A Mom’s Honest Review of the WonderMill Junior Hand Grain Mill
I purchased the Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Grain Mill back in early 2014, after extensive research of what type and company mill to buy. I wanted a mill that would allow me to grind my own flour from wheat berries, but also grind my own nut butters. Additional perks would be if I could grind different types of flours like rice, garbonzo, and cornmeal. And other mediums like flaxseed and coffee. I read the reviews, I watched the YouTube videos, and I price shopped.
**I want to take a moment to state that I was not compensated for this review. I paid in full for my WonderMill. These words are all purely from my own experience. I don’t mean for this to be a negative review, but more so, just sharing my experience with this product.
**For more information on wheat berries, including USA sources, see my post: East Coast Bulk Food Sources. Part One: Wheat Berries and Flour
Why I chose a manual grain mill:
Let’s start with the basics; manual or electric. I chose manual for the appeal of long lasting durability, the versatility to grind both dry grains and oily seeds, and the ability to use the mill anytime I wanted. No plastic parts to worry about breaking, no motors to worry about burning up, and no need to worry about a power interruptions. For an added perk I figured I’d probably have buff arms.
Why I chose WonderMill:
Once I narrowed down to a manual mill, then I needed a company. WonderMill had an appealing price, strong reviews from multiple sites, YouTube videos that showed ease of use, solid material construction (no plastic), and the ability to clamp the mill onto your working surface, instead of permanently drilling into it. I felt that I couldn’t go wrong because if I ended up not wanting to only use my arms, they offered a drill adapter allowing for faster grinding, and a pulley adapter; perhaps I would attach to a bicycle and work my legs as well.
What impressed me about WonderMill:
Their customer service, product quality, and USA made. The WonderMill company 100% stands by and takes pride in their product. Anytime that I had to reach out to them, response was quick, and resolution prompt and to my complete satisfaction. The mill itself is heavy and strong. It reminded me of the durability of those old iron sewing machines; built to last.
What discouraged me about the WonderMill:
I broke this down into two separate points: Ease of use and Consistency of ground grain.
Ease of Use:
When I read reviews before purchase, what I really wanted to know was, just how hard is this to use? I recall reading reviews that admitted to grinding giving you a workout, but that they enjoyed that aspect and it got easier with their increase in strength. Some reviewers even said their kids enjoyed helping. YouTube videos by the company itself, made the process look downright easy. I’m a petite woman, but fit, healthy and not someone who would mind a little hard work. So I figured this shouldn’t be too hard.
In the course of trying to make this mill work for us, we ground multiple mediums, ground by hand, used their drill adapter, and used the wheel pulley adapter. Even after trying all three methods, I didn’t find this mill easy enough for me to use daily for all mediums. I’ll explain in more detail below.
Grinding Wheat Berries:
The first thing we tried to grind was wheat berries. Right off the bat I found the mill difficult to use. I needed two hands on the handle to grind and the process required not simply my arms, but my upper body and core strength in general. I had my husband give it a try. He was significantly faster than I was and didn’t report the same level of fatigue, but also agreed that most of the time using both arms was more effective. This would not be something I would think a kid could do. When the hopper is almost empty (when you can see the augur through the grains) then one hand is a breeze. If you think in terms of a 21 speed bicycle, initially your arms are working at about 2.6 and for the last say 1/4 cup you’re at about a 1.1. The mill does provide a large arm for wide rotation giving more leverage, but I think a larger handle allowing for two hand grasp would also help.
We timed each other grinding wheat berries and here are the numbers:
Wife: half cup= 3 minutes. whole cup= 5 minutes
Husband: half cup=2 minutes. whole cup= 3 minutes
FYI: When allowing to settle for a few days, the half cup wheat berries=5oz flour, and the whole cup wheat berries=10oz flour. In my experience initially after grinding it will seem like you have a bit more flour then that, from the air/fluff of fresh ground. I never felt that this instantly meant more flour, because this aeration does cause you to alter the liquid or flour amount in your recipes. I get better results following recipes when I let the flour settle for a day. Plus, a pound of wheat berries, will always equal a pound of flour.
I admit, I found the process too exhausting to even want to attempt daily use to see if building strength would help. I need 6 cups for my double loaf bread recipe, and the amount of time this would take (before even factoring in breaks), just wasn’t realistic management of my time for me. I make bread several times in the week, among other baked goods items that I would need ground flour for.
*Placement: It’s worth noting that I had the mill clamped to my kitchen island. However when grinding hard wheat berries, the mill shook the whole island, causing items stored inside the island, to fall off their shelves. I would argue a rock solid unshakable piece of furniture to clamp this mill to is a must. I tried the mill later on a HEAVY cement bench outside and this sturdiness was a significant improvement that I believe helped with the whole grinding process. However I needed to be able to grind inside, and my kitchen island was the only option available to me.
Grinding oily nuts:
Grinding peanuts to peanut butter was significantly easier than hard grain like wheat berries. Only one arm was needed and if we think back to that 21 speed bike, I’d say it required about a 1.4. The process was still slow, quickly fatiguing my arm, but I could at least see myself building up the endurance strength to make this a habit. We did found we could speed things up by continually pressing the peanuts down towards the auger with a kitchen utensil. I would say a kid could do this one. The peanut butter made by the mill was absolutely wonderful too. Grinding peanuts this way produced great oil for perfect spreadable peanut butter.
Smitten with the peanut butter we purchased the Wondermill’s drill adapter after watching their YouTube video that portrayed speedy easy grinding of peanuts this way. We tried with both our own heavy duty drill and then later purchased the exact drill that they use in the video. To our surprise and disappointment we did not have as easy a time as seen in their promotional videos. The first heavy duty drill just simply could not do the work. It would smoke, smell, and overheat. The exact drill from the videos required significant muscle and stability to keep the drill on the drill adapter. The drill would continually try to walk-off the adapter causing the adapter to strip. The more it stripped, the more it tried to walk-off, and so on. Using the drill adapter for any other medium other than nuts was not possible for us. The moment the mill would catch/hit a hard spot, the drill would violently spin in your hands, causing pain if you couldn’t catch it.
Giving up on the drill, we moved on to the bike. We purchased the WonderMill pulley wheel and then a stationary bike stand, a long belt, and constructed a stand to clamp the mill to. For peanut butter or almond butter this was very easy, however, you needed someone sitting by the mill, pressing the nuts into the grinder. Without this help the process was very slow going, feeling like the mill was just spinning in place and not grinding very much. Grinding wheat berries felt as if you were doing a consistent uphill bike. Going back to the idea of a multi-speed bike, I would say it felt like a 3.2 for me, maybe a 2.7 for my husband. Certainly more do-able if you like to bike and my husband confirms that it was a good workout if you keep up a good pace.
*We ended up keeping the pulley wheel attached to the bike, but to be honest used it only about a dozen times. When we went to remove the wheel from the mill it a was stuck solid. So much so, we broke the wheel to pieces trying to force it off and ended up mailing the whole mill to WonderMill for repair. They replaced the entire auger free of charge and stated the issue came from installing the wheel backwards. I can’t remember if the wheel came with install instructions, but looking back on their YouTube videos, we installed the wheel the same way shown in the video. When I pointed this out to WonderMill they did offer me a discount should I ever order a new wheel in the future. I was extremely impressed with how they handled servicing and fixing the mill and was completely satisfied with their customer service.
Consistency of ground grain:
I want to first clarify that the consistency of ground oily seeds/nuts/grains (we tried peanuts, almonds, and flaxseed) was superb. The WonderMill makes nice creamy peanut butter with enough oil that your peanut butter doesn’t become un-spreadable when refrigerated.
The consistency that I wasn’t satisfied with was the wheat berries. I tried to show this in the pictures below. We tightened the stones down as close as we could and still be able to realistically turn the mill. So to me, this the finest grind I could achieve. Sometimes we would do two passes with the mill; one loose to break up the berries, and one fine to grind them to a finer flour. This worked and both steps were easier then just going straight from full berry to flour, but the time consumption wasn’t realistic for us. Another option was to grind this way and then sift the flour, separating the large pieces from the smaller ones, and then re-grinding the larger pieces. This worked, but again about the length of time…
As you can see in the picture, the top mound of the freshly ground berries was fine. To touch there was a slight grittiness, but certainly fine enough for baking breads, muffins, etc. This is not the silky smoothness you get from grocery store bought flours. In my experience, home grinding your own flour never will be quite that consistency and that’s OK. At the base of the flour mound you’ll see larger pieces of ground grain. Their weight causes them to collect around the base. These grains are noticeable in baking. You may be able to hide them in bread, but they stand out like sand/tiny pebbles in other baked goods when you bite down.
The way I saw it, I had two options. I could either I grind one pass and use for bread but then have to buy flour for other baking, or I spend the extra time to do 2 or more passes for finer baking. I did not like either option.
I also wanted to use the mill for flaxseed and coffee beans. While these were easy to grind, I found simply using an electric coffee grinder to be far easier and with much less clean up. With the small size of the flaxseeds there was also the issue of being unable to get the last few tablespoons out of the auger. With the mill clamped down its not like I could tip it forward to draw the tiny seeds towards the stones. This resulted in waste and mess when I took the mill apart. My find attempt of using the mill was to grind popcorn kernels hoping for course cornmeal. The extreme hardness of popcorn kernels made this impossible, even when trying to do a simple loose pass before a finer pass.
We gave up grinding wheat berries ourselves and continued to buy flour from the grocery store. Occasionally I would use the mill for nut butters. In the end I realized I could make nut butters using my Ninja food processor and so the mill stopped being used and we eventually sold it.
Not willing to give up on grinding my own flour I went back to my research. This time I focused only on electric mills and eventually purchased a Komo electric grain mill that we are very happy with. (
Working on this review now! Completed! Click here to view: A Mom’s Honest Review of the Komo Medium Electric Grain Mill).
For me, an electric mill for dry grains, supplementing a food processor and coffee grinder for oily mediums, was a better fit for my physical strength/endurance, time management, and lifestyle.
Hi there! I’m Kaley, prevailing parent and wife, but also just me; stubborn lover of DIY everything, outdoors, and chocolate. Read more about myself and my family under the “Parenting” > “About My Family” tabs.