of the flour as it mixes in order to determine if you need to add more? You get the idea... and here is my video of a bread recipe that uses the 'eyeball' method to determine when enough flour has been added.


So, that's it! I hope these test results give you something to consider the next time you grind your own wheat flour.

Good luck and happy baking!


This article contributed by April Jones from http://www.kitchen-blender-reviews.com/ a resource for healthy recipes, tips on how to buy a blender and Blendtec or Vitamix recipes. Visit her site for a variety of healthy recipes, kitchen appliance reviews and cooking tips.
Written by April Jones
Published on June 09, 2011 at 03:39 AM
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5 comments on White Wheat Grinder Comparison:(Post a comment)

On June 09, 2011 at 08:58 AM, Michael Chu said...
Can I grind wheat in my Vitamix or do I need special blades or a special carafe?


On June 13, 2011 at 01:48 AM, April (guest) said...
Subject: Vitamix Wet/Dry Blade Container Differences
As you probably know, Vitamix offer's both a wet blade and a dry blade container (the dry blade container retails for $144.00) . The dry blade has a different blade configuration which Vitamix recommends for grinding dry grains, rice and beans.

I haven't tested the two containers, but found several videos demonstrating there is no visible difference between flour produced using the dry blade. If you check the measured density you may find some variation between the two.

Therefore, you can save some money and grind your wheat with the standard wet blade container. Beware ... grinding dry grains will cause your container to become frosted in the bottom third due to the grains scratching the container. But I would not expect any issues with using the wet blade to grind wheat. I have ground many pounds of wheat in my Blendtec with no issues other than a frosted container.


On August 10, 2011 at 06:27 PM, maureen jaeckel (guest) said...
Subject: wheat grinder
I have a Thermomix and also grind my wheat. Was thinking of freezing the grain and get a lighter grind. Any suggestions


On October 21, 2011 at 09:44 AM, Jo (guest) said...
Subject: Wheat temp
Freeze your wheat berries prior to milling in the NutriMill. You'll notice a significant temp reduction in the finished flour.


On April 25, 2013 at 02:12 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Do you find you prefer the bread made from the Nutrimill or Country Living Mill more? Or are they similar? I'm trying to determine if one of the mills can grind more finely than the other.

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