Pat’s Product Review: Family Grain Mill

I learned to cook out of necessity – I was raised by my grandmother, and she was one of the worse cooks, ever! However, she managed to raise 9 children and myself, but her cooking ability was lacking. So when I was quite young I started experimenting in the kitchen and learned to cook on my own. Of course, over the years, I learned a lot from other folks along the way. And, being from Chicago, and being Sicilian, I learned to cook some great Sicilian style Italian meals. My pasta sauce is next to none. Now, with that said, I can’t bake for diddly! That’s my wife’s department. So, when I received the Family Grain Mill from Internet Prepper,  I turned to my lovely wife for her assistance. She was raised on a ranch, and knows quite a bit about baking and cooking from scratch.
 
The Family Grain Mill can be had in different configurations – you can have a complete “system” with the right attachments. You can set-up your Family Grain Mill as a stand alone set-up, using the hand-crank for those times when the power is out. Or, you can use the optional stand alone electric motor attachment. If you have some other kitchen appliances, like the Bosch or Kitchen Aid mixers, you can attach your Family Grain Mill to those for faster wheat grinding with an adapter attachment.  And, it’s very easy to alternate between using the hand-crank or the electric motor. What my wife really liked about the whole thing was that it was extremely quick and easy to set-up. She’s not mechanically minded, and doesn’t enjoy having to read through a long list of steps to put something together.
 
The quality of the Family Grain Mill is outstanding – made by Messerschmidt in Germany, for the past 27 years. This is top-notch in all respects. However, this mill isn’t nearly as expensive as some other mills on the market, in fact, it is quite a bit less expensive – and I enjoy saving a buck whenever I can, while still getting the best quality I can afford. These days, we all need to spend our hard-earned money wisely. Any more, if something isn’t a “deal” in my book – I’ll just pass on it. I’ve got to get the most and best I can afford. Made from premium Lexan and hardened surgical steel burrs, and BPA free, the mill is capable of a lifetime of dependable service.
 
Fast, light, and easy to use, this was important to my wife (and, “no” I still don’t know how to use it– I just watched my wife). A cup of fine flour is produced in approximately one minute from wheat grain, with the electric base installed and just two minutes with the hand-crank installed. More importantly, the hand-crank base turns easily, even a child can turn it. The large 5-cup open-top hopper allows for continuous grinding, too. Another feature the wife liked is that clean-up is fast and easy, and dust-free. Everything removes easily and quickly for cleaning. The Family Grain Mill is one of the quietest mills on the market, too.
 
Some of the things the Family Grain Mill is capable of grinding are: wheat, oats, corn (not popcorn), rye, spelt, barley, rice, most beans, coffee, flax seed, sesame seeds, dried herbs, dried peppers, dried peas and other foods. My wife ground coffee beans and  lots and lots of wheat. This was a “difficult” test and evaluation period for me,  for the past month and a half – hey, someone had to test and evaluate all the different types of freshly baked breads that my wife made – yeah, a “dirty” job, but I was up to the task. And, other than pizza cooking in the oven, there isn’t anything better smell in my kitchen, than fresh bread baking. I made a lot of “sacrifices” for Survival Blog readers, doing all these taste-testing, but I was up to the task. There is also a meat grinder attachment, and that would be great for grinding-up some venison during hunting season.
 
Oh yes, you can also get a variety of additional food processing drums for the Family Grain Mill, that will allow you to grind nuts and larger seeds such as pumpkins seeds, sunflower seeds, hard cheese and baby food. There is another drum for Julienne for soups, one for slicing for dehydrating veggies, one for grating, and yet one more drum for making mash potatoes, squash and pumpkins – great for souffles.
 
There is also a flaker attachment for the mill, that will roll and flake: oats, wheat, rye, spelt and flax seeds. You can make your own oatmeal at home or even cream of wheat. My wife experimented with quite a few different recipes and dishes, and came up with some very cool things for us to eat. One of my favorite breads she made was a wheat bread, almost flattened, with Jalepeno peppers cut-up small, inside the bread itself, and in the final few minutes of baking, she added sliced Jalepenos on top the bread with cheddar cheese – mouth-watering good!
 
Quite frankly, I never once gave any thought, to storing buckets of whole wheat – I just figured that we could use white flour – and we have hundreds of pounds of it stored-up, for making bread, pancakes and other things during hard times. However, to be sure, pre-ground white flour won’t last nearly as long as whole wheat will. On average, if whole wheat is properly stored, and the buckets left unopened, the whole wheat can last 25 years or longer. Try that with a bag of white flour – ain’t gonna happen. We found some great buys on whole hard white wheat and hard red winter wheat at the local Wal-Mart. We only rarely shop at Wal-Mart for a number of reasons, one is, we don’t especially enjoy supporting the Red Chinese economy in the least. We have found, that Wal-Mart is carrying a small section of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods in #10 cans, as well as 26 pound buckets of wheat – priced under $15 per bucket – and that’s a deal. Needless to say, we have a good number of buckets of wheat in our stores now – and as soon as the local Wal-Mart restocks their shelves with more wheat, we plan on buying more. However, for the most part, we prefer to take our business to other local stores, whenever possible – just a personal thing with us.
 
Now that we have the Family Grain Mill, I’m wondering, how we ever got along without it for all these years? Any more, in the local grocery stores, the cheapest white or wheat bread is $1.50 on-sale, and there really isn’t any nutrition in this bread, and for the most part, it is pretty tasteless. My wife hasn’t hardly made a dent in one bucket of whole wheat, and she has baked quite a few loaves of bread and other things. Now, if you could buy this same bread in the local grocery stores, it would easily cost you $5 per loaf. For less than $15 for a 26 pounds of whole wheat, we will make dozens and dozens of loaves of bread – fresh-baked bread, with nutritional value as well. For the little bit of time it takes to grind-up your wheat, and put it in a bread-maker, and let it bake, it’s hard to find any fault at all with the Family Grain Mill, and the ease to use it. Of course, during the times when there isn’t any electricity available, you can still bake bread a number of different ways, and you can still use your Family Grain Mill with the hand-crank attachment, to grind-up your wheat or other foods.
 
Notes from my wife:  Finding a recipe for 100% whole wheat bread was difficult.  Most recipes called for regular flour with just a small amount of whole wheat.  This is a basic recipe she found that is light and easily adapted for variations; and can be kneaded by hand and baked in the oven or done in a breadmaker. It is for one loaf of 100% whole wheat bread.
     1 1/2 cups warm water
     2 Tbsp. powdered milk
     2 Tbsp. margarine or oil
     2 Tbsp. honey
     2 Tbsp. molasses
     1 1/2 tsp. salt
     3 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
     1 1/2 tsp yeast or l pkg.
 
Some optional variations to the recipe:
1. 1 1/2 cups water and powder milk can be replaced with all water, all milk, or a combination of milk and water.
2. 2 Tbsp. honey & 2 Tbsp. molasses (total 1/4 cup) can be replaced with all honey, 1/4 c. brown or white sugar, 1/4 c. maple syrup, or reduced to about half the amount of sweeteners for variations in tastes.
3. I also understand part of the whole wheat flour can be replaced with other flours like rye, bulgar, cracked wheat, etc.
 
She also found some tricks that make 100% whole wheat bread lighter.
1. Run the grain through the mill twice for a finer, lighter flour.
2. To minimize gluten with the same effect for light bread, shake whole wheat flour through a wire mesh strainer and even dump in the bran or coarser pieces that don’t sift through.  It does NOT work if you sift through a crank sifter. (for whatever reason this works -I can’t explain.  I tried it and got nice light bread.)
3. Knead bread for 20-30 minutes.
 
There are various options you can add to your Family Grain Mill. However, the basic mill starts at only $139.95 with free shipping – making it one of the least expensive grain mills on the market. However, I highly recommend adding some options to your grain mill. If you have any questions, contact the Internet Prepper, and they will be more than happy to help you in your decision making, or answer any questions you might have. They are selling a quality product, at a great price and the free-shipping only makes the deal that much better if you ask me.
 
If you’re serious about long-term survival, then you need to look at the Family Grain Mill, and start turning out some of the best home-made breads you’ll ever taste. Store bought breads just don’t cut it for us any longer.
 
Note: This article was co-authored by Mary Cascio

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